Data Analytics & Insights
It’s important to track your brand’s progress through data and insights so you can learn what tactics are effective -- and the best e-commerce website companies. Insights come from understanding valuable data sets, and if you and your team can’t understand what certain numbers, trends, and behaviors truly mean, you won’t be able to reach your goals and make your business better. However, e-commerce design agencies are able to set objectives, determine if a website is achieving them, pivot the strategy as needed, and report to you, the client, regularly and clearly.
It’s important for a brand to keep growing. The online e-commerce markets are constantly evolving -- and you need to transition along with it in order to stay relevant. E-commerce web design agencies offer in-depth analytics, enabling them to draw the necessary conclusions. This will help your business determine the right layout, content, design, navigation and more that will increase visitors, conversions, and revenue.
Solve Business Problems
E-commerce agencies know the tactics and strategies to not only help your business reach its goals, but also solve problems that are caused by inconsistent branding, poor functionality, and design. By using an e-commerce website design and development company, you’re signing on a team of individuals who can track analytics and report to you their findings in an efficient way. They have a better understanding of what the analytics really mean, and can offer them to you more frequently than an in-house team might.
Whether your revenue is dwindling, or your branding is failing in terms of consistency, e-commerce website agencies intimately understand the business strategies that go into a design that leads to sales. They know how to identify problems and implements solutions within your web design to solve them with ease. And they have access to the top web hosting services like Drupal, Magento, Salesforce, and Shopify that boost your bottom line and increase conversions.
An e-commerce web development agency can help bridge that gap and provide brands with the necessary designs to help that can help them reach a wider consumer base. These experts y come to the table with a more structured process, stringent project timelines and legally binding contracts. They have dedicated points of contact to keep your internal team in the loop and know how to ensure business goals are met and communication is fluid.
Businesses big and small are made up of teams. Not everyone does everything, and not everyone is knowledgeable about every task. Plus, many companies just don’t need a dedicated design team, especially when their focus is on creating products and marketing them to consumers. But with e-commerce agencies, you know you’re getting a dedicated team that’s committed to creating a customized design that integrates easily into your online presence and provides maximum business growth benefits.
When you run a business, you know everything about it — the good, the bad and the unnecessary. Similarly, employees who work for a brand breathe in those insights daily and want to infuse anything and everything they can into a brand’s products, marketing materials, and designs. But that’s not always necessarily helpful — and can oftentimes lead brands astray by seeming too unfocused and disorganized.
An e-commerce site agency can bring an unbiased viewpoint to the table that can help brands more effectively and display their thoughts and goals. They can pick and choose what matters and what doesn’t and integrate that into a web design. They have the experience and talent to know what web design elements will lead to sales, which is necessary to create a web design that works.
When it comes to web design, experience matters. You want a team of talented and experienced experts working on your content and creating a website that is exciting, engaging and user-friendly. And e-commerce web design agencies come with the knowledge and experience that’s vital for a great web design. They know that it takes 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website — and they can build accordingly thanks to this experience.
When you turn to an agency to build a great professional website for your brand, you’re getting a team of dedicated professionals who eat, sleep and breathe all things e-commerce web design and development.
They innately understand the tactics and elements that capture consumers and increase conversions and revenue— something you and your in-house team might not. In addition to that, they have a strong knowledge of analytics involved — what bounce rates mean and how to improve them, how SEO rankings determine traffic, and which calls to action (CTA) will be the most effective.
Questions to Ask a Top E-Commerce Website Design and Development Agency
Goals & Outcomes
Top e-commerce website design agencies build websites to meet specific targets and business goals. They have the tools and resources to track your brand and its digital progress, so you should ask what ways they will be able to provide you with this data and when.
- How often will my brand receive data reports?
- Can I see your portfolio of past work?
- What tools do you use to track conversions and website traffic?
- How many team members will be working on my project?
- How much time will be dedicated to my project?
When you begin working with outside agencies, you might need to learn how to adjust. It isn’t the same as working with in-house employees who are always readily available right when you need it. You need to develop a cohesive schedule in order to keep communication consistent and efficient and ensure deliverables are completed on time.
- How many other clients are you working with at a time?
- How frequently can we have Skype or phone meetings?
- How often can we meet face to face?
- Is there a point person I should be dealing directly with?
- Will we be meeting with your team as a group or individually?
The cost of an e-commerce site ranges — sometimes it can be cheaper than hiring an in-house team, and other times the price can be enormous, especially for a long-term project. It’s important you ask your agency upfront about their costs, timeframes and payment schedules before you formally begin a partnership.
The good news? By hiring an outside agency, you’re cutting down that 30 percent cost to your business, thus getting the work you need without paying for an internal employee — making choosing an agency more ludicrous.
- How much do your services cost?
- Do you want to be paid per project or on retainer?
- What payment type do you accept?
- Will I be charged for ongoing maintenance?
- Do you have a contract template or do I need to provide one?
- Are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement?
- Will additional meetings add to our expected cost?
- What results are guaranteed with this project?
Consistency & Responsiveness
Eighty-five percent of consumers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another. That means that consumers are interacting with your brand on a variety of mediums — and if they’re engaging with your brand on different platforms, you need to make sure your agency keeps branding consistent and responsive throughout.
Plus, 88 percent of people agree that having a mobile device makes them more spontaneous to new things and purchases — so if your brand isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on massive amounts of opportunity. In 2017, mobile commerce revenue reached $156.28 billion — this will continue to rise, reaching $420.17 billion by 2020.
- What types of website design templates do you utilize?
- Do you believe in mobile-friendly web design or app design? Which do you recommend for our brand?
- Can you ensure consumers will be able to view my content on all platforms?
- How will you keep my brand identity consistent across platforms?
- Does a mobile-friendly design cost more?
Growth in business is imperative. The market and the technological world are both constantly on the move, with new trends and new insights flooding the scene and changing the way brands reach out to consumers — in their look, their tone, and their overall approach. You need to know if the agency you partner with can keep up.
If your web design is static and unchanging, you’ll likely lose out to your competitors who are keeping up a fresh and modern persona for their consumers.
- Does your web design have room for growth depending on product bandwidth?
- Depending on design trends, can this web design grow and adapt?
- How can you implement new additions to the website?
- How will you keep branding consistent through design changes?
- Can you identify new trends in the market and make those edits to the web design?
How To Choose The Best E-Commerce Website Design & Development Company
It’s imperative that you look into the past history and experience of a design agency. What clients have they worked with and what were the results? Do they have prior experience in your industry and niche? Does their work inspire you and give you hope that they could transform your e-commerce site and overall brand identity?
Do some investigating. Look into their online portfolio and check out the brands they’ve worked with. Ask questions, and research their past work and the results these initiatives obtained. Maybe you want a fresh agency with no prior experience with competitors, or maybe you want one that has worked intricately with your rival. Conducting your own research will ensure you find an e-commerce website design and development company that has the experience that fits your brand and its goals.
The best e-commerce website design agencies are full of talent, expertise and innovative ideas. These are the best of the best in their field, and they passionately bring creative concepts to life, elevating brands along with them. Take some time to get to know these individuals to better understand their process and how they construct the plans for your future e-commerce website.
Additionally, the makeup of a team is important. You want a design and development team full of fresh ideas, excited to jump on board and start brainstorming innovative ways to take your e-commerce web design from flat and boring to interactive and mesmerizing. The best e-commerce web design companies have top experts who are experienced and fluent in all things e-commerce web design.
Consistent branding has been shown to increase revenue by 23 percent, so it’s important for brands to work with the top e-commerce web design agencies that understand not only the value of branding in web design but know their clients’ brands like the back of their hand. After all, when you partner with an agency, they then represent your company. Make it clear from the start what your brand truly encompasses and stands for.
A lot goes into branding when it comes to web design — it’s not just the color scheme and images used, although those are important as well. Branding also encompasses the overall user experience that people encounter. It’s the tone and voice that they’re interacting with, the ease of navigation, and (perhaps most importantly) the overall buyer’s journey that your website leads them on. Therefore, it is vital that an agency takes the necessary steps to infuse your brand identity into your website in order to keep existing customers and capture new ones. Top e-commerce web design agencies can infuse the heart of your brand through imagery and organization, — creating a customer journey that is intimately linked to your brand and its persona.
Great e-commerce web design and development agencies will come to the table with a comprehensive plan for how they will build your site, what features will be integrated and how long and in-depth the overall project will be — including communication, reporting, metrics and beyond. A solid plan is a strong foundation for an effective e-commerce website.
The top agencies will provide you with in-depth insight into their process at every step. You, as the client, should be intricately involved in their process -- and you need to integrate them into yours. Creating a top e-commerce website is a fluid process that requires a lot of work and even more communication, so it’s important to stay on top of things while also giving your agency the freedom to do what they do best — create captivating e-commerce platforms.
You might need to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing your web design efforts, which could take some number crunching. But oftentimes, it’s more cost effective to go with an agency that is working on a dedicated project for a specific length of time than it is to hire an entire employee full time.
Agencies come in all shapes and sizes and offer different pricing options based on strategy, implementation, and design. Choose the e-commerce development company that best fits your needs financially and logistically, ensuring you get the features you want on the schedule you need. Lay this information out in advance so both parties have a comprehensive understanding of what to expect. This should be done through an airtight contract that explicitly details expectations, timeframe, and payment.
Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Ecommerce Design Companies
Your website is one of the most important branding elements you have. As an ecommerce business, it’s also the sales engine that powers your business. Your ecommerce website has to make a powerful, positive, and memorable first impression on users, and it has to work hard to turn visitors from casual browsers to engaged shoppers.
Where once ecommerce was a novelty, online shopping has quickly become the norm. If an online store is lacking, users have the option to turn to any number of competitors. It’s not enough for an ecommerce site to be merely adequate -- it has to be exceptional. And only exceptional agencies can produce exceptional ecommerce design work.
It’s important, therefore, to be able to identify the agencies that are truly cutting edge. One way to do this is to look at the different ways the top web design agencies differentiate themselves from the competition. Below are some of the top value propositions of the best ecommerce design companies.
Top Ecommerce Design Companies Value Form And Function
For the best ecommerce web design companies, design is about more than a pretty site that just sits there -- it’s about creating something so engaging and intuitive that visitors feel compelled to engage with it. The best web designers know that every element of an ecommerce website must serve a purpose, and at every stage, the site should be ushering the user closer to a purchase. They’re also on the cutting edge of their field, with a keen interest in pushing the boundaries of what’s considered good user experience.
Ecommerce design companies use examples of their work and case studies to demonstrate their design chops to prospective clients. The quality of the work -- which includes both form and function -- is the most important differentiator of them all.
Leading Ecommerce Design Companies Take A Strategic Approach
You could have the most beautiful website in the world, but if the product content is flimsy or the user pathways are muddled, then you’ve failed your users just the same. Top web design companies avoid this pitfall by engaging in an intensive strategy phase at the beginning of every project. The strategy phase allows the agency to gain intimate insight into the client’s business and to do a comprehensive analysis of the user groups they’re trying to target. The result is better ecommerce websites that speak more effectively to consumers. Leading ecommerce design companies pride themselves on taking a strategic, considered approach to their projects and they base decisions not on gut feelings but on research and facts.
The Best Ecommerce Design Companies Do Custom Work
There’s a reason template websites are cheap -- because they’re a one-size-fits-most solution that’s easy to replicate. There’s nothing wrong with a template per se, but they’re only really appropriate for businesses or individuals who require a very basic web presence. For companies with complex requirements, and those that really need to stand out online, custom ecommerce website design is absolutely the way to go. The top ecommerce design companies build custom sites that are tailored to the client’s exact specifications and needs.
Reputable Ecommerce Design Companies Earn Top Honors
While nobody stakes their reputation on honors and awards alone, web design agencies that manage to win them are not shy about using them to differentiate themselves from the competitions. From the client’s perspective, the fact that an agency has won an industry award or accolade is a good indication that they’re well-respected within the design field. In a large pool of design firms to choose from, awards can help signal which firms are trustworthy and which may be less established and therefore a riskier bet. Because they’re designed to reward only the best and brightest in the field, design awards are also an indicator that the agency is doing cutting-edge work.
Leading Ecommerce Design Companies Focus On Results
An ecommerce website is a business tool whose ultimate purpose is to drive sales. That’s why many top ecommerce design companies position themselves based on their ability not just to build beautiful sites, but to achieve results for their clients. They’re committed to building sites that will convert. When an agency positions itself on its ability to drive measurable results, clients can take this as a strong indicator that the agency will be almost as committed to the bottom line as they are.
The Best Ecommerce Design Teams Have A Range Of Diverse Skills
It takes more than design talent to build a successful ecommerce site (though strong design talent is, of course, essential). Top ecommerce design companies often differentiate themselves based on the range of diverse talent they have powering the agency -- including strategists, developers, and marketing gurus. Small teams and one-man shops may not have the expertise in-house to pull off complex projects. Full-service design agencies with robust teams, on the other hand, have the ability to handle every aspect of the build. That includes things you may not initially consider, like content creation, brand identity, ecommerce platform selection, or digital strategy.
A team with a diverse set of skills is a team that’s equipped to take a holistic view of your project, ensures that all bases are covered, and work to make certain that no business need goes unmet.
Service Offerings Of Top Ecommerce Design Companies
Most top ecommerce design and development companies are able to handle the bulk of any company’s digital design needs. Many also specialize in app design and development to service clients with mobile ecommerce needs. Ideally, the agency you choose to work with will offer flexibility in terms of the scope of the engagement with them, providing options for all-in, comprehensive work as well as a la carte pricing for more specific projects.
Among the most common services you can expect to find at a full-service ecommerce design company are:
- Brand Identity - Brand identity for new businesses, re-brands for existing business, and logo design or refresh work including multiple iterations.
- Brand Strategy - Identifying value propositions, positioning, key messaging, and target audience.
- Web and user experience design - Start to finish custom responsive web design, including strategy, user experience, and visual design.
- Web development - Front and back-end development, CMS integration and development, and post-launch support.
- Content creation and marketing - Developing a custom content strategy to effectively reach a brand’s target audience. Creating high-quality content according to the strategy and promoting it across applicable marketing channels.
How The Best Ecommerce Design Companies Market Themselves
It probably comes as no surprise that one of the most important marketing tools of any web design agency is their website. Top ecommerce design companies put their talent to work in designing their own web properties and using them to showcase their portfolios. A web design agency with a lackluster or confusing website is one you should steer clear of.
Ecommerce design agencies also often invest heavily in thought leadership marketing. This means writing thoughtful content that relates to the state of the industry, hosting seminars or meetups, and giving expert opinions to press and media. Social media marketing is an important element of thought leadership, with web design agencies using their networks to promote content and engage with the broader design community and prospective clients.
If you’ve expressed interest in an agency through a newsletter signup, you can expect the agency to follow up with you via a targeted drip campaign. They may also run retargeting campaigns to show you ads on the web or social media after you’ve visited their website and left without taking any action.
A brand’s website is a critical factor in their success as a business online and in the world, and choosing an effective ecommerce design partner is of the utmost importance. Getting a picture of each web design company’s top values and differentiating factors can help prospective clients determine which of the agencies they interview will be the best fit for their needs.
Some of the most significant differentiators among top ecommerce design companies include:
- Emphasis on form and function - Does the agency commit themselves to building websites that are both beautiful and effective? Will they build a responsive website that’s functional on all mobile devices?
- Strategic approach - Does the agency spend time in the early phases of the project doing in-depth discovery to gain a better understanding of your business, your goals, and your target audience? Will they recommend which e-commerce platform will work best for your business? Is the design process guided by the insights taken during this discovery and strategy phase?
- Custom work - Does the agency do original, custom work for their clients? How is their approach unique and tailored to each individual brand?
- Award-winning - Has the agency’s work won them recognition in their industry? Are they regarded as thought leaders and innovators in the digital world?
- Results-oriented - Does the agency focus on the bottom line for your business? Do they speak in terms of how the website can help you achieve your goals?
- The Range of skills - Does the agency have a wide range of talent on the team, able to understand and influence the project from many different angles?
Top Qualities Of The Best Ecommerce Web Design & Development Companies
The best e-commerce web design agencies know that functionality should be the foremost focus of any e-commerce design. If a website doesn’t function intuitively, and users find navigation confusing or frustrating, the odds of them making a purchase are extremely slim. Always work with an agency that understands which features and functionalities are most important to e-commerce shoppers. They will bring that knowledge to bear on their projects, designing end products that encourage conversions and lifetime customers.
There is no such thing as a one-size fits all e-commerce site. Every business is unique, and their website experience must be unique as well. Top e-commerce companies tailor their strategies to the individual needs and objectives of each company they work with. In order for a website to be effective, it must be customized to meet the needs of the company’s target audience. A design agency that recommends the same approach for every project isn’t doing the necessary due diligence to ensure the needs of each client are met.
The best e-commerce web design agencies will be comfortable sharing the metrics they focus on when monitoring performance and measuring results. Regular reporting and analysis should be a consistent feature of any relationship between an agency and a client. Key performance indicators should be determined and agreed ahead of site launch. A full accounting of past performance must also be done to ensure that a clear baseline is established before the new site goes live. In the case of the redesign of an existing site, these metrics will be essential to comparing performance before and after the implementation of the new site.
Proven Track Record
Any top e-commerce web design agency will gladly share examples of previous client work as a means of demonstrating a proven track record of success. Viewing examples of past work gives the client an understanding of where the agencies strengths and capabilities lie, as well as insight into how they’ve achieved results for other clients. When interviewing agencies, ask them to share case studies that include performance metrics, as well as live examples or functioning prototypes. These will help paint a picture of the strengths and expertise of each e-commerce design agency interviewed.
A content management system (CMS) is essential for clients who wish to be able to easily manage the website on their own. The best e-commerce design agencies will not only recommend and integrate the most appropriate CMS for each client’s needs, they’ll also provide training on how to use it. E-commerce management requires a significant amount of upkeep, so most brands require a CMS to update website content on the fly. The ability to easily manage the site is essential. It goes without saying that the website must be easy for customers to use but giving internal teams the tools necessary to manage the site is equally important.