How Ecommerce Consultants Can Help Your Business

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Businesses hire ecommerce consultants for various reasons, and they might just be the solution you need. Ecommerce consultants have various skill sets that you can use to your advantage and make a hire for specific projects or time periods. Let's explore everything an ecommerce consultant or consulting firm can do for your business and the steps to take when you're ready to make a hire.

What Can Ecommerce Consultants do?

An ecommerce consultant is a professional that can offer firsthand knowledge and advice surrounding ecommerce. These ecommerce experts lend their years of experience to provide business consulting on everything from marketing strategy and conversion optimization to user experience. In some instances, they may be able to do the work for you as a freelancer on a contract basis. Let's look at some of the projects you might hire an ecommerce consultant to complete.

1. Conversion rate optimization projects.

If your conversion rates are struggling, some ecommerce consulting may be in order. The consultant can take a look at your current online store and run tests to find the right way to improve your conversion rates. The issue could be on the back end, or perhaps something on the customer side that you're not seeing. Regardless, a consultant will be able to identify the issue and provide actionable advice to get your ecommerce business on track to improvement.

2. Launch and maintain advertising campaigns.

Ecommerce consulting services and marketing consultants can also help you launch and even run your ads, whether they are for a search engine or a social media platform. Once the ads launch, the consultant will be able to regularly monitor their performance and make any necessary adjustments to your ad or social media strategy as part of an overall marketing campaign. Creating a great ad is a portion of the work they can do, but developing sales funnels and follow-ups and another area where a consultant can be really helpful.

3. Identify profitable products.

An ecommerce consultant will be able to look at your current product offering and identify any improvements you should make. They may even help you develop an entirely new product that would benefit your online business and expand its audience. They can also work with you to put attractive price points on all of your products.

4. Negotiate with suppliers.

If needed, a consultant can help you negotiate with suppliers to get better deals, different products, or a more streamlined delivery timeline, depending on your needs. Often, issues with suppliers come from where they source their products, which is something the consultant can help with, too.

5. Navigate new business development opportunities.

An ecommerce consultant will be able to offer an outside perspective on your business, including new opportunities for business development. The consultant can create a road map to guide you to earn new certifications or take courses that will help you improve both your ecommerce store and your overall business.

Advantages of Using an Ecommerce Consultant

Ecommerce consultants are beneficial for a plethora of reasons. Generally speaking, an ecommerce consultant is someone that can help you get more work done while you focus on the larger picture of your business.

1. Offers unbiased feedback.

An ecommerce consultant can provide you with unbiased feedback, which is something you're unlikely to get from someone with an insider's perspective. Of course, the consultant offers this feedback to help your business succeed.

2. Allows you to focus on core business needs.

Hiring an ecommerce consultant will free up your time to focus on your areas of expertise. Whether they're working on ads or products, you can focus on other aspects of the business while knowing the other work is being done by an expert.

3. Saves you time and money.

Hiring an ecommerce consultant costs less than hiring a full-time employee, since they don't have the overhead. The consultant can complete several different jobs for the business while you and other team members continue to get things done. You won't have to worry about training them, supervising them or retaining them.

Estimated Costs of Using an Ecommerce Consultant

The cost of your ecommerce consultant really depends upon the work that you would like them to complete, their geographical location and their experience. Prices can range from $25-$300 per hour.

Things to Consider Before Investing in an Ecommerce Consultant

An ecommerce consultant may not be necessary for every business. Or, it may not be the right time to hire a consultant. Take a look at the following considerations to see if you should move ahead with hiring.

1. Goals you are trying to achieve.

Before you hire someone you need to know what you want to have them achieve. Knowing this before you hire someone will help you hire someone fit for the job. Determine how you'll measure their success so everyone is on the same page with expectations before the work even begins.

2. Consultant workload and role.

In most cases, an ecommerce consultant is hired to complete a specific project or do a certain set of tasks that will be laid out before they are even hired. Often, a consultant isn't taking away a role, but instead they're doing work that may not fit into a role. In some cases, their workload could include taking some work from staff members to help the team's bandwidth.

3. Allocated budget for the consultant.

It’s important to set the budget you’re willing to spend (minimum and maximum) as that will be a factor in who you hire. Keep in mind that a number of factors will affect this budget including your timeline, scope of the work and length of the contract. 

4. Company culture and fit.

Choose a consultant that understands your vision for your company, your brand and your customers. Obviously, you’re hiring an outside perspective for a reason, and you don’t want to discount their expertise, but it’s important that you also feel heard by your consultant. They should make an effort to get to know not only the project at hand, but the context around it.

5. Client testimonials.

Look for an agency that has proud clients who are eager to share their experiences. This could be through testimonials or case studies, or it could also be something that’s brought up during the vetting and sales process.

It’s all about results. An agency should be able to demonstrate how they’ve added value to their clients. Ask to speak to the clients, and get their perspective.

6. Previous work.

Look at the consultant or agency’s portfolio to see what types of work they have done. Look for professionals that specialize in your industry or niche or whose work you are particularly impressed by.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Ecommerce Consultant

Once you've decided to hire an ecommerce consultant, there are specific questions you can ask to help you in the hiring process. Here are questions you'll definitely want to ask when you interview potential consultants for your business:

1. What is your work process?

It is important that they are able to demonstrate a strategy and process for achieving the results that the business wants.

2. What is your knowledge of the industry?

Prior to hiring a business consultant, make sure they have experience with your type of business (B2B is very different from B2C, for example, or SaaS experience different from open source). Having a broad in-depth understanding of the industry will give you a sense of the level of expertise and outside perspective they can bring to the table.

3. How do you collaborate with your clients?

Businesses do not want a consultant who will work in isolation, as there is a danger that they could take the business down a route it shouldn't go. How will you keep us informed of changes you make to our website? How often will you report on your work, and what will it look like?

4. How do you measure your success?

A follow-up question could be, “How do you determine if you’re successful?” Do they aim to increase traffic by X percent in Y months, for example? It's useful to see some sort of metric.

5. How do you stay organized?

Employers commonly ask questions related to organization because it is an important soft (interpersonal) skill that promotes productivity and efficiency. People who are organized use their time, energy and resources more wisely than those who are disorganized.

Top Ecommerce Consultants

There are several ecommerce consultants that you can choose from. We're sharing some of the top consultants from the BigCommerce Partner Directory.

1. Groove Commerce.

Groove Commerce is a full-service agency that designs, builds, and grows ecommerce websites.

2. IntuitSolutions.

IntuitSolutions is a digital agency offering BigCommerce design, development and digital marketing services.

  • Web development & customization
  • Custom site design
  • Site customizations
  • SEO & digital marketing
  • Move to BigCommerce

3. Irish Titan.

Irish Titan is a full service digital agency

They’re experienced in working with clients from inception to launch, from branding to conversion.

  • Ecommerce
  • Digital strategy
  • Design
  • Custom development
  • SEO

4. Kensium.

Kensium agency is a 300-person team of tech nerds that eat, sleep and breathe commerce every day. So, partnering with Kensium means you’ll have access to over a decade of experience and expertise in ecommerce solutions ranging from design to development to support of both front-end and back-end ERP systems.

  • BigCommerce websites
  • Design
  • Digital marketing

5. Like Digital.

Like Digital specializes in global luxury, with extensive expertise in fashion, entertainment and hospitality.

  • Ecommerce
  • UX
  • Apps

6. Live Area.

LiveArea is a full-service, award-winning global customer experience and commerce agency.

  • Strategy
  • Technology
  • Data
  • Multipoint orchestration

7. Space48.

Space48 is a UK-leading CX and ecommerce platform specialist.

  • Data and insight services
  • Strategy and consulting
  • Commerce experience design
  • Managed services and support

8. Thesio Group BV.

With over 10 years experience, Thesio Group BV has driven successful projects for top companies and thriving new ventures. Having technology in their roots and creativity in their minds, they can help with technical challenges and online growth based on the BigCommerce platform.

9. 5784 Commerce.

5874 is a full-service digital agency based in Birmingham, UK with a strong focus on building, supporting and marketing modular ecommerce environments that are designed for scale.

  • Branding
  • Digital marketing
  • Ecommerce
  • Property marketing

10. Brand Labs.

Brand Labs is a Certified, Elite BigCommerce partner that designs and builds beautiful websites that convert; provides award-winning custom development; increases qualified traffic through marketing services; and provides digital strategy for high-growth merchants.

  • PPC Management
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • CRO

11. AmericanEagle.

Americaneagle.com, Elite BigCommerce Partner, is an industry leader in website design, development, hosting and digital marketing — essentially a one-stop shop offering a full range of solutions for any organization looking to succeed in their online endeavors.

  • Web design & Development
  • Ecommerce
  • Digital Strategy
  • Hosting & Security
  • Integration

Conclusion

An ecommerce consultant can really help your business in various ways. Before hiring one, be sure to evaluate your current business needs — whether that’s developing a content marketing plan or improving the path to shopping cart  — and outline the tasks you'd have a consultant complete. Then, review consultants in your price range and prep interview questions to make the best hire possible. Bringing on an ecommerce consultant is a great way to meet your goals and lift some of the burden from your team.

Ecommerce consultants FAQs

What is an ecommerce consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a professional that can offer firsthand knowledge and advice surrounding ecommerce. In some instances, they may be able to do the work for you on a contract basis.

Are ecommerce consultants necessary for success?

Ecommerce consultants may be necessary for success for some businesses. The success of a business depends on the goals it seeks to achieve. An ecommerce consultant can offer an outside perspective on a business and provide professional advice on suppliers, UX, marketing and advertising, among other things.

When does it make sense to hire an ecommerce consultant?

There are several moments in business when you'll find it makes sense to hire an ecommerce consultant. They are:

  • If you're low-staffed and need specific tasks completed
  • If you're looking for unbiased feedback and/or advice
  • If you need a specific area of expertise for a project
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What should you look for in an ecommerce consultant?

You want an ecommerce consultant that aligns with your business values and company culture. You'll also want a consultant that is collaborative, but can also work independently. An ecommerce consultant should also have experience and knowledge in your industry.

Where do you search for ecommerce consultants?

The BigCommerce partner directory is home to some of the best ecommerce marketing agencies across the globe.

Are ecommerce consultants expensive?

The cost of your ecommerce consultant really depends upon the work that you would like them to complete, their geographical location and their experience. Prices can range from $25-$300 per hour.

Can I hire an ecommerce consultant from an agency?

Yes, you can hire an ecommerce consultant from an agency.

Are there disadvantages of hiring an ecommerce consultant?

There are some potential disadvantages to hiring a consultant over a full-time employee. You may not have the same continuity in the relationship as you would have with an employee. You may have to pay high fees to the consultant. You have limited control over the consultant. And you run the risk of tax problems if the consultant in fact operates like an employee.

Are there different types of ecommerce consultants?

There are ecommerce consultants that specialize in different areas, such as BigCommerce consultants or UX consultants. You'll want to work with someone who aligns with your business and has experience in your industry.

Should you turn to in-house employees before an ecommerce consultant?

In-house employees are great for a depth of knowledge on your specific products, audience and industry. However, where an outside consultant can be valuable is in providing an outside perspective. Sometimes fresh eyes can provide new solutions to old processes. 

For general tasks that don’t require a high level of technical understanding, in-house employees might be a good choice.

Ideally, it’s a mix of both in- and out-of house.

What does the onboarding process look like for an ecommerce consultant?

You can’t expect your ecommerce consultant to jump in and immediately be completely up to speed. Make the process easier (and more efficient) by providing a thorough onboarding process. 

During the onboarding, you will want to give your consultant a bird’s eye view of your company’s goals and priorities and what you hope to achieve. They need to have the context to understand the full scope of the project. You will also want them to understand your company culture and how you plan to work with them. Make it clear who they will be reporting to and what types of deliverables you want.

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