Choosing a Magento Agency to support the growth of your eCommerce business is no mean feat. Not only do you have to find an agency that knows the ins and outs of Magento, but you also need to find one which you can trust – after all, you’re effectively putting the future of your eCommerce business in their hands.
With the market becoming so saturated with certified Magento agencies, it’s become even more difficult to determine which agencies meet this criteria. And if they do, whether they are the right match for your people and your business.
But fear not. Follow our steps for choosing a Magento Agency and you’re guaranteed to find one you can not only trust but partner with for life – well, business life.
1. Nail Your Brief
Being completely truthful, you cannot expect your Magento agency to meet your objectives if you don’t have a clear idea of what they are before you talk to them.
Briefs are underrated in eCommerce. But having one prepared before you even begin your search for an agency is crucial. Not only will it help when you come to making a decision, but it will also help you narrow down the search.
For example, say you know you want to prioritise the performance of your Magento website. You’ll need an agency that specialises in Hyva Themes – the best of the best when it comes to performance. As there are only 22 agencies in the UK listed as specialists on the Hyva Themes website as trusted and experienced, that means there are now only 22 agencies to consider.
So how do you nail that brief before your search for a Magento agency?
The first point of call is identifying your business objectives. What do you want to achieve as a business in the next six, 12 and 18 months for example. Perhaps you want to reach a younger audience? Prioritise a certain product? Or even increase the amount of returning customers. Whatever your business objectives are, note them down as a starting point.
Now you know where you want to go, think about what’s stopping you and could stop you from getting there. Try to think specifically about the reason you’re searching for an agency and break it down from there. It could be that your current agency doesn’t have the understanding about technology to integrate with Magento to increase conversions. Or it could be that your current Magento website doesn’t seem to be converting, despite a high volume of traffic.
Get specific with your desires
Bringing it back directly to your Magento website, think about what you want it to do that it doesn’t currently. You don’t need to learn or understand the technical elements or development process at this stage, it’s more about understanding the end result. For example, do you want products to load quicker? A sleeker design? A customer journey? More secure checkout? Whatever your desires, document them and agree as a team that these are the goals. Perhaps you don’t know this detail yet. And that’s ok. Just ensure that you have a good idea of what’s not working in your brief and the right agency will be able to identify from years of exposure to similar cases what the issues are and the technical solutions.
Beyond your website
Sometimes, there are scenarios where you need more than just a high performing and converting website. You need support with other areas that work alongside your Magento website to attract more customers. This could be marketing strategies and implementation, eCommerce strategies, or eCommerce technology for example. If you know you need support with these, it’s wise to ensure the agency you’re considering has eCommerce strategy skills and services in house as well as a strong partner network. Knowing this ahead of your search will save a lot of time and frustration for both parties.
2. Understand What Industry Accreditations And Accolades Mean To You
Is the best way to choose a Magento Agency to look at how many awards and accreditations it has? In our professional opinion – and knowledge of the accreditation process – we’d say not. Of course, certifications and awards mean something – in fact, to qualify for a partnership Magento agencies must complete a certain number of projects well and have certified developers in its team – but do they really mean everything to you as a merchant?
When you’re starting your search after preparing your brief, try not to get blind sighted by certifications alone. Yes, check that they exist, but use it as just one criteria on your list that has been met.
3. Consider If Size Is Everything
It’s an old age debate – does size matter? Well in this case, the answer is with you as a merchant. Do you want and need an agency with a big team at hand? Or would you prefer a smaller agency with a handful of specialists?
It’s worth noting that bigger agencies often have to operate in different ways to smaller agencies. They have more projects, more departments and more team members. Each may have their own set part of a project to work on and you could end up being passed from pillar to post. Within smaller agencies, it’s quite common to be dedicated to an account manager who acts as your point of contact and oversees your partnership. Then, a team of developers well versed in Magento and what merchants using Magento need to do to thrive.
4. Find Out If They’re True Specialists
At this point in your search for a Magento Agency, you’ve likely started to form a pretty substantial list of potential partners. However, it’s completely unethical to approach all of them and ask for a proposal, so you’ll want to continue doing a little more filtering before reaching out. An easy way to shorten that list is by determining whether their team are true specialists – or whether it’s just words. Evidence that their team are true specialists can be sourced via:
- Personal brand – do the people within the team have a strong personal brand? For example, do they share insightful and relevant content on their social channels? Are they interviewed by industry leaders? Do people respect their opinion in the Magento community? These are all signals that someone’s personal brand is strong.
- Continued Personal Development (CPD) – can you identify that the team – senior and junior – commit to continued personal development? This can be evident from attendance at conferences, Magento meetups, online courses, new product launch events etc.
- Experience – can you clearly see that the people in the team have exposure to brands like yours and achieved real results for them through Magento. This is a biggy.
5. Assess What Commitment They Give To Their Clients
It’s all good and well saying that clients are a priority, but is this clear to see outside of one sentence on a webpage? Usually, when a brand is devoted to fair treatment of its clients, it will be evidenced everywhere. So, visit their site and social channels and explore with a fine tooth comb, looking particularly at:
- Their values
- Approach to doing business
- What they say about their team
- The wording used across their website – is it fluff/the same as everyone else/full of buzzwords?
- How they communicate with clients
If you’re confident at this stage that there’s potential for a strong partnership, shortlist them ready for outreach.
6. Look Closely At Their Portfolio
Case studies are brilliant, aren’t they? Excellent ways to demonstrate the work the agency has completed and their capabilities. Thing is, there are a few tell-tale signs that some projects weren’t really as great as the case studies say they are. That’s why when you’re looking at case studies, bear the following in mind:
- Is the client’s original brief/objectives mentioned?
- Is the process the agency went through to determine a solution clear?
- Is the client named or is the case study anonymous?
- What was the project timeline and does this seem fair?
- Are results included – what was the wider impact if so?
- Has the client provided a testimonial
7. See If They Are Customer Verified
Following on nicely from the case study assessment, it’s a vital step to determine if the agency is verified by real customers. With any luck, you’ll have seen some cracking testimonials in the case studies but it’s still worth doing some extra digging. Google reviews can be quite misleading – after all, it’s easy to get anyone with a Google account these days to leave a review. What you need to be doing is looking deep into the trusted review platforms. Within the Magento community, there are two main review platforms considered trustworthy – reviews.io and Yotpo.
Have a browse and see what you find.
8. Understand How Cost Is Calculated
However much people try to deny it, cost is always a factor – whether big or small – when it comes to choosing a Magento agency. But it shouldn’t just be the total investment that’s a consideration. To understand whether an agency is transparent and honest, determine how that total investment is calculated.
Some good questions to ask are:
- Are consultations chargeable?
- How is the price broken down?
- Is it based on the time taken to complete the project or the requirements of the project itself?
- What happens regarding licences and technology – will extra costs be added on.
There may be other questions that spring to mind during research, just don’t be afraid to ask them.
9. Think About What Happens After
Every good agency knows that merchants need more than a shiny new website and then to be sent on their way. Of course, this might be what you want, but if it’s not, make sure the agency you’re looking at is interested in building long term partnerships. This can be evidenced in the Magento support and maintenance services they offer. If it’s a standard package with no room for flexibility or no inclusion of a development roadmap, it might be worth asking a few questions. Ecommerce moves fast and so does the technology within the Magento community. To really thrive, you’ll need an agency that understands this and encourages ongoing relationships between you.
Now you’re set to go off and choose the right Magento agency for you.
If you’ve done your homework on us using this guide and are ready to chat about your journey to growth with Magento, get in touch and let’s explore.