February 9, 2024
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What You’ve Heard About Superapps Probably Isn’t True

Jacklin Altman

Product Team

If you’ve been following tech trends and news at all, it’s likely you’ve heard some musings about superapps. Touted as one of the past year’s top technology trends, superapps present a massive opportunity for businesses and users alike. With the ability to combine disparate digital experiences into a seamless one-stop-shop, superapps have the potential to revolutionize how we interact with our devices. However, there are a lot of criticisms out there as well – from questioning the viability of superapps in the American market to frustration with the process of creating them. 

As we’ve continued to expand and refine our superapp offering, we’ve encountered a few objections that we believe to be no more than myths. So, we’re here to set the record straight on superapps. 

Myth: they aren’t viable in America 

While superapps have taken other markets by storm, America has been a bit slower to adopt them. From regulatory concerns to user adoption, there are many arguments out there for why the US has been slow to roll out superapps. 

One of the most common arguments against superapp adoption in the US is that the app stores won’t allow it. However, that’s just not true. The app stores won’t let you create another app store and host it within theirs, but that’s not the defining characteristic of a superapp, and that’s not their real power. Superapps created for internal teams can be transformative for employers and employees, saving valuable time while keeping crucial information and processes organized. These kinds of apps are already being embraced by major corporations in America, such as Walmart, to revolutionize the way employees interact with business technology. 

There’s also a myth that Americans won’t adopt superapps, which is equally untrue. Truth be told, you likely already have. Many of the most popular apps (Amazon, Uber, etc), function as sorts of superapps already. The ability to order a ride or have dinner show up at your door all from the Uber app is a great example of consolidated digital experiences. Within the Amazon app, you can buy products, stream music, store photos, watch movies, and more, all in one place. 

Myth: they’re too complex/expensive to create 

Ok, so they actually are expensive to create if you build them from scratch. But, that’s why we created the Superapp SDK. If you opt to create your own superapp from the ground up, you’ll need to create a microservice architecture, create and link numerous mini apps, create the CI/CD pipeline, and so on. Those costs add up quickly when you take into account the time and manpower that is required. 

Luckily, the Superapp SDK provides a platform and framework that simplifies building a superapp, making it more cost-effective to build and faster to launch. First, despite many thinking mini apps need to be native, you can build your mini apps with web technologies, which can mean lower development costs. These mini apps can also be reused across operating systems, empowering you to get the most out of your development efforts. Additionally, when you build a superapp, you mainly need to focus on maintaining one product, as opposed to multiple disparate ones. Lastly, when you entrust your app to the Superapp SDK, we handle a lot of the upkeep and maintenance, which means time and money back to you.

Myth: they’re not secure 

A very legitimate concern for any organization is security. Since superapps are consolidating many digital experiences into one, that means a bigger application footprint, and more surface area for digital attacks. However, it doesn’t have to. 

Superapps allow engineers to link different app experiences through a single access point, via a single sign-on approach, which makes monitoring threats easier. Because underlying mini apps are launched and deployed as different projects within the superapp, security can still be reviewed on a per project basis. Any approach to cybersecurity can be implemented on the native layer, which leaves the flexibility to build out threat management programs as needed.

On the user side, superapps aim to keep users within well-defined security parameters, using tools that IT deems safe. This means avoiding Shadow IT, where users move to tools outside of the ecosystem to complete their work because the traditional process of getting apps approved for use takes too long. A superapp not only keeps users within the secure confines of a single platform, but is built to provide access to only the necessary tools for each credentialed user. Traditionally this would be done one-off per application. With superapps, this practice is built in place across business verticals inherently. 

Myth: there isn’t a real need for them

Many companies simply don’t realize how impactful superapps can be for their business, mostly because they don’t fully understand all of the potential use cases (which are pretty much endless). From app consolidation to modernizing digital experiences to accelerating time to business value, superapps are a great way to get ahead of the tech curve while creating an application that can scale with the business. We’ve been fortunate enough to help some leading companies create superapps to streamline everything from the employee experience to consumer engagement

Superapps can be transformative for both the employee and employer experience. On the employee side, it saves the time and headache that typically comes with switching between multiple workplace apps, juggling logins, etc. On the employer side, it enables managers and businesses to have a central point of command for multiple facets of the business. Everything from tracking time off to training and onboarding can all occur and be tracked within one superapp, rather than having to leverage dozens of different tools. 

Outside of improving the employer/employee experience, superapps can also be massively useful when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. Even the smoothest mergers end up messy when it comes time to onboard employees, merge tech stacks, share logins, and more. Superapps can help streamline the process by simplifying integration and maintenance, consolidating data, and scaling with the organization as it grows. All this while providing a smoother user experience for all involved – a win win. 

EGYM, a global fitness technology leader that provides fitness and health facilities with intelligent workout solutions, wanted to provide their gym partners with fully customizable app solutions that are unique to each facility. By creating a superapp, they were able to build features once and deploy them to each customer. They kept the core functionality like login access in the native shell, which saved room for each partnering gym to create unique mini app experiences for their gym’s users. Because each mini app is being independently written, there is no need to follow a joint shipping schedule, thus streamlining the process. 

Additionally, a global leader in the health and beauty space recently used Ionic’s Superapp SDK to build out an internal superapp for their front-line employees. In just under 5 months, the company was able to create an application that was ready to be deployed globally. The app allows employees to check inventory, order products, and more. It has even increased face-time with customers by 20%, due to the speed and efficiency of the app, which ultimately leads to happy employees and more satisfied customers. 

Still not sure if superapps are for you? Chat with a member of our team today to learn how your organization can benefit from them. 

Jacklin Altman

Product Team