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white label app development

8 MIN READWhite Label App Development: 3 Best Practices To Follow

App development used to be more of an ambition than a need or want for businesses 10 years ago; the cost was too high back then, and there were no white-label solutions available.

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Today, every business wants (or has) their own app.

So why not make creating their own easy?

That’s the idea behind a white-label app business model where you take an existing set of functionality and “simply” introduce your branding on top of it.

It sounds trivial on the surface but from a development perspective, developing white-label apps is hard, especially since branding data needs to reflect not just in looks but also in functionality:

  • Propagating brand logos and colors across the whole user interface
  • Keeping the user interface consistent while managing each app´s database

… and so many more possibilities.

All of these need to be either coded or designed and implemented with a low-code technology such as Glide. We’ll look at the pros and cons of both later in this article.

Why Develop & Sell a White-Label App?

white label solution from a mobile version built with Low Code
White-label solutions from a mobile version

White-label apps are becoming more popular because brands are recognizing the benefit of 3 things specifically as they continue to capture market share in a digital world:

  1. Customers will last longer and pay more for an experience that’s fully-integrated between web, mobile, desktop, and other formats they care about.
  2. Employees and shareholders will feel more engaged and connected in the company culture when they interact with resources that are fully-branded.
  3. External partners (like affiliates, referrers or resellers for example) will have a direct link with those who created the culture rather than passing through third parties.

These 3 groups of people are what makes white-label so valuable. 

A fully-branded experience—paired with the support to create digital resources that are valuable to each target group—is the value companies are seeking to take their brand further.

A fully-branded experience—paired with the support to create digital resources that are valuable to each target group—is the value companies are seeking to take their brand further.

That’s something that they are easily willing to pay thousands of $ per month to achieve, and that’s where white-label apps shine the most as you pitch them to prospective clients.

App Development: 3 Best Practices for White-Label Models

Since developing a white-label app is no small feat, there are 3 best practices we’ve developed at LowCode Agency over the years to help businesses like yours get started:

Best Practice #1: Don’t Jump Straight into the Tech

No matter how experienced you are in developing mobile apps, there’s always that voice in your head that says: “Technology X is so cool, I want to use that for my white-label app!”

Let us stop you right there.

The most important thing is to validate your idea first.

It doesn’t matter what technology you use for your white-label app if no one wants to buy a monthly license for it in the first place. You need to design the thing first, create some mockups (and perhaps even a rough prototype), and validate that the demand is there.

Only then you should choose the actual technology to build with.

Prototype built on Glide
Prototype built on Glide

Low-code platforms like Glide are perfect for that exact purpose as they allow you to quickly build a prototype that you can “launch” and test on the market before you dive deeper into custom coding or developing a fully-fledged application within Glide itself.

We’ve spent years perfecting this process, and it can cost you as little as $3000 (compared to tens of thousands for custom coding) to build your own prototype in this way.

Best Practice #2: Start from Building Out the Functionality

Once you have your prototype working and you’ve received enough feedback to make a full development project worthwhile, it’s time to start building out the functionality.

It’s important that you start from the functionality itself:

  • Task management
  • Client communication
  • Editing capabilities

… or anything else that you want to build.

The reason why is that you can sell an app that is functional without the white-label capabilities (maybe a lower pricing tier?) but you cannot sell an app that just displays a logo and colors.

Pricing premium tiers with white-label options
Pricing premium tiers with white-label options

Here, it’s important to choose the right technology for your use case. If you need to create something that is totally unique in how its backend is structured, then you may want to go the custom coding route (although be prepared to shell out $100k+ only to get your MVP out).

If you want to cut both time to market and overall cost down significantly instead, check out an article we’ve written a few months back on creating an MVP from scratch without any code.

Best Practice #3: Plug In the App’s White-Label Capabilities

It’s not a white-label app without the custom branding bits, right? 

When you have all the functionality developed, you’re basically ready to go to market. The choice of whether to offer a non-white-label option lays upon you at that point.

To build out the branding bits:

  • Assign to each new instance of your app specific values for:
  • Branded colors
  • The brand’s logo
  • Company information
  • Specific URLs for your use case
  • Custom domains (if allowed)
  • Limit the brand owner to just a few options for decreased complexity
  • Propagate all of those changes into each feature that requires it
  • Ensure that the UI follows the brand colors – including buttons

It’s key that you start small with all of these changes because they will require you to dynamically inject each branded piece into the functionality.

So it’s not just a matter of adding a form field to your settings page; it is an involved process that requires documenting where those bits of branded assets appear in the interface.

As you develop your white-label app, consider giving the end-user more in-depth editing options for specific areas of your application, like customer onboarding screens for example.

Give the user more in-depth editing options for the white label app
Give the user more in-depth editing options

This will increase the value of their brand being front and center because they will be able to choose the placement of certain elements as they see fit for their brand.

Branding isn’t just about the logos. You need to consider what types of experiences you want to enable the app user to provide so that they can enhance the value of their brand.

White-Label App Development: Where Should You Start?

To get started with your white-label app, you need to build a prototype. And for that to happen, it’s more cost-effective to hire someone like LowCode Agency rather than build your own.

lowcode agency home page for app development

That’s because using low-code technologies like Glide, you can save upwards of $45k that you would otherwise invest in something you can’t even properly launch at scale.

We don’t recommend that approach, it’s risky. 

And while we don’t brush off custom coding for certain use cases, developing complex applications like white-label solutions using low-code technology isn’t fiction either.

So if you’re curious to know more about some of the apps that we’ve built in the past and would like to explore possibilities to build your own, check out our portfolio.

Originally published Aug 17 2021

app development cost calculator
What is white label development?

“White label” development is the practice of developing a piece of software that is meant to be re-used under someone else’s name, whether that be a brand or an individual.

Can you white label apps?

Yes, you can white-label apps. In fact, white-labeling is a market that’s growing fast due to its added benefits for all stakeholders in a business (read post for more details).

How do I make a white-label app?

To make a white-label app, you can either invest a large sum and code it from scratch, or you can use a low-code technology like Glide to test your designs and iterate quickly.