#super apps

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8 min

6 Companies That Made It to the Top Thanks to a Super App

A super app is more than a buzzword. Here are 6 case studies to prove it

Bertha Cryer

IT consultant

Ellen Snesar

Content Manager

April 20, 2023

Super apps are conquering the world. According to Gartner, over 50% of the global population will be using super apps daily by 2027. One of the reasons for such optimism is that super apps offer a convenient and integrated experience that users prefer to the hassle of switching between multiple apps.

But that’s not the only reason—enterprises benefit from super apps, too. The positive effects of having a super app in an omnichannel strategy include better customer engagement, boosted sales, and improved customer service. We’ve picked the six best examples of companies that experienced these effects thanks to super apps.

#1. Rappi tripled sales via in-app entertainment

Rappi is an on-demand delivery startup that started in Colombia in 2015 and is now operating in 9 countries in Latin America. The company initially offered food delivery, but since 2019 it has expanded to a wide range of other services, adopting a super app strategy. As a result, it reached a triple increase in orders.

Rappi launched in 2015 as an express delivery service. Its founders had two goals: to deliver goods as fast as possible and to deliver as many of them as possible. Thus, the app became a “digital pantry” that expanded from beverages to meals, groceries, tech goods, and medicine. Finally, the team reached the point when they could deliver anything and started to look at other verticals.

After having reached the initial goal, Rappi’s team looked at the first non-delivery vertical—finance. In 2018 and 2019, the company introduced Rappi Pay, a digital wallet for in-app money transfers and QR-code payments.

Soon after that, Rappi revealed its ambition to become a super app and launched Rappi Entertainment, with music streaming, live events, and games. The idea was to make people stay in the app for as long as possible.

Now, Rappi’s key services in the super app are:

  • Payments and banking.
  • Entertainment.
  • Delivery of anything, including groceries, food, and medicine.

Rappi’s idea of using entertainment to increase app stickiness seems to be working. According to Rappi’s president in Brazil, the company sells three times more during a live show than restaurants do on regular days.

#2. Gojek increased company value 10x in just 3 years

Gojek is an Indonesian on-demand platform with over 25 services, operating in 3 countries in Southeast Asia. In 2015, Gojek got a head start over competitors by adopting a super app strategy early. Between 2016 and 2019, it became the region’s first unicorn and decacorn.

Back in 2015, Gojek resembled Uber, but its vision involved more than offering rides. In the view of its founders, a driver was a human being with a motorcycle, and they could do many things, not just take a person from point A to point B.

That’s why, soon after ride-hailing, Gojek added delivery and personal shoppers. This way, Gojek’s drivers have more opportunities to earn money, while consumers receive access to greater convenience.

The company had another reason to reconsider its strategy—Gojek’s main competitor in Southeast Asia was expanding into Indonesia. Thus, Gojek had to give people even more reasons to use their application. That’s why the founders aimed at making it “a platform that fixes things.”

When the new Gojek super app was introduced in 2015, it combined motorbike ridesharing, delivery, and shopping. Later, Gojek added food delivery, on-call beauty services, entertainment booking, and e-payments.

Today, Gojek operates in 6 verticals, but the foundational sectors that helped the company thrive were:

  • Transport and logistics—GoRide and GoSend.
  • Food delivery and shopping—GoFood and GoMart.
  • Payments—GoPay.

Analysts suggest that early diversification ensured Gojek’s long-time growth. In 2016, the company’s value reached $1B and grew to $10B just 3 years later, in 2019, making Gojek Indonesia’s first unicorn and decacorn.

#3. Grab doubled customer retention rate

Grab is a Singaporean technology company that provides everyday services across 8 countries in Southeast Asia. The company started as a ride-hailing app, but it has expanded to food delivery, grocery shopping, and payments. In 2018, Grab launched its super app, which integrates all of the services into a single platform, and achieved an almost twofold increase in customer retention rate.

Grab started in Malaysia in 2012. In the beginning, the owners didn’t have any intention to build a super app. Their first application served only one purpose—to connect the drivers with the riders. Soon after that, Grab launched other services like car-sharing and bike-sharing. One vertical was fleshed out—but the super app era was yet to come.

Amid tough competition, Grab realized that they had to offer more than ride-hailing to keep their customers. With GrabExpress—the first non-mobility service in the company’s portfolio—Grab entered the financial industry and introduced a wallet for in-app payments.

In June 2018, Grab made the final step towards becoming an everyday super app for customers. The company announced GrabPlatform—a suite of APIs for partners to build their services on. This allowed Grab to open up its platform to other businesses and expand its range of services even further.

One of the first services developed in partnership was GrabFresh, an on-demand grocery delivery service. It was a GrabPlatform partner integration with HappyFresh, Southeast Asia’s leading grocery delivery provider.

At the time, the super app combined the following services:

  • Mobility—GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, and GrabShare.
  • Deliveries—GrabExpress and GrabFood.
  • Finance—GrabPay.

The strategic decision paid off. In December 2020, the company reported that thanks to the super app strategy, the percentage of users buying more than one service grew 4.5 times—from 12% to 54%. That, in turn, helped increase the one-year customer retention rate from 47% to 79%.

#4. AirAsia increased active users by 236% in one year

AirAsia is an international low-cost airline based in Malaysia. In 2020, it diversified its business and launched the AirAsia Super App. Now known as Capital A, the company succeeded in growing the share of net new customers and doubled the average number of monthly active users.

AirAsia started to work on the new app in 2019, but mobile users had been important for the company even before that. Back in 2005, it was the first airline to offer a booking system targeted at mobile phones. 14 years later, the idea behind a new app was to find new revenue streams.

High-frequency and low-margin businesses, like food delivery, were supposed to boost high-margin business—air travel. The decision came with perfect timing, as in 2020 airlines couldn’t rely on existing customers, let alone acquire new ones.

In terms of high-frequency services, AirAsia saw the biggest potential in delivery and ride-hailing for two reasons. First, the company could cross-sell services with higher value to the customers ordering food and taxi. Second, the branded vehicles would increase the company’s visibility on the streets.

Thus, in 2020, the group launched the AirAsia Super App. The super app presented 15 products and services under three main pillars: e-commerce, travel, and fintech.

  • E-commerce: a duty-free shop, food and grocery delivery, ride-hailing, and beauty products.
  • Travel: flights, buses, trains, ferries, and hotel booking.
  • Fintech: mobile wallet, insurance, and rewards.

On top of that, AirAsia Group changed its name to Capital A. The goal was to demonstrate the diversity in the group’s portfolio and its ambition to become a digital ecosystem rather than a regular low-cost carrier.

Following the release of its super app, the company reported a steady increase in the number of new customers acquired. In 2021, more than half of the super app’s delivery users were new to the group. Thanks to acquiring these new customers, Capital A achieved a 236% increase in the average number of monthly active users in a year.

#5. Careem saw a 9x increase in customers using multiple services

Careem is a UAE-based ride-hailing service owned by Uber. In 2020, the company launched a super app that helped it increase the number of customers buying multiple services by 9 times.

Back in 2012, Careem’s founders didn’t have any super app ambitions. It was simply a website for corporate car bookings, later accompanied by an app. For a while, the app was developed around one vertical—mobility. But in 2018, the team saw an opportunity in the under-served delivery market and released a food delivery app Careem Now. Again, it was an app for one purpose and had no integration with their ride-hailing service. Existing customers could use their Careem credentials to log in, but they had to have two different applications.

The company recognized this problem and came up with a plan. In 2020, driven by the desire to simplify people’s lives, Careem announced a new super app combining ride-hailing and delivery. Like many businesses in 2020, the company suffered from huge losses, but the CEO was optimistic about the super app’s future. It was designed to help Careem emerge stronger after the crisis.

The first version of the Careem super app, set up in 2020, united three services: food delivery, mobile wallet, and ride-hailing.

There were many effects after the super app’s release, all contributing to recovery across verticals. According to Careem’s 2020 trends report, after the super app was released, the company has seen a 9x increase in the number of customers using multiple services.

#6. Orami tripled visitors in 2 years with unique parenting services

Orami is an Indonesian e-commerce parenting platform. In 2020, Orami launched a parenting super app and grew the number of monthly visitors from 6 to 16 million in 2 years.

Orami started in 2016 after a merger of two e-commerce sites for women. The new company narrowed its focus to mother and baby goods, as they believed this market had the biggest potential in Indonesia. This was the right decision: soon after launching the website, the team saw high interest and enthusiasm from Indonesian parents.

Mothers actively shared their parenting experiences on the forum, which was convenient for Orami. The company could analyze the topics to understand how to both help users and grow the customer base. Soon they found that customers focused on four areas: information on parenting, community support, shopping, and entertainment. This would become the foundation for the new super app in 2020.

Something unique to Orami’s case is that since December 2020, Orami’s website has been an exact duplicate of the app. It means that users can try all the tools on the web before downloading the app. For example, a name finder suggests baby names based on a particular topic.

The launch of the super app made Orami the only parenting platform in Indonesia with everything that parents need in one place:

  • Commerce: mother and baby products.
  • Content: educational articles, guides, and tools.
  • Community: chats for different groups of parents.

Orami provides content and community free of charge, but they play an important role in retaining customers and driving sales. The content provides parents with educational articles and guides that help them learn more about their babies. The community allows parents to connect and share advice.

Together, content and community keep customers in the app for longer and help them in their purchasing decisions, which in the end translates into more revenue for Orami.

Since Orami launched the platform, the number of visitors has increased from 5.6 to 16.1 million in two years. Such a success helped the company partner with a leading e-commerce enabler Sirclo and become the most popular e-commerce site for fashion in Indonesia.

Key takeaways

Super app is more than a buzzword:

  • In Latin America, it helped Rappi drive order numbers.
  • In Indonesia, it increased Gojek’s company value and attracted more customers to Orami.
  • In Malaysia, it led to an increase in Capital A’s monthly users.
  • In Singapore, it improved Grab’s customer retention rate.
  • In the UAE, it helped Careem cross-sell to more customers.

These cases prove that a super app is a tool that brings tangible benefits to businesses in different countries, and it can be successful in the U.S. as well. You might have heard that this model isn’t suitable for the U.S. market, but that’s just one side of the story. We think super apps will make it in America, and we know at least three reasons why. If you want to learn more about how a super app can help your business, feel free to give us a shout.

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