Growing an ecommerce business is hard work.
Each level of growth brings new challenges. An ecommerce site needs consistent attention to grow: updates, improvements and iterations on your customer’s shopping experience will create the best experience possible for your visitors, and keep your KPIs moving in the right direction. For help with that, you may want to consider hiring an expert.
Ecommerce experts bring years of experience, and an outside perspective to your team. They also bring a focus on your website so you can direct attention to other aspects of your business.
In this post, we’re going to break down what it means to partner with an expert in the ecommerce world, and how finding the right partner is an investment that can be beneficial to the overall growth of your business.
We’ll look at:
- The different types of Shopify Experts: freelancers and agencies
- How experts help you grow
- How a partnership works
- When to hire a Shopify Expert
- Cost of an expert
- When you can expect to see results
The different types of Shopify Experts: freelancers and agencies
Shopify Experts are strategists, creatives, designers, and developers who specialize in Shopify. Experts tend to fall into two general buckets: freelancers and agencies.
The type of expert you want will depend on the type of help you need.
For merchants who are looking for someone to complete a list of tasks – like updating the styling on a theme or updating a checkout page, a freelancer may be the best choice. For the most part, these experts complete your task as assigned, aren’t too involved in other aspects of your site, and are less expensive. The Shopify Expert marketplace and businesses like Storetasker connect merchants with experts for this type of work.
Agencies, on the other hand, tend to work alongside you and get to know the ins and outs of your business and your industry. They offer solutions and give you strategic, data-informed suggestions to improve your online experience. Normally, they have years of specialized experience and a team to help you scale and grow.
Each agency is different, so what they offer will vary, but here are some services you can expect to see:
- Strategy (including CRO)
- Visual Design
- UX/UI Design
- Email Marketing
- Paid Marketing
- Content Marketing
Some brands feel reluctant to go the agency route. This is usually a result of starting with low cost partners and getting burned by them. This causes your shields to go up and then you don’t trust anyone. But working with competent partners can and should work well. Invest in the right partners, and then trust them to help you. Work out the ROI before you engage with them.
For the rest of this article, we’re going to focus on experts in the agency context.
How experts help you grow
The main value of an agency partner is their expertise and years of experience working with digital brands. Agencies should have a successful track record, along with proven processes and strategies that work.
Here at Fuel Made, we use the Fuel Made Growth Model to uncover specific growth opportunities for each store. This model is based on years of working with top digital brands, and gives merchants a guide to follow for success.
Success has a different definition for each store.
But generally, experts help improve key metrics like conversion rate, retention and lifetime value.
Their main value is their ability to identify gaps in your specific store to ensure it’s meeting the needs of all shoppers.
How a partnership works
Every business is unique.
For a partnership to work, you need to take an active and key role in the engagement.
A common misunderstanding is that a good agency can “work magic” without any input from the client. While this is true to an extent (an expert can design an objectively effective site optimized for conversions), it may not take into consideration key components of your individual brand and business that set your store up for success.
The real magic of an agency partnership comes when the agency and the business owner are in-sync and working together – both bringing their expertise to the table.
Agencies may be experts in ecommerce, but they don’t have the internal knowledge that store owners have about their own business. While an agency partner will spend a significant amount of time getting to know your business, their ability to dive deep into key components comes with cooperation with you. Only by clearly communicating your business plans, vision and goals can a strategic plan be created.
When to hire a Shopify Expert
Most clients engage with a partner because they have run into growth barriers they need expert help to clear. As a store owner, you usually have a pulse on the pain points impacting your business. Those challenges don’t always have clear solutions.
For example, if you find yourself with concerns like, “I really need to figure out how to move the needle on my conversion rate” it might be time to bring in a fresh perspective and some expert, experienced help.
Bringing in outside help with your business can be an unnerving experience for many merchants. But accessing knowledge outside of your direct circle can bring much-needed perspective, execution help, and even unlock opportunities for your store that you did not know existed.
Cost of an expert
A good expert will be in demand, and will come at a premium. However a good expert will also be an investment that brings a return, and not strictly an expense.
When evaluating experts, be sure you consider what the expert brings to the table (experience, track record, capabilities), and resist the urge to shop by hourly rate.
When you can expect to see results
Every business is different. But you shouldn’t expect KPIs to soar overnight.
Growth takes time. It takes time to happen, and it takes time to be statistically significant enough to count as growth. And there are many factors at play that impact the success of your new site: traffic quality, product-market fit, customer experience, to name a few.
But as a general rule, merchants should see demonstrable improvement on KPI’s within 3 to 6 months. Continuously monitoring these KPI’s and customer feedback after launch will give you a good understanding of how users are engaging with the new site. From there, you can make improvements and iterations to continue to evolve your shopping experience.
In conclusion, investing in the right partner to help you grow brings a team of experts focused on your goals with you. It’s an investment to work with an agency, but with the right partner behind you, the ROI should make it well worth it.