As a Co-founder of a top London Magento Agency, I thought it would be great to share some thoughts on what should be your biggest factors when choosing an ecommerce development agency. It’s a big decision on your side and choosing the right agency partner is key to your online stores success.
So what are these factors?
Choosing an agency is a tough decision and merchants often make the decision on price or geography. Price is always a factor and geographic location may sometimes be a factor; however, having those two things being only deciding factors in your project – is pretty much a guarantee that your project is going to lead into an unsuccessful conclusion.
Estimating a price for that project is often a lot simpler than delivering that project for the price that has been estimated, combine that with inexperienced developers and it becomes a recipe for disaster.
So what are the things you should consider?
What you want to do is reduce risk, to a point where it is virtually certain that you will end up with a Magento ecommerce platform that meets your business needs and objectives, at a price point that is affordable to your business.
The key elements when considering an agency are ‘Capabilities’ and ‘Experience’.
Are they able to do what you need them to do, and have they done something similar in the past, an inexperienced London Magento agency is usually much more cheaper than an accomplished agency, but is that because they don’t truly understand the complexity of your needs and are guessing at the price, then what happens if the project turns out to be more complex that they anticipated and their inexperience just compounds your problems.
I’ve seen this numerous times, when a merchant chooses the least expensive development agency bidding on a project and often they have to come back to us who is a more experienced agency to try and take over their project to get it back on track. It saddens me to see those merchants feeling frustrated and realising that by choosing inexperience over the experience has caused the journey to be considerably more expensive.
Generally, agencies can only be great at doing one thing, that thing has to be core to their DNA and what the agency was founded on. Sadly for a lot of merchants, that thing is sales and once the ecommerce project starts – it goes downhill extremely quickly from there. So, in these situations only focus on development agencies that focus on Magento and not every ecommerce platform out there.
On our front, we specialise on the user experiences, design, with a strong development team that has experience in heavy backend programming and integrations. We have worked on small ecommerce stores to extremely large ecommerce stores; all housed under Magento as your CMS.
If your technical needs are simple and you are really focussed on your usability and user experience of you website, well it then makes sense to find an agency that specialises in that area; however, if you have got complex integrations or advanced B2B functionality – the risk in your technical requirements are a lot higher than the risk in your user experience design, so you would want to look for a Magento agency that focuses in the complex.
Once you have narrowed down your choices based on capabilities, then look at experience – all you are doing here is looking to minimise risk. And nothing minimises risk than finding the right agency that’s done exactly what you want to accomplish.
Saying that, it’s rare to find an agency that has done exactly 100% of what your project looks like, through experience requirements vary from client to client, but you want to identify the riskiest and complex part of your project and look for an agency that has relevant experience in those areas. This is not something that agencies will promote as some of these are bespoke Magento module based technicalities.
For example, if you have hundreds of thousands of SKUs, choosing an agency that has never seen a ecommerce store that big and doesn’t understand the complexities that come with it – well – that could be a problem.
I think it is fair to state that one of the biggest indicators of agency experience, is the questions they will ask you in the initial conversation about your project. This can be a major giveaway on their skill level.
So ask yourself these questions:
· Are they understanding your business?
· Are they asking questions that flesh out how something will really function?
· Can they identify the riskiest parts of your project?
If they are asking basic questions and then they provide you with a quote, well they are just guessing, which makes it a very dangerous road to travel.
A bargain basement price, no matter how low – is not a good deal if your project is a disaster.
You cannot let price be your sole determining factor in which agency you choose and unless there are some requirements on them being locally located to you, choosing a local agency that doesn’t meet these requirements – is not a good idea.
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