Five things to do when researching an agency to build or grow your online store

November 09, 2021

So you’re building a new online store from the ground up. Or maybe you’re looking to migrate an existing store. Or your existing store needs a boost to help growth. You’ve decided it’s time to enlist a digital agency—but you know it’s important to find the right one.

For some, comparison shopping is a joy. (You know the type: the partner, parent or mate who delights in complicated spreadsheets that summarise the pros and cons of various insurance companies, washing machines or cars.) For the rest of us, though, it can feel daunting. Where do you even begin? And what do you need to get started?

In this post, we’ve put together five ways to help you get your proverbial ducks in a row. Think of it as your to-do list when researching agencies.

1. Clean up your product data.

Is all text free of spelling and grammar errors? Have discontinued products been removed? Do any product names or information need updating? Are product images consistently sized and (where appropriate) deep-etched? Think of it as a preventative measure—it avoids last-minute changes and corrections, which can be both stressful and costly. And while an agency will get to know you and your business, no one knows it better than you.

2. Create a clear brief.

This will save time in the long run, believe us—and, more importantly, it helps you to present an accurate vision, ensuring you’re all on the same page right from the get-go.

Some of the important questions you should be ready to answer include:

  • What problem is your customer facing?
  • How is that problem making them feel? Why does it need to be addressed?
  • What benefits does your product or service offer a customer?
  • How can you show your customer that you care about their primary problem?
  • How can you assure your customer that you know what you’re doing to help solve their problem?

3. Know your budget.

We’ve all been there—you’re spent time and energy chatting to agencies, and you’re excited to get started. Then you speak with your boss only to be told ‘I think we need to put this on hold; it’s too expensive’. Going in with a clear scope for budget ensures no wasted time, establishes shared expectations, and helps an agency to design and propose appropriate solutions.

4. Read the agency's client testimonials.

Better yet, contact previous clients directly if you can. Does the agency have a good track record for delivering high-quality solutions to deadline and within budget? Are they experts in the areas that matter the most? Do they have experience with your product, service or market? Having a bit of background knowledge will give you confidence and demonstrate authority when you’re speaking with the agency.

5. Establish a proposed timeline early in the process.

It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s vital nonetheless. A realistic timeline with key milestones laid out is helpful for everyone involved, and can help to avoid frustration or disappointment further down the track.

If you’ve already made a start on your research, and you’d like to chat with us about building or expanding your store, get in touch