Ecommerce has changed the world for good and the change is here to stay. In recent years, ecommerce has skyrocketed in popularity, and the expansion to some extent was expected. Due to recent events, the industry has experienced a new high that left many businesses running to catch up.
It’s no secret when industries experience massive growth, competition becomes fierce and the ecommerce industry is no exception. One wrong move or failure to keep up with the demand can push a business into a challenging position. Avoiding situations like these is where the role of ecommerce specialists begins. If you’re wondering what an ecommerce agency is, we’ve got your back!
What is an Ecommerce Agency or an Ecommerce Consulting Company?
An ecommerce consulting company is an external team of experts who collaborate with online businesses and help with complications in the ecommerce industry.
The company also assists with goals that the business may have such as expanding its reach or increasing monthly/yearly sales goals. To put it simply, the agency helps you focus on the product/service that you’re offering. The consultants do this by providing their expertise and dealing with all the technicalities of having an online presence.
If you’re wondering if you should (or whether it’s the right time to) involve an ecommerce consulting company, here are four important points to consider.
4 Reasons To Hire an Ecommerce Agency
1. To Reduce Costs
Even amateurs know that in a successful business, maximizing revenue and minimizing costs go side by side. An ecommerce business will only thrive when its strategies are built around these factors. This seemingly simple formula isn’t simple at all.
It means the business should be carried out in a way where all resources are utilized efficiently and are deployed as needed. The problem is, not all business owners are equipped with the kind of experience needed to do this.
Even though the idea of paying a custom ecommerce development agency may sound like an increase in expenses, if you really think about it, it’s beneficial. In what way? Well, the agency’s expertise in the fieldcan reduce overall operating costs and increase profitabilty. For example, the agency may be able to help yureduce the cost of every transaction or trim on shipping expenses. If you hire an ecommerce brand that knows how to do the job right, the cost of hiring will be a smart investment when compared to the cost savings and revenue increase they bring in.
2. To Assist in Expansion
If your business is flourishing, it’s time to consider expanding. This is how it is for every business out there: recognizing the need for growth and moving forward with a strategy. The strategy here is key. If you’re an ecommerce based business owner, there are high chances that you’re inexperienced in this area. This is where the expertise of ecommerce specialists will come in handy.
Just like you have experience in the services/goods your business is based on, an ecommerce consulting company knows the field of ecommerce better than you do. The agency you hire will carry out thorough research and create a custom plan that eliminates risks that may follow a business expansion.
3. Ecommerce Agencies Know to Reach Your Ideal Audience
There are all types of people on the Internet. If you market your products and services without understanding your customers, you’ll simply be disappointed by the results. In any business, customers are the priority. So is the case in the ecommerce industry. The difference is that there aren’t customers walking in, so you need to take steps to make your store stand out to them.
Understanding your target audience and demographic is a must for this purpose. When you know your customer base, it’s easier to make the best out of marketing and reach out to more people whom your ecommerce brand can serve. Ecommerce agencies have expertise in all tools and skills required to understand and target the demographic that will get your business the conversion rate it’s working hard for.
4. To Optimize Supply Chain
The supply chain is an integral part of any ecommerce brand. It includes all the steps that go into the process of receiving an order and delivering it to the customer. It’s a long process with several complicated steps.
To maximize profits and further polish customer service, any ecommerce brand must fine-tune this process, and contracting an ecommerce specialists is one way to do that. They’ll carry out an investigation and highlight all the steps that have room for improvement. An ecommerce consulting company will also bring out solutions and prioritized steps for you to follow to optimize the supply chain.
Your Role While Hiring Ecommerce Specialists
Communication in any relationship is key and so is the case in your collaboration with an ecommerce consulting company. Before actually investing in an agency, you must reevaluate the goals you have for your business. If you’re clear with what you are expecting from this arrangement, it’ll make the job easier for them as well. To be able to communicate clearly, you must have clear objectives yourself first. Some of these objectives may look like
- Reducing the operations costs by a suitable percentage
- Increasing sale revenue by a set percentage
- Increasing traffic to the website
- Strengthening your online presence
5 Qualities the Ecommerce Agency You Hire Must Have
1.The Agency Has Experience in Your Field
Ecommerce is an industry, and under it are businesses with completely different cultures. If your business lies more on the general side, you don’t have to worry about the agency’s experience in a specific area as long as it has a good reputation.
This isn’t the case if products or processes you’re dealing with are technical. Even if the ecommerce development agency has been around for a while and worked with several other businesses, that isn’t enough for you to sign up with that agency.
Investigate whether the agency has experience working with businesses similar to yours. Experience in your field is one trait that ecommerce specialists you’re considering must have.
2.The Agency Demonstrates Open Communication
As mentioned above, communication is key, especially if we’re talking about reaching out to audiences through a screen. If the agency isn’t good at communicating with you, chances are slim that their efforts will resonate with the audience and bring out desired results.
The purpose of hiring an ecommerce consulting company is to see good results and have some peace of mind. If the agency isn’t communicating and keeping you updated on its progress, the latter isn’t promised. I’m not saying that you should compel the agency to give you all the irrelevant details but make sure the agency is keeping you in the loop for all the critical bits.
Having regular meetings where the agency runs its plans by the business’s decision-makers so that both of you are on the same page throughout the collaboration is one way to go about it. Does the agency you’re hiring show signs of openness in communication and transparency? If yes, you can expect to have a pleasant experience.
3.The Agency Thinks of Your Customers as Its Customers
Hiring an agency with a customer-first attitude is another trait that you must look for when you’re out hunting for ecommerce Specialists. The ideal ecommerce consulting company will treat your customers as if they were its own.
This means the agency will put in the effort to know the customers, understand their needs, and create plans that put them first. If the agency knows the customer base well enough, the campaigns and strategies the the agency implements will be effective and deliver the desired results.
4.The Agency’s Strategies Must Show Results
Your agency is here to serve a purpose. The purpose is an objective or a goal that you’ve set (as discussed in the above section) for the agency. If strategies and plans the agency executes don’t show a consistent return in the form of increased sales, lowered costs, growth in social pages, or any other goal that you may have for your business, the agency is not doing its job right.
It’s the job of ecommerce agencies to optimize the process already in place or to introduce better ones if it serves the agenda. If the agency is being vague and unable to present a clear report of the difference it’s making for your ecommerce brand, chances are that the agency is just interested in the monthly fee. When the agency’s strategies aren’t showing results, it’s time to let the agency go.
5.The Agency Must Demonstrate Honesty
Just like you’re trying to maximize profits, remember that the agencies you’re hiring are businesses too. Lots of them will tell you what they think you want to hear, just to score a client.
If you’re investing in a service, you deserve honesty. Hence, honesty is another trait that an ecommerce consulting company must have. Only then will the agency be able to highlight all the problems, be open when strategies aren’t working, and make plans accordingly with your input.
If the agency isn’t honest, it may try to conceal information that could upset you. This attitude can work for a while but your business will take the blow for it in the long run. There are a couple of ways to verify whether you’re signing up with an agency that prioritizes honesty.
Verify From a Contact
The first step is to verify within your circle. This one only stands if you have a contact who has had first-hand experience with the ecommerce agency you’re considering. If you have a contact, reach out to him or her and inquire about the quality of service he or she received.
Have a Couple Initial Meetings
Before you sign a contract, make sure to have a couple of meetings. In these meetings, keep an open mind and ask questions. Ask the agency for its opinions on the strategies you’re currently applying and notice whether the agency gives an unbiased opinion. If the agency is only giving inputs to please you – that’s a red flag!
On the other hand, an agency that values honesty won’t shy away from being vocal about its opinions even if they don’t sound as nice.
Go Through the Terms Of the Contract
Another way to judge whether an agency is honest and transparent with you is by the terms of the contract it prepares. Thoroughly go through the contract before signing it. If there are hidden charges or some services excluded from the initial fees that are assumed to be covered by it, it’s a sign that you should reconsider the arrangement.
Refer to an Independent Reporting Source
There is a chance that reports you’re being presented with exclude some information the agency wants to conceal. Maybe a strategy isn’t working or actual numbers are unpleasant. To avoid being misled, it’s a good idea to refer to an independent source. It can be as basic as seeing numbers on Google Analytics but doing so will help you stay a step ahead of the game. You don’t need to verify all the information – if a sample of it checks out, other analytics should be reliable too.
By now, we’re well aware that expansion in the ecommerce industry has just started. With time, more and more people are going to shift their offline stores online. Recent events have played a huge role in shifting the shopping habits of buyers and that change is one of many permanent changes will continue to fuel online sales for years to come.
This is an opportunity for many businesses but also a challenge. Changes are aggressive and expert assistance is one way to wisely deal with adjusting to them.
Knowing exactly what to expect with ecommerce consulting and ways to choose the right agency for your business will pay off in the long run.