UAE consumers are ready to go for ‘super-apps’ – if they come with more bang for the buck

Stock-Smartphone-Apps
The power of the super-app is starting to get noticed by UAE and Gulf consumers. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Apps are no longer a novelty – UAE consumers spend an average of seven hours and 49 minutes online a day.

According to a report by Google and Bain & Company, consumers in the MENA region are among the most connected in the world. Forty-eight per cent of UAE and Saudi consumers get their shopping ideas and inspirations online; and almost 56 per cent of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt start their online shopping journeys using search engines as opposed to retailers’ websites.

But a key challenge has arisen as a result – fractured experiences and an overload of information, which has led to the rise of the ‘super-app’.

Super-apps are a one-stop platform that bring together different services into a single experience. These could be developed in-house or in partnership with third-party providers. But they have one goal – to streamline the process for the consumer and give a much better experience overall.

Super-apps are changing the way consumers interact with the world around them, as well as what they have come to expect from brands. As a result, their rise is driving digital disruption and forcing industries to rethink their digital strategies.

All about partnerships

Asia has been a witness to the rise of super-apps, with players like WeChat and Grab trying to take advantage of the ecommerce sector’s predicted value of $50 billion in the next five years. Super-apps allow businesses to form strategic partnerships offering complementing services and a combined experience that caters to consumer’s needs without having to leave the app. Ultimately, this allows super-apps and their owners to become more competitive and gain an advantage over larger players in traditional markets.

Increased brand loyalty

Only requiring a single registration, using one set of sign-in credentials, the ease of use means a much higher return rate for consumers than when they are using a single-service individual app. This experience trickles to the brands within the super-app and increases consumer brand loyalty.

Better data collection

Aside from having a multitude of services, what makes super-apps highly beneficial is their ability to personalise offerings according to user preferences, and this stems from the ability to collect that data. For example, data on what the customer orders and how frequently can be used to curate available deals based on order history or preferred payment method. For businesses, this information enables more partnerships and flexibility to offer additional services, thus improving customer engagement.

More effective marketing

Credit cards, loyalty and discount platforms offer promotions across different apps and sites, but makes for a tedious shopping experience and results in customer fatigue. But super-apps consolidate those offers for different card brands and networks onto one platform, personalising the experience and letting users easily find the best deals available specifically to them, saving them money and time in the process.

Convenience and flexibility will win consumers over every time, particularly when combined with savings. The ability to keep all transactions on one platform means super-apps will become the norm. Taking away the need to manage usernames and passwords, as well as the learning curve associated with different apps.

As more consumers move into the super-app ecosystem, the more they add value by bringing convenience and personalisation. This may be a digital disruption for some – but a needed innovation for consumers.

Nitin Agarwal

The writer is President of Hundred.

Stock Nitin Agarwal Mug 17aa00067bc author