There are thousands of Shopify Plus agencies to choose from so the thought of finding the perfect fit might be a daunting one.
All of them claim to be the best of the best and will take your e-commerce business to wherever you want it to be, so how do you choose? How do you know which is the perfect fit for you and your project?
Luckily, there are some recurring themes and features that signpost the way towards your perfect Shopify Plus agency. Here we’ll take a quick-fire run through 7 considerations for finding the right Shopify Plus agency. For a more detailed analysis on the topic read our article here.
*Note: Before we begin it’s worth pointing out that we’re assuming here you’ve already decided that Shopify Plus is the way to go. If you still haven’t made that decision, read our thoughts on making the move to Shopify Plus here.
1. Shopify Plus Partner vs Shopify Expert
“Shopify expert” is Shopify’s base level of accreditation for agencies working with their platform. To be fair to Shopify experts, they are officially recognized by the Shopify platform but the requirements to achieve this recognition are neither stringent nor taxing.
Essentially any agency working with Shopify can be successfully accredited as a Shopify expert, and one could offer vastly inferior services than another.
“Shopify Plus Partner” is Shopify’s badge of honor. These agencies must pass a rigorous vetting process that demands a track record of proven success stories on the Shopify platform. Shopify Plus partners don’t just talk the talk, they have a portfolio of work to back them up.
Our first piece of advice, then, is to sidestep the experts, and go for those who really know what they’re talking about: the Shopify Plus partners.
2. A Shopify Plus Partner to Suit Your Company, Brand and Project
Shopify Plus partners filter by location, industry, and services. The pandemic has proven that location doesn’t matter too much, and in our opinion, the latter two filters should take most of your consideration.
Every Shopify Plus partner has a portfolio of previous work within either one or a small number of industries. But remember, two agencies working in the same industry will have completely different styles and approaches to their work. You need to find a Shopify Plus partner that not only works in your industry but also speaks to your brand.
Look for agencies that have made designs you like, have development processes you’re in favor of, or have previously worked with brands you respect. Find one that ticks these boxes and you won’t just have a development agency by your side, you’ll have a proactive e-commerce partner.
If you’re in the fashion industry but specifically want UI/UX design, you’ll need to find an agency that accommodates both of these criteria. So alongside industry, search by services as well.
Check the websites of the agencies you’re interested in and reach out to those that impress you the most. They’ll know whether they’re the best Shopify Plus partner for your project, and they’ll be honest with you about that.
At some stage, you’ll need to write one or two of these agencies a pitch. If you don’t know how to do this, check out our tips on the process here.
3. Try Not to Limit Yourself
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose an agency that gives you enough scope to continue a partnership into the future. Today you might need a new design but further down the road maybe you want a new technical integration. If you pre-empt this by choosing an agency covering a few bases, you can keep the partnership going.
The more you work with an agency, the more they understand your business, its goals, and its aesthetics. And the better the work becomes as a result. What we don’t advise, however, is to find an agency offering every service under the sun. Their approach will likely be confusing, as they try to offer as many services as they can but without any sense of coherence.
4. Futureproof Yourself
The best Shopify Plus partners know that technology is always advancing and it’s their job to keep up to date with the latest trends, tools, and techniques.
The worst Shopify Plus partners stay stuck in their ways and refuse to change with the times. These will keep you moving sideways, not forwards.
Futureproof yourself and your store by working with a Shopify Plus partner that projects its work as far ahead as possible by using only the most cutting-edge technologies.
5. A Partner That Suits Your Budget
Without wanting to state the obvious, you have to stay within budget. Even the agency that offers the services you need and has worked with exactly the kinds of brands you want to be affiliated with, won’t be the best if they’re too expensive.
So always keep the limits of your budget in mind when choosing a Plus partner. Pricing is definitely something to speak about when getting in touch with Shopify agencies. Some may have different structures for different clients and could be accommodating of even the most modest budgets.
You won’t know until you ask.
6. Get Referrals
An agency’s portfolio shows you the end result. It doesn’t show you the journey. You can’t learn much about an agency’s way of working from simply looking at the end product.
And you need to know about their way of working. When you embark on a project with an e-commerce agency, you embark on the journey that leads to the end result. It’s important to try and get an idea of what that journey might be like, whether it’ll be a smooth ride for all involved, or whether it’s destined to falter.
Previous clients are good sources for this information. They’ll have intimate knowledge of what it’s like to collaborate with an agency. Asking them about the work process and customer service wouldn’t be a bad idea when making your decision.
7. Choose an Agency That Clicks
People skip over this final tip more than they should. It might not seem it, but for a successful Shopify development project it’s super important you get on with your chosen agency.
You and your Shopify Plus partner will be working very closely together – and hopefully for an extended period of time. The work can get intense. Deadlines loom. Different opinions and ideas fly around the room. It’s crucial that these situations are built on the foundations of a strong and positive relationship. If not, the project is at risk of falling apart and the website will suffer as a consequence.
Put in some work to find out what you and your potential agency have in common. Do you share the same views and beliefs? As businesses, are you striving to achieve similar goals, or are your philosophies at odds with one another? These small details could become huge problems later down the road when the pressure is on.
The Final Word
Our final word of advice: take your time. Don’t take the decision lightly, choosing the right Shopify Plus partner could be the difference between a successful project and a failure. Do proper research, follow our steps, and you’ll be well on your way to success!
And if you have a project in mind that you’d like to discuss further, you can always reach out to us. Get in touch here and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can!