Much eCommerce has changed the face of retail by enabling businesses to reach out to a large audience base. And, the fact remains that the shopper today is spoilt for choices. Long loading times, navigation that isn’t friendly, are all recipes for dissatisfaction of the consumer. These factors lead to consumers exiting critical landing pages. In such a scenario, what you need to focus on, is hiring an eCommerce development agency. An agency, that has the necessary technical expertise and follows UX and UI best practices that make for a great user experience. Choosing the agency, however, is a task that needs much caution and diligence. Here are some helpful indicators that can help you choose the right agency:
#1 Does the agency understand your business goals?
First things first! It is imperative for the agency to take the time and effort to understand your business goals. The agency studies your store products, gets into the details of product shipping, delivery, prices as also assesses your competitive landscape. Seeing all of that happening, gives you a lot of confidence. In fact, as the agency studies the needs and expectations of the eCommerce project, expect them to ask you a whole lot of questions. With the right foundation, the chances of them delivering a product that takes your business goals that much further, are far higher.
#2 What kind of work experience and capabilities do they have?
In a highly competitive business such as eCommerce, there is no way you can afford to reinvent the wheel. Hence, make sure you check the kind of experience the agency has with the exact platform in which you are proposing to develop your store.
The requisite experience will indicate the necessary technical expertise and also show if they are equipped with industry best practices. Checking for the work experience would mean looking through the resumes of their key personnel as also the portfolio of the agency.
Pro tip– A great indicator of the agency capabilities is its blog. Whether the agency is indeed a thought leader in its space and is ahead of the curve, will often be revealed from their blog and other resources. For instance, if the agency claims to be a Magento specialist, trust us, it will be worth your while to read up its blog. The relevant content that the blog offers will help you establish the agency’s expertise beyond any doubt.
Technical credentials apart, you should take a look at the core values of the agency as well. It would be good to find out something that you identify with.
#3 Agency’s Portfolio
The proof, as they say, lies in the pudding. There cannot be better evidence of an experienced eCommerce development agency, than its portfolio. In gauging the portfolio, besides looking at the UX designs, ensure you look at metrics such as how the agency has impacted client revenues or conversion rates. Essentially then, a close analysis of their portfolio will help you determine their technical skills, creative prowess as well as their ability to deliver tangible results.
Additionally, it will also help to ask for client reviews and references. This will offer a great insight into how the agency works and whether it will indeed be the right choice for you.
#4 What is their Team Size and Credentials?
A big advantage of hiring a large agency is that you are privy to the knowledge base of the entire team. That said, a fair understanding of the team allocated to your specific project is essential ad important. It will also help you understand their competencies as also the fact that the timelines being proposed are indeed realistic. Also, make sure, you carefully study the credentials of the team undertaking your project. The developers on the team need to be well-versed with the platform you are going ahead with.
#5 Is their approach proactive or reactive?
There can be many indicators of whether the agency’s approach is proactive or reactive. In fact, you can start to make this assessment right from the time the agency undertakes an analysis of your project and identifies opportunities for improvement. Client referrals can be yet another source to determine this aspect. You could also quiz the agency on the kind of post-production support they plan to offer once the project is completed.
#6 What is their development process?
It is fairly important not just to look at the deliverables the agency is offering but also their development process.
A scope document can be helpful in determining both their understanding of your project and what they have on offer. Be sure to look out for their testing and quality assurance processes in particular, as you certainly cannot afford costly mistakes.
#7 What kind of project timelines do they follow?
As they say, time is money. You cannot afford any delays when it comes to your project development as it will, in turn, impact your entire business plan. It is imperative, therefore, to get an understanding of the kind of project deadlines that the eCommerce agency proposes to follow. It will also be prudent to check if at different stages of the project there will be check-ins and scope for iteration if required.
#8 What is your budget?
Odds are that you have allocated some kind of budget for your eCommerce development. While you choose the agency basis the fact that their deliverables fall within the range you have set for yourself, there are some additional points to consider:
- Ensure that there are no hidden costs involved. The cost quoted, should include the total cost of ownership including upgrades and maintenance.
- Remember that cheaper isn’t always better. Besides with cheaper products you could land up spending money on post-production issues.
#9 Is the agency’s Location a deciding criterion?
The general notion is that going with an agency that offers geographical proximity and convenience is the better option. But then again, technology certainly can mitigate distances.
In fact, remote tech teams can offer a host of advantages including but not limited to access to a global talent pool.
#10 Long-term relationship with the Agency
Last but definitely not least, it is important that the agency that you choose can keep up with your business as it grows and evolves. Hence, make sure you partner with an eCommerce development agency that is committed to build and maintain your website. Not just a one time partner.
Here’s to a long and fruitful working relationship with the agency and to your world-class eCommerce solution!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my existing eCommerce development agency right for my business?
Here’s a quick checklist to know if you have hired the right eCommerce development agency:
- Are they aligned to your business goals?
- What is their technical expertise?
- What are their overall work experience and credentials of the team?
- What kind of development process do they follow?
- Do they have a relevant portfolio to showcase?
- Do their core values match your company’s values?
How to check the credibility of an eCommerce agency?
To evaluate the credibility of an eCommerce agency, you can visit their website and explore their blogs, portfolios, and case studies. It will give you an insight into their work experience, expertise & their execution capabilities. You can also check the Linkedin profiles of their leadership team. Apart from this, there are a few third-party websites like GoodFirms, Clutch.co, etc. where you can check their client’s testimonials.
How important is eCommerce maintenance? What kind of post-deployment services do eCommerce agencies provide?
From updating new product images and descriptions to creating a backup of the latest version of your website data, eCommerce maintenance prepares your website from many major outages. Some of the most common post-deployment services that agencies provide are security & data maintenance, storefront maintenance, eCommerce SEO, etc.
What advantage does an eCommerce agency have over an in-house development team?
An eCommerce agency has a cross-functional team of experts with access to the latest technology that can add value to your project. Also, having worked on large projects, they have a more in-depth knowledge of industry best practices. Also, you can focus more on your core business areas and drastically cut down the development cost if you choose to hire an eCommerce agency over an in-house development team.
How do I effectively communicate & work with my eCommerce agency?
Be clear about your expectations from the very beginning of the project. It can be related to your financial ROI, brand image, preferred way of communication, person of contact, etc. Your timely feedback and your constant involvement with the project can help them understand your preferences and expectations better. Also, see them as your partner, and not as an outside agency. This will help you collaborate much better.