Customised web solutions are all around us. From Uber to online banking we use custom web applications on a daily basis. Ten years ago ALL web solutions were customised… and expensive. Powerful, free CMS systems such as WordPress and the plethora of templates, plugins and widgets available, at very competitive rates, have changed things considerably. Let’s take a closer look at some of today’s customised web solutions.
So what are some examples of customised web solutions?
Online stores are a perfect example of customised web solutions. No matter which CMS and ecommerce solution you use you will need to customise an ecommerce store. Integrating payment partners and shipping providers is a vital part of creating an online store. If you are wanting to build an ecommerce platform, customised is more than likely the way you want to go. That is not to say you cannot use a CMS to build the majority of your website, but you will need to customise certain elements of your online store to make it truly work for you. One the subject of online stores – anything needing integration to an internal sales tool or stock management will need to be customised.
Online booking systems
Selling services and time slots is another web application which often needs some customisation. Standard plugins and systems often don’t accommodate complex booking variables and options. One of our clients had created their website using WordPress and WooCommerce to sell time-based services. They were finding that many of their prospective users were frustrated by the process and either called in to be assisted with their booking manually or just gave up, resulting in them losing a valuable potential client each time. WooCommerce in this instance just didn’t meet their requirements. Their process needed a customised solution to make the user experience flow in a logical, simple way which users can easily complete and navigate. Their website content remains in WordPress as does the payment process which is facilitated by WooCommerce.
Equipment hiring also falls into this category where time is a factor. Delivery rates, returns, consumables and payment deposits also need to be customised depending on the product and its use.
Lead generating web applications
There are a variety of ways of crafting landing pages, creating forms, generating cookies etc which can help with lead generation and capturing. If you are running with a system where all leads are treated equally, this is great. What if you need to carefully select which of your sales team follows up on each lead? If you are a location-based service, you would need to match each lead with the closest based sales representative geographically or perhaps you need to match sales leads based on the specific request. You may also need to be strategic in how many leads each salesperson receives to make it fair for your team. These kinds of customisations may not be necessary when you start out as some things can be managed by a simple form or manually. As your business expands, and the number of leads increases it becomes more and more important that your leads are managed automatically rather than manually. Here are some other business processes that can be automated to save you time and money.
Interactive mapping functionality
There are many plugins available to map store locations etc but they all generally do the same thing: allow you to input a store location, perhaps an image and contact details. What if you wanted to indicate an area serviced by each of your stores so your customers know exactly who to contact, or needed to mark out election results? If you need to map your users, your drivers or any other variable locations in real time you will need to create a custom solution.
Paid subscription/membership content
This is another function which can often be covered with a CMS and plugins in a simple format. More and more often we are seeing content which used to be free become hidden behind a paid membership. Some instances allow you to read an intro snippet of the content but block the really meaty part of the content behind a login. Some memberships are tiered as to how many content pieces you have access to and for how long. Payment costs and terms are also often complex with annual subscriptions costing marginally less than a month to month option. Globalisation of content also brings in all sorts of currency and tax/vat implications which need to be considered.
Digital rewards systems
Everyone hates having a million loyalty cards and pieces of paper clogging up their wallets. These can (and really should) be customised online web solutions. By having this online you give your customers additional chances to interact with your product, giving them new and innovative ways to collect rewards on their profile. We a client where if you upload photos of your usage of their product, you can earn airtime. The Spur family card loyalty programme gives you the option to join with a card or with a digital profile if you prefer, allowing for the less technologically savvy diner to still enjoy the benefits. The best part of bringing customer rewards systems online? Your customer will never lose out simply because they left their card behind.
Online solutions which hold user data
Where high security is needed, customisation is vital. CMS solutions often fall short in that they are so widely used that they become vulnerable to hacking. When the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) comes into play in South Africa, it will become all the more important that websites which gather and store personal information are highly secure and are inline the act. According to SEESA POPI is:
“The purpose of this Act is to ensure all South African businesses conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing and sharing another entity’s personal information by holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise the third party’s personal information in any way.” View the full article here.
Creating customised web solutions might not be where your business begins but in an effort to automate processes and simplify business practices it often becomes an integral step in taking your business to the next level.
If you are wanting to explore customised web solutions for your current website or have an idea for a whole new business venture with some unique functionality we would love to partner with you. At Flicker Leap, we thrive on solving real-world problems with digital solutions.