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Off The Shelf vs Custom Mobile App Development: Which One to Choose?

499 Views | 2 min | Published On: May 18, 2023 Last Updated: May 22, 2023
custom mobile app development

Mobile app development is becoming more and more important with each passing day. With mobile usage outlasting desktop usage, it’s only obvious for a business to be present on mobile devices, and the best way to do so is with a mobile app.

When it comes to mobile application development, you can either go for off-the-shelf, readymade, white-label solutions or custom mobile app development.

But how do you know whether you need to choose a ready-to-go solution or build one from scratch by hiring a custom mobile app development company?

Well, we are here to answer exactly that. In this blog, we will compare off-the-shelf mobile app solutions with bespoke mobile app development services.

So, let’s start the discussion by knowing more about the two popular mobile application development approaches.

What is Off-The-Shelf Mobile App Development?

Off-The-Shelf mobile apps are readymade applications that require little to no modification before they can be released. These solutions are available for almost all types of apps, such as customer service, ecommerce, travel and hospitality, and on-demand delivery.

Usually, off-the-shelf mobile apps are available with a subscription. The total amount that you need to spend in order to have one depends on many factors, including team size, feature set, and time period.

Although you can have an off-the-shelf mobile app for almost anything, it primarily provides solutions for accounting and bookkeeping, document processing, handling customer requests, and online shopping.

Advantages of Off-The-Shelf Mobile Application Development

There are several good reasons why many business owners choose readymade mobile app solutions over custom mobile app development services. These are less time to get started, affordable to begin, assured quality, and less hassle.

Advantages of off-the-shelf mobile apps

1.Use Straight Out of the Box

An out-of-the-box solution is ideal for you if you want to get started with selling your product and services at the earliest possible. With a prebuilt mobile app, the delay time in launching your product is minimised.

Before opting for a ready-to-go mobile app, you need to assess the domain complexity of your product to check whether it’s a viable option for you or not.

2.Low Upfront Cost

One of the major advantages of leveraging an off-the-shelf mobile app for your business is the small initial cost. As there are no additional requirements, the upfront cost stays low.

Nonetheless, it is important to consider the long-term cost of ready-to-serve mobile app solutions. There might be certain hidden costs that can build up quickly over time and hinder the expansion plans of your business.

3.Tried-and-Tested Solution

The quality of an off-the-shelf product is guaranteed. You can ensure that by checking the businesses that the product has helped to grow before you. You can have a demo of the mobile app product before making a purchase to see whether it solves your problem.

4.Less Hassle, More Business

Unlike custom application development which comes with a lot of hassle, an off-the-shelf mobile solution is all about focusing more on doing business rather than crafting a near-perfect product.

Time is a very important resource for a business that can sometimes make all the difference in the world for it. Hence, investing in a prebuilt mobile app saves you a great deal of time that you can focus on business expansion, business process optimisation, and other ways to increase the success of your services.

Disadvantages of Off-The-Shelf Mobile App Development

Although off-the-shelf mobile apps have their benefits, they also have their share of shortcomings that you must be aware of before making a pick. These are:

Disadvantages of off-the-shelf mobile apps

1.Little to No Customizability

The customisation comes to a dead end with off-the-shelf products as they are meant to be ready-to-go solutions without the need to change or alter something.

While there are some business problems and customer pain points that can be solved using premade mobile apps, some domains necessitate formulating uniquely customised solutions. If you’re looking for one, then off-the-shelf mobile apps are not for you.

2.More or Fewer Features

One of the major downsides of using an off-the-shelf mobile app is that you might get some (or many) features that might have little to no utility for your users.

On the other hand, you might also notice over time that some features that you might require aren’t available, and since it’s a readymade solution, there is no easy way to add them.

3.Compatibility Issues

Not all premade solutions run smoothly on all platforms. You might find out that the solution you’re opting for isn’t compatible with your existing systems. In that case, you’ll have to spend more to make it compatible.

4.Costly in the Longer Run

The disadvantages of off-the-shelf solutions make them costlier in the long run, as you need a product that can evolve and accommodate user needs, which are evolving.

In addition to the need for continuous investment, prebuilt apps might also lead to financial losses because of their unoriginality.

What is Custom Mobile App Development?

Custom application development services help you develop a mobile app solution that is unique and nothing like anything available in the market. Although it might have some similarities with apps that belong to the same niche, it is unique overall.

Although custom mobile apps are traditionally used by big companies, the advancements in mobile app development have led to making them affordable for mid-sized and even small businesses.

Although custom mobile application solutions are required in almost every market, they are required especially for healthcare, logistics, and fintech app development.

Business domain, project implementation timeline, size, complexity, and features are the primary cost factors in developing custom mobile applications.

Advantages of Custom Mobile App Development

These are the primary perks of custom mobile application development that make it lucrative to businesses:

Advantages of Custom Mobile App Development

1.High Degree of Customisation

Probably the biggest merit of custom application development is the high degree of customisation. Business analysts from the custom mobile app development company that you hire will research your business idea and present you with detailed SRS and other documents.

System architects then develop a well-thought-out plan for your product’s structure. The end result is a fully-customised domain-specific solution.

2.Best Fit for Your Business

A custom-made mobile app solution is exclusively yours. The mobile app development company you hire will ensure that the product perfectly aligns with your business needs as well as has the ability to accommodate evolving business requirements.

3.Competitive Edge

Being unique puts you in an advantageous position when it comes to the competition. You will gain an edge over your competitors with the uniqueness and exclusivity of your business solution.

4.Superior Security

A reputed custom mobile app developer ensures that your application has the most advanced security features in place. As everything is built from scratch, you can take care of the best mobile app security practices while building the application.

Therefore, you can rest easy when it comes to securing your application and data from hackers and cybercriminals.

Disadvantages of Custom Mobile Application Development

Before getting started with custom mobile application development, you need to consider all the negative aspects associated with it. Here are the most important ones:

Disadvantages of custom mobile application development

1.Longer Development Cycle

The most important thing that you need to understand before opting for custom application development services for mobile is that developing an app from scratch necessitates elaborate planning and hiring specialised professionals.

This causes the development cycle to elongate. The overall time that you need to invest in creating a custom-fit mobile app might take several months to more than a year.

2.High Upfront Costs

Due to the complexity and scope of a custom mobile app, the upfront payment that you need to make is relatively high.

Thankfully, the initial investment will pay off well over time and all the money that you need to invest is mentioned clearly in the software requirements specification document which will save you from hidden costs.

3.Support and Maintenance

A tailor-made custom mobile app also gets you dedicated support and maintenance services. Your mobile app development partner knows your product inside out and thus, provides the best-fit services for supporting and maintaining your mobile app product.

Unfortunately, on the flip side, you need to rely on the expertise of your mobile application development partner for the same.

Off-The-Shelf vs. Custom Mobile Application Development

There is no one-size-fits-all mobile app development solution for every business requirement. Hence, you need to underline all your mobile app development requirements and expectations and then make a pick between off-the-shelf and custom mobile app development models.

Off-The-Shelf vs Custom Mobile Application Development: A Comparison Table

Custom vs Readymade Mobile App Development
Parameter Custom Off-The-Shelf
Development Time Longer Shorter
Initial Payment Huge Less
Security Top Medium at best
Unnecessary/Fewer Features No Yes
Customisation High Nothing or Low
Subsequent Investments Decreases over time Increases over time

While custom mobile app development is ideal for scenarios where you want a solution that isn’t just another run-of-the-mill product and something innovative, you must go for readymade solutions if you want to start selling your services fast.

Also, custom mobile application development is the go-to option if you’re dealing with sensitive data and you require a highly secure app.


Mobile apps are ruling the business market. Today, we have mobile apps available for almost anything, may it be ordering food, booking a taxi, or buying groceries.

Custom mobile app development is your go-to option if you want your business to be exclusive. Apptunix has been in the mobile app development business since 2013 and has provided both custom-fit and ready-to-deploy solutions for business endeavours of all sizes.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q 1.What is custom mobile app development?

Custom mobile app development means creating bespoke mobile applications to meet different sets of requirements. A mobile app can be partially or completely customized. Usually, such apps are meant to cater to the needs of a specific audience.

Q 2.How to create a custom mobile app?

You need to decide on a native app or a webapp or PWA after you’ve successfully laid out your mobile app idea. Next, you can build your app yourself or hire a dedicated development team. Test the app on your targeted mobile devices, and then publish your app on app stores.

Q 3.What is custom application design?

Custom application design refers to developing a customized design for a mobile application rather than using prebuilt themes, layouts, et cetera.

Q 4.How to find the best custom mobile app development company?

Prepare a list of all the available options and then scrutinize each and every custom mobile app development company. Checking out their details, portfolio, and past client projects will help you decide the best custom mobile application development company for your business needs.

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