For many retailers, an ecommerce consultant or agency with a consultancy service can add significant value. In the challenges of the day-to-day running of an online store, it can be rewarding to work with a partner who can take a step back and pinpoint any issues within your setup but also offer up opportunities for high growth.
For those exploring working with an ecommerce consultant, what should you consider?
#1 – Do you want specialist insight or a general overview?
The first question to ask is whether you are in need of specialist insight or if you’re looking for a general ecommerce overview.
This will depend on what challenges you’re having, and which technologies you are using.
If you are struggling with ecommerce positioning, marketing, customer service etc. then you may benefit from a general overview.
If you are built on Magento or Shopify, you’ll benefit more from specialist insight into those platforms. Similarly, if you’re having challenges with Amazon you will want a specialist who can best inform your Amazon marketing strategy.
#2 – What type of ecommerce consultant are you looking for?
The second question to ask yourself is what type of consultant are you looking for? Ecommerce consultants work in different ways – some may be freelancers, some may have a team. The type of consultant you’d want to work with will depend on what advice you need.
A freelancer consultant has its benefits and they could work as an extension or advisor to your team. They’re likely to give you a general overview.
An ecommerce consultant with a team can also be beneficial as you will then have different perspectives and opinions to pull from. This type of consultant may be able to give you both a general overview and some specialist insight into platforms or technologies.
You may also want to work with an agency who has an ecommerce consultancy service. An agency will likely have a wider set of skills and perspectives to pull from and may have more established partnerships with technologies and other similar agencies. Depending on the agency setup, they will be able to give you highly technical and specialist insight with a cohesive top-level overview.
#3 – What types of retailers do they work with?
An easier question to ask when looking at potential consultants is what type of retailers do they work with?
First of all, if they work with other retailers within your vertical then they are certainly worth having a conversation with. They will know the ins and outs of that industry and will be able to offer specific insight into unique challenges you may be facing.
Second of all, if you’re a retailer with a wholesale or B2B offering then you will need to work with an ecommerce consultant or agency with specific experience here. The unique challenges that can come with B2B ecommerce will need specialist insight from a consultant with B2B experience.
And lastly, you also want to consider the size of retailers they work with, the types of products they sell (FMCG, luxury, repeat purchases etc.), the demographics they sell to, the markets they sell in and more. The more experience a consultant or agency has with your challenges, the better.
#4 – Identify what partnerships the consultant has
Another consideration is the type of partnerships a consultant or agency has. As mentioned, if you’re a store built on Magento or Shopify you will need a consultant with a strong partnership with those platforms.
Similarly, you will likely benefit from a consultant with partnerships with your email platform, reviews platform, payment providers, loyalty and marketing platforms etc. In the world of ecommerce, partnerships can be key and can help you fix problems faster and identify growth opportunities for your business.
That’s not to say that if a consultant doesn’t have these partnerships then they will not add value, but it certainly helps.
#5 – Is there a strong cultural fit with the consultant?
The last consideration is cultural fit. You will be spending a lot of time with the consultant or agency and need to be reassured that you have the same values and ethics in order to have a good cultural fit.
Any partnership is built on trust and vision and if you don’t align here, then it may not work.
Consultancy can add value to your business
Whether you work with a freelancer consultant or work with an agency with a consultancy service, you will find that it does add value to work with an outsider who can identify challenges and opportunities.
Whether you’re approaching ecommerce for the first time, or you’re an established ecommerce business, growing online can be a complex challenge. We offer ecommerce consultancy as one of our key services to help you create a plan for ecommerce growth. Our ecommerce consultancy framework helps retailers understand what they need in order to experience rapid growth, from platform choice and integrations through to expansion and customer acquisition strategy.
If you need advice or support with your ecommerce store, then get in touch.