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February 3, 2020 by Ben Chafetz

Magento Development Agency: What To Look For

There are tons of development agencies associated with the Magento community out there that can help build up your Magento eCommerce website. So how do you choose the best one? 

In this guide, we’ll explore what to look for when choosing a Magento web development agency to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Evaluate Your Business Needs

Before you even consider looking into a Magento development agency, you need to figure out exactly what you need first. Consider the following questions and keep them in mind throughout the process:

  • What type of eCommerce store do you need?
  • How much volume do you expect at first? Do you expect traffic to increase significantly?
  • What is your startup budget?

The more complex your business needs are, the higher the caliber of the Magento eCommerce development services is required for quality output. And the better you know what Magento solution you will need, the easier time you’ll have communicating that to the agencies you shortlist.

Consider The Magento Development Agency’s History

Before deciding which Magento experts to go with, you’re going to want to see what they’ve built before. Spend time looking over an agency’s past web development projects and case studies.  Have they been in the business long? Do they have a robust history with past clients? Visit their eCommerce business sites and go through the whole buying process to see the user and shopping experience first hand. See for yourself the level of quality and attention to detail they put into their store development and website design. Sure, cost will be a consideration, but ensuring proper quality right off the bat can save you money in the long run. When you build something, make sure it’s being built right.

Next, you’ll want to look at some reviews. Of course, each company is going to highlight the good feedback as testimonials on their site, but you don’t want their marketing. Check out third-party review sites or even reach out to companies they’ve listed as past projects to see how their customer experience was. Companies will also offer up references, so you should take the time to contact them.

It’s also important to note that you want to ask about Magento 2, specifically. If the agency has only worked with Magento 1 (which is approaching its end of life in Summer 2020), you may have a big problem already. Ask them how many M2 projects they’ve done and gauge their level of comfort with the newer version of the platform.

You’re hiring a company that is going to be building the foundation of your business. This is going to be a big investment of both time and money on your part, so you want to make sure you’re getting a great team. See if they have ISO 9001 certification too. This third-party verification adds an extra level of quality assurance.

Ensure Proper Communication and Transparency

As we all know, the key to any relationship, either professional or personal, is communication. Make sure they are responsive from the get-go. If they aren’t answering your emails in a timely manner while trying to win your business, that’s not a good sign for the future. 

There will be a lot of back and forth across multiple channels—phone, email, chat, etc.—and with several people on the team. Make sure they are organized, responsive, and friendly from the very start. It’s very important that the team responds to you with all the information you need, and with patience. It might get rocky down the line with deadlines approaching and stress levels building, so you want to make sure that you’ll be dealing with a positive bunch.

It’s also important to ensure that all matters are clearly stated from the start. Transparency throughout the process is going to make everyone’s experience much smoother. Make sure the Magento development agency you’re considering hiring on is up front about their terms and conditions. If they are evasive or wishy-washy, take note of those red flags before signing anything!

Check Their Location

It might not be something you think about at first, since everything will be done remotely anyway, but location is still a factor. If the agency is in another country, or on the other side of your own, there may be a significant time difference. If you’re in Hawaii and your Magento agency is in New York, you’ll be dealing with more limitations for available meeting times, than with a company based in California.

Make Sure They’re Magento Certified

Magento offers training and certifications, so make sure the team you’re going with is all up-to-date and has certified Magento developers. It might seem like a no-brainer, but just double check. After all, it’s not a regulated industry so anyone can claim they know what they’re doing. 

Keep in mind the certificates come exclusively from the Magento side. If the company is claiming any third-party training or certification, it’s not legit.

Are They Outsourcing?

Continuing from the certification, make sure the agency has its own in-house development team. A lot of the time a Magento website development company can cut costs by outsourcing the development work overseas. This isn’t necessarily bad, but you just want to make sure that their contractors are also Magento certified developers and will be providing high-quality web design work.

See If They’ve Worked with Your Industry Before

Although it’s not necessarily the most important factor, it’s really great to have a company working with store owners that is already familiar with your industry standards. If you’re hiring on someone who has to do a ton of research before getting started, you’ll lose time while they get up to speed on your niche. 

It’s not going to be a deciding factor, but it would be a nice bonus when deciding between two top agencies you’ve picked.

Are They Going Too Far Over Budget

Lastly, we have to talk about cost. Although you’re going to get what you pay for, you will want to know upfront what the total is going to be. If the agency you’re considering working with is transparent, they’ll be honest about their history with budgets. It’s not really a question of if you’re going to go above budget, it’s how much. Generally, agencies are known to go about 20%-30% above their projected hours. If you can find a company that averages 10% or less,, you know you’re with a highly professional group of eCommerce developers that has years of experience in what they do. 

Summary

It might seem like a lot to digest at this point, but don’t be overwhelmed. You definitely want to take your time with this decision—it’s a big one! You want to be confident with the web development services team you choose, since you’ll be working with them for a while and they will be presenting your brand, products, and style to the world.

Communication is the most important thing to keep in mind. If you’re not clicking with the team or something just feels off, keep looking. If you’re not being treated right from the start with your Magento partner, you will likely have more problems down the line as stress builds on both ends.

Again, take your time to talk to the agency, get to know how they operate, who they’ve worked with before and talk to former clients. Especially if they’ve done work with someone in your industry, give them a ring and see how the project went, or use a search engine like google to look at reviews.

This is a big investment of your time and money, so you want to make sure you’re getting a Magento development company that won’t cut corners, that will do everything properly, and that will finish on time (or as close as possible!). Make your life easier and go with a pro Magento development services agency to develop your Magento eCommerce platform!

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