Almost every retailer will likely have an experience of having to manage multiple agencies during an ecommerce project, whether this is a migration, new platform build or ongoing support.
You may be working with a leading Magento or Shopify agency, but you may also have to manage a design agency, CRO agency, SEO agency and even a PPC agency as part of a migration project.
Each of these parties bring their expertise to the project, but naturally each agency will have priorities which may conflict with others, or have differing opinions to other agencies in the mix.
How can you manage multiple agencies during a replatforming project?
#1 – Communication Is Key
It goes without saying that when there are so many agencies to manage, communication is going to be key. You may want to delegate your lead ecommerce agency to communicate and liaise with other secondary agencies, or you may wish to do this yourself (if you can find the time amongst your other daily tasks!).
Schedule regular calls and meetings, use tools like Slack and use comprehensive project management tools like Jira. Make sure everyone can clearly communicate with each other and share ideas.
Many agencies fall into a trap of not being transparent with other agencies, especially if there is crossover with some services. However, for a replatforming project to work smoothly, every agency needs to trust the other agencies or freelancers on the project and communicate regularly.
#2 – Clarify Responsibilities and Priorities
Every agency involved with the replatforming project needs to understand what their responsibilities and priorities are. Either the retailer or the leading ecommerce agency needs to assign responsibilities so that everyone is clear on what element of the project they will be responsible for.
Without this, it can be unclear as to how much input is needed from the CRO agency as part of the design process, or how much input is needed from the SEO agency when creating the technical brief.
By defining everyone’s role in the project, you can minimise the risk of conflict and the project will be able to run a lot smoother.
#3 – Clear and Transparent Briefing Documents
Your ecommerce agency should create a technical brief document, and in some form or other, this should also cover how other agencies will be involved in the project (especially if they brought in other agencies).
These should be clear and transparent, acting as a written record of:
- What input is needed from other agencies
- What timescales are set for this input
- Who is responsible for signoff and approval
- What feedback is needed from other agencies
- How they will be managed by the leading agency, if needed
Make sure this is written in the form of a brief, so that you can refer back to this is, if there is a dispute.
#4 – Realistic Timescales
When planning your replatform project, your project manager will set key deadlines and timescales for each area of the project. This will include timescales for discovery, design, technical build, SEO etc.
When managing multiple agencies, it is more important than ever to make sure these timescales are realistic. If one agency is not able to meet one of these deadlines because of poor and unrealistic planning, it can trigger a long line of delays from other agencies.
Naturally, other agencies will be managing other replatform projects with other retailers which may have been scheduled in around your project, and any delay by another agency can cause issues here with other projects.
Make sure any timescales set are realistic, to minimise the risk of delays to your project.
#5 – Put in Place Contingency Plans
Similarly, it is also more important to have contingency plans in place when working with multiple agencies.
The more agencies involved in the project, the higher the chance that issues can crop up, i.e. people are sick, new people are hired.
You need comprehensive contingency plans so that if there are issues, the project isn’t affected too much. This may include having contingency timescales in place for delays, or alternative freelancers you can work with if an agency can no longer meet the requirements needed to fulfil the project.
Your lead ecommerce agency should be able to work with you on this.
#6 – Comprehensive Launch and Post-Launch Plans
Some agencies will work with you at the very beginning of the project, such as a design agency. Others will work with you throughout, such as a PPC agency or CRO agency. Others will work you only on post-launch, such as a PR agency or support agency.
In order to plan ahead, you need a comprehensive launch plan and an ongoing post-launch plan to cover the management of these agencies.
Who is responsible for what during launch? Which agencies will be involved post-launch?
For a replatforming project, the launch is naturally the key deadline of the project and you want to pay extra attention at this stage as to which agencies are involved and what their key responsibilities are.
Working collaboratively with multiple agencies can be beneficial to any project, as you can pool individual strengths and experiences and bring them to the project. However, there are unique challenges too and it can be difficult to manage multiple agencies without a clear plan for doing so.
If you’re looking for an ecommerce agency to lead a replatforming project, then get in touch and we can explore how we can work together on a migration plan.