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Hiring An Ecommerce Agency: 10 Things To Look For

Finding the right e-commerce marketing agency to partner with is a big decision that can have a major impact on your business’s online success. 

With over 2 million e-commerce companies in the world, the competition for reaching and converting online shoppers is fierce. A quality agency can provide immense value through specialised expertise and resources that drive tangible ROI.

But with so many e-commerce marketing agencies to choose from, how do you select the ideal partner for your brand? 

Based on proven results and best practices, here are the top 10 things to look for when choosing an e-commerce marketing agency:

1. Niche Specialization in E-commerce

Opt for an agency that specialises specifically in e-commerce marketing. With e-commerce sales projected to reach $7.4 trillion globally by 2025, the industry has its unique challenges. From personalised on-site experiences to complex funnel optimization, e-commerce requires specific strategies that generalist agencies may lack. 

Look for agencies with a portfolio filled with ecommerce clients in your industry along with proven success stories. 

For example, one agency boosted quarterly revenue for a supplements brand from $42M to $59M in just 12 months through targeted paid ads and affiliate marketing. Their track record of big wins for similar e-commerce brands makes them a safer bet. Who wouldn’t choose such an agency that builds authenticity?

2. Advanced Technical Capabilities 

E-commerce marketing relies heavily on technical capabilities – a beautiful website is useless without the backend tech and data plumbing required for optimization. Ensure the agency has in-house experts like developers, data engineers and analytics pros. Watch out for agencies that outsource technical work.

Having technical specialists under one roof allows for better collaboration, accountability and results. Examine their tech stack as well – are they using modern solutions like headless architecture and ML-driven personalization that can scale with your evolving needs? 

For example, if an agency revamped a website’s flaky custom backend with Shopify Plus, leading to a 13% increase in conversion rates; you’d immediately hire them. 

3. Creative & Brand Building Skills

While technical skills are mandatory, e-commerce also requires strong creative and branding expertise. Unique brand storytelling, high-quality lifestyle imagery, and compelling copy convert visitors into loyal customers. 

Evaluate the agency’s creative team and brand-building approach to see if they align with your e-commerce brand’s identity and audience. 

For example, one agency produced an animated video that increased newsletter signups by 25% for an eco-friendly apparel brand. Always look for relevant examples of successful creative work. 

4. Omnichannel Commerce Expertise 

Omnichannel commerce capabilities are vital for modern e-commerce stores. Ensure the agency has expertise driving omnichannel strategies across channels like paid search, SEO, email, social media, and affiliate. This requires a combination of marketing automation tools and CRM integration know-how.

Ask how they customise omnichannel strategies based on each client’s business model and resources. For example, one agency increased omni-channel revenue 15% YoY for a health brand by optimising Google Shopping ads, launching an SMS campaign, and improving clienteling. That shows expertise, doesn’t it? 

5. Analytics Reporting & Optimization

E-commerce marketing decisions should be rooted in data. Determine what analytics capabilities they offer – do they go beyond vanity metrics? Also, evaluate their reporting process and tools. Look for regular, customised reporting focused on actionable insights and ROI rather than generic templates.

For example, one agency provides weekly reports highlighting trends, opportunities and optimizations tied to core KPIs. Clear success metrics and ROI tracking ensure you get maximum return from your marketing spend. 

6. Flexible & Transparent Pricing

Avoid vague pricing models or hidden costs. Quality agencies are transparent about pricing options that scale to fit different budgets. Look for itemised costs, labour fees, ad spend markups and any other expenses defined upfront. 

Pricing should be customised based on your specific goals and scope rather than one-size-fits-all packages. One agency offers an initial 8-week mini-partnership for $8k to test capabilities before committing. Worth hiring, right? 

7. Strong Culture Fit

Since you’ll work closely together, cultural alignment between your teams is crucial for success. Look beyond the sales pitch to see if your values, workstyles and personalities mesh well. Some differences are fine as long as the agency is willing to listen, communicate and compromise. 

But serious culture clashes usually lead to rocky relationships. If an agency touts lavish parties while your team is heads-down, that disconnect may eventually surface. One brand chose an agency that shared their passion for giving back – allowing them to collaborate on a holiday fundraising campaign. Who doesn’t love an agency like this? 

8. High Client Retention & Reviews

Check client retention rates and reviews to gauge satisfaction. Many agencies showcase logos of big brands they’ve worked with, but a deep client roster is better than a few flashy names. 

Ask how many years their average client stays. Look for retention of 70%+ after 2 years. Also, request 2-3 client references to get candid feedback on their partnership and results. Quality agencies should gladly provide great references.

9. Customised Account Management 

Understand their account management process to ensure it aligns with your preferences. Who will be your day-to-day contact? How often will you meet and communicate? Look for a process tailored to your needs rather than a rigid structure.

For example, one agency assigns junior and senior strategists to each account to provide a broad perspective. Some brands require weekly calls while others prefer monthly check-ins. Seek flexibility based on what works best for your management style.  

10. Long-Term Partnership Mindset

The best agency relationships are long-term partnerships that adapt as your business evolves. Some agencies focus on short-term wins versus sustainable growth. 

Prioritise agencies invested in being a true partner – collaborating to set incentives and define shared success metrics. With strategic priorities aligned, they’re incentivized to drive long-term ROI versus quick gains. One DTC brand has happily stayed with their agency for 9+ years thanks to this win-win mindset. 

Evaluating e-commerce marketing agencies on these 10 factors will help ensure you find the right strategic partner to achieve online success. 

Got more queries? Contact Sellspell for all your e-commerce marketing needs! 

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