According to recent data, e-commerce businesses are slowly but surely catching up to their brick-and-mortar counterparts in terms of market share. As more and more customers turn to digital storefronts for their purchasing needs, the importance of having a well-designed website is only increasing.
Since most small businesses lack the staff to develop their own website in-house, web design agencies are usually hired to perform this task. This approach has its downsides, as services on offer vary widely in terms of quality, making the choice of which company to hire difficult.
So to help you come to a decision which you won’t end up regretting down the line, we have created a short guide on how to choose the right design company for your e-commerce business.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Before approaching a design company, make sure that you are clear on what you want to accomplish with your site redesign. To find the best e-commerce website design agency, you first need to come up with a concrete set of goals.
It is important to be very specific here. If you phrase your goals along the lines of “increase conversion rate” or “earn more profit”, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, as no design company will be able to work on the basis of such vague ideas.
What you ought to do instead is come up with something more precise, like “reduce your landing page bounce rate by 20% in the next 2 months”. An objective such as this will give design agencies a clear idea of what you want, and how they might go about accomplishing it.
Ask About Technical Details
While the fact that you are approaching a design company usually implies that you are not tech savvy enough yourself to develop a site from scratch, this doesn’t mean you should neglect this aspect of web design.
So when a design agency gives you an offer, be sure to ask about the underlying tech that is going to power your website. If a company doesn’t want to specify the technical details of their design implementation, chances are they are just peddling half-functioning sites to clients that don’t know better.
A design company that knows what it’s doing will, at the very least, be able to give you a rundown on the following technical aspects:
- which CMS they will be using
- whether the site will be in accordance with principles of responsive design
- is technical SEO included in the price
- how well they are acquainted with security protocols such as TLS and SSL
Request a Portfolio
To have some sense of what kind of website you’ll be getting from a particular design company, take a look at their portfolio, or ask them to provide samples of their previous work if one is not available. If they have no work to show, or are refusing to do so, immediately look for another company.
Inquire about any e-commerce websites they have developed in the past, as this will give you an idea what you can expect in terms of design, functionality, and safety features. Be sure to visit these sites as well, to see how they work in practice.
To take things to another level, try analyzing these sites with tools such as SEMrush, Alexa, or Ahrefs. Doing this will provide you with data which you can use as a benchmark when determining how well your own site is performing.
Browse for Reviews
Once you have found a design agency that meets your requirements, you should go one step further and browse online for reviews, comments, and opinion pieces to get a sense of how the community feels about the company in question. This will give you a more balanced perspective on the whole endeavour, and it might even make you change your mind about whose services you want to pursue.
Start by looking at the social media profiles of your design company of choice. If they have little to no reviews or comments, or predominantly negative ones, you should probably start looking for other options.
Next, try looking for influencers, brand advocates, and other content creators to see if they have something to say with regards to your design company of choice. Be on the lookout for sponsored content, as it can mislead you into believing that a company is better than it is presenting itself.
Finally, try reaching out to former clients of the company in question. They are your best bet at soliciting an honest opinion about whether their services were worth the money.
With this guide at your disposal, you can now make a more informed choice regarding which e-commerce design company to work with. Hopefully, you will find the one that meets your requirements on your first try.