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07 April 2022
Can Tata's 'super app' beat Amazon and Reliance?
Devices & appsIndia
Tata, the Mumbai-headquartered conglomerate with interests in e-commerce, auto, utilities, finance, and telecom among many others, has finally launched its long-awaited ‘super app’, Tata Neu, a one-stop-shop for accessing its services.
“Tata Neu is a unified platform that connects several brands across the Tata universe,” the company writes.
“Designed to be a super-app, Tata Neu offers everything from daily grocery, electronics, finance solutions, flights, holidays, and more.
“Each brand on Tata Neu is connected by a common reward called NeuCoins, which can be earned across all brands online and at physical locations and can be used similarly as well.”
The app, which is now finally open to consumers following extensive testing among Tata staff, will feature in house brands like Croma, Westside, AirAsia India, Taj hotels, Big Basket, and Starbucks (whose Indian franchise Tata owns).
What is a super app and why does it matter?
Who doesn’t want a super app? Super apps are best understood by looking at the Chinese titans like Tencent’s WeChat, which is so super that it hosts mini programs, effectively apps within the main app, and is simply fundamental to the livelihoods of many people.
But what are they? Multiple definitions abound but the real definition is that they do more than one thing, usually creating a single, convenient point of entry for users to access several of the company’s services, typically anchored in finance. But done right, like WeChat, the opportunity isn’t just in low-margin delivery but in high margin advertising revenues.
For a salt-to-software firm like Tata, as TechCrunch puts it, the app is supposed to bring it closer to more digitally able e-commerce competitors like Amazon, Flipkart and Reliance Industries, even if they don’t have as many capabilities as Tata.
Like most other places, India’s e-commerce segment grew massively in popularity during the pandemic, much of it driven by rural Indians dipping their toe in online retail.