The ecommerce industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. The global ecommerce sales are expected to total $5.545 trillion worldwide in 2022 and $7.385 trillion by 2025, according to eMarketer. Almost a quarter of that spending is from the US. If you have something to sell, you no longer need to worry about investing a ton of money into opening and setting up a brick-and-mortar store.
For a fraction of the price, and guidance from reputable ecommerce consultants, you can simply set up a website and start selling your products or services right away. All you need is to establish a supply chain, and you are good to go.
It’s an incredibly simple way to start generating revenue. However, there is a lot of competition in different industries, and many ecommerce store owners find it difficult to keep their heads above the water. Additionally, just like you would in a brick and mortar store, ecommerce store owners also need to invest money into marketing. Why should a person buy from you instead of going to another store?
From time to time, you might hit a roadblock or experience a dip in your company’s sales. This can be attributed to any number of reasons, so it’s important for you to focus on both the tiny details and the big picture. But in some cases, even after a thorough analysis, you might not be able to figure out what you are doing wrong.
In that situation, you might need to get in touch with a consultant. Ecommerce consultants offer their services to ecommerce stores of all sizes. The challenges faced by every business at different stages vary drastically, such as selecting online store hosting, so consulting with a professional might be just what you need to get ahead of the curve. If you didn’t know much about ecommerce consultancies before this, read on for a comprehensive idea.
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What is an Ecommerce Consultant and Why Should You Hire One?
Ecommerce consultants play an increasingly significant role in the modern business landscape. An ecommerce consultant offers a variety of services, primarily focusing on analyzing ecommerce stores, evaluating their position within business markets, and helping ecommerce store owners achieve their goals. They also offer advisory services for the management and growth of ecommerce stores.
- Ecommerce consultants have a comprehensive process for highlighting areas in your online store that need improvement.
- An ecommerce consultant will offer recommendations on how you can improve sales and generate more traffic.
- They offer advice on how to track growth objectives and introduce accountability, and optimize the store’s hierarchy.
- An ecommerce business consultant would have a comprehensive understanding of key digital marketing tenets, including search engine optimization, blogging, social media marketing, online branding, and other strategies that ecommerce businesses can use to promote a product.
- An ecommerce marketing consultant can work with ecommerce stores at different stages of their growth lifecycle. They can help fledgling stores identify growth opportunities, and established stores identify key cost centers to reduce operational spend.
Depending on the niche of your ecommerce store, the categories of products you are selling, and the target market you are focusing on, an ecommerce consultant will devise a strategy tailored to the needs of your company to boost your ROI and trim costs.
Here are a few of the many reasons you should consider using the services of ecommerce consultants.
i. They Help You Boost Sales
The average shopping cart abandonment rate is an estimated 65.23%. This means that out of 100 shoppers, a whopping 65 do not complete the checkout process. This points to the revenue that you are losing out on from each customer. An ecommerce business consultant will go over your website and develop a list of reasons why a shopper might abandon their cart. They will help you tailor your website to make it more welcoming and shopper-friendly.
ii. They Give You Unbiased Feedback
If you show your online shopping store to a friend or a family member, you can expect a bit of bias in their verdict. What’s more, they are unlikely to have as much experience or as deep an understanding of the online shopping scape as a professional consultant.
Show your website to a marketing consultant, and they will carry out a thorough audit to give you unbiased feedback about what you are doing wrong and right. You might be surprised to know some of the slight website tweaks that could result in a windfall of sales. For instance, they may recommend viable multi vendor marketplaces for you to focus on.
iii. They Help You Focus on the Right Audience
If you are marketing your company online but aren’t targeting the right audience, you are simply throwing money away. For instance, if you are a website design company, your focus should be on other businesses or individuals who want to create a website.
Businesses often suffer because they do not identify their most profitable but narrow target groups, and so are unable to reach out to them. Through an ecommerce business consultant, you will be able to focus all your available resources on marketing to the right target audience.
iv. They Develop a Roadmap for You
You may still be clueless about which marketing methods work best for your company and which ones you should avoid. In that case, find an ecommerce consultant. They will create a customizable roadmap that best suits your needs. A roadmap will help you track your objectives and quantify them, allowing you to track business growth both in the long and short terms.
How to Grow Your Online Store – 11 Tips from the Top Ecommerce Consultants
There are quite a few ecommerce consultants who have seen success up close, and want to share their own strategies about how to grow your business. Here are just some of the tips about growing your ecommerce store from experienced ecommerce consultants.
i. SMS Integration
Erico Franco, the Inbound Marketing Manager at Agencia de Marketing Digital, says “A big trend in ecommerce is to have SMS integration so you can communicate with your buying customer. We have learned that SMS importance has increased a lot in the last few years. So communicating with your customer is a key factor.
Nowadays, it is very important to automate SMS to connect with customers during the purchase process, so you can send messages like payment confirmation, delivery confirmation, and more.”
ii. Use Video
Mark Aselstine, founder of Uncorked Ventures believes that videos play a key role. He says, “So I find that people when shopping online are looking for one of two things. Either a great product at a cheap price or a story they can believe in. If you fall into that second category, use video on your site. It’s an easy way to put a face on what you’re doing and when I added a decent video to my home page, conversions went up 3x what they were previously. Well worth the effort and expense!”
iii. Grow Your Newsletter
Dave Grayson, the SEO Manager at M3 Agency, a full-service marketing agency based in the West Midlands, says, “My number one tip to grow an ecommerce store is to always be growing your newsletter list in order to build a base of loyal customers. This can help drive long term revenue from all other channels including SEO, PPC, and Social.”
iv. Create Email Captures
Keith Hoelzeman from Measure + Grow gives his input: “As someone with experience taking brands from $0 to $1M in annual revenue, my number one tip would be to focus on building a community via email. Other platforms have come and gone (or gone from free to paid engagement), but email has continued to provide value to every ecommerce store that I have owned or consulted with.
Create email captures, via popup or tab, and then begin a welcome flow to new subscribers. After a subscriber exits the flow, add them to the normal email campaigns. Be sure that your email campaigns are worth opening. Don’t focus on the quantity of campaigns, but rather quality. Higher engagement rates, both open and click-through rates will be rewarded over time.”
v. Have a Major Differentiator
Saeer J. Butt, the Software Solutions Architect from Zaphyr Technologies, has two simple rules: “1. Have a major differentiator or niche ecommerce store. Don’t make Amazon your competitor. For example, if you sell ladies apparel, you have a much better chance of marketing office & casual wear for stylish plus size professional ladies, for instance.”
“2. Have a story for existing. Don’t talk about just the product but how it impacts the customer. Almost show them a future state they can achieve by using the product.”
vi. Divide Your Objectives
Founder & CEO of Fresh Coast Labs Forest Richter believes it’s best to divide your objectives. He gives the following tips:
“In general: Market first, and heavily, through Google Display ads. These are the cheapest clicks you can buy on the internet, and it’s the best way to show your products to someone that is actively shopping for what you offer but hasn’t found your site yet. This is the low hanging fruit for ecommerce.”
“In storefront: Optimize for checkout. Almost everyone should be redirecting to a checkout page after an item is added to the cart. Most business owners want shoppers to buy multiple items (rightfully so) and are afraid shoppers will check out too early. However, the reality is that most ecommerce stores don’t actually support a broad enough inventory to support that type of online consumer shopping.”
“What instead happens is that consumers get busy or distracted and abandon the item in their cart. Then, the owner is forced to remarket *and* discount the item to regain a sale they could have had anyway. If a shopper puts something in their cart, send them to the checkout page. There, you can make recommended upsells of complementary products or often purchased together products, but keep the consumer moving down the checkout funnel.”
vii. Optimize The Bottom of the Conversion Funnel
Bruce Hogan, the CEO of Software Pundit, leverages his 10 years of experience in the ecommerce industry, and says, “It’s best to start your growth efforts on the part of your website that will result in the highest impact. For almost all websites, this is the bottom of the funnel, or the last steps a user must take to complete the desired action. For ecommerce sites, the bottom of the funnel is the checkout flow.”
“A 10% performance improvement in the checkout flow will increase total sales by 10%. Compare this impact to a higher-funnel optimization – a 10% performance improvement on a product page that accounts for 20% of sales will only increase sales by 2%. Some specific experiments that should be run to increase conversion & sales at the bottom of the funnel include:
Removing form fields. One of the best ways to increase conversion is to remove form fields. In the checkout flow, this could mean removing an unnecessary username field, email field, or any other field that is not 100% necessary to complete the transaction.
Using auto-fill. Another website improvement that almost always improves conversion is the use of auto-fill to complete forms on behalf of website visitors. This could mean auto-filling address information after a customer enters a zip code, or entering information you have saved about the customer into a field.
Removing steps in the customer journey. Another optimization for the checkout flow is removing unnecessary pages. In some cases, having more steps can improve conversion, but it usually does not. Retailers can examine their checkout flows and see if there’s any steps they don’t need or can combine.
Testing guest checkout. Implementing guest checkout is a bit more technical, so may not be an option for all retailers. However, if possible, guest checkout can lead to a big conversion improvement. Guest checkout allows customers to complete their transactions without signing up for an account with the retailer. This streamlines the checkout flow for those who do not want to create an account.”
viii. Invest in SEO
Calloway Cook, who is the owner of Illuminate Labs, believes that SEO investment is key. “The great thing about SEO is it’s free!” he says. “It just requires a time investment rather than a resource investment. This is important because many small businesses (ours included) don’t have a million-dollar marketing budget.
The overhead on most eCommerce stores is relatively low because there’s no need for office space, so you only need a handful of sales monthly to achieve profitability. This is why SEO is so crucial. If you can drive 1,000 organic site visits monthly, which is easily achievable in even a month or two of working on SEO and content marketing, then assuming a 2% conversion rate you’ll be making 20 sales a month!”
ix. Automate Your Email
Chris Orzechowski, who owns an email marketing agency called Orzy Media, believes that automated email flows are the best. He says, “My #1 tip for growing a store is to set up basic automated email flows. It’s shocking how much money stores leave on the table because they don’t have any email automation set up. Industry statistics report that on average, 70% of all shopping carts online are abandoned.”
“Installing a simple cart abandonment sequence can recover another 10-20% of these previously lost sales…almost instantly. In addition to a cart abandonment sequence, adding a welcome sequence, a browse abandonment sequence, a VIP sequence, and a win-back sequence can also help drive revenue around the clock…without the business owner having to lift a finger. It’s like finding free money, it’s just lying there waiting for you to grab it.”
x. Invest in Ads
John Lincoln, the co-founder, and CEO of Ignite Visibility believes that high intent advertising is the way to go. He says, “My number 1 tip to grow an ecommerce store is to invest 60% in high intent online advertising such as Google ads, YouTube or a pinpointed audience on Facebook or Instagram.”
“And then invest the rest of your budget into a very large remarketing audience around the entire web. You need to extend the remarketing audience up to 120 days. With ecommerce, it’s all about a high intent and on target persona, great ads, and then nurturing them over a long period across all the websites online until they convert. Online advertising is key. My last tip would be to invest in distributed commerce if you can get on Amazon, Walmart, and Target it will be fantastic for your business.”
xi. Use Discounts Wisely
Vince Fishbone, the head of marketing at Kingpin Private Browser, believes that you should not underestimate discounts. He says, “The number one tip is to use discounts wisely. Although using discounts on most items sounds very good for purchases, it is not the best strategy.”
“As most of the online retailers deal with costs from suppliers, shipping costs, or costs connected to refunds, it is very short-sighted to discount your items and lower the margins. *What can your clients do to improve engagement and increase sales?”
“Think again about the presentation of your products. Are the photos of good quality? Do you offer a video or gif presentation? You might want to revisit your product pages: add more after purchase tips and give space for customer feedback.”
Remember, businesses don’t become successful overnight. You will need to use a variety of strategies and techniques and find out what works and what doesn’t. With the help of an ecommerce consultant, you can utilize your resources for maximum efficiency.
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How to Choose an Ecommerce Consultant
Finding an ecommerce consultant is easier said than done. A rudimentary search online will return thousands of results. How do you know which consultant is a good fit for your business? Here are a few factors to consider before you hire an ecommerce consultant.
i. Shared Goals
Make sure that the ecommerce consultant understands the goals you’re trying to achieve. This not only creates synergy but also ensures that both parties remain on the same page.
For instance, if you hire an established ecommerce consultant with a focus on working with larger stores, especially at a time when your store is still in its initial stages, it’s unlikely that the consultant will be able to help you as much.
Instead, if you hire a consultant with considerable experience working with and scaling smaller stores, they can prove to be a better fit in the long run.
ii. Shared Values
Always look for a consultant that understands the vision you have for your store. It’s important that you hire a consultant who isn’t motivated solely by money, but one who takes pride in their work. An initial discussion with an ecommerce consultant will give you a better understanding about whether the two of you can work together or not.
iii. Your Business Type
You need a consultant who has worked with your business type. They will have relevant experience of how your industry works and will be able to create marketing strategies that show quantifiable results in a shorter span of time instead of experimenting too much.
iv. Ecommerce Experience
Arguably one of the most important factors that you need to consider before you hire an ecommerce consultant is their experience. How many years have they worked in this field?
You can ask them about the campaigns they have created for ecommerce businesses. You can also ask them about the strategies they use, how they design websites to boost conversions, and how they drove positive results for ecommerce clients in the past.
v. Consultancy Fee
Make sure to discuss a fee with the consultancy and have a comprehensive payment plan. They will require an advance or a retainer at first, and then you can plan ahead.
This is not as easy as it looks. Given the nature of consultancy work, each client is different, so they don’t tend to provide a fixed quote. However, you can’t go above the budget, so it’s important that you find a consultant who fits your financial constraints.
Look for consultancies that offer transparent pricing. Several consultants share their prices for basic services. This way, you will at least have a ballpark figure of how much you will have to pay to the consultant.
vi. Client Testimonials
Read client testimonials to see whether the ecommerce consultant has a proud client base. If the clients are truly satisfied with their services, they would definitely share their positive experiences.
Look for case studies if there are any, and speak to their clients to be more confident about the ecommerce consultant you choose. The ecommerce consultant should display on their site how they have helped their clients achieve results and growth.
vii. Work Portfolio
Ask the consultant to show you their portfolio. This will give you a better idea about the different clients that the consultant has worked with, how many years they have been in business, and the scale and size of projects that they have worked on. Remember, your focus should be their experience with ecommerce clients, not other websites.
Make sure you choose an ecommerce consultant that has a work portfolio online – it will assure you that they are proud of the results they get for their clients.
Top Ecommerce Consultants
To help you make a decision, we have compiled a list of three of the best ecommerce consultants to choose from.
1. Argona Partners
Argona Partners is based in Indiana and have been around since 2017. They offer excellent ecommerce consulting services and guide businesses through their startup phase. They offer the following services:
- Tailored consulting services
- Growth strategy
- Marketing strategy and planning
Based in New York, PixelPlex has been offering startup advice and ecommerce consulting services since 2007. They provide the following services to their clients:
- Full cycle solution engineering
- Cognitive computing
- Web accessibility audit
BellaVix is based in North Carolina, and they specialize in growing ecommerce businesses on Amazon. They offer the following services:
- Seller central management services
- Vendor central management
- Amazon Paid Search
One12th was founded in 2012 in Aventura, FL, and provides ecommerce consultancy to create impactful, data-driven, and consistent touch-points for every stage of the buyer’s journey, that drive real business outcomes for ecommerce store owners. They provide the following services to their clients:
- Consultancy for marketing
- Consultancy for driving engagement
- Consultancy for intelligence/automation
5. Ever Better: Coaching and Consultancy
Based in Washington, DC, Ever Better has been coaching founders, co-founder teams, and visionary leaders to help them fuel results. It creates custom experiences by using tools and resources to drive outcomes for individuals, teams, and companies. They provide the following services to their clients:
- Executive and leadership coaching
- Co-Founder team coaching
- Team building workshops
- Leadership training
- Employee speed coaching
The Final Word
Working with an ecommerce consultant is critical for online business owners, as the digital marketing domain continues to change with each new update by Google. If your business does not adapt in a timely manner, it will be left behind. An ecommerce consultant will identify the gaps in your business model, and help you make the best use of the resources available to you, thus making your business to new heights.
Q1. What does an ecommerce consultant do?
An ecommerce consultant advises the business owners at all stages of the business lifecycle. They make sure that the business owners have complete information to make informed decisions.
Q2. How do I choose a consulting firm?
When choosing a consulting firm make sure you have a clear expectation of what problems you want the consulting firm to solve for your business. Next, look at the portfolio to see whether they have worked in similar industries and have the right expertise to help you out.