Magento is widely regarded as one of the most flexible and customisable e-commerce platforms around. Its feature-set boasts out of the box compatibility with Amazon and eBay, unlimited hosting control, unrivalled site customisation, thousands of extensions, and much more. But while you may have found the right ecommerce software in Magento, finding the right Magento Agency often isn’t easy.
To help ease the process, we’ve created this concise article to guide you through the options.
In preparation, consider these points before choosing the right Magento development agency for your ecommerce store –
The First Step: Tracking down the Best Magento Development Agencies
While Googling agencies in your local area is a good first step, this shouldn’t make up the sum of your research activity. Hiring a Magento project team is a serious long-term commitment: well-laid plans can easily backfire if you don’t take time to consider all the options.
Outside of search engine research, one way to ensure you find the right team for the job is via targeted networking. By attending Magento events, via board members and project managers, you can quickly get an idea of who the trusted agencies are in your area. Even in the digital age, word of mouth still goes a long way.
Check out Magento’s Site to Find the Best-in-Class
Another good way of narrowing down your search is by looking on the Magento Solution Partner Directory. Here you can specify by location, the area of expertise, Cloud hub support, etc. Another handy feature is the ability to find the clients the agency in question has worked within the past – this means you can build a clearer picture of the kind of work they’ve done and the sectors they’ve worked in.
The Real Benefit of the Magento’s Directory: The Certification Test
Perhaps the most useful aspect of the Magento directory this: it ensures you only see agencies certified by Magento. Becoming a Magento Partner requires developers to be Magento trained and certified as well as for the agency to stay up to date by producing a number of quality Magento sites each year. This means that, whoever you go with, they’ll be up to designing your ecommerce site to the highest standard.
Portfolio and Past Experience
Another key stage in finding the right developer is to look at the company’s portfolio of work. By looking at the quality of the work, you should gain a good idea of their level of expertise. This alone, however, is only part of the fact-finding process. You will also need to establish whether the sites they have developed are standalone builds, integrations or migrations. The more diverse the installation types they have worked on, the more skilled they are likely to be.
A further indicator of performance is not just the quality of their work, but how long they’ve been in business. As a highly customisable piece of open source software, it takes a long time for a developer to become sufficiently skilled in Magento — for a team to work together efficiently and collaboratively, often longer. As a result, younger companies are far less likely to deliver a project on budget and on time compared to more established firms.
Ensuring you are Prepared
Though you may feel you’ve selected the perfect Magento partner to work with, a good working relationship depends just as much on your preparation and team-management skills as your developer’s.
What then, is the best way to get prepared?
The First Step: Setting Clear Outcomes
It may be tempting to feel you’ve now got all the information you need. In practice however, it is not always immediately clear what sort of information your certified developers should have.
To make the process much smoother, try writing down a list of outcomes you expect. Aside from the types of products and services you want on your ecommerce store, you should outline the following in your plan:
- Your customer needs
- Your market insights
- Your main competitors
This will give your project manager all he or she needs to make your site as profitable as possible.
In addition, it’s a good idea to set out clear milestones along the way. To this end, it’s a good idea to check your ecommerce development team uses a Scrum or Agile based system. Companies which use are much more likely to be effective than those which don’t — saving you time correcting issues after the project is completed.
Set a Rough Budget: Total Cost of Ownership
When setting a budget, it is crucial to base it on your anticipated sales. In short, your budget should be based on the number of sales and the expected price for each unit that is sold. This should give you an idea of how much to invest in your Magento platform.
To make sure you do not underfund your project, you should also take Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) into account. TCO refers to the total lifetime costs that result from a project. Unsurprisingly, there is often a wide gap between initial setup costs and after-purchase costs. Companies often fail to take into account the costs that soon build up as a result of ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
To avoid these unforeseen ‘add-on’ expenses, make sure you get a clear idea just what kind of additional expenses you are likely to see with a Magento build.
Once you have a general idea of the sorts of costs that might crop up with your site, you can set about asking your Magento 2 development company what their process is for making changes to your live site. While some of these processes may seem a bit technical, it’s good to get a clear picture of how the company handles aftercare – it’s unlikely your site will run perfectly from day one. Ask your agency how problems are prioritised and how quickly they are dealt with. This will give you a good indication of the efficiency of your agency.
As an additional safety measure, assuming it’s not there as standard, it’s a good idea to include in your draft agreement aftercare services like problem resolution and warranties. This will give you an agreed action plan for help when it is needed.
Showcasing our own Support Program
At 247 Commerce, we routinely use Cloud Services to monitor the health of our client’s servers, databases and websites. This enables us to raise high resolution alarms, take automated action and troubleshoot issues; e.g. the system’s capacity to handle sudden increases in traffic. In addition, we provide Magento security patches to you within 5 days of release as standard. We do this as a requirement of our Magento certification ‘best practice’ guidelines, as well as to ensure your store remains stable and secure.
Don’t Forget About Hosting
A few cursory Google searches will reveal how critical hosting is to your site’s performance. In many cases, it will be necessary to host your website with a different hosting firm. Magento developers often do not have the capacity to host large sites or the expertise to run them.
Thankfully, this is also something we can do for you. At 247 Commerce we provide hosting as well as ecommerce development; negating the need for multi-supplier relationships. Alongside our extensive experience, we offer a fully comprehensive service to get your site off the ground.
Need to Speak to an Advisor?
We are a specialised Magento agency based in London. For a no commitment quote for your next project, please get in touch with us at: 0208 940 7011.
To find out more about the Magento platform, see our Complete Magento Ecommerce Guide for more details.