Once you’ve made the decision to go with Magento agency and not a freelancer, actually finding the agency you want to put your Magento eCommerce store in the hands of, is the next hurdle to overcome. But doing your research before you sign-up with an agency is vital!
Your project may not go as planned if you’ve not followed strong selection criteria when choosing your Magento agency. So, with this in mind, we’ve put together a few pointers to help you understand what you should be looking out for when approaching potential Magento agencies to partner with.
This would seem like an obvious first base for your enquiry but it’s something that can be forgotten or swept under the carpet if you’re drawn in by a fancy website and bold promise from an agency.
“Experience is essential when it comes to dealing with Magento, it’s not an easy platform to mess around with, it’s robust and requires time and skill to master.”
We think that someone with at least 18 months to 2 years of experience should be working with your project in some capacity. Whilst many agencies will have junior developers who are recent graduates and often have less experience than this working on projects, they’ll usually be working in tandem with more experienced developers. It’s highly unlikely that a junior developer will be taking full responsibility for your project – but be sure to check anyway!
Get a feel for our work: Check out some of our Magento case studies.
As you may well be aware, Magento operates a formal partnership programme with a system of certification. To qualify for Magento Partnership status, an agency must have conducted a certain number of Magento implementations and have a number of “certified” developers, which means they’ve had to sit an exam and the agency would have to invest in their training.
Whilst an agency with Magento Partner status has the proven development skills you’re looking for, you still need to do your research into other areas to make sure the agency partnership as a whole will work for you.
What Magento Partnership status does mean is that quality and reliability, product training, roadmap insights, technical support, software & communication are all prerequisites and perks of choosing a Magento Partner agency – so make sure to look out for the certified Magento agency badges.
Did you know: iWeb are Magento Enterprise Solutions Partners – with over 100 Magento websites under our belts and a team of Magento certified developers.
An essential aspect of choosing an agency is the quality of project management. Sometimes, a lack of project management experience can mean poor time management and wasted opportunities.
The project management methods used will vary from agency to agency, so get them to explain their processes to you so you’re in the know. It might even be beneficial to ask project managers for a breakdown of costings and task allocations before you begin to get a rough idea of where your finances are going and where the time is being spent.
It’s really important to have an open and transparent relationship with your PM, they will be your main contact for the time an agency is working on your project. It’s worth visiting the agency to not only get a feel for the PM and the agency. You don’t want to be working with someone who has too many clients and not enough real time for you.
Unlike most romantic relationships a client/agency relationship can work perfectly even when the geographical set-up means you’re not exactly ‘local’ to it. There are loads of UK based agencies that have clients dotted all over the country, as well as internationally.
However, you really need to decide if this works for you, your business and the type of project you have going on.
If you choose an agency that’s relatively close to you, getting to important meetings is easy and having frequent face to face contact with the team you’re working with will only improve the relationship. That said, in today’s technological age, Skype, conference call capabilities and project management tools like Trello mean that you can still stay in touch and up-to-speed with your project, despite not physically being there. If you trust your agency fully and they communicate with transparency, then you should be able to manage your relationship from anywhere!
Some web development agencies have grown so quickly that they have little regard for things like site support and maintenance services. However, most top quality agencies will offer a variety of support packages, so it’s important to find out what support services any potential agency partners offer.
Many will use retainers, where customers buy X amount of site support hours a month. They may also offer block hours, so, for example, customers can buy 100hrs upfront – allowing the agency to operate with more freedom when it comes to your site support. A good agency will also offer ad-hoc support as and when you need it.
It’s all about finding what works for you and how much support you think your site might need.
This is a good way to see if the style and quality of an agencies work meet the standards you’re looking for in your Magento project. It’s also good to check the relevance of agencies previous projects and see how your project would potentially fit into their portfolio. If your site is a stand-out anomaly, then it might not be the agency for you. After all, you don’t want your site to be a total guinea pig project.
It’s also worth having a chat with agencies about their current and previous clients or even a client project manager. Even if you can’t see how your site would fit in with the agencies previous projects, their site may not feature a full portfolio of work, so having a chat will help you get a feel.
It can be super convenient to have your web development and marketing all under one roof, with the two teams able to communicate easily with each other. However, it’s important to know that your chosen agency can handle not only the web development side of your project, but also have an established enough team to deal with additional commitments like digital marketing.
Depending on your needs it might be best to choose a specialist agency for each service you need. However, there are often many agencies with fully established digital marketing services as part of their offering. We suggest an experienced team of no less than 3-4, to ensure they’re more than capable of dealing with your additional needs outside of web development.
iWeb are the UK’s leading Enterprise Magento Commerce and Akeneo PIM Gold Partner digital agency with over 24 years of experience designing and developing digital solutions that deliver great results.