Super apps are a new breed of mobile apps that offer a wide range of services, making them convenient and easy to use for consumers. Grab is one of the most successful super apps in the world, with over 190 million users in Southeast Asia, offering services from ride-hailing to food delivery to payments.
Grab has been a big player in the ride-hailing app market in Southeast Asia. So, what makes an app like Grab stand out in the market? If you are thinking about developing an app like this, there are many things you need to keep in mind.
In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in developing a super app like Grab. We will also cover everything from cost, features, tech stack and many more.
Table of contents
1. About Grab
Development history of Grab
Grab was founded in 2012 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. At that time, they were frustrated with the difficulty of getting a taxi in Malaysia, they saw an opportunity to create a more convenient and affordable transportation option.
Grab started out as a ride-hailing app, but it has since expanded to offer a wider range of services, including food delivery, express and financial services. Hence, it’s now called a “super app”.
In 2016, it acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian operations, which made it the dominant ride-hailing app in the region. As a result, this company is making a huge revenue from this. The company is still relatively young, but it has grown quickly and become a major player in the Southeast Asian tech scene. It is likely to continue to grow in the future and to expand into new markets.
Facts and figures about Grab
- At the present time, Grab is available in over 500 cities across 8 nations in Southeast Asia. It has over 9 million drivers and over 190 million users.
- As of April 2021, Grab is reported to have more than 214 million app downloads.
- In 2022, 72% of Grab’s drivers earned from more than one of its services, while over a million took part in one of its 2,500 training and upskilling courses.
- Grab added over 600,000 merchants across the region, offering everything from dog bowls to apple strudel during 2022.
- Grab is Southeast Asia’s biggest Nasdaq IPO in 2021, valued at around $40 billion.
In Vietnam, Grab is the most popular ride-hailing app, with a market share of over 70%, followed by Be and Gojek, according to ABI Research Report.
2. How does Grab work?
2.1. Grab’s main ride-hailing service
If you want to develop an app that provides a ride-hailing service like Grab, you may need to know how this service works on the customer side. Below are 6 simple steps:
- Open the app and start booking rides: Once you have already an account, you can open the app and start booking rides. Just entering your pickup and drop-off locations in the app
- Select a ride type: Grab offers a variety of ride types, including taxis, motorbikes, and cars. Select the ride type that best suits your needs.
- Book your ride: You can book your ride by tapping on the “Book now” button.
- Pay for your ride: There are any different payment options you can choose from, including credit card, cash or mobile wallet.
- Track your ride: Once you have booked your ride, you can track your ride in real time using the Grab app. To do this, tap on the “Track Ride” button.
- Rating: After completing the ride, Grab asks you to rate the service, which would enhance the service reliability.
2.2. Other services offered by Grab
Grab is not just a ride-hailing app, it offers more services as it becomes a super app. Let’s check out!
GrabPay is a mobile wallet that allows users to pay for Grab services, as well as other merchants and services.
Once you have money in their wallet, you can use it to pay for Grab services, such as ride-hailing, food delivery, and delivery. You can also use it to pay for goods and services at other merchants and services that accept GrabPay, just by scanning a QR code.
Moreover, it also offers a service called “postpaid”, allowing users to pay for Grab’s services at the end of the month without any additional costs.
GrabFood is a food delivery service that allows users to order food from restaurants and have it delivered to their door.
You can browse the selection of restaurants that are available in your area and order. GrabFood will dispatch a driver to pick up the food from the restaurant and deliver it to your door.
GrabExpress is a parcel delivery service that allows users to send and receive parcels.
While using the service, you need to select the size and weight of your parcel and choose a delivery time. A shipper will pick up the parcel and deliver it to the drop-off address.
3. The main features of an app like Grab
If you are creating an app like Grab, you may need to develop at least two apps, one for your customers and one for drivers. Moreover, the platform may also associate with an admin panel that’s capable of managing and monitoring the platform’s work.
3.1. For customers
- Registration/ Login: It is a basic feature every app needs to integrate. It should include various methods like mobile number, Gmail or Facebook. After signing up, it is necessary to verify the user’s identity.
- GPS tracking: User’s location is tracked to find the nearest drive. This makes it easy for users to book a ride and track their progress.
- Call or text the driver right from the app: Drivers and users can communicate with each other directly through messages and voice. This is useful for providing directions, making changes to the ride or asking any questions.
- Push notifications: This feature allows the app to send important updates to users, such as when their driver is arriving or when their ride is ready. This helps users stay informed and avoid any surprises.
- Fare estimation: Users can see the estimated cost for their ride before they book it. The travel’s expense of users will be allocated well.
- In-app payment: Customers can choose to pay for their rides using a variety of payment methods, such as credit card, debit card, mobile wallet or cash. This allows users to pay without having to carry cash.
- Rating and reviews: Users will be invited to rate and review the drivers and other services provided. From their feedback, the app will upgrade and enhance services.
- Scheduling a ride: Just entering locations and desired date & time, users can schedule rides in advance or for others. Driver details will be sent to users when it’s time for the scheduled ride.
- UI/UX Design: A good design will play an indispensable role in the success of the app. Beautiful UI will attract more users.
3.2. For drivers
- Real-time ride requests: Drivers can see real-time ride requests in their app and accept or decline them.
- Ride details: The details of each ride request will be sent to drivers, including the pickup and drop-off locations, the estimated fare and the customer’s rating.
- Navigation: The app’s navigation can be useful to get directions to drivers.
- Customer communication: The feature provides the ability to text or call passengers from the app to reduce wait time.
- Ratings and reviews: Ratings and reviews from customers will be sent to drivers.
- Daily/ Monthly report: The drivers can track their daily/ weekly/ monthly earnings, consisting of date, time, cost, passenger name, pickup and drop-off locations, rating, etc.
4. Building an Educational App: Step by Step
STEP 1: Market research and analysis
One of the most important things you need to do when starting to develop an app is to thoroughly understand the market and how your competitors survive. The more data you have access to, the better decisions can be made. But remember to analyse them in a proper way to make sure you take full advantage of them.
STEP 2: Plan and Discovery Phase
After realising the idea of your Grab-like app’s features, it’s time to start to create the initial design of your app and work with the development team to understand what you are trying to make and stay involved throughout the entire process. What do you want your app to achieve? Do you want to focus only on ride-hailing service or more? Or what are the needs and wants of your target users? Remember that necessary features might leave your users frustrated and make them uninstall your app
STEP 3: UI/UX Design
The UI is the first thing users will see, so it’s important to make sure it’s attractive and easy to use. Use a variety of design elements, such as colours, fonts, and images, to create a visually appealing and user-friendly UI. Also, make sure that your app design is easy to use and accessible to all users, this is UX design.
STEP 4: Development Process
In brief, the backend is the part of the app that handles the data and logic. This includes things like storing user information, processing payments, and managing bookings. The backend is essential for the app to function properly, so it’s important to develop it carefully. Turning to front-end development, you should build the server-side of your product, including user interface, client-side logic, and then integrate it with the back-end.
When developing, the first step toward is to build an MVP that ensures low development costs and effort. This could help you define how many users accept your app idea before investing more money into scaling your app.
STEP 5: Testing
Once the app is developed, it’s important to test it thoroughly to make sure it works properly. Depending on the app functionalities and features, following testing methods can be used:
- UI/UX Testing: evaluate components’ interactivity with customers
- Functionality Testing: determine whether the product meets the specified requirements
- Regression Testing: check if modification breaks the website’s overall flow
- Compatibility Testing: check the software’s functionality utilising an operating system, an app, mobile devices and a network environment.
STEP 6: Release
Once the app is tested and ready to go, it’s time to release it to the public. This involves submitting the app to the app store and promoting it to potential users.
STEP 7: Maintenance & Updating
After deployment, remember to regularly maintain and update your web app to ensure it remains secure, stable and up-to-date with the latest technologies and user needs. Updating the app will help you to keep users engaged and satisfied.
4. Tech stack and Team
After getting to know all the features need for making you own app like Grab, be ready to move to the next step: updating and managing tech stack and your tech team members
4.1. Tech stack
- Mobile app development platforms: Flutter, React Native for Cross-platform app, Kotlin for Android App, Swift for iOS app
- Frontend development: Reactjs, Angular
- Backend development: Node.js, Python
- Maps: Google Maps, Mapbox
- Payment methods: Stripe, Paypal
- Email management: Mandrill
- Push notifications: Firebase Cloud Messaging, Amazon SNS
- Real-time communication: Socket.io, Twilio
- Calendar: Google Calendar API
- Cloud Computing: AWS, Azure, GCP
4.2. Tech team
- UI/UX designer: designing the app’s user interface and user experience, creating user-friendly and visually appealing app.
- Android/ iOS engineer: developing the app’s codebase, implementing the features and functionality that have been defined.
- Business Analyst: gathering and analyzing business requirements to ensure the app meets the needs of its users and stakeholders.
- Project Manager: defining the product vision, strategy and the features and functionalities of the app.
- Security Engineer: protecting the app from security threats
- QA engineer: testing the app to ensure that it is bug-free and meets the quality standards.
5. How much does it cost to build an app like Grab?
The cost depends on the functionality of the development from $30,000 to above at 10-25$ per hour rate.
Here are some of the key factors that can affect the cost of developing an app like Grab:
- Tech stack
- Platform choices: iOS, Android, cross-platform
- Team size
- Hourly rates
- Developer’s qualifications
- The development origin: the US, Europe, Australia or Asia
- The complexity of the app: features, screens, databases and third-party tools integration
Some tips below may help you reduce the cost of developing:
- Start with a MVP: A MVP (minimum viable product) is a basic version of the app that includes the core features. This can help to reduce development costs and get the app to market faster.
- Use a freelance developer or development agency: Freelancers and development agencies can typically charge less than in-house development teams.
- Outsource non-core features: You can outsource non-core features, such as marketing and customer support, to save money.
6. How does a Grab-like app monetise?
There are a number of ways that a Grab-like app can monetise, some of the most common are:
- Commission on rides/ food delivery/ parcel express: The app can charge a commission on each service that is completed through the app. This is the most common way that ride-hailing apps monetize.
- Subscription fees: The app can charge users a monthly or annual subscription fee to access premium features, such as priority booking or discounts on rides.
- In-app advertising: The app can display advertising to users within the app. This can be done through banner ads, pop-up ads, or video ads.
- Data monetisation: The app can sell data about its users to third-party companies. This data can be used for marketing purposes or for other commercial purposes.
- Partnership programs: The app can partner with other businesses to offer discounts and promotions to its users.
Developing a super app is a complex challenging task, but it can be very rewarding. In this post, we have provided a detailed guideline on how to build a Grab-like app. We have given you everything you need to know about Grab-like apps and also covered everything in your development, from defining your goals to launching your app. We hope that this post has given you the information you need to increase your chances of success. Good luck!
If you want to choose a reliable technology partner in Asia to build your super app, then contact us to start together today! AgileTech is an experienced technology outsourcing company that has intense experience in ride-hailing platforms, e-commerce, healthcare…, so we can help you with building mobile products and creating a clear picture for your business to succeed. Maybe your product will be outstanding in the ride-hailing industry. If you need further information and consultation for your project, feel free to fill out this form to meet our IT experts!