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Branding & Design

10 Red Flags When Hiring An Ecommerce Design Agency

Imagine waking up one morning to a brand-new website full of bright colours and great ideas. Yet, as the weeks go by and you see more content, you start noticing that it’s not really working. The site doesn’t feel like your own — it doesn’t offer enough information for the customer, and the presentation is not clear at all.

You’re not alone. Many businesses have faced the same issues when hiring an eCommerce design agency. In fact, more than a third of small businesses still report problems with their web design, even six months after launching.

To help you find web design agencies that will deliver excellent results, we have created this list of 10 red flags to watch out for during your hiring process. We know that these are common mistakes that can harm your business, so you must address them before signing the contract.

They don’t understand your business

Do you remember the last time you went in for a doctor’s appointment and didn’t really know what was going on? You probably didn’t feel comfortable with the meds or advice he gave you, did you?

When hiring an eCommerce design agency, they must understand your business inside-out. They should have a clear idea of your goals and how their actions will help you reach them.

Therefore, before sending out the RFP (Request For Proposal) to multiple agencies, you need to state your business goals and problems clearly. Don’t forget to provide them with plenty of information about your business goals, target audience and why you choose your competitors for inspiration.

They design for themselves, not you

Although 80% of clients report they are happy with their current eCommerce web design agency and do not want to change, this does not mean that your goals and visions are the same. Your business is unique, and so should your eCommerce web design.

While discussing your business goals with the marketing agency, you need to determine whether the designer will create a genuinely compelling website for you that is focused on your business goals or just one they think looks nice.

The best way to tell if the designer understands your business is to see a mockup of what the website looks like. You should not just see a picture but hear the reasons for each choice of design and why it will help you achieve your goals.

Look out for statements like “We have designed this type of website many times before” or “This layout is simple and easy to navigate”. These are red flags that the designer is designing the website for themselves rather than you.

They don’t show you a mockup

If your eCommerce design agencydoes not share any designs with you, then how will you know how good their work is?

Remember that design is a subjective area, and what one person likes, others may not. The only way to get an idea of how good the designers are is to see examples of their previous work. Make sure they are websites related to your business and that they have similar business goals as you.

They use generic template designs

All professional ecommerce website designers use some template, but what is important is how they use it.

Watch out for templates with common fonts, images or even text blocks used repeatedly. This shows you that the designer does not understand your business goals and may just be using a template as a shortcut to finish the project faster.

Lack of creativity

One common issue with many online marketing companies is that they just do not have the right ideas. When you ask them about their creative process, they tell you that they follow a set process of AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), “vertical”, and “horizontal” websites.

AIDA and vertical websites are not bad, but horizontal websites make little sense when your business is an eCommerce store. Most of the time, you will present your website in both the left and right view.

They use the same design pattern

While it is true that some designs are more popular than others, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel every time you design a website. This often leads to very similar looking websites and makes your brand look generic.

An eCommerce design agency should develop original designs for your business rather than just creating new themes that look like old ones.

They only focus on layout design

While the layout is essential, it is just one of many aspects that matter when creating an eCommerce website. Pay close attention to what the agency does and does not offer.

Agencies that claim to create gorgeous layouts with great attention to detail but do not provide SEO optimization, social media integration or conversion strategies should be avoided as they will not help your business reach success.

Not aware of changes

Watch out for agencies that do not seem to care about the online world. You want to hire someone who will be aware of new trends that will improve your website, not someone who is stuck in the past.

For example, many eCommerce websites are doing away with pages instead of providing a more visual and interactive approach. However, some agencies are still designing their sites this way. This is an area where you need to be prepared if you do not want to settle for poor results.

They copy other peoples’ work

It is always a red flag if the digital agency you are working with copies designs from others: existing websites, style guides, etc.

This is because they do not have enough creativity to come up with something original and instead are just trying to jump on a successful design. This will show in everything they do for you, and this is not necessarily what you want.

They do not have any experience in e-commerce

While it is true that you can get good results with inexperienced designers, it will not be as effective as hiring an agency that has prior experience with selling products online.

If the agency has no experience with e-commerce, they will not understand your goals and how to help you achieve them. It can result in a confusing website that is hard to navigate and actually avoid selling products.

Hiring the right eCommerce design agency is like hiring a marketing agency or a PR firm. It is all about building a relationship with the right people who understand your business and what you want to achieve.



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