Superapps Series Part 2

Published: 30/03/2023
Author: Nick Welch

5 steps to planning an effective superapp strategy

In the first article in this series, we looked at the rise of the superapp and how by grouping together a series of mini-apps, you can provide your audience with access to a wider range of digital products, features, and services that deepen their user experience. In the second part of this series, we’ll explore how to plan and design a superapp.

Step 1 – Understand what matters to your audience

Creating a superapp project is more complex than a standalone app, so it’s important to ensure you invest in features and experiences that will resonate with your target audience. To avoid feature-creep and bloat, start by creating a list of requirements for each audience and establish a hierarchy of needs. Consider the importance of your audience in terms of your objectives, as well as how regularly they’ll use the app.

It is important to also understand how customer or end-user research can help you to validate your audience’s needs, giving you confidence in your superapp strategy and investment. This will help you to create a roadmap for your app and ensure you are investing your resources in the right areas.

Step 2 – Map your existing audience & customer touch points

Having established your audience and their needs, look at how they currently engage with the products and services across your digital estate. Identify any areas where a superapp experience might duplicate an existing customer or user journey, and consider the value in adding a mobile experience carefully.

Providing streamlined access to services via an app can be a positive, however, you should balance the time and budget for maintaining both web and app experiences, should you need to make changes to complex forms and workflows. If changes across web and mobile are likely to deliver value while being easy to maintain, there’s a stronger case for it as part of your superapp strategy. Where that’s not the case, directing your audience to an existing touchpoint on your website may make more sense.

Step 3 – Identify opportunities for cross-promotion or referral between your products, services, and features

In considering the ‘mini apps’ that make up your superapp experience, it’s helpful to consider opportunities to cross-promote your products and services. For example, if you operate in the travel, tourism, and leisure sectors, there would be obvious benefits for referring customers to mini-apps for weather, insurance, or transport information.

By comparison, finance start-up Revolut’s superapp offers their customers access to related mini-apps to help them manage their money. Services include analytics on their spending, foreign currency transfers, push notification reminders for payments, access to insurance services, the ability to make stocks and cryptocurrency investments, and to book leisure activities. This creates a virtuous circle of related services that helps Revolut drive increased customer engagement with their app.

Step 4 – Leverage 3rd party platforms and APIs for data heavy-lifting and cost-reduction

APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) provide you with an effective way of integrating your existing data, as well that of 3rd party platforms, with your superapp experience. Whether you’re working with your in-house development team or an external partner, there are an enormous range of API integrations they can target for retrieving or sharing of data, enabling you to build compelling app experiences for your audiences.

Having established the services you want your superapp to provide, consider the APIs that could accelerate its development. Weather services such as Meteogroup and Accuweather can offer a range of useful data on local weather, while the universal Google Maps can enrich location-based app experiences.

Marketing and CRM platforms such as Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics also offer flexible APIs that enable you to create mashups of your existing data as new services provided to your customers. With most modern SaaS enterprise software or CMS platforms, there’s likely to be an API available that a developer can harness to make your data and content work harder for you.

Step 5 – develop your superapp over time

With greater complexity versus a standalone app, launching a superapp requires more time and budget investment. Therefore, a sensible approach is to develop and launch services within your superapp gradually. This approach has a number of advantages:

  • You manage your investment and product roadmap gradually over time, avoiding higher support and maintenance costs of a big-bang single release.
  • You can test ideas regularly, using engagement stats and analytics to guide your thinking.
  • You create a way to engage your audience through regular communications as new features are added, keeping your app relevant.
  • Your investment in your product roadmap is steady over time, reducing your risk while ensuring a feedback mechanism from your end-users, helping you improve and refine your app experience.

The steps above are a guide to defining your superapp strategy and features. In our next article in this series, we’ll explore the technologies and tools available for bringing your superapp to market.