White label apps may seem like a silver bullet since you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each additional app. In a sense, that’s true, as evidenced by the numerous white labels Pinch has created for newspapers, radio stations, and travel apps, among others. White label apps offer many advantages but also come with certain challenges. Let’s delve into the question: what are the benefits and limitations that determine whether it’s a smart choice for your organisation to create a white label app?
How to Approach a White Label App?
A white label app is set up (or in many cases, transformed) in a way that makes it easily and quickly reproducible for other organisations or brands. This means there’s one codebase for multiple apps. While the backend is the same, the frontend of the app, including logos, visuals, colours, and typography, can be significantly different for each application.
With the exception of Pubble, as mentioned later, we don’t develop white label apps from scratch as whitelabel. Instead, we usually transform successful apps we’ve created on behalf of our clients into white label versions. We first separate everything within the code, remove the design, and reorganise everything so that the app can easily be rebranded. In technical terms, you now have a white label app that can be managed with a few simple steps.
Architecture: APIs and Modular
Crucial to a white label app is that all apps share the same architecture; otherwise, managing them from one codebase becomes impractical. This requires all of them to have the same API structure. If you modify this structure at some point, it undermines the entire white label principle because you’ll spend a lot of time customising one specific app.
Another essential principle for white labels is a modular architecture. Nothing should be tightly integrated into the whole; every module should be added or removed without friction. With white label apps, this usually concerns not so much functionalities but flavours or variations. Take our white label apps NRC Audio and DS Podcast, for example. NRC uses larger grid blocks, while De Standaard’s are smaller.
The Advantages of White Label
The white label concept is always worth considering as it comes with several significant advantages. Firstly, you can spread development costs across multiple apps, significantly lowering your initial investment per app. For new apps, only the branding elements need to be customised. In extension, having one codebase means you can easily and cost-effectively maintain and further develop the linked apps.
There are more benefits. While white label apps use the same codebase, they can look entirely different on the front end. The branding of a brand or organisation is entirely customisable. Finally, debugging is usually a time-consuming and, therefore, costly task. With white label apps, you only need to debug once for all apps.
The Major Drawback
The major drawback of white label apps should now be clear: significant adjustments for individual apps are not possible. Or, they can be done, but it would require modifying the codebase that applies to all apps, or breaking away from white label and separating the app in question.
Challenges Surrounding White Label Apps
The previously mentioned challenge regarding the API structure should not be underestimated. We would like to emphasise that white label only works when the same connections are in place.
Furthermore, white label is by no means always a golden egg. You can’t simply recreate another app, apart from intellectual property rights, as long as it doesn’t have to be exactly the same. It also won’t necessarily be much faster than creating an app with an entirely new concept. We often say: a builder who constructs a house for the sixth time can’t do it faster or cheaper, but they do know better how to do it.
Our Experience with White Label Apps
Pinch has a lot of experience with white label apps, and we always find a suitable solution for clients interested in a white label concept. Here are a few examples from our portfolio:
The Pubble app is, so far, the only one we’ve built from the ground up as a white label. Pubble is a production system for publishers. With our app, entirely based on the Pubble API, publishers using the Pubble system can easily repurpose content into an app for their own title(s).
For numerous Dutch and Belgian regional newspapers under Mediahuis, from Noordhollands Dagblad and De Gooi- en Eemlander to Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg, we’ve built white label apps with their unique look and feel.
NRC Audio and DS Podcast
On behalf of publisher Mediahuis, we’ve developed white label podcast apps for NRC and the Belgian newspaper De Standaard (DS).
Qmusic, Willy, and Joe
Qmusic and the Belgian radio stations Willy and Joe each have an app with the same codebase.
GoHere’s travel tip app is also offered as a white label to companies in the travel industry. Companies like Transavia, Au Pairs Exclusive, and Visit Morocco benefit from a comprehensive app in their own branding, for only a fraction of the total app development costs.
Travel Diaries and Baby Diaries
When the travel industry came to a halt due to COVID-19, Pinch transformed the Travel Diaries app into a white label. This allowed the Baby Diaries app to be developed in just two weeks. Who knows, there might be more Diaries apps in the future.
Creating a White Label App with Pinch
Whether we create a white label app from scratch or transform an existing app, our white label apps always compete with the best apps in the stores. Having a white label app built by Pinch means close collaboration with a team of passionate experts.
Pinch is a mobile development agency based in Amsterdam. We were founded in 2011 and have built more than 100 apps to date. In addition to native iOS and Android apps, we also develop Flutter apps, for which we have a dedicated team.