SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · February 14, 2020

So you’re either considering to, or have already started a custom Ecommerce website development project. First off, congratulations! Now we need to make sure you have all the necessary information to make your new website a success.

Statista’s projections estimate that the Ecommerce industry will be worth $4.5 trillion by 2021. Competition is becoming more intense as new players enter the market for a piece of that considerably-sized pie.

ecommerce industry statistics

Source: Shopify.com

 

Despite how easy some people make it seem, developing an Ecommerce website from scratch can prove challenging, depending on product category and targeted markets.

I would say it’s only worth to start an online store, if you have a strong knowledge about your customers and the products you’d like to sell to them. It is also a big advantage if you already have a physical store before the Ecommerce website, so you have a large customer base who will provide initial feedback you can use to make it more attractive for new clients.

 

To make your custom Ecommerce website stand a chance, we recommend you to follow these steps:

 

1. Online competitor research

Chances are someone has already started selling products similar to yours online. By this point you should always expect to have competition and make the necessary precautions before investing into Ecommerce website development.

Before you start analyzing the competition, you need to determine your own business profile, as well as a detailed customer persona. Write down what customer needs your business is equipped to satisfy, and all the aspects that make it different from companies in the same space.

Do your best to create a detailed description about people who you expect to buy your product (or are already buying your product offline). Who and where are they? How old are they? How much are they willing to spend? Where do they search while shopping online, etc.

Once you know where you stand on the market, it’s time to do the digging. Search for similar competitors on sites like Amazon or Google Shopping. Examine the user experience of their Ecommerce website, pricing strategy, buying funnel, etc.

Subscribe to a few newsletters and follow their social media pages to learn about how they communicate with their audience. You can even try to order something from them, to experience the complete delivery process.

 

2. Choose the right Ecommerce platform

During competitor research, you should come across a few different Ecommerce platforms. This can also help you decide which one you’d like to adapt yourself.

First off, you need to decide if you want to use an Ecommerce website builder or have your development write the code from scratch.

The main advantages of using a website builder are lower overall development costs and a shorter time-to-market period. However, using these SaaS solutions can come with a high monthly fee, so costs can easily build up over time, especially if you want to scale your site later on.

Building your Ecommerce website from scratch gives you maximum flexibility, control and allows for easier scaling. Not to mention you don’t have to deal with support every time something goes wrong. This usually makes the development process longer and more expensive early on, however.

If you do decide to go with an Ecommerce builder, here are some good options to consider:

 

comparison for custom ecommerce website development guide

Source: Vizteams

 

3. Prepare design mockups

While most ready-to-use Ecommerce builders provide free website templates, you should consider creating custom design to make it stand out even more.

I’d recommend hiring a professional web designer who has deep knowledge about user experience and modern user interface builds as well. There are also plenty of talented freelancers you can easily hire through sites like Upwork or Guru.

When it come to Ecommerce design, remember these key aspects:

Load speed – This is the most important factor that impacts online shoppers’ user experience today. According to Smart Insights, 57% of visitors will leave your site if loading takes longer than 3 seconds. About 80% of them will likely never return to your site again.

Responsiveness – Site elements must display properly on all screen sizes, in all browsers. Also make sure that your designer follows mobile UI best practices.

Clear and visible call-to-actions – Your Ecommerce website design should help customers effortlessly complete their purchases. Your CTA buttons should have clear, concise text, and eye-catching design.

High-quality images – As much as you want to improve load times, pay attention that your images don’t appear low-quality or pixelated. Use JPG image formats for multi-color images, and PNG for simple images. You can also use formats like WebP or JPEG XR, but they aren’t supported by all browsers.

 

 

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4. Choose payment gateway API

Payment API integration is an essential part of any custom Ecommerce website development project. It is crucial to select a gateway that fits both your business’ and customers’ requirements.

These APIs help you manage credit card payments and bank payments, and also play a key role in tracking orders and maintaining customer lists. They also help protect both online vendors and shoppers from fraud and information breaches.

We recommend using acclaimed gateway APIs such as Stripe, Square or PayPal. Our own team uses Stripe the most during development projects, but Square is also a good alternative. It is popular among small vendors with a physical storefront as well as an online store.

 

5. Develop planned features

By this point you should be able to picture your ideal Ecommerce website and compile a list of feature requirements. You will need this to ask for initial project estimations from development teams. Include as much detailed information as you can in order to get an accurate estimate.

When you start looking for development companies for custom Ecommerce website development, you need to think about how much money you can afford to invest in it and ideally how much time it should take them to finish the project.

Be sure to reach out to at least 5 different teams, and compare offers, clarity of communication, and whether they have proper development, quality assurance and project management processes set up.

If you know someone with an IT background, or a reliable consultant, involve them in the selection process as a third party to make sure you choose a capable team.

It is crucial for you to stay in constant communication with the developers, because they will need your input and feedback throughout the project. Someone from your internal management team should be assigned to follow the development process and make sure the completed features are in line with your expectations.

When it comes to custom Ecommerce website development, scalability and security are extremely important. Site architecture and databases must allow for easy expansion to be able to grow together with your business. This might require the use of cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

We also recommend to include penetration testing during the development process to discover potential vulnerabilities and protect future customers’ sensitive information.

This is how the development process looks for us.

 

6. Quality assurance & usability testing

QA testing should be an integral part of the custom Ecommerce website development process to make sure all features work error-free. Unit testing, automated testing and code reviews should be carried out continuously throughout production.

It might require some extra effort from the development team, but it would take much longer to correct coding errors later on, when critical errors start to appear.

Usability testing is also crucial to see if your Ecommerce website is easy to understand and navigate for your potential customers.

 

custom ecommerce website development testing

 

7. Import product content & write creative

The job of your website creative is to make an immediate impression, and really draw customers in. Your chances of converting visitors are much higher if you manage to tell an engaging story that appeals to their imagination and gets them excited.

Make sure to add:

Visually appealing product photos – Since customers can’t touch or interact with your product online, you must rely on interesting, high-quality images to present them. Upload clean photos and give shoppers the opportunity to zoom in and out and view items from multiple angles.

PowertoolWorld, a popular hardware Ecommerce website even includes short product videos.

Descriptive keyword-rich product titles – Titles also serve as brief product descriptions. Here you need to think like your customers and use words that they would use to search for your products. This will make your site easier to find for search engines.

Creative, engaging product descriptions – Include the most important information your customers would want to know about your products. Write about aspects that make them stand out, how they were made, and why people should be excited to own them.

 

8. Hosting & SSL certificate

There is a whole plethora of hosting providers out there to choose from. There is no such thing as an absolute best, the right one for you depends on your specific requirements.

When choosing a provider, make sure they fit your business in terms of:

  • Security capabilities
  • Performance abilities
  • Database performance potential
  • CMS software compatibility

After setting up your Ecommerce website, you still need to make it secure.

 

ecommerce website security

Source: Pixabay

 

SSL certificates encrypt visitors’ financial data and other sensitive user information. Search engines will also give your site a higher ranking if it is equipped with an SSL certificate.

If you want to get one for your own Ecommerce website, Let’s Encrypt offers free certificates as a nonprofit organization. You can also install SSL certificates through paid certificate distribution websites like DigiCert or Comodo SSL, or directly from hosting providers like GoDaddy.

 

9. Prepare content, advertising & social media strategy

Having the perfect Ecommerce website won’t provide financial results without enough traffic. Since you are likely only starting out, you probably can’t afford to advertise to a wide audience on every platform.

You need a carefully targeted and efficient content & advertising strategy to reach the right people with the right offer at the right time.

If you don’t have a background in digital marketing, the most obvious solution might be to simply hire a professional agency to take care of this for you. Although, if you’re starting out with a tighter budget, or want to keep your marketing activity in-house, you must come up with an initial strategy yourself.

This is not a marketing-focused article, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Basically, you have to identify your ideal buyer personas, find ways to engage with them and convince them to take action (buy). You can do this organically through content, or reach them with targeted offers through paid advertising channels (social media ads, banner ads, search ads, etc.).

 

10. Search engine optimization – SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) can save a lot of money and effort when starting a new Ecommerce website. If you don’t have to advertise your site, because its the first result in search engines (like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), you can achieve a much higher profit margin.

However, if you want to stay on top of the search game, you need to invest into quality SEO development and keeping it up to date. This can be hard, because SEO requirements are always changing.

Developers need to stay in touch with these changes and update your Ecommerce website accordingly. Despite all of this, I‘d say it’s still more cost-efficient on the long run than paying for advertisement.

 

11. Maintenance and further development

Instead of a linear process with an end point, think of custom Ecommerce website development as a cycle that repeats throughout the software’s lifetime.

Once your team has successfully developed all planned front-end and back-en elements, the work is still not over. There is continuous maintenance work that has to be done in order to avoid feature-breaking errors and keep all systems up to date.

Due to the ever growing competition in the Ecommerce industry, innovation is essential for every business that wants to stay relevant. You must keep in touch with customer demand and evolve your site to be able to satisfy new needs and preferences.

Integrating newly emerging technologies, optimizing new devices and platforms all require extra development work to be done. For example, industry analysts currently predict that voice shopping, AI services and Augmented Reality (AR) will provide the next innovation challenges for Ecommerce website owners.

 

voice-shopping-ecommerce

Photo by Fabian Hurnaus from Pexels

 

A custom Ecommerce website comes with a lot of advantages and also a few disadvantages for your business.

 

Here are some of them:

Advantages:

  • You’ll have a platform where you can receive and respond to customers’ questions quickly and directly.
  • Buyers don’t have to travel to your physical store, which can save them a lot of time and money. Delivery services are often cheaper nowadays than buying the fuel to drive to a store on the other side of town. If you manage to save money for your customers, they might even spend a little extra on your Ecommerce website.
  • A big advantage is that you can almost automate the flow of the orders. If your custom Ecommerce website has integrated billing API and delivery service API, it only requires 2 clicks to prepare the invoice and the delivery note.
  • It’s way easier to manage product stock and keep descriptions, pictures, names, categories up-to-date because you can see and edit everything in an admin interface instead of writing down the changes on paper.
  • You can collect data and prepare statistics reports about orders, outgoing and incoming stock, etc. This way you can discover seasonal buying trends and place more focus on best-performing products to increase your profits as much as possible.

 

Disadvantages:

  • One of the first that comes to mind is, of course, the cost of development. Hiring skilled programmers to realize what you have dreamed can cost a lot. Especially if want to make your Ecommerce website really stand out with unique features and design.
  • Once you start an Ecommerce website, you need to constantly think about new features to improve user experience and regularly update the design of the site, so customers will see that you are taking care of your online shop.
  • It’s also a pain to pay every month for the server where your site is hosted.
  • It’s harder to show product quality and explain every information about them to customers through the internet. Presenting the items in real life and demonstrating their functionality can be much more effective.

 

To summarize

This is our broad outline of the custom Ecommerce website development process. Of course, many details are up to you to figure out, since you’re the one who knows the ins and outs of your business.

We thinks that the process shouldn’t start with the actual development, but with market research and careful planning. Once you have a clear picture of exactly what you need to do, you’ll have much better chances to succeed with development.

If at any stage you feel like you need help from an experienced team, feel free to reach out and ask your questions. Thanks for reading!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · February 07, 2020

Mobile application technology is still heavily on the rise. According to Statista, there were 3.2 billion smartphone users in the world in 2019. This number is expected to reach 3.5 billion in 2020, and 3.8 billion by 2021. Most of the world’s population can be reached through mobile applications.

Edit 07/02/2020: Updated data and research results in the article for 2020

Choosing the right technologies is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make when entering the mobile app market. There are new solutions appearing constantly which make this decision more difficult.

This is why we decided to focus this article on helping you find out which platforms, frameworks and languages will work the best for your business in 2020.

 

If you are still on the fence about building digital solutions for your business, I recommend you read one of our earlier articles:

7 Reasons Why You Need to Start Business Digitization Right Now

 

When choosing your tech stack, first you have to consider your overall business strategy. Do you want to reach potential users on the Android or iOS platform? Perhaps you want to reach both with a single application. Once you have this figured out, you have to decide whether to build a native, hybrid or progressive web application.

 

Here is a quick breakdown to help you choose the mobile application technology that fits your business the most:

 

Native Apps

Native applications are developed specifically for a single mobile platform. Today, the only relevant platforms to choose from are Android and iOS. Depending on which one you choose to focus on, you will need to compile your tech stack accordingly.

 

Android – Java and Kotlin

Most Android applications are built using Java. After all, it is still the most widely used language on the planet. The classic way of writing native Android apps is to use Java and the Android SDK.

Java’s popularity for Android is mainly a result of its rich set of core features, redundancy, high security, speed and scalability. However, since mid-2017, there seems to be a trend that shows Kotlin finally replacing Java as the go-to language for Android app development.

Since Google endorsed Kotlin as an official language for building Android apps, it has been rapidly gaining in popularity. According to GitHub’s Octoverse, Kotlin was the fastest growing language in 2018. Its number of contributors has more than doubled since the year before.

 

Source: octoverse.github.com

 

According to the 2019 Octoverse, Kotlin is still the 4th fastets growing technology.

 

kotlin mobile application technology growth

Source: octoverse.github.com

 

Kotlin is wildly popular mainly because it makes coding much more concise, and is 100% interoperable with Java and Android. Writing code in Kotlin requires approximately 40% less lines of code compared to Java.

The language is big, complex and new, so it might take time for people to learn. Although, it is reportedly much easier for developers who already know Java, and there is also a rapidly growing support community today. You definitely won’t have any trouble finding Kotlin experts in the years to come.

 

iOS – Objective-C and Swift

Objective-C is a superset of the C programming language, and is utilized by a high number of mobile developers building apps for OS X and iOS. It is a very mature and tested mobile application technology that survived many generations of developers since its first release in the early 1980s.

Thanks to its stability and maturity, Objective-C manages to stay relevant today. There are a lot of well-documented third party frameworks out there, and very strong community support. It is also highly compatible with C and C++ programming languages.

There was obviously room for innovation, though. In 2014, Apple released Swift to provide new developers with an alternative that is easier to learn and to understand. The code length in Swift is significantly reduced, which makes development with it much faster compared to its older counterpart.

Apps developed in Swift are also considered to be safer and less prone to bugs and crashes than the ones developed in Objective-C. While Objective-C is still in the lead when it comes to community support and documentation, Swift is rapidly gaining in popularity.

Stack Overflow conducts a survey with its developer community each year. This is how the popularity of Objective-C and Swift changed with the community over the past 6 years:

 

ios mobile application technology trends

Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com

 

We can see that the number of Objective-C developers started to stagnate after 2016 with only a minor increase this year compared to 2017. On the other hand, it is expected that the Swift community will continue to grow over the coming years.

Here is how native mobile technologies cluster together according to over 100,000 developers surveyed by Stack Overflow this year:

 

Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/

 

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Native apps are faster and more responsive than hybrid apps
  • They can run offline depending on functionality
  • Developers can better utilize device functionality like camera, microphone, swipe gestures, etc.
  • They are more interactive and run much smoother, creating a better overall user experience

Some Disadvantages

  • More expensive and slower development compared to hybrid apps
  • Harder to scale and maintain on each platform separately

 

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Hybrid & Cross-platform Apps

We are talking about a hybrid app, when it includes both native and web elements. Creating a hybrid application is similar as building a web app. They are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

More and more people are also choosing to build cross-platform mobile apps over native ones. The growing demand resulted in the evolution of a number of cross-platform frameworks like Ionic, Cordova, Xamarin or React Native.

The Ionic framework and Cordova both use HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Ionic builds on top of Cordova. This mobile application technology basically provides a set of front-end components that allow you to write HTML5 apps that look like native apps. Ionic also allows for up to 98% code reuse. These technologies already have a large community following.

Xamarin uses C# and .NET. Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS are used for providing platform-specific behaviour, while Xamarin.Forms is responsible for code sharing. It allows for the reuse of 96% of the written code. Xamarin also has a large community following.

React Native uses JavaScript and React.JS, and has a rapidly growing community. React Native heavily builds on JavaScript, and is backed by Facebook. A huge benefit is that it allows for writing modules in Objective-C, Swift or Java languages if needed. Up to 70% of React Native code is reusable, which helps speed up development for multiple platforms.

React is a great choice if your app needs to handle heavy operations like image editing or video processing. High accessibility and its ability to build high-performance UI solutions fast helped it become the most sought-after cross-platform mobile application technology of 2019.

 

popularity of mobile app technology

Source: Google Trends

 

Advantages of Hybrid & Cross-platform Apps

  • More cost-efficient than native app development
  • Shorter time-to-market
  • Most of the code is reusable for multiple platforms (write once, use anywhere)
  • Because there is only one code base, it is much easier to scale and maintain a hybrid or cross-platform app

Some Disadvantages

  • Hybrid and cross-platform apps can have stability issues across different devices
  • Inconsistent performance on different platforms, which can negatively impact user experience
  • Mobile OS updates take a bit longer to integrate into cross-platform frameworks than native ones.
  • No access to certain mobile hardware-related features that are only available in native apps

 

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps (or PWA) are the perfect cross between native mobile apps and websites. PWAs are web applications that load like websites, but can offer functionalities traditionally available only to native apps. They can be loaded with the push of a button from the user’s mobile home page, without having to go through the whole app installation process beforehand.

Service workers are used to provide the best of both web and mobile native worlds. These service workers lie between the network and device to supply the content. Among many other properties, they are capable of utilizing cache mechanisms efficiently. This allows PWAs to work in offline mode as well.

This relatively new mobile technology allows you to provide a swift and smooth mobile native experience to your customers without intrusive app installation pop-ups. Your team can build them using a basic web stack (JavaScript, HTML & CSS).

World-leading companies from all industries are reportedly already experiencing higher web traffic, customer engagement, and conversion rates thanks to PWAs.

We wrote about 8 famous PWA success stories in a recent article.

 

Source: https://www.pwastats.com/

 

Advantages of Progressive Web Apps

  • PWAs provide a smooth experience at high performance, without relying on web connectivity.
  • They are also able to deliver real-time updates and push notifications, which was a feature reserved only for native apps in the past
  • They use 10-1000x less storage space compared to native apps
  • Fast and cost-efficient development

Some Disadvantages

  • PWAs don’t have access to all mobile hardware functions such as fingerprint scanning, advanced camera controls, Bluethooth, etc.
  • Running robust web apps on a smartphone uses up battery charge fast

 

Final Summary

Thanks to the popularity of mobile platforms, today there is a mobile  application technology for everyone.

It is up to you to assess the needs of your organization and make your choice according to your strategic vision and goals. If done correctly, your new mobile application can become as important of an asset to your business as a brick-and-mortar store.

We hope this article helped you figure out which technologies will be the best fit for your business.

 

If you need additional information to help you select your ideal mobile technology, feel free to ask your questions through our website, or ask for a free consultation.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · September 18, 2018

Today we are all users of many different software products, websites and applications. We all know the frustration of trying to stumble through poorly designed, clunky user interfaces. We also how easily they can make us rage-quit them after the first few tries. From these experiences we all know why usability testing is important, but to understand the whole process, we need to start right from the beginning.

Usability testing involves observing and recording the behavior of test subjects who are assigned to complete a set of tasks on your app, website, or other software product. The testing helps you to know whether your site works and how to improve it.

 

There are some elements involved in the usability testing process. These are:

Participant: The participant will perform the activities for which you want to test your software.
Usability tester:  The job of the usability tester is to explain the participants their role and the tasks they have to complete during the test, and pay them when they finish their task.
Shared screen:  Screen sharing software can make the test much more effective. You can easily include the product team into the usability test without stressing the participant. Further, executives will get to know how users see the product or company website.
Recording software: With recording software, you can record the test and analyze it later. It allows the usability tester to focus more on the testing process.
Pre-written usability testing script: It helps you walk the participants through the test smoothly.

 

Make the usability test process as time- and cost-efficient as you can by planning each step of the process in detail. Keep in mind that a detailed script will help the tester to effectively explain the tasks and process to the participant. Most importantly, users should know that they are not being tested, you are testing the software.

The usability tester should not influence the user’s actions in any way. They have to solve their problems and find the solutions on their own. The main work of the usability tester is to provide information about the tasks and the usability testing process. He or she should encourage the participants to actively share their opinions and thoughts. Participants need to be vocal about their thoughts.

Know that the participants may feel frustrated when they are not able to find the solutions right away. When the users reach a level of frustration where they want to leave your website and search elsewhere for solutions, your site fails the test.

Have a meeting with the responsible team after the usability test. Based on the results of the usability test, choose the top three problems that need to be addressed. You need to resolve these issues this month and after one month, repeat the complete process.

 

why usability testing is important

 

Is there a difference between usability testing and user testing?

Sometimes, usability testing is confused with user testing. Usability testing and user testing are two different approaches to reaching different goals. User testing involves interviewing your target audience to determine market demand for your service or product.

Usability testing is also different from focus group testing. In focus group testing, you learn about the experiences and opinions of a group of users regarding your website or product.

Usability testing, on the other hand, is more about seeing if users can understand or use your website or product with common sense. You can choose anyone to be a test subject who views your website with a fresh eye and provide useful information about ease of use. Beginning usability testing with your family members and friends is a good way to get a new and fresh perspective.

 

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Tools for Usability Testing

Usability testing tools are essential to the success of your website. Here are some tools that can help you conduct usability tests.

Optimizely

This A/B testing platform allows users to track visits as well as conversions. Optimizely offers many features such as visitor segmentation, mobile website testing, multivariate testing, and cross-browser testing. The basic plan is free of cost. However, if you want some extra features, you need to pay for them.

 

Crazy Egg

You can use the tool for 30 days as a free trial, and after that, you have to pay $9 per month. Crazy Egg offers a number of features such as heatmap, scrollmap, confetti, and overlay.

The Heatmap allows you to see where each visitor has clicked on your website. With Scrollmap, you will get to know how far down on the web page a user has scrolled. The Confetti gives you valuable insights regarding visitor sources, search terms etc. The Overlay helps you to know the number of clicks each element on your web page is getting.

 

Five Second Test

UsabilityHub operates this tool. Five Second Test captures a visitor’s first impression of the site. You can run a test in seconds. The process is easy and includes

1. Uploading a mock-up of the web page or uploading a screenshot with a question about the design or functionality included.

2. Five seconds are given to testers to view the web page. After that, they are required to answer the question given.

3. The responses of the testers are then compared.

The paid plans cost about $20 per month.

 

 

Now that you have a clear understanding about why usability testing is important, you can make the first steps to integrate it into your development process. There is no such thing as too early to start usability testing. Be it your new website, blog, mobile app, or custom software, it is always recommended to collect first-hand information about the way the end user sees your platforms as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

Other ways to collect early user feedback for your product: Which Type of MVP is Right For Your Business

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

WebBY RabIT software engineering · September 11, 2018

Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) help you gather important feedback and estimate market interest. The MVP is the initial version of your product that only has the core features that are essential to solving an existing problem for your prospective customers. Methods like the Wizard of Oz MVP, Concierge MVP or the Piecemeal MVP and others have are proven successful in measuring early interest.

This first version needs very little investment of resources into product development. MVPs can be immensely useful if you want to validate your product on the market as early as possible.

A few weeks ago, we talked about ways to validate your business idea, and why it is important to do so.

This model has contributed to the development of various tools and methods that can function as MVPs. Examining the pros and cons of each solution for your business will help you select the right type of MVP.

 

1. Landing Page

A landing page can help you acquire early followers, tell people about your product idea and even collect revenue for future product development. You can tell about your project in detail, present its advantages and ask people to support your project. If they like your product idea, they might become your first subscribers.

You can also get users’ feedback with the help of a landing page. This will help you to know your target audience and their opinion. You may also get suggestions that will help you make your product better.

 

landing page mvp

 

Pros

  • Can be set up cheaply and quickly
  • Can easily be matched with online ads
  • Can be tested and optimized easily

Cons

  • The conversion rate is low (about 1-3% of people sign up)
  • Hard to fit all vital information into one page
  • Cheap looking landing pages can hurt your brand

 

 

2. Explainer Video

Explainer videos explain what your product does, and why people should purchase it. It is a good option for making a presentation about your service or product to users without even creating it. The Dropbox MVP was famously presented in this format.

 

Pros

  • Explains your product in a simple and easy way
  • People are more interested in watching a short video than reading
  • You can share the video on social media
  • Good for branding

Cons

  • You may have to spend a lot of money to make an explainer video
  • You need to devote a significant amount of time to get the message right
  • You may find difficulty in explaining a complex product or service in a few minutes

 

 

3. Concierge MVP

With a concierge MVP, you will have to perform each and every function of your service or product manually. To resolve the problems of each customer, you will have to work with them directly. By completing each step of customer orders yourself and collecting direct feedback, you can determine how your end product should look like.

A famous example for this type of MVP is Food on the Table (later acquired by Scripps Networks Int.).

 

concierge mvp example RabIT

 

Pros

  • You do not have to spend time and money on developing a concierge MVP
  • You can communicate face-to-face with real customers
  • You can collect information with the help of a few subscribers

Cons

  • You have to spend a lot of time and effort to manually finish the service
  • Good salesmanship is required to persuade people to try your new solution
  • This only helps optimize the core service, UI/UX optimization comes later

 

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4. Wizard of Oz MVP

The Wizard of Oz MVP creates an illusion of a fully functional product, but secretly depends on manpower to deliver the solution. On the front end, you deliver the impression of a completely functional product; however, on the back end of the product, you have to execute all orders manually.

With this approach, you can quickly create effective prototypes. You can also test the market response to your service or product without really creating anything.

A great example here is the first site of Zappos, a specialized footwear eCommerce startup.

 

wizard of oz mvp

 

Pros

  • You can set up a Wizard of Oz MVP cheaply and quickly
  • You can use online advertising and social media to generate interest

Cons

  • You have to spend a lot of time and effort to manually finish the service
  • People can feel cheated if they come to know that there is no real product

 

 

5. Piecemeal MVP

With a piecemeal MVP, you can deliver the new service or product by using already existing solutions. The utility of existing products is combined to deliver additional value to the initial customers.

 

Pros

  • You don’t have to invest much money
  • You need not spend time on MVP development

Cons

  • You may find difficulty in coordinating many products
  • You may have to spend money on subscription fees

 

 

6. Single-Feature MVP

To create this type of product, you need to determine what should be the core functionality. Understand that while you are creating a single-feature product, that one feature has to work extremely well.

 

Pros

  • Focused on solving one specific problem for a specific audience
  • You can get your product to market fast with relatively low costs
  • You can expand it later without much difficulty

Cons

  • You have to invest some money into development
  • You may struggle to determine which feature you should focus on

 

Choose the solution that best fits your available resources (personnel, money, time). Take into account the requirements and characteristics of delivering your solution, and select the type of MVP that suits them the most.

The minimalist nature of your initial offering should not bother you. Don’t rush into launching a polished product that nobody wants.

 

If you need help planning and launching your MVP, feel free to tell us something about your project during a free consultation. We can help you test your concept and turn it into a profitable software product fast. In a few weeks, you can already launch the initial product version on the market and start collecting valuable customer feedback.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · July 03, 2018

Build or buy software? Many business owners wrestle with this question while addressing their software needs. They struggle to decide whether to opt for ready-made or custom software, as both the options have their pros and cons. Off-the-shelf software vs custom software is a decision that depends on various factors, including your business needs, the cost, and the benefits and risks associated with tailor-made and ready-made software.

Here are some pros and cons to consider when weighing whether to opt for custom software or order ready-made.

 

Pros of Off-the-Shelf Software

  1. The ready-made software is a commercial product that is available for everyone, and because of that, you can buy it at a lower initial cost.
  2. Buying of the software allows fast implementation, and its proper documentation, including user manuals, makes it easy to adopt.
  3. Moreover, it has already been tested and proven to be useful for your business needs. Importantly, experts have designed its functionalities after determining the industry’s needs. If you have a small budget, it makes sense to invest in ready-made software.

Cons of Off-the-Shelf Software

  1. However, as off-the-shelf software addresses common business needs, it may not resolve your specific requirements.
  2. You also cannot add new features, remove unnecessary features, or modify its inbuilt functionalities; therefore, you cannot scale it to meet expanding needs and larger demands of your business.
  3. You also fail to get an edge over your competitors, as they may be using the same software.
  4. With ready-made software, there are also integration challenges. It may not be compatible with your diverse set of systems, which will affect your business performance.
  5. And, you may have bought custom software at a low price, but its cost will gradually increase because of updates, maintenance, and compatibility issues.

 

Pros of Custom Software

  1. Custom software can be a perfect fit for your business as you get it with the aim to resolve specific requirements. It is unique, highly compatible with other systems and applications, and provides you with flexibility.
  2. With custom software, you also stay ahead of the technology curve, which gives you an edge over your competitors.
  3. Moreover, you get the freedom to add new features, make changes, and set a time for further updates.
  4. You can also scale it up to meet the expanding and evolving needs of your business.

Cons of Custom Software

  1. However, unlike ready-made software, the custom software takes time to build, as developing something from scratch is a lengthy process.
  2. It demands a higher investment – both money and time.
  3. You will usually have to spend considerable time testing it and ensuring that it is bug-free. To make this part easier for our clients, our QA team devotes considerable time and effort to make sure that every released version works free of errors.
  4. It may also take time to implement custom software if there is no proper user documentation. This is why we think that writing clear and detailed documentation has to be closely integrated into the development process itself.
  5. Anything that comes with the custom tag costs more than solutions developed for mass market. The cost is likely to rise further if your development team does not have the skills necessary to build custom software. You must have a strong, capable team if you want to make it well worth your investment.

 

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Questions to Ask Before Making a Definite Decision

Now that you know the pros and cons, here are some simple questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether to choose off-the-shelf software vs custom software for your business.

  • Can my business benefit from new cutting-edge technologies?
  • Is there going to be a change in my business structure?
  • Do I plan to scale my business in the future?
  • Will I introduce new services or products in the future?
  • Is there a solution available in the market that fully resolves my pain points?
  • Whether I can afford custom software?

 

Final Thoughts

You can opt for custom software if you have the budget, a great deal of time, and expanding business needs. The ready-made software, on the other hand, is an ideal solution for you if your budget is limited, and you cannot afford to expend time and resources.

If after reading this article and answering these questions you think custom software is the way to go for your business, lets talk about your solution during a free consultation. This way you can get all the necessary information to get started, without any long-term commitment.

If you would like to learn more about working together with a software development team, follow our social media pages.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.