How To Choose An Ecommerce Consultant

Hiring An E-commerce Business Consultant

Hiring a qualified and experienced consultant is one of the best things an e-commerce owner can do to improve their business.  Successfully selling online typically doesn’t just happen by putting some items for sale on a website.

There are many systems that need to be in place in order for your store to thrive.  Finding a consultant who is knowledgeable in all aspects of e-commerce is important.

Website development, product management, online merchandising, and general digital marketing experience are important to getting the most out of the relationship. Here are some key factors to consider:

Shared Goals

If you are experiencing a problem in a specific area of your business, make sure that your e-commerce consultant is experienced with how to solve the issues important to you. Most likely you won’t be aware of some of the important levers to move the needle, that’s why you’re hiring a consultant. However; if you have some specific areas of your business that you’d like to improve make sure your candidate is up to the task.

It’s a good thing to remember to stay as flexible as possible with the solution they provide.  You’ve hired them for their knowledge, so it’s best to keep an open mind. Remember, you’re looking for a consultant because you want to change and improve in some area or all areas of your business.

If you are looking to grow your company, make sure that you and your consultant are on the same page as far as what the expected growth will be and you have the bandwidth to accommodate new growth.

A Consultant To Match Your Business Type

Meet with the consultant and make sure that they have relevant experience for your type of business whether you sell B2B or B2C.  If you are selling an unbranded product, check to see if the consultant has branding experience and make sure it’s in their wheelhouse.

For example: if you have a new product that customers aren’t looking for yet, it takes a very different set of marketing skills to develop a new brand and be effective. Creating “market demand” for a new invention or private label product with no organic searches online is a different beast entirely.

Make sure to consider an experienced account-based marketing consultant if your company is primarily B2B as well. B2C will deal more with getting your product lines to the front of the pack, expanding channels, engagement, retention, and conversions. B2B can be creating or improving the vendor portal UI, EDI Inventory sharing, AOV improvement, upsells, general brand positioning, and more.

If you don’t have customers looking for the products you’re trying to market, it’s a much different customer journey than in-demand branded products. Make sure to choose your consultant accordingly.

What are Ecommerce Consulting Services?

Every e-commerce consultant is different unfortunately and has their own style. You’ll find some marketers or web designers calling themselves e-commerce consultants inappropriately as well.

While they certainly have their place, they haven’t personally built a multi-million dollar e-commerce business from the ground up. There are only a handful of e-commerce consultants that have actually built successful ecommerce businesses and have chosen to consult for others instead of retiring.

Typical e-commerce consulting services will consist of some kind of assessment to see where your business is currently, and find short term and long term ways to optimize and increase overall performance. This includes everything from social media audience building, digital marketing and conversion optimization to inventory strategy, branding, catalog management, customer engagement and retention strategies.

Ecommerce strategy isn’t limited to marketing. Positioning and developing an online brand is a complex process to navigate. Experienced ecommerce business consultants will know what actions to take and in the most beneficial order.

For example; don’t worry about driving traffic to your website…if your website is not enticing and enabled to provide an irresistible offer of some kind. You also don’t want to worry about email marketing if your website isn’t on the right ecommerce platform. A good ecommerce consultant will know if your ecommerce platform is appropriate or if it’s worth migrating to a cart that’s a better fit with your products and business.

The best ecommerce consultants will have expert knowledge Google Analytics and be able to use that data and other available ecommerce data to offer a 30,000 foot view digital profile baseline for online business owners.

Once an ecommerce consultant has done a proper ecommerce assessment they’ll be able to offer tangible next steps to improve sales and overall ecommerce performance. Some consultants will work on a specific problem for a limited time, when the problem is solved and scope of work complete the consultant moves on. Other ecommerce consultants will work as an extended part of the client’s team constantly assisting in guiding the business over time and coaching the client through challenges and opportunities with their business.

E-commerce Experience

You may have a specific problem that you need help with, and finding an e-commerce consultant with that specialty is key to getting great results.

Finding an e-commerce consultant who is knowledgeable in more than one area can help identify other issues that you may have not thought about.

Make sure the e-commerce consultant you select has experience with the e-commerce shopping cart solution you’re using. For example, if you’re using an incredibly complex cart like Magento or Shopify Plus you’ll want to have a specialist. For a more entry-level cart like Volusion or Big Commerce it’s less important at initial launch, but is still helpful and a strong consideration if you’re serious about growing online sales.

Make sure your consultant also has some experience with eCommerce PIM tools and ERP’s if that’s something you are currently using or want to use.

The few consultants I’ve met that were worth their salt were previous Directors of Ecommerce that switched over to consulting. They will have at least cursory knowledge of relevant system types and their workflow and benefits. If you can find a consultant who’s held the role of DOE with a successful e-commerce store you’re on the right track.

Engagement

Be prepared to be engaged in the project alongside your consultant.  Even the best consultants can fail if the client is not engaged and active in the process.

Assign a team member to be a liaison between the consulting firm and your team. Having one voice from your team makes communication efficient, clear and accountable. Learn everything that you can from your consultant while you have them.

They often become a long-term part of your team, especially when they’ve made you millions of dollars. However; if you are using them short-term, once they are gone it will be on you to continue on with the procedures and marketing that has been put in place.

Make sure that you provide your consultant with all of the information they need quickly.  Give prompt feedback so timelines can be met.  Giving the proper support to your consultant is well worth the effort to make sure you get the results you want.

Ecommerce Consultant Price?

Consultants have the ability to make your business boatloads of money, but when you’re a new or struggling business it can be tempting to try to skimp on consulting fees.

Resist the urge to go for the cheapest consultant you can find.  It will most likely end up badly and then you won’t have the ability to pay for a second person to come clean up the mess the first one left behind.  One of our favorite Judge Judy quotes is “the cheap comes out expensive”.

Research

Do your due diligence and make sure your agency or e-commerce consultant has the appropriate experience to be working with you.

There are many false profit-type consultants that promise the world and just don’t have the experience to get you the results you’re looking for. Check references and what others are saying about the consultant and their company online with reviews and general google searches before you decide on before you spend a dime with them.

Make sure you hire someone that’s been where you want to go and has achieved the goals you’re looking to achieve, successfully. Also, remember that person has likely made tens of millions of dollars online and isn’t going to be cheap.

We Optimize your business to perform at levels you’ve only dreamed of to increase the profitability of your store through proven strategy recommendations.
New to eCommerce… we got you covered. We’ve helped online stores increase sales using many different e-commerce cart solutions including Shopify, Magento, Volusion, ASP.net Storefront, MIVA Merchant and more.

Want to keep things simple using Shopify or some other simple eCommerce shopping cart? No problem. We’ve worked with 2MM to 100MM+ companies from apparel to auto parts and beyond and increased profits and ROI for all of them…a lot of it.

What is Ecommerce Consulting?

How is a consultant going to make you more money? Is there a secret knob somewhere…that’s actually not far off the mark. Find out what to expect generally when you hire an e-commerce consultant who knows what types of moves to make to increase market share, traffic and sales for your business. Read more here

Ecommerce Consulting

Conversion Rate Optimization

Order Management


Engagement and Retention

Shopify Help

Magento Help

Platform-Specific Consulting

Get your e-commerce sales growing again!

Kinda hard to believe, but it’s what we do every day for our current clients. It’s time to stop your competitors from taking even more of your market share. We can help you make your online store into a scalable powerhouse your competitors will fear.