A guide to white labeling for small business owners.
If you've researched business software lately, you may have come across the term "white label" and wondered what it meant, if it was something you needed, or if it was a passing fad. After all, it's hard to keep up with all the buzzwords salespeople invent to sell software. White labeling is a feature that started in enterprise software, and like other features, is now available for small businesses in lower-cost SaaS products.
What does white label mean?
All white label means is that the product may be customized with the branding of your choice. So, instead of opening your business software and seeing the logos and colors of the software company, you (or your customers) will see your company's logo and colors emblazoned on the product.
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Why do people use white label software and apps?
Some businesses prefer to white label the products their employees use to promote a cohesive and professional experience internally, but other software is white labeled for the benefit of the external client. Systems that process outside requests, e-commerce platforms and customer service apps are all frequently white labeled.
White labeling is particularly prevalent with apps, and not only business apps either. App maker software, which allows users to drag and drop their way to a custom app, nearly always includes a white label feature. Some users create custom business apps and then brand them with their own company logo, but others use app maker software to create apps that can be resold. This is done frequently with cookie-cutter game and time-waster apps, but it's also common practice among legitimate app makers who create unique products of value. [Interested in app makers and development solutions? Check out our best picks and reviews.]
Should I use white label products?
There's no cut-and-dried answer to this question, but, in general, if you are a small business owner purchasing SaaS for internal usage, you probably don't need to bother with white labeling. Sure, it's nice to have your company logo prominent on your payroll software or timestamp app, but it's not necessary, and it adds no utility of any kind.
Alternatively, if you are purchasing client-facing software, it may be advisable to opt for a white label product if there is one available at comparable pricing and functionality. The way users interact with your company online and through mobile apps is like the modern-day version of walking through the doors of a store. Younger users, especially, tend to judge the professionalism of a business by their online presence. Nearly half of all workers will be millennials by 2020, making them a powerful group in terms of disposable income, so this perception matters.
If the product in question will be used for e-commerce, booking appointments, inputting requests, or anything else that requires a client to hand over their credit card information or other personal details, seriously consider opting for a white label product. White label websites can go a long way toward making your small business look reliable and legitimate.
Are there downsides to white label products?
Not really. Sometimes, opting to white label a product will add expense to the setup and/or ongoing service fees, but that's about it. The only other potential downside is that to successfully white label something, you need to have a logo with the appropriate specs. If your logo is low quality or pixilated, your white label software will look cheap and unreliable, even if it is a good product.
It's best to leave designing logos to professional designers, so rather than avoiding a white label purchase because your logo is subpar, invest in a well-designed logo first and then make your software decisions.