There are a great many eCommerce platforms available to online merchants of all stripes, among them BigCommerce. Bigcommerce Partners are in plentiful supply, and like all digital agencies, some are better than others. However, rather than judging them by perceived quality alone, it is best to make your selection based on their unique talents and qualities that make them right for your business needs.
The first thing to take into account is what they do other than acting as BigCommerce partners. With so many eCommerce options, BigCommerce may not suit you the best. If you are new to eCommerce as a storefront, it may be best to listen to your selected agency’s recommendations for your specific market. If you are uncertain, trusting it to the professionals is always the best option. Even if you go in anticipating BigCommerce, look for agencies that are also familiar with platforms like Volusion and Magento to make sure all your bases are covered.
A more controversial suggestion is to give their SEO a kick in the tires by trying to find them on your search engine of choice by looking for the keywords relevant to your business’ needs. This is especially true if you’ve found a given agency based on word-of-mouth or advertisement, or any other form of marketing that you do not anticipate using yourself. An eCommerce agency that can’t market itself may not be able to effectively market you. It’s worth taking into account the quality of their stock photography, copy, and other content as well, as this will indicate the bare minimum of what you can expect to receive. It’s very difficult for an agency to make you look better than they make themselves look.
You should make a decision as to whether you are looking for local partners or an online agency. This depends heavily on your business presence. Merchants that operate both a local physical location and an online portal might do well to seek out a local agency, as they will be more familiar with the ‘lay of the land’ in their area, especially with respect to what sort of web design will resonate with the community. Merchants that only exist online would do well to look at partners that operate with an exclusive web focus; it’s best to think of the web as its own locality and seek out specialists.
While your eCommerce agency may know what you need, it is important to pursue one with an idea of what you want. Having clear goals an agency can help you accomplish will take you much farther than simply turning your eCommerce ambitions over to an agency sight-unseen. As well, do your research beforehand and go in with a budget. Don’t allow yourself to get blindsided by a quote. While BigCommerce partners ideally streamline the process of establishing an online storefront, including cost reduction, it’s entirely possible for costs to get out of hand if you aren’t prepared.
Lastly, always look for an agency’s portfolio. If they can’t refer to specific examples of past success, proceed with caution. While there are legitimate reasons to keep their client history private, particularly with the proliferation of online NDAs, they should be able to give you an idea of what they have accomplished, backed up with evidence. In particular, it is important to see that they have had success with projects similar in subject and scope to yours. Hiring an agency without some foreknowledge about what you’re going to get leaves you no better off than doing it yourself. Make sure lines of communication are open from start to finish, and do your due diligence to maximize your success.