Grab Case Study: How Grab becomes a Super App in Southeast Asia?
Grab is a tech unicorn from South East Asia, established in 2012. With breakthrough innovations and the revolution of data, it has emerged as a market leader in the on-demand sector. Starting as a ride-hailing service, Grab has now expanded its operations into various business verticals, establishing itself as an on-demand “super app”. Operating across multiple cities in various countries, it has grown to be a platform that provides several on-demand services under one roof.
In this article, we will find out about the journey of becoming a supper app in Southeast Asia of Grab, its business & revenue model, its best app features, as well as how to build your own Grab-inspired super app.
1. The Growth Cycle Of Grab
- 2012 – The giant offered ride-hailing services under the brand name GrabTaxi in Malaysia.
- 2013 – Expanded its business operation to Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.
- 2014 – Expanded to Vietnam and Indonesia. Launched GrabCar in SouthEast Asian countries and GrabBike in Vietnam.
- 2015 – Launched GrabBike in Indonesia to compete with Gojek. Entered logistics delivery service under the name GrabExpress.
- 2016 – Launched GrabPay as an online payment service and GrabFood as an online food delivery service.
- 2017 – Expanded to Myanmar and Cambodia. Acquired Indonesian startup Kudo to gain reach for GrabPay in Indonesia.
- 2018 – Merged with Uber for operating in Southeast Asian countries.
- 2019 – Emerged as a Super App in Southeast Asian countries.
- 2020 – Won digital full bank license in Singapore in a partnership with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.
- 2021 – Agreed to list on Nasdaq through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp securing a valuation of nearly $40 billion.
2. Grab’s Business & Revenue Model Explained
Book a GrabCar to get to work, deliver gifts to your loved ones through GrabExpress and order your dinner with GrabFood – all enabled by one mobile wallet, GrabPay.
2.1. The Business Model of Grab
Grab is an online aggregator with a straightforward yet cutting-edge business model. It provides an online platform for those looking for a ride and connects them with the appropriate people willing to offer ride services. Grab deducts a specific amount from the fare and gives the driver the remaining money.
With 2.8 million drivers and more than 6 million daily rides, Grab is one of the top on-demand companies providing services other than cab rides. The business has grown over time and developed numerous revenue streams, including platforms for ordering food, hotels, and groceries.
The picture below shows how Grab works:
2.2. The Revenue Model Followed
The customers or passengers who use Grab are who generate its income. The more demand for cab rides increases, the more drivers will register on the platform, leading to a rise in the number of rides. Grab receives a specific commission for each successful ride.
A commission-based business model is used by Grab. It deducts between 16% to 25% of the ride fare as commission and gives the driver the remaining amount. You need to know the crucial partners who round out the Grab model to comprehend how Grab’s on-demand business operates:
Drivers: The Service Providers
With Grab’s lucrative incentives for drivers completing rides, the drivers earn a sizable sum and are prodded to complete more rides in a month.
A driver who completes at least 60 rides is classified as Silver and is qualified to receive car maintenance coupons. To be listed in the Gold category and qualify for lifestyle coupons and vouchers, drivers must complete 150 rides per month. Drivers who complete 300 rides per month fall under the third category, Diamond, which entitles them to medical and health benefits.
Such incentives persuade more people to sign up for the platform as service providers, ultimately boosting revenue.
Passengers: The Consumers
Like any other business, passengers are the lifeline of Grab. The platform won’t be profitable for drivers until there is greater demand for cab rides. Grab therefore makes a diligent effort to develop a secure and open app that results in a flawless user experience. It uses state-of-the-art technology to locate the nearest available ride and bring the driver on board so the passenger can be picked up within minutes after their search.
Grab guarantees a pleasant ride for both passengers and drivers with strict guidelines. Additionally, it has live-tracking features and safety SOS buttons that give passengers peace of mind while traveling. Such additions attract more passengers to the platform.
Investors: The Financial Backbone
Grab receives funding from big-shot investors. In 2020, it raised as much as $856 million in funding from strategic Japanese investors. In 2021, Grab was listed on Nasdaq through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp securing a valuation of nearly $40 billion.
Additionally, Grab collaborates with businesses for marketing and partnerships that contribute to its revenue source. It, however, does not promote any discount offers for riders and sticks to earning a minimum commitment from the ride fare.
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3. Understanding The Rise Of The Grab SuperApp
3.1. How it emerged as a Super App?
Grab, which started as an on-demand taxi business under the name GrabTaxi has grown out to be a platform where one can hire anything that runs on wheels. The platform offers more than ten types of on-demand ride-hailing services, including taxis, private cars, bike taxis, carpooling, bike pooling, shuttle services, etc.
The giant expanded its operations in not just the ride-hailing sector but also set foot in new business verticals such as food delivery, grocery shopping, logistics delivery, on-demand video platform, hotel booking, ticket purchasing, financial services, etc.
Thus, Grab started offering multiple on-demand services under one roof, similar to the concept of Gojek, and emerged as a super app in Southeast Asian countries.
3.2. A look into the different services offered by Grab
Grab launched its QR code-based mobile payment application named GrabPay in January 2016. The service is currently available in six nations of Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This app is used to pay for availing their ride-hailing services, food delivery services, in-store purchases, and fund transfers.
You can use the app for purchasing on e-commerce platforms as well. Also, it devised a strategy named ‘Grow with Grab’s roadmap’ with which Grab has forayed into providing loans to SMEs and insurance services for drivers in Singapore.
Adding to this, GrabPay extended its financial services towards offering a post-paid and installment payment option in Singapore in the name “Pay later”. With this option on board, the users can pay for Grab services at the month-end without an additional cost.
As a part of its strategy to emerge as a super app, Grab started offering food delivery services under the name GrabFood in May 2018. The service is now provided to more than 200 cities across several Southeast Asian countries and makes use of GrabPay for checkout. This sector has given a chance for Grab driver-partners to double their income by becoming GrabFood delivery partners. Also, it made use of the cloud kitchen concept to expand its operations in the cities it serves.
Following the success of GrabFood, the giant launched its grocery delivery service GrabExpress in July 2018, in collaboration with the Southeast Asian grocery delivery service provider, HappyFresh. The users can choose the groceries they need from the range of products listed on GrabExpress. Similar to GrabFood, Grab driver-partners are chosen for grocery delivery in GrabExpress as well.
Learn More On: Taxi App Development Guide: Features, Trends & Costs
4. Growth Hacks To Learn From Grab
Grab was able to expand its operations to various business verticals due to the techniques it uses to retain their customer base. Here we have listed the learnings one should gain from the trending super app Grab.
- Customers see the service provider, i.e., Grab, as the go-to place for all issues that occurred while obtaining the platform’s service. Even though Grab does not directly employ the drivers or delivery partners, they take as much responsibility as possible for problems related to them.
- Though many businesses have stopped using word of mouth (WOM) to promote their brand, Grab made maximum use of it by leveraging social media and email marketing tools. Every quarter, they run online and on-ground surveys to track the WOM among its users.
- Going hyper-local is their primary strength. They focus on brand awareness and offline marketing campaigns to engage local users. They modify their service or collaborate with local service providers to provide an enhanced user experience.
- The giant is exceptionally responsive to its customers not just to their problems, but as a brand. Thus, users turn up to brands that listen to them and take care of their issues.
- One of the key USPs of Grab is user safety. Also, it puts a lot of effort into ensuring the quality of the services provided. They partner only with professionals to offer the services listed on their platform.
Learn More On: The Essential Guide To Software Development Services
5. How Much Does It Cost To Build A SuperApp Like Grab?
The cost to build an app like Grab depends on multiple factors which are very customizable. So, the final price of creating an app like Grab can vary in an extensive range. Consider consulting with an experienced IT outsourcing company to better understand cost-effective strategies and efficient development practices.
To count the price of the project, it should be divided into compartments such as:
- Design of the App
- App Platform (Android/iOS/Hybrid)
- Development of the Backend
- Web Development (Included or Not)
- Project Management
- Quality Assurance Tests
It is impossible to speak about the cost of a mobile app at a fixed universal price. The price of these factors mentioned above also varies as per the app development project’s complexity and needs. The cost of developing an app like Grab could range anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000.
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6. What Are The Best App Features Of Grab?
Before learning how to make an app like Grab or even figuring out the cost of building an app like Grab, you need to understand the digital app solution. The Grab app consists of:
- App for Clients – where anyone can conveniently order a ride.
- App for Drivers – the app for drivers who offer ride service.
- Administrative Dashboard Panel – the control web panel to manage drivers and orders.
Further, we explore the best app features of each of these digital product modules.
Basic Features of Grab Client App:
- Charge Calculations
- Cash Payments
- Cashless Payments
- Your Travel Route In Real-Time and secure
- Client Profile Including Ride History
- Free Call/Chat with The Driver on Grab
- Ongoing Driver Tracking with ETA
- Quick and Easy Registration with Mobile Number
- Select your pick-up and objective, then book a cab
- Access coupon codes for discounts
- Share insight via Driver Reviews and Ratings
- Transportation/Shipping via Grab Express
- Save frequently visited Locations For Quick Access
- Share your route with family and friends for safety
Basic Features of the Grab Driver App:
- Invitation to Rides
- Start/End Trips
- Quick registration and enrollment
- Start/End of the Day’s Duty
- Collection of Payments (Cash and Cashless)
- Accept/Reject Trips
- Review back The Clients
- Collections and History of Riding
- Can submit a new mobile phone application
- Pick-up and Drop Items via GrabExpress
- EMI Management alternative for the Grab Mobile
Grab Taxi’s Admin Web-Panel Features:
- Create Sub-Admins
- Multi-Level Admin Access
- Complete Dashboard
- Driver/Passenger Management
- Analytics & Reports
- God’s Eye View
- View Transaction History
- Block Driver/Passenger
- Add/Edit/Delete Various Profiles
- Manage Payment Accounts
- Offers and Coupon Code Management
- Reviews and Rating Management
- Conveyances Management with GrabExpress
Learn More On: Why Do Companies Outsource Software Development?
7. How To Build An App Like Grab?
Now that you know what the best app features to have in a taxi app similar to Grab are, it’s time to learn how to build an app like Grab.
Step 1: Find The Right App Development Company
If you don’t have an in-house app development team or your team is insufficient in either manpower or skill, you could choose to outsource to a trusted tech partner. So, the first step is to find an excellent app development company that knows how to create an app like Grab.
Step 2: Choose The Right Resources Of The App Company
Let’s say you found the best app development company. Now, any good app development firm will have a large resource pool, more than you need. Hence, building the right team from the resource pool is the next big step.
Being a non-technical founder, interviewing technical personnel could feel intimidating. So, a good practice would be to interview the right project manager, hire a top official or the CTO of the company for this task, and manage your project.
Step 3: First Get The App Design Ready
Once you have your team, the next step in Grab taxi app development is the app’s design. Once you’ve decided on the look and feel of the app and all its screens, the designers will work on them and forward the final version ahead for development.
Step 4: Back-end & Front-end Development
The most prolonged and most significant step in this process is the app development itself. To be specific, the back-end and front-end development of the app. Two teams of developers simultaneously create the back-end and the front-end of the taxi app like Grab.
Step 5: Testing The App
Once the Grab-like app of yours is ready and functioning, it’s time to test it thoroughly. Several other tests are done to ensure that your taxi app is working perfectly from start to finish.
Step 6: Launch & Updating
Once the tests and reworks are all done, it is time to launch the app into the market. Usually, the app development company will launch it for you onto app stores like Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Now the next and final step is to keep innovating and bringing something new. A business is only good if it stays relevant. So, your app should continuously be updated with the latest technology, app design, and features.
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8. Outsource Your App Development In Vietnam, Why Not?
Grab has scaled up as a super app by setting foot in almost all business verticals after gaining a strong user base in the ride-hailing industry. You can also expand or start your own business by following the strategies of Grab.
All you need is a Grab-like app that can be personalized according to your business structure. With an on-demand app on board, you can bring all possible businesses that can be taken on-demand under a single roof.
In recent years, app development outsourcing with IT companies in Vietnam has been a popular option for companies worldwide. This is due to its competitive outsourcing pricing, highly qualified IT workforce, and top tech expertise.
- According to TopDev’s report, Vietnam has about 400.000 IT Enginners and over 50.000 graduated IT Students from over 153 IT Institutions per year.
- Vietnam ranks 29th in terms of Skillvalue Worldwide in Developer Skills Chart Of Skill Value Report in 2018.
- Top 06 worldwide in Developer Skills Charts Of Topcoder Report in 2016.
- Rank 23rd worldwide in Developer Skills Charts of Hackerrank’s Report in 2016
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- Book Ride: With just two taps, the rider can easily book his rider. To get an estimate of the ride fare, they just need to enter the pick-up and drop-off locations.
- Get a Driver: The Grab app will assist the user in locating the closest driver.
- Track The Driver in Real-time: Users can track the driver's location in real-time and view the estimated time of arrival.
- Arrive Safely: For added security, a rider can let their loved ones know where they are going and the ride details.
An app like Grab can be used to generate income in a variety of ways. Here, we've listed a few strategies you can use to make money. Check out each of these approaches.
- Base fare
- Drivers' commission
- Trip costs paid by passengers
- Costs associated with canceled travel
- Booking fee (or safe rides fee)
- Premium transportation
- Brand partnerships and advertising
- Leasing to drivers
Here are some of the key features of the Grab admin panel that you can also take into account when developing your own Grab-inspired app.
- Users/Drivers Management
- Driver Tracking in Real-time
- Payments Tracking Module (Cash & Online)
- Ride Tracking & Management
- Reports & Analytics
- Pricing Management
- Offers & Coupon Code Management
- Reviews & Rating Management
- Deliveries Management With GrabExpress