The ecommerce landscape just keeps growing.
Pre-existing buyer trends and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown mean that increasing numbers of retailers are building their online profile — which usually includes an online store.
Opportunity for agencies? Yes. But it also presents a challenge, as agencies will have to up their game to secure business in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
In this article, we’ll help you discover how your agency can prepare for the future of ecommerce by focusing on being better able to meet the needs of retailers.
Freedom to choose
It’s not uncommon practice for agencies to tie themselves to a single ecommerce platform, but is that platform right for every retailer?
The issue here is that many agencies don’t want to reject business, and as a result their retailer client doesn’t get objective advice. Unless the agency is comfortable with turning away business, their clients could end up with an online store built on the wrong platform for their needs.
The solution is to be platform-agnostic; if your agency can choose from a number of platforms to build on, you can give your clients advice, a choice, and the ability to make an informed decision.
Positioning your agency as an objective advisor is a powerful tool while pitching, and providing balanced advice helps build trust to help your agency stand out among your competitors. Over time, your reputation will grow as an honest agency with your clients’ best interests at heart.
Another benefit about this approach for your agency is that you don’t end up becoming over-reliant on a single supplier. One platform caused alarm recently by suggesting their offering would remove the need for retailers to use agencies on an ongoing basis; there was a swift correction, but it highlighted how agencies are exposed to changes on the part of a single platform.
Keeping costs clear
Costs can make the difference between a business being able to sink or swim.
Retailers are often caught unawares by the costs associated with running an online store; setup costs — while considerable — are only part of the story and can be heavily outweighed by lifetime costs.
To help retailers see the bigger picture and make an informed decision, you should outline the costs associated with the various options you’re giving them;
Some platforms are more complex to build on than others, requiring greater upfront build costs. Others are easier to build on but are less capable with dealing with complex requirements, and require greater upfront work to make them fit for the retailer’s purpose.
Infrastructure costs and requirements:
These costs are likely to grow over the lifetime of an online store as a result of increased traffic and more complex website requirements.
Hosting costs on some legacy platforms like Magento can be notoriously expensive in some cases ; others like Shopify wrap this up in a monthly fee and merchant services / transaction fees. Aero’s lean infrastructure requirements help keep costs down, making for lower, more predictable overheads for retailers.
This is another cost that can impact retailers increasingly as their business grows and the retailer needs to bear in mind that certain platforms will encourage you to use their expensive merchant solutions by administering transaction fees as a penalty should you decide to go elsewhere for your payment processing . Charges that are minimal for a new business can put a severe dent on revenues when turnover gets into the hundreds of thousands, or millions of pounds. By that point, the cost of replatforming will make a retailer’s choice between a rock and a hard place.
If you can help your clients understand and negotiate this tricky area, they’ll thank you for it as they grow.
Lost opportunity costs:
This is an area that’s often overlooked when it comes to choosing a platform. It’s also insight that shows a retailer that an agency has taken time to think about the retailer’s needs.
The basic premise is that a slower website will be more poorly converting; the longer the load speed, the bigger the negative effect on conversions.
The impact at profit level from those lost sales adding up can be significant, so retailers (who aren’t likely to be aware of these considerations) may want to go with a faster platform which will encourage higher conversion rates.
Are your clients aware of these costs?
Don’t stop learning
You can only give your clients objective, up-to-date guidance if you have it in your agency.
That’s why it pays to keep apprised of developments across the various ecommerce platforms; when you’re fully informed about the relative merits and downsides of each, you’re in a far better position to recommend — or disqualify — them to a retailer client.
And when your agency is able to provide a solution that best meets the client’s requirements following careful consideration, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, you boost your credibility and generate trust in one go.
Give your agency the control it needs
To give your clients the ecommerce store and ongoing service that they deserve, your agency also needs to have the tools to deliver. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Think about customizability and flexibility; which platforms give you access to source code? How about documentation and training?
Some platforms restrict your access to these resources, tying your hands in the process. Ultimately your clients will blame your agency, not the platform, when you can’t meet their needs.
Other platforms, including Aero, give agencies access to quality documentation and training which allows you to make the most of the platform. This support gives you everything your agency needs to succeed. Aero’s support channels provide agencies direct communication with the Aero development team meaning you always have somewhere to turn for help.
Let’s think about wider business support too; which platforms will get involved in pitch meetings and help steer potential clients to your agency? Having that targeted support can make all the difference for pairing your expertise with a retailer in need. Aero will not only help advise on pitches and wider business development queries, we can dial into pitch meetings if required and help the agency get the work over the line.
Aero: putting retailers first
Aero was created because we felt first-hand the need for a faster, more accessible, more flexible ecommerce solution designed for agencies to build stores for their retailer clients.
We champion the consumer experience and work to support agencies in achieving the very best results with our platform. We do this because we know that helping agencies means helping retailers to provide the best experiences to their customers.
So if you want to work with a platform that helps you meet the needs of your retailer clients, get in touch today. We’d love to talk.