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What is the difference between bespoke and off the shelf software?

Recent years has seen a spike in the popularity of bespoke software as it continues to dominate the modern tech world.

Offering a fully customised package that meets the needs of the user and business in one place, custom software can meet the shifting demands of the customer whilst also helping to improve efficiency and fostering business growth.

To help you decide whether bespoke software could be the right software solution for your business, we’ve created an overview of how it compares to the software created for the mass market.

What is bespoke software?

In short, bespoke is software that has been specially designed for you. By taking into account your business concept, your requirements and the needs of your customers, we can create a software solution that outshines any other.

Because it has been created for you, you won’t need to make compromises. This allows you to improve efficiency, productivity and create a fluid workflow that gets you results.

When your customer has all their needs met, customer retention will increase and your brand will gain the recognition it deserves.

As custom software is made to order, it does take time and will require a slightly larger investment than if you were to buy software designed for the mass market. However, this will save you money long term and gives you a fast return on your investment.

It also provides unlimited options and can be adapted as your business grows. This makes bespoke software highly scalable, easier to update as technology advances and easier to maintain too.

What is off the shelf software?

‘Off the shelf’ software is a general software solution that has been designed for the mass market.

It’s often feature-rich to meet the varying needs of the general market, although many of these you won’t need to use for your business and could actually get in your way as your business continues to grow.

Although costing less than bespoke software, off the shelf software is usually slow to change with market needs and advancements in technology. This can slow your business down and make it much harder to provide your customers with the experience they need and deserve.

Should you require any customisations, they can be expensive.

Having said that, they aren’t designed from scratch so they can be ready to use faster than bespoke software. This can be important when you’re working to tight deadlines.


Bespoke and off the shelf software both provide solutions for today’s competitive marketplace.

However, they both come with certain advantages and disadvantages. Before you choose, ask yourself how important it is to stay innovative, customer-centric and results-driven then make your decision accordingly.

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