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April 10, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

My eCommerce Site is Launched. Why Do I Still Need a Development agency?

You go to IKEA and buy one of their bookshelves with all the bits and bobs. You know putting together their furniture can be quite a pain, even with their pictorial diagrams.  You’ve either decided to splurge for the installation transaction fee and get someone to take care of the build for you and save yourself a couple hours or you’ve just made a night of it and gotten it done.

Cool, so you have a nice bookshelf in your living room now. You’re not going to need any ongoing service for it. As a store owner might think the same applies to your Magento eCommerce site too. That’s far from true.

You may be thinking: now that your bespoke online platform is launched, working well, and making you money why do you need to keep on the development agency.  Well, unfortunately, that is not just a bookshelf.  A Magento eCommerce site is a living ecosystem with constantly shifting parts—some of which need to be maintained or else they will break and result in a poor user experience.

There are several reasons why you need to stay in touch with your development agency to ensure everything in your eCommerce store continues running smoothly.

Customized System for Each Client

Why Magento? Magento vs. Shopify? Is it the best eCommerce platform? Yes! The beauty of the Magento enterprise and the reason it is such a powerful tool for running your eCommerce is because it’s able to be fully customized. 

The design and layout on the front-end that makes your page unique and appealing is specific to your page. The back-end, panel setup, and what your staff is interfacing with on a daily basis are custom built to suit your needs. All the integrations and processes are customized for you. This means that once your Magento eCommerce business is up and running, it’s not just a static piece of furniture like your bookshelf.

Your website is a living organism that requires a team to be familiar with your setup in order to manage updates and upgrades as things become out of date. If you just hire a team to put your site together and then don’t keep them on, when you need to make changes you’ll have to bring in someone new. A new freelancer or agency is not going to know exactly what has already been done and your unique architecture. They will have to spend valuable time getting over the learning curve and sifting through what others have previously done, just to get up to speed and then be able to fix what needs fixing.

When something breaks, time lost is money lost. If your site has to go down for a matter of hours or days, that can mean a big difference in that month’s sales.

Many Moving Parts

Because of this high level of customization, there are tons of pieces and parts that all need to communicate with each other at multiple steps of the eCommerce process to ensure your storefront thrives online. On a daily basis, your Magento platform is linking up with your various payment gateway providers, such as PayPal, which need to be maintained and updated as their requirements change. Business owners like you need to ping your shipping providers like FedEx or UPS for their shipping rates in order to apply those charges instantly at checkout. You have to connect to your inventory system and update the pricing or add new product pages.

All of this needs to consistently work smoothly, otherwise you’re risking negative customer journeys and thereby abandoned shopping carts. In a world of online reviews and e-word-of-mouth on social media, one bad shopping experience can haunt your online business for a while. Having a team dedicated to quality assurance, making regular updates and upgrades to your unique architecture is something that is needed to ensure your Magento eCommerce website is working properly. 

Various Customer Shopping Devices

Beyond making everything just work, you need to make it all look and function properly on a variety of devices. Your customers are using all sorts of setups to do their online shopping and updates and new displays are constantly coming out in our ever-evolving digital landscape.

Your site might look great now on your standard monitor running Chrome, but how does it look on a 40” monitor using Opera? From phones and tablets using non-standard browsers to huge monitor resolutions, you need to make sure you’re keeping your site up-to-date and accessible to all users.

And don’t forget about voice search. This is the highest growing trend in popular eCommerce platforms, so you want to be sure everything is user-friendly even when your customers can’t see your page. 

You’re not going to want to waste your talented IT team’s time with these constant updates and tweaks. Leave this to experts who know exactly when new updates are needed to keep everything smooth for all your customers.

Your Business Will Grow

You’ve invested a whole lot of time and effort into the most powerful and adaptable eCommerce solution. Magento is so great because your business will never outgrow it no matter the number of products you have, like it would some of its competitors such as Woocommerce, WordPress, or Shopify that don’t scale as well. That being said, you won’t outgrow the platform, but you will likely outgrow your original setup.

You will need to bring in experts to advise, plan, and implement changes as you develop your current site, have different needs, or want to expand to a second online location. All of this can be done through Magento, but you need to bring back the experts. 

Again, you’ll want someone already familiar with your company, goals, and needs so they can quickly and efficiently propose the additions that are needed to accomplish your eCommerce goals.

Online Security

If you’re still not convinced of the need to keep on the agency who built your Magento eCommerce due to the risk of your platform breaking, then hopefully the online security risks will make you think again. No company wants to have their name associated with a data breach. In eCommerce, you’re dealing with people’s very private information. If they don’t trust that you’re implementing all the proper online security measures to protect their login information and sensitive financial data, they simply won’t be shopping with you.

Magento is a complex platform built on PHP, Javascript, SQL, Laravel, and React, meaning there is potential for hackers to find and exploit in any one of these systems. And that’s exactly what they do: look for weaknesses in the lines of code to break into your system.

As any one of these vulnerabilities is identified, the Magento community issues a fix and you need to implement it as quickly as possible to avoid potential breaches.  As more and more large and small businesses go online, there is more incentive for hackers to find ways to exploit vulnerabilities and disseminate malware that can jeopardize your system or your customers’ privacy.

Agency vs. Freelancers

You might be thinking about just having the agency build up your digital online storefront, but not keeping them on long-term. You’ve probably seen that there are plenty of freelancers online who have experience with Magento who come at a lower rate than an agency. After all, they’re all going to be remote anyway, so what’s the difference? Well, as with most things in life—you get what you pay for.

Having a whole team of Magento developers who are familiar with all facets of your Magento setup, including plugins, SEO features, drag and drop, and the content management system, is going to be much more capable of handling issues that come up. They are certified and know how to implement all the best practices to keep your site running with an ease of use and securely.

They have the experience to make recommendations about extensions or upgrades that can help your business thrive. They will consistently perform audits of your site to ensure there are no gaps in terms of the customer journey, speed, SEO, or security. A freelancer, on the other hand, is likely going to be someone you only bring in once you identify issues that need to be fixed.

Summary

An agency is not just there to construct your furniture and leave it be. They are the ones who design, construct, and maintain something that is a living and breathing platform, not a static bookshelf.

Your Magento eCommerce platform is a powerful tool that has constant inputs and outputs from your staff, customers, and third-party integrations that all need to work together smoothly and without interruption. 

You already know Magento is the best eCommerce platform out there and that’s why you’ve chosen it as the foundation for your online business. The investment of time and resources you’ve already made means you see its value and its flexibility to suit your business needs. In order to ensure you’re getting the most of all the options available to you, an expert team, like those at 121eCommerce, can help make the most of your system.

An agency’s experience over years and with many different projects will ensure they know precisely how to maintain your site. Their expertise will enable them to provide you with ongoing advice on improvements that you and your team may not have even been aware of. 

You’ve brought in the pros to build your site, so make sure it is cared for and maintained properly. It’s not just a shelf that you set up and let sit; you need to constantly keep your customized Magento site running smoothly and securely.

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