Building an App Vs. Buying an App Template

We find that most companies these days, large or small, could leverage the power of a mobile app to empower their salespeople, engage with their customers, or in selling their products through mobile devices. Whatever your company’s goals are, a mobile app may help accomplish them.

One of the biggest questions that companies ask us is, “Do we need a custom mobile app or is there an App Template we can leverage?” While this is an important question, it ultimately comes down to the type of app your company wants to build and what the goals of that app are supposed to be. Fortunately, there are four major buckets of templated or custom mobile app types that we know that companies look to develop.

Major Types of Apps Companies Need

These four buckets don’t cover every type of custom application a business might need for internal and external communication, but these are the four that we are most often requested to develop that cover a wide variety of solutions.

Internal Communications

Internal communications apps are meant to connect your employees and open the lines of communication between the company and its personnel. Some types of internal communications could range from sharing company and corporate news to announcing and executing events or training. Internal communications apps are the most common type of app that medium to large companies develops for their employees to best suit their needs.

Sales Tool Apps

Sales Tool apps are meant to empower a company’s sales team or account management team with tools and information they need to better execute their work. These apps can contain details on sales calls or be utilized during sales meetings with potential clients or even function to execute the sale. Items housed on these types of apps can range from:

These apps are about helping your salespeople by providing them with the tools and information that they need the most while they’re in the field. These apps can allow them to sell without having to worry about always having their brochures and handouts on hand, making all of their information accessible via their mobile devices.

External Communication and News Apps

External Communication apps are most often requested for our services. Companies who approach us want to provide their potential users with a unique experience and a way to engage with their product, services, or content. Whether it’s a news or blog app, each external communication app is their company’s way of directly interacting with their users or potential customers and is unique to them.

E-commerce Apps

E-commerce apps are some of the most complex apps that need to be approached carefully. E-commerce apps give your customers and potential users a direct path to purchasing your goods or services. These can be some of the most beneficial apps to develop if your products are regularly ordered or your services are needed and can be deployed quickly. The best e-commerce apps are those that make the buying and browsing experience engaging.

Now that we’ve covered the four major types of apps that businesses develop, let’s talk about the two major types of app development: Custom App Development vs. Templated App Development.

What are Templated Apps?

App templates are exactly what they sound like. These are cookie-cutter frameworks that allow you to customize and design around them. They do most of the heavy-lifting and depending on the framework you purchase, they can take little to no development or code interface from you. And while that seems good for some people, what are the advantages and disadvantages of buying an app template?

Advantages of App Templates

App templates allow you to develop your app very quickly, sometimes cutting development time in half. This increase in development speed can help you go to market very quickly instead of focusing on customizing the app. 

The additional benefit to App templates is that it may help keep your development costs low and instead allow your team to focus your time and money on developing the branding or content that will go inside your app.

Disadvantages of App Templates

While the low-cost and low development time of utilizing templates may seem beneficial, it also carries with it the largest disadvantage: lack of flexibility in development. Templates can be rigid, meaning that what you see is what you get. Templates provided may have hurdles to customization and changing features might cost you more time to work around than creating it natively.

This lack of flexibility means that if your business grows larger or seeks to add features, you may find yourself limited by that app template framework.

What are Custom Apps?

Custom apps are a custom mobile app framework either developed in-house or by an external development team for the specific use case or objective of that business. While custom mobile apps do generally require more development time, you gain increased flexibility over features, look and feel, as well as growth capacity and scalability.

Advantages of Custom Apps

Custom apps are one of the best ways to get exactly what your business is looking for out of a mobile app. It allows you to get the framework and functionality you truly desire. They are often more efficient than templates because a custom app can be optimized for the specific purpose for which it is designed. With a custom app there’s no bulky, underutilized framework behind the scenes bogging down operations or speed.

Disadvantages of Custom Apps

The largest disadvantage of custom apps can be the development time it takes to build. Another consideration in custom applications is the cost associated with them. While it is often more reasonable than most initial, internal estimates, it is typically more expensive than templated app framework purchases.

With a quality development team though, you’ll always get exactly what you’re looking for. And with a custom app solution, there is still a wealth of open source libraries and other building blocks that can be utilized judiciously in the custom app in order to speed development and offset costs while retaining full control over the final product.

So, What Type of App Does Your Business Need?

When you decide on building an app vs buying an app template, the custom app wins out almost every time in our opinion. Unless you have an absolutely strict release deadline, custom apps will always meet your expectations and deliver the optimal experience to your internal staff or external customers while allowing the flexibility to grow with your future needs.

Ready to Get Started on Your Custom App Development Journey?

If you have an idea to utilize a template app but need help integrating it, or if you need a custom app solution tailored to your exact specifications, we can help. Our dedicated team of developers and designers know how to bring your idea to life. Get in touch with us today to begin your template or custom app development project!

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©2017 DWebware