Chris Simmons

In this video podcast, Chris Simmons, Ziffity’s growth leader, explains 8 simple strategies that can help retailers and distributors choose the right eCommerce development agency that fits their budget and scope.

Video Podcast Transcript

Topic : 8 simple strategies to choose the right eCommerce development partner.

Partnerships are the bedrock of a successful eCommerce business. Outsourcing your eCommerce development project can help you focus on crucial areas that demand undivided attention like sales and marketing. However, finding the right eCommerce agency is a tough task as there are hundreds of agencies providing development services no matter which platform you choose.

Today, I will be walking you through 8 simple steps that could help you find the best partner for your scope and budget.

STEP 1 : Talk to the eCommerce platform providers. It could be Magento, Hybris, Demandware, Shopify, or any other. Get four to five agency partner names, which they think will fit the bill for the scope of work you have and the budget for the project.

STEP 2 : Understand how big they are, the number of consultants they have, service offerings, number of certified developers in the platform you are looking for. Once you’re satisfied with what you see, go ahead and reach out to them. In this tab, you need to eliminate two of the five agencies you have.

STEP 3 : Get on a call with the agencies. Once the introduction part is done and if you have seen some of their work and you’re satisfied with the answers, provide your scope document to them so they can provide you a proposal. In the whole process, see if they are receptive, responsive, asking good questions, coming out as experts in the eCommerce field, and trying to understand your challenges and aspirations. Also, see if they are identifying growth opportunities that you haven’t realized and suggesting areas for improvement.

STEP 4 : Evaluate agencies on all the criteria you have. Go through the proposal and see if the scope is well defined, pricing, timeline, and deliverables from the discovery phase are clear, project approach and communication plan is mentioned, and milestones are well established as well.

When it comes to average turnaround time, don’t be deceived by the idea that an agency that delivers in a short time is the best. What matters to you is whether the development agency has a practice of sticking to a timeline. Agencies driven by the Agile development process will be able to deliver projects in sprints at a constant pace.

Based on your evaluation, you need to boil down to two agencies now.

STEP 5 : Ask for a reference customer to whom you can speak and know more about the agency. When it comes to reference checks, always read between the lines on what their existing customers are saying. Ask open-ended questions than pointed ones.

STEP 6 : By now, you would know whom you want to go ahead with. Before you finalize, answer these questions.

In spite of meticulously choosing the agency, what if you : 

  • Don’t like the work of the agency, three weeks into the engagement?
  • How do you de-risk yourself?
  • What if you are not happy with the particular team members allocated to you?
  • How would you stay in the loop about the project update?

STEP 7 : Contract part. Your legal finance team can help you in this process. This might take some time, and if you wish to start the work early, check with the agency if they can start with an email approval. Check the team composition, how the hours of billing are split on a daily and hourly basis.

STEP 8 : Step eight. Now, you’re all set. Form a project team at your end, and you’re ready to kick off.

We hope that the tips mentioned above will help in bettering your vendor selection skills.



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