Why You Should Use an Agency for Your Magento Project
Have you been exploring opening an ecommerce store, or expanding your business online? There are so many platforms and technologies you can choose from to make it happen. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners start with a simpler platform that’s easier to use, like Shopify.
Apr 2020 - 4 minutes read
Platforms like these allow you to drag and drop elements to build your own store, which makes it easier for a beginner with no coding experience to quickly set up a basic shop.
However, when you want to build an ecommerce store that’s personalized to your company, and can grow with your business, Magento is a great choice. It’s an open source technology that allows for total customizability on any setup or feature you can imagine. It’s been used by many of the top companies in the world, like Pepsi, Macy’s, and Nike.
The one downside of Magento is that it requires technical expertise to set up. This means that unless you have a high level of technical skill, you should use an agency for your Magento project.
Today, we’ll explore why using an agency to set up your Magento project or store is necessary, and how you should go about choosing the right one.
Why Use an Agency for Your Magento Project
Their Expertise is Proven
By choosing a Magento agency, you’re ensuring that you’re putting your project in the hands of people who are not only technically skilled, but are adept in the exact technology you need. Many Magento agencies work exclusively on Magento projects, so they’ve developed a high level of technical expertise in this subject. This gives them the knowledge they need to troubleshoot any issue, and make custom configurations work for your needs.
Some people try and cut costs by hiring a single freelancer instead of choosing an agency. While this might work if your freelancer is highly skilled, an agency staffed with a variety of developers gives you the benefit of everyone’s expertise- not just the dedicated team working on your project.
Sites Can Be Fully Customized
One of the biggest selling points of Magento is how it’s both customizable and scalable. It can support any configuration that you could possibly dream up, and can easily scale as your business grows.
Sure- other platforms have tons of apps and add-ons, but with Magento, you can design and easily incorporate any feature you would ever need, giving you exactly what you need to grow your business.
Unless you’re very technically skilled, you’ll need to hire a Magento agency to do this work for you. A good agency should be able to take all of your ideas and incorporate them seamlessly into a beautifully designed site.
They’ve Done the Research for You
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners pride themselves on being hands-on with every aspect of their business. When you partner with a Magento agency, they can take a lot of this work off your plate. They’re there as a resource, and you can trust their technical expertise to recommend the best hosting service, or the ideal cloud storage provider.
A good company will be able to show they’ve done their due diligence, and can lay out your options, giving you the opportunity to make an educated choice. You can always research on your own, but a Magento agency is a great resource to make sure you’re on the right track.
Access to Latest Technologies
Since Magento is open source technology, there’s a thriving, active community that regularly helps each other and shares knowledge online. The most up to date information often comes from GitHub or the Magento Forums. It’s a great sign if your agency or their staff are active on these forums. It means they’re plugged in to all the latest updates and developments and can use this knowledge to benefit your project.
They Offer Training
Partnering with a Magento agency doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility for your site entirely. You should at least have a basic knowledge of your site, and should be able to perform certain critical functions. A great Magento partner will understand what you as the manager or business owner need to know, and they’ll teach it to you. Some even offer ongoing training courses so you can periodically refresh and expand your knowledge.
Questions to Ask Your Magento Agency
Now that we’ve convinced you that partnering with a Magento agency is the way to go, you’re probably wondering about the next step- picking the right agency. Do some research on agencies in your area, and solicit recommendations from friends or colleagues to see if they have experience with any agency that might be a good fit for your needs.
Once you have a short list, contact each agency to set up interviews. Ideally, you would be able to spend some time with every candidate, and really connect with them to see if they’d be a good fit for your project.
Here are some questions you should be asking either before or during your interviews with Magento agencies.
Are you certified?
Magento offers a few different options for companies who want a formal designation of their skills. Individual developers can be certified through Magento’s training program, Magento U. There are a variety of certifications that can be earned, including as a Certified Developer and Certified Solution Specialist. These require developers to pass an exam, and show proof of hands-on experience in the field.
If they’re employing certified Magento developers, agencies can qualify for an official partnership. This typically means that they’re employing a certain number of certified developers, who have collectively completed a set number of Magento projects.
When you’re looking for an agency to partner with, make sure to ask them if they’re an official Magento partner, or whether the developers working on your project are certified.
What is their project structure? How do they communicate?
A company can be incredibly technically proficient, but if they lack critical communication skills your project will suffer. In your initial meeting, ask each agency how their projects are structured, and how they organize client communication.
Each company structures their projects a different way, but it should be clear how communication will flow. It’s helpful if your project has a dedicated point person who can give you regular updates. This ensures that questions are answered in a timely manner, and nothing gets lost to disorganization.
Can they break down the cost estimate?
Partnering with a great Magento agency is an investment in the future of your company. A well-designed, intuitive, high-performing site is one of the best assets you can have in 2020. However, just because you’re willing to spend a minimum of $25,000 doesn’t mean that your agency should have carte blanche to do whatever they want with your money.
A good agency will be able to give you a detailed cost estimate that breaks down exactly where the money will be spent. If they’re unable or unwilling to do that, it’s a sign they’re unorganized, or just not serious about adhering to your budget.
Picking the Right Magento Agency
After you’ve done your research, going and speaking to company representatives in person is a great way to help you determine what agency to partner with.
If they host you in their offices, you can get a sense of their work environment, how they treat their staff, and their overall approach to communication with clients. Hopefully, this will give you enough information to make an educated decision.