Lord of the Apps: Super Apps

Taking a line from Lord of the Rings: One App to Rule them All.

India's top apps are on the journey to become super apps, a model proven successful by neighbour China's WeChat and Alipay, reports Economic Times. From payment solution provider Paytm to personal assistance app Helpchat, Indian startups are now experimenting the one-fit-for-all approach to click with India's low budget and low-memory smartphone market. 

Super apps or apps that provide multiple use cases such as cab booking, bill payment, food ordering, flight booking are integrated in a single app that hosts various portals providing these services. "Based on our learnings from China, we foresee Indians adopting more new use-cases on the same app. We've noticed early signs of that already, and are actively working to add more new use-cases on the Paytm app," said Sudhanshu Gupta, vice-president at Paytm. Paytm, like its partner app, Alipay the payment service from Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has also evolved from a payment service provider to a utility super app. It's also about users being comfortable in transacting through a familiar app, said Gupta. 

A new service provider integrated with a super app holds better chance of acquiring a customer through a channel the consumer already trusts. As India continues to be one of the fastest growing smartphone markets, it is still dominated by value-for-money handsets -phones that are generally low on memory. "While apps compete with media files for phone memory, a super app like Helpchat can help users save around 500 MB of space since users don't need to download multiple apps to get things done," said Ankur Singla, founder, Helpchat. 

Also, with a single super app hosting different apps, users need not update apps, each time there's a new update pushed on to the app, helping save MBs data per month on an average. These super apps can also help Indian consumers solve working their way through patchy internet bandwidth. "We have optimised the interactions such that there is minimal usage of heavy elements in the conversations," said Sachin Jaiswal, founder of Ratan Tata-backed chat commerce platform Niki.ai. For example, while booking a cab on Niki, the app doesn't load maps in the beginning, which takes up a chunk of network bandwidth thus making the cab booking process slower on a traditional cab hailing app. Almost all user transactions on Niki are done over a chat platform, doing away with the need to download data heavy files. Niki.ai that currently offers utility and bill payments, mobile recharges, cab bookings, bus booking and food ordering through its partners has a light-weight app. Meanwhile, businesses are also starting to see value in integrating with these super apps.

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

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