What Is an Ecommerce Agency & Do You Need One

If you’re looking to scale your ecommerce business, you may be considering hiring an ecommerce marketing agency to help. 

The problem is…

Most agencies are unreliable and will cause more problems than solutions.

But there are some great ecommerce agencies who have the knowledge and expertise to help you grow your store to 7 & 8 figures.

The million-dollar question…

How do you avoid costly mistakes and hire the best ecommerce agency for your growing business?

We’re going to walk you through what an ecommerce agency is, the benefits of working with one, and how you can choose the right agency to work with.

Let’s dig in.

What Is an Ecommerce Agency?

An ecommerce agency is an outsourced team that partners with your business to help grow your online store and reach your goals.

Agencies can be a great help when you’re scaling abut as an ecommerce owner you need to work with your agency to establish some baseline ecommerce metrics for which the agency will be accountable and measured against. This is also an effective way for you to know if they’re doing their job well.

It’s also important to know that no ecommerce agency is the same with some being specialists and others being able to cover all ecommerce marketing strategies.

What are the Benefits of Hiring an Ecommerce Agency?

Working with a reputable ecommerce agency offers many benefits. It can help you accelerate your online store growth and bring a wide range of new growth strategies and tactics into your business that you previously lacked knowledge of or didn’t know existed.

All ecommerce businesses should hire a marketing agency at least once to help with growth.

Here are some more specific benefits of hiring an ecommerce agency:

1. Cutting edge insights and ideas

With an agency, you get access to an entire team of marketing specialists who constantly keep up with the latest trends, changes and strategies that are taking the industry by storm.

For example: In the past 2 years we’ve seen some dramatic changes to both Google Shopping ads with the introduction of performance max and Facebook marketing has also had a seismic shift post iOS 14 privacy updates.

Good ecommerce agencies work with lots of ecommerce businesses and quickly discover how to optimise ad campaigns after these changes are rolled out by both Google and Facebook’s ad platforms much faster than trying to figure it out for yourself.

Additionally, agencies often have a deep network within the marketing community and get the ‘inside scoop’ on the latest changes and ideas to keep you as a client up to speed.

2. Get an outside perspective

When you’re building an online business, focusing on the ins and outs every day, it can be easy to get a bit of tunnel vision or even worse…hit a plateau where growth flatlines and you don’t know why.

Good ecommerce agencies have helped grow 100’s of ecommerce businesses and can be quick to identify what’s holding you back and help you break through those growth plateaus.

Working with an agency helps to get that outside perspective and approach problems from a new angle to keep you on track to hitting your business goals now—and into the future.

3. Access technical expertise and top technologies

Ecommerce agencies tend to utilize premium technologies that might not make sense for your business to budget for on its own. This gives you even more insight into your marketing’s performance and helps the agency streamline their processes, giving you more bang for your buck.

And as I mentioned, agency team members are in the trenches, working on increasing sales and revenue for a number of ecommerce sites, giving them technical experience and know-how that an in-house marketing team might not have.

Remember: The ecommerce marketing agency you choose should be focused on growing your store revenue while protecting your profit margins. If they try to avoid this responsibility then don’t hesitate to fire them.

4. Implement an expert ecommerce marketing strategy

When you hire an agency, you know you’re getting access to a team ready to implement an expert ecommerce marketing strategy.

They know the tools they use inside and out, they have experience in a number of different niches, and can quickly implement a full-service strategy that hits your goals and objectives.

5. Receive important reporting and analytics

Many agency retainers come with monthly or quarterly reporting and analytics updates. This information helps you see if you’re on the right track or if there needs to be some tweaking. Plus, agencies have processes for gathering and sharing data with clients, so it’s easier than putting this on your in-house marketers.

Hiring an Ecommerce Agency vs. Full-Time Employee

Now that you know the benefits you can expect when hiring an ecommerce agency, let’s tackle the next question: which is better—an agency or a full-time employee?

The answer to this will be different for every company, but it all comes down to three main components: Cost, expertise, and dedication.


When you hire an agency, you pay one monthly fee and get access to the entire team’s marketing expertise. Good agencies have also often built a lot of efficient processes (SOP’s) and are able to deliver a high output of quality work in a short amount of time.

When you hire an in-house team instead of an agency, you have to consider the full-time salary of each person on that team—your social media manager, content marketer, ads specialist, graphic designer, videographer, SEO specialist and more.

While not all of those roles are necessary and you may hire some on contract for part-time work, paying for each of those roles can still get expensive and begin to erode your profit margins.

This is where agencies become much more cost-effective. If you’re on a budget but want to make a major impact, hiring a proven agency might be your best bet.


We’ve already mentioned how agencies give you access to a full team’s expertise, insights, perspective, and more. Because agencies work with a number of clients in different niches and industries, they’re able to gather ecommerce marketing experience faster than someone who just works in-house at your company.

On the other hand, someone who solely focuses on your product offerings is going to be much more well-versed in its features, benefits, use cases, and the like.

You have to decide what’s more important for your brand at this point in time—marketing insights or an insider’s knowledge of the product.


With an agency, you’ll likely have a single account manager that you’re in contact with. However, due to the nature of agency life, they still have a number of other clients they’re also working with.

This means you don’t get 100% of their time focused on your business and marketing avenues. Instead, you’re likely paying for a portion of their time each week or month.

If you’re looking for a more hands-on marketer, working with an agency might not be the best direction for you to take.

In the end, having a dedicated team member who works alongside the agency could be the perfect solution. You’re not paying the salaries of an entire marketing team, but you still get the best of both worlds with the inhouse marketer and agency working together towards a unified goal.

How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Agency

There are thousands of marketing agencies out there. How do you know if you’re making the right choice and fit for your business?

While you’ll never truly know until you begin working with them, there are a few steps you can take that can help you avoid a bad agency-client relationship.

1. Check out their experience in your industry.

What is their track record with businesses like yours? What do you see in their portfolio?

Finding an agency with a proven success rate in your industry (or one similar) helps you to feel better about their performance when working with your business.

To find this information, check out their website and look for a “Clients” or “Case Studies” page. If they don’t have one, ask them directly for testimonials or a list of clients they’ve worked with that are similar to your business.

If an agency you were considering has zero experience in your industry, or they’re not willing to share any client testimonials with you right away then that’s a clear red flag.

2. Look at their customer reviews.

The next step is to look closely at customer reviews so you can learn more about the experience other clients have had.

Try to find reviews that talk about the agency’s work throughout the contract as well as their after-work approach. What we mean is: You want to make sure the agency does a great job while you’re paying them, but also sets you up for success when you go your separate ways.

Make sure you’re only considering agencies that have mostly positive results. However, some negative reviews shouldn’t be a complete dealbreaker—not everyone meshes well, so one bad review in a mix of great ones isn’t necessarily a bad sign.

3. Consider company culture and location.

Is the agency a good fit for your company? Do they work in a way that will work well with your processes? Company culture is important for employees, but it can be just as important for clients.

Another important issue to consider is the matter of location. Do you want to work with an agency nearby or are you okay with some distance?

If you prefer to meet in person versus video or phone calls, a local agency is going to be ideal. However, if your team is remote, it only makes sense that your agency doesn’t need to be location specific either. Just make sure you’re in similar enough time zones.

4. Make sure they fit your budget.

This one is obviously very important. You can’t work with an agency you can’t afford.

When vetting agencies, ask how they create their packages or monthly retainers, what the cost is, and how it’s distributed.

However, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind—your budget should also consider the ROI of using this agency and the new business they can help bring in.

5. Ask a lot of questions.

Our last tip is to make sure you ask a lot of questions. Don’t go into an agency-client relationship blindly. You want to do your research so you feel comfortable that the agency can get your ecommerce brand to where you want to be. Here are a few good questions to ask.

What is your typical strategy and process?

How does the agency get started with a new client? Do they have a similar strategy that they follow along with for each of their clients or do they cater it to each specific brand? What kinds of information will they need from you during the onboarding process? How long does it take to get set up? This is the kind of information you need to know before diving in. You don’t want to get stuck in a situation where just the setup is taking weeks or months when you’re hoping to start seeing results.

Which metrics and KPIs do you track?

This is a good question to ask so you know the agency will actually be paying attention to returns. Having your own goal metrics in mind is also a good way to help the agency get started. For example, if you’re looking to increase your return on ad spend (ROAS) so that you can increase your ad budget and get even more return, this is something they need to know.

What timeline can we start to see results in?

You don’t want to be unrealistic. Paid strategies don’t start pulling in major results overnight—and organic strategies take even longer. But having an idea in mind can help put your mind at ease as you start the process. It can also be a way to filter out those agencies who promise huge results immediately. That’s a giant red flag as in most cases, it simply isn’t possible.

How will you work with my team?

If you have a team in-house (or even if they’ll just be working with you) it’s important to know what kinds of communication to expect and what they’re going to need from you in order to do their job. If your team needs to approve content, ads, copy, budget, etc., before they can go live, you need to make sure you’re on top of that communication. Otherwise your strategy will be at a standstill and no one will be happy with the results. Asking a few solid questions before signing the contract can ensure that expectations are set and everyone will be satisfied with the working relationship.

Find the Right Ecommerce Agency for Your Brand

Are you at a point where you feel ready to hire an agency?

The final and most important piece of advice I can give is to work on building a solid relationship with your agency. This is what leads to the highest chance of success working together.

If you’d like to talk with one of our ecommerce experts then click here.

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