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Zig moves back home to ComfortDelGro: Another superapp in the making?

Zig moves back home to ComfortDelGro: Another superapp in the making?

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ComfortDelGro is integrating its Zig app on to the ComfortDelGro platform. In a mass text blast sent out this morning, the company informed users that Zig is moving under ComfortDelGro’s booking app and enticed new sign-ups to enjoy a SG$5 taxi promo code. A quick check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE found that the brand hasn’t been posting on its social media since October last year.

The move comes just a year after Zig’s establishment in the Singapore market. During its launch, the app touted an interactive map-based interface to allow users to search for lifestyle services. It also enabled users to make reservations at dining venues, purchase tickets to entertainment outlets and attractions, and plan journeys from one point to another. It added that each experience can be customised to fit a user’s personal preferences, whether they are adventure seekers or creatures of habits. At the launch, Yang Ban Seng, managing director and group CEO of ComfortDelGro, said previously that in today’s digital world, mobility is no longer just about simply transporting people from point A to point B. “It is about bringing services to people wherever they are, whenever they need," he added.

Clearly, with the launch of Zig, ComfortDelGro was looking to enter the ring occupied by the likes of Grab, Klook and even Google. Now with the integration, its superapp ambitions are made clearer still.

Speaking about the move, Kevin Kan, CEO of BreakOut Consulting said market forces have basically pushed ComfortDelGro into becoming a superapp and to remain relevant and be top of mind to compete with the likes of Grab. "ComfortDelGro really didn’t have a choice but to merge the two apps together and at the end of the day, the move benefits the customer," he said.

Having everything in one place and having a true end-to-end eco-system meets the expectations of consumers today of having access to information and services in one place. However, this will potentially result in a price war, Kan shared.

“Consumer expectations are the best quality at low prices. A price war is inevitable in order to be a top player. To avoid erosion of margins, players must add more services to the app ecosystem so as to bring more value,” said Kan. For example, Grab’s services today go far beyond transport and extend well into delivery, food, payment and even investing.  Kan added:

The question is how can ComfortDelGro do something a little different than what Grab has done?

Kaythaya Maw, APAC CTO of Wunderman Thompson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that there seems to now be a trend in brands wanting to take on the superapp personality and there’s a big push in that direction. However, brands need to decide if they have the right to play in the space and if they can really offer something new that the market needs.

He added that for ComfortDelGro to now stand out in the space, it has to offer an elevated customer experience that is far more seamless and frictionless than what is available in the market.

There has to be an additional value to the offering.

Why didn’t Zig just launch on the ComfortDelGro app?

Given that customer acquisition has been widely recognised as an expensive affair, it came across as a surprising move for ComfortDelGro to launch a standalone app with its new offering. The strategy was in stark contrast to the one taken by its competitors of integration in a single platform.

When asked why such a strategy was taken, Kan shares that one possible reason is to create a brand that has a fun and bold persona – compared to a more sober one that is ComfortDelGro.

A look at Zig’s advertising also echoes Kan’s words. During the launch, Zig took a rather sassy route telling Singaporeans not to be boring. The ads, created with ad agency TSLA, certainly raised eyebrows and mirrored the then CEO's outline of Zig having a “fun persona” with a “bold visual aesthetic”. Kan added:

It was a good attempt by ComfortDelGro to change public perception of a staid brand

However, at the end of the day, launching a new service or sub-brand on an existing platform is probably a better way to expand the ecosystem offered to loyal and prospective customers. “It's a faster way to gain traction of users than to build from scratch.”

Maw agreed that launching the new services on the existing ComfortDelGro app might have been more beneficial, rather than now having to integrate the services back to the parent app.

“There is a common misconception brands have when launching an app, which is that consumers will just gravitate to the platform. However, in reality, consumers are facing app fatigue right now,” said Maw.

According to studies, an average mobile user spends approximately a little over three hours each day on their phone, of which apps account for 90% of this time. Alarmingly, however, while most users have around 80 apps downloaded on their phones, consumers only engage with a mere nine mobile apps per day. Around 62% of these installed apps are not utilised on a monthly basis, and a quarter of the programmes are only used once after being downloaded – collecting dust on your phone.

Many consumers are also facing notification fatigue. When asked if it is more cost-effective to build a new app, or add on new services to an existing one, Maw said:

Overall I’d say building a new app is more expensive given the marketing and advertising that needs to be done for customer acquisition and brand awareness.

In comparison, while the development might be harder when adding on new services to an existing app, access to the target audience is much easier, he shared.

Nishant Kaushal, head of data, strategy and solutions added that ComfortDelGro’s launch of Zig exactly a year back as a standalone app was a foray into a much broader and exciting lifestyle and mobility space than just taxi-booking. However, in this period, Zig has clocked only 50,000 plus downloads on Playstore and remains much behind the company flagship app (ComfortDelGro Booking App) which has over a million downloads. 

“There is more effort needed to build, maintain and engage customers on a standalone new app versus integrating with the one that is already popular. This is likely the trigger for the company to announce the integration of Zig with ComfortDelGro Booking App. While this does not create a super-app yet, its one more step in that direction,” said Kaushal.

He added that past research done by ADNA has shown that end-users do want to reduce the clutter on their smartphone screens and hence would like the convenience of integrated apps. But there are also few watch outs, which ADNA deems as the 3S test – synergy, saliency, speed. Brands need to as such as questions such as:

-Are the apps and the needs they meet synergistic enough or are too different to be bundled together?
-Would people be salient of the new integrated app when they think of their job to be done versus a more single-minded app?
-Would this integration create a bloated piece of software that takes longer to load and would it be more confusing to navigate for the user to get what they want fast enough?

“Speed and response time are vital on smartphones,” said Kaushal who added that:

A Deloitte study found a 1/10th of a second of improvement in the loading speed of a m-commerce site can lift conversions by as much as 8% and customers tend to spend 10% more.

"If ComfortDelGro team can pass the 3S test, then they have the hygienes well covered,” he added.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to ComfortDelGro for comment.

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ComfortDelGro's new Zig app roasts SG folks for being 'just too boring', takes jabs at competitors
Analysis: Is the Zig app ComfortDelGro's one chance to disrupt Grab's dominance?
ComfortDelGro steers into lifestyle scene with new app

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