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How can your brand leverage the rise of super-apps to unlock eCommerce growth?

The continued evolution of the mobile as the ultimate shopping and lifestyle companion is seeing the rise of the Super-App, the all-encompassing on-demand, retail as a service, ecosystem in the palm of consumer’s hands. The need to create smart content that enables in-moment conversion, blending the best of the physical and digital world, facilitating anytime, anywhere commerce, has never been greater.

Lessons from China

In China, Tencent’s WeChat evolved from a messaging app to a vast ecosystem encompassing everything from eCommerce to payments to health services. Elsewhere in Asia, Grab and Go-Jek have grafted a myriad of services onto their original Uber-style ride-hailing offer.

Digital consumers demand seamless convenience on the path-to-purchase. Super apps that simplify all aspects of transaction, from discovery to purchase to fulfillment without the need to exit the app, minimize friction to a point where shopping becomes virtually effortless.

In search of truly omnichannel, consumer-focused experiences, leading global players are consolidating their shopper-facing apps into one digital hub. Walmart is rapidly adding to its Shopper App, while Carrefour’s is gathering a wealth of services under the carrefour.fr umbrella. Auchan’s ‘phygital’ retail ambitions will be aided by collaboration with China’s Alibaba.

Accelerating beyond omnichannel

As we surpass omnichannel, do away with channel-centricity and strive to achieve seamless consumer-focused experiences, the ability to fully leverage Super-Apps will be a key definition of success. This will require brands to acquire new capabilities in how they engage and converse in a content-centric, data-driven, tech-facing environment. Creating and converting demand in this new environment requires a re-think compared to traditional retailers and marketing strategies.

Brand Initiatives

  • Brands aligned closely to platforms and/or retailers can win via advantageous placement in the discovery process and the ability to leverage the ecosystem’s user data feedback loop to better tailor their consumer offering.
  • As Super-App ecosystems evolve, brands will need to find ways to co-exist with the dominant platform operators. Social commerce will be key to effective Super-App execution with the need to create compelling engagement central to their success. Agile brands can drive shopper interaction through clever marketing strategies and by using innovative selling tools like mini-programs and video content. Successful Super-Apps will become a constant port of call for users, so maintaining maximum brand visibility will be essential.
  • Expect added complexity due to major retailers building their own Super-Apps, meaning different merchandising and negotiation tactics may be needed to ensure representation on, say, carrefour.fr and Facebook. Building organizations that understand the differences between social selling and omnichannel selling will be critical.

Retailer Initiatives

  • For retailers, ecosystem expansion assumes greater importance in a digital environment. Holistic service offerings like Amazon Prime are proven to drive greater spend, engagement, and loyalty. Consumer retention is key for both pureplay and omnichannel retailers, meaning a broader services portfolio minimizes the risk of consumers looking elsewhere for a particular offer.
  • Super-Apps will manifest strongly in digital-native markets like India (and subsequently LATAM and Africa), where densely populated megacities combined with hyper-localized service offers make adoption easier due to the levels of convenience such apps can bring to a user’s hectic lifestyle.
  • However, most leading global retailers are either already partnered with or have a stake in the current Super-App pacesetters. Many are already beginning to create their own iterations to further digital growth at home.
  • Web-first players, especially those with popular messaging capabilities, are best-placed to lead on Super-App development. Alibaba has not yet integrated all its services, though this is likely being developed. JD.com, as a Tencent partner, already makes extensive use of WeChat. India’s Flipkart, now owned by Walmart, is building its own Super-App.

Key considerations

Are Super-Apps part of your current channel strategy? How do they fit into your customer strategy? Do you have the right content to capitalize on the potential to build, and instantly convert demand? Are you able to reframe your category to cater to these new on-demand shopper missions? Our collective eCommerce expertise in China and Europe enables us to provide you with the strategic insights and operational capabilities to help ensure Super- Apps are a successful element of your omnichannel strategy. Get in touch if you want to learn more.


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