iPS 207 White Label Apps

On this episode on iPhreaks, we have panelists Guilherme Rambo, Erica Sadun, and Jaim Zuber talk about White Label Apps, its technical challenges, and its advantages over web apps, etc. Don't miss this one!

[00:01:10] – Introduction to White Label Apps

This is an app that you built at one time but you skin different things for different customers. There are a lot of customers around that will build an app but they got different versions of the app that they distribute on behalf of their customers. Your controls have a lot of the same behavior in your app but the color is different, the icons are different, maybe there’s text difference.

[00:03:50] – Pre-built components

This kind of notion of pre-built components has been in the development arena, specifically, in Apple’s ecosystem for a very long time. When the app store first started, you could buy custom widgets, custom controls, and custom art.

 [00:06:10] – Customization

Most of the companies have a very limited ability to customize. You can start up with things like changing the name of the app. You can change the icon. You can change the color scheme. You can change some text. You just solve the problem the user is going to deal with.

[00:12:35] – Technical challenges

For Erica, one of the biggest issues is going to be the customer ticketing process on tracking or the customer service process. Typically they’re calling the end owner of the app, which is not a very good solution. And you also have to support the businesses because those businesses have to support their customers.

[00:16:10] – Corporate Entity

If you are selling your apps to small realtors, you'll probably just manage everything yourself. You’ll do certificates, customer profiles. You’ll host it under your own app ID. But if you sell to bigger organizations, they might have their own Apple ID and want to keep it under their roof with their own Apple account. You need things like getting your own certificate with their Apple ID, getting provision profile, creating the app ID, going to iTunes connect and doing the same thing.

[00:22:15] – If-def approach

Typically what happens in most companies is your team leader goes, “Hey, we could sign a new customer. Let’s make the app. Let’s rebrand it. Let’s white label it.” The developers will shrug off their shoulders and say, “I don’t know how to do this so I’ll do something like creating an if-def for different texts.” That’s going to be a problem. But this is where a lot of people start.

[00:25:40] – Interface file approach

One approach is you could create your own tool to customize the apps. They are all the same app but there is one internal configuration file or database or whatever is different between them.

Developers run into problems on finding ways to build internal tool that will reach their configuration file and modify the app as needed. Most of the companies that have a mature platform they can just drop the configuration file and build a list of file that describes where the images are, what the texts are if they have any features that are turned on or off. Most companies can build a configuration file because they’ve narrowed down what problems they’re going to solve.

[00:35:30] – Saturation of apps

There has been a push back in apps. We got to a point where a lot of companies build apps that no one cared about. No one downloaded them. If they download them, they didn’t use them more than once. People can make a smarter decision if they really need an app. They’re not going to download the apps for every business out there. If you are running a business and have loyal customers, you can get them to order easily with their app by first calling in. That might work in some cases or you can be making an app for more than just one pizza place.

[00:40:35] – White label components vs. websites

Web sites are not going to do push notifications so if you need to get a hold of people or notify them of something important, you need to get them to order an app. Their user experience is going to be better. But there’s a lot of benefits for something that you don’t use very often for making a web app because web apps work on every platform. Anytime that you can take advantage of the specific hardware features like 3D Touch or Touch ID, you need an app because you can’t use them on the web yet. The Touch ID is also great for apps that need some level of security like a banking app.


Erica Sadun

Gee Rambo

Jaim Zuber