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 is important to getting the most out of the relationship. Here are some key factors to consider:
Matching Need and Expertise
If you are experiencing a problem in a specific area of your business, make sure that your ECommerce consultant is experienced with how to solve the issue(s) vital 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 change and improvement 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.
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 interface, EDI Inventory sharing, 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.
You may have a specific problem that you need help with, and finding an ECommerce consultant with that specialty is key to getting great results.
Finding an ECommerce consultant who is knowledgeable in more than one area can help identify other issues that you may have not thought about.
Make sure the ECommerce consultant you select has experience with the ECommerce shopping cart solution you’re using. For example, if you’re using a complex cart like Magento or Shopify Plus you’ll want to have a specialist. For a more entry level carts like Volusion or Big Commerce it’s less important at initial launch but is still helpful and a consideration if you’re serious about online growth.
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.
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 consultant and your team. Having once 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 increased your sales. However; if you are using them just short-term, once they are gone it will be your responsibility 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.
Consultants have the ability to make a lot of money for your business, but when you’re a new or struggling business it can be tempting to try to save money on consulting fees.
Resist the urge to go for the cheapest consultant you can find. It will most likely end up badly and then it could be difficult to pay for a second consultant to come clean up the mess the first one let behind. Cheap can becomes expensive.
Do your research and make sure your ECommerce consultant has the appropriate experience to be working with you.
There are many false profit type consultants that over promise and just don’t have the experience to get you the results. 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 spending any money with them.
Make sure you hire someone that has done what you need and been successful.
An ECommerce consultant can optimize your business and increase the profitability of your store through proven strategies and recommendations. If your business is new to ECommerce, a consultant can help an online store increase sales using many different ECommerce cart solutions including Shopify, Magento, Volusion, ASP.net Storefront, nopCommerce and more.
We have worked with both small and large ECommerce stores and have increased profits for all of them.