The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled the shutter down on many businesses. Travel and hospitality are most affected as big names like Virgin Australia filed for bankruptcy.
What’s more worrying is the numbers of small businesses that are following the same fate. According to CNBC, 7.5 million small businesses risk closure as the pandemic rages on.
Border closures, social restriction orders, and the fear of catching the virus rob these businesses out of customers.
Yet, some companies continue to thrive amidst COVID-19.
Wayfair’s Q1 orders increased by 21% despite coronavirus restrictions. It’s competitor, Overstock, reports an impressive 120% increase in sales in April.
Zara, which closes down 1,200 of its fashion store, shifted its focus to e-commerce.
The Future Lies With Having An Online Presence
It’s evident that businesses that are solely reliant on physical stores suffer the most during the pandemic.
Companies like Amazon, Wayfair, and Zoom got a boost from the drastic change in consumer behavior.
Yet, it’s important to realize that the shift to online presence started long before the pandemic. All COVID-19 does is to hasten the process.
The landscape of business is going to change even after the pandemic has passed. Brick and mortar businesses have no choice but to digitize their business.
7 Reasons To Choose Custom Software Development After COVID-19
Software applications play a crucial role in digitizing businesses and automating their internal processes.
The question is, should companies develop custom software or buy them off-the-shelf?
Usually, we’ll say that it depends, but with the ongoing pandemic, we’ve concluded that custom software development is the better option for businesses.
Streamlined business processes
COVID-19 has forced many companies to alter their business processes.
An off-the-shelf software program is unlikely to meet the sudden change in the business process that stems from regulatory compliance, cost reduction, or maximizing efficiency.
For example, if you’re using a basic inventory program and start implementing auto RFID tagging, you may need to invest in another software. You’ll then be managing a few applications, which can be overwhelming and unproductive.
Instead, having a custom software program built allows each of the business process to be consolidated and automated according to strict requirements. Customized software can fully make use of the data in your company as they are tailor-made to fit your business.
With customized software, you’ll have one inventory program for RFID tagging, stock check, auto-ordering, POS-integration, reporting, and other related functions.
Ease of customization
When you modify an existing business process or introduced a new product, you’ll need to make changes to the affected software. If you’re using an off-the-shelf product, customization is minimal and only within the limits of the available features.
If you’re using Shopify for e-commerce, there’s a limit on how you can edit the invoice. Often, you’ll rely on an external plugin or manually tweaking the HTML code. It’s a great app for e-commerce startups, but when you’re scaling fast, you don’t want to worry about getting stuck at common issues.
However, you can make changes if you’re using a custom software program as you have complete ownership of it. Whether it’s setting up an online store or changing the reporting format, customization is possible as your developer team has total access to the source code.
Timely Security Upgrade
“Cyberthreats are constantly evolving to take advantage of online behavior and trends. The COVID-19 outbreak is no exception.” – Interpol
Whether you’re using off-the-shelf software or a commercial one, you’ll need to be concern about security upgrades. As businesses become more dependent on digital data, the numbers of cyberattacks will only increase.
Even giants like Microsoft are not spared from online threats that result in data breaches. You’ll want to take control of identifying vulnerabilities and releasing updates. If you’re using commercial software, you’ll be at the mercy of the vendor.
Instead, the control over custom software means you’ll have a schedule on when a security fix will be released. You’ll reduce the risk of costly lawsuits and damages to the brand’s reputation.
The pandemic has shown how crucial software support is when businesses are trying to stay competitive in a remarkably changed environment.
With commercial software, your options are limited to a ticketing system or community support, as most vendors have turned off phone support during the pandemic.
You don’t want to be trapped with a dysfunctional shopping cart or a bug in the payment gateway while you wait for support, which could take hours or days.
With a dedicated team maintaining the custom software, you don’t have to worry about support, during, or after COVID-19. You’ll be at ease knowing that your developer team is a phone call away should anything goes wrong with the software.
Minimize software integration
Off-the-shelf solutions often target a specific business function. For example, you may need financial software, an HR management tool, and a CRM software to engage your customers. Maintaining smooth data flows between the programs requires additional integration.
However, not all off-the-shelf software supports 3rd party integration. Even if they do, it’s hard to find a few different programs that work seamlessly on the go.
If you insist on integrating multiple commercial software, you may need to build custom apps for interlinking. Now, you have a more complicated software system, and naturally, more bugs and support needed.
You can keep things simple by developing custom software from the start. It provides a single platform for data gathering, automation, and reporting of various business processes. It’s also easier for your team to onboard and train new employees with a single consolidated solution.
Pay lesser as you scale
The post-pandemic era will see companies trying to rebuild from the economic damages suffered. As companies grow, they need to do so without incurring huge expenses. Commercial software often comes with licenses, and the subscription increases by the number of users or devices.
While there’s an initial cost in building custom software, there isn’t any licensing cost involved when you scale your business. Even if you’ve grown from a 10-person team to hundreds of employees, the cost of maintaining the software remains fixed.
Enterprise CRM software costs around $150 per user per month. If you’re subscribing to 50 employees, you’ll be paying for $90,000 annually. You’re also paying for a couple or more subscriptions, which could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It doesn’t take a math genius to conclude that developing a custom software program is more economical in the long term for a rather large company.
Gain a competitive edge
The business landscape is only going to get more competitive. You’ll need to stand out from the crowd. This means offering engaging brand experience and working with a leaner business model.
If you’re sticking with an off-the-shelf solution, you’ll be no different from competitors using the same application.
A custom program allows more control over UI and UX. You’ll have control over layout, brand message, colors, and other factors that improve user experience.
On the backend, you’ll have tailor-fit software modules that reflect a leaner business model. The increased efficiency of a custom software could prove to be the edge needed to break apart from competitors.
Also, we’ve mentioned that the larger you grow, you’ll be paying relatively lesser for software if you’re using a custom solution.
A strictly brick and mortar business has a gloomy future in the years ahead. To survive and thrive post-COVID-19, you’ll need to start automating and digitizing your business.
Check out how we can help you with building custom software at a competitive rate here.