When it comes to redesigning your website there are a number of things to consider when choosing the right web design and development partner. Your website is the face of your business, and often the first or second point of contact that your potential clients will encounter. Ensuring you make the best first impression is crucial, and finding the right website partner is even more essential in guaranteeing your success.
At Growth Spark, we specialize in the design and development of e-commerce websites, specifically those built on the Shopify platform. And, while we would love to help grow every e-commerce business, it would be irresponsible to think that that would be possible. So if you’re hunting for an e-commerce website agency and you’re thinking of Growth Spark, here are 10 reasons why you actually shouldn’t work with us:
- You’re looking for something other than e-commerce consulting, or custom design and development of an e-commerce website
While we do offer e-commerce consulting, we specialize in the complete design and development of Shopify e-commerce websites. Designing, developing, and building a unique e-commerce business is a sizable undertaking that requires multiple phases of research, strategy, design, development, testing, and maintenance. If the idea of multiple phases in a website project sounds uncomfortable or is not of value to you, then Growth Spark probably isn’t the right Shopify agency for you.
- You’re married to an e-commerce platform that isn’t Shopify
We design, develop, and build Shopify e-commerce websites. Shopify is our e-commerce platform of choice because it’s 100% reliable and easy for business owners to use. We’ve developed dozens of Shopify sites and are even one of the few Shopify Plus experts in the world. If you’re looking for design, development, strategy, or consulting for your e-commerce business, we’re happy to help you if you’re on board with Shopify. If you’re looking to use a platform other than Shopify, unfortunately, we just don’t have the capability to support other platforms, but we’d be happy to refer you to another web agency.
- You don’t believe in off-the-shelf, pre-built software
You’ve heard the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel.” This concept is largely applicable to web and software development – why build from scratch what others have already been working with, experimenting on, and refining? While we are capable of doing custom development if the situation arises, we’ve almost always found that if you work with a platform that specializes – it’s always going to be better than building it yourself. Need a support portal? Use ZenDesk. Looking to implement a loyalty program? Use Smile.
Although we’re strong believers in the need for a unique design and customer experience (because that’s what allows you to differentiate and drive sales), from a tech-perspective, we feel that using off-the-shelf software is best. With tools like Zapier, the opportunities to customize interactions between off the shelf software are also endless!
So at Growth Spark, we always look to see if someone else has built a reliable, off-the-shelf solution first before considering whether a project requires a custom-build. We do this because it is often the most cost effective decision, and it ensures our clients security and smooth sailing for the back end of their e-commerce website.
- You want to launch your website next week
“Speed, price, quality: pick two” (The Economist). Launching a brand new, custom e-commerce website in one week is nearly impossible, but ultimately a dangerous and expensive decision to make for a business. Most of the projects we do are custom designed and developed e-commerce websites, and those tend to take two to four months to complete.
While we have had projects move very quickly, finishing in four to six weeks, our ability to move quickly is contingent on whether we receive immediate feedback and approvals, and whether website content is ready to go at the start of the project. We can move as quickly as you can move, if it makes sense. But we have found that relationships that are based on hard and fast deadlines can often add unneeded stress to a complicated project, so we almost always prefer to work with clients who see a timeline of two to four months as comfortable.
We’ll dive more deeply into some of the phases of our process in a moment, but consider that creating a custom-designed and developed e-commerce website should entail planning (research and discovery), design, development, and QA, to say the least. That’s four separate steps that would likely be rushed at one week each, which means launching a new e-commerce website in one month would be quite the crazy hustle!
- You don’t like questions and aren’t down with us taking the time to get to know your business and industry
The first phase of each and every one of our projects is what we call “Planning.” In the Planning Phase, we want to be very diligent about understanding your company, your customers, your challenges, your wants, and your needs so we can best help you succeed in creating an effective customer experience and a powerful e-commerce business. If you aren’t comfortable with your website partner leading off by asking lots and lots of questions, then we probably aren’t the right fit for you.
If you want to skip the Planning Phase and dive right into design so we can get your website launched ASAP, then we’ll be bypassing the steps we need to take together in order to develop an accurate project scope that provides you with realistic expectations about time, budget, and any additional requirements. We’ve found in the past that not taking the time to carefully plan and develop a clear strategy often leads to additional requirements, which means adding to the budget – which just doesn’t sit right when it feels like a surprise cost has come up in the midst of a high stakes project such as your entire e-commerce business.
- You want us to completely brand your business
Our specialty is not in branding and identity design, but in user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and customer experience (CX) design. As a Shopify Agency, we specialize in designing effective e-commerce web identities. Come to us with a logo, a brand style guide, and a small pool of references and we can do wonders with the UI design of your website. As long as we have a clear understanding of your brand, we can find the best font choices, color schemes, layouts, etc. that will best represent your brand on the web.
While we are not a branding agency and don’t do logo design, packaging design, or anything that would qualify as part of creating an entirely new look and feel for a company, we do have quality partners we can connect you with to accomplish a new branding or a rebranding project.
- You don’t like to streamline and document communications
We’ve devised a system that allows all team members, both on Growth Spark’s side and on our clients’ side, to stay up to date, have a solid record of communication, and turn feedback into tasks. This system, based in Asana’s project management app, allows us to be efficient in our communications, ultimately allowing us to focus on moving a project forward rather than on hunting down a critique or comment. If you’re uncomfortable working with us to communicate via one convenient, easy to use platform, or you prefer weekly on-site meetings, irregular phone calls, and emails, then we probably aren’t the right partner for you. We believe that your time and our time is valuable and want to give you the best we can offer of our expertise.
- You need your entire company involved in a project
We’ve found that having one dedicated point person or a two to three-person team that’s in charge of making approvals for your website project works best. Determining upfront who will be responsible for your website ensures that expectations are clarified and everyone can focus on moving a website to launch more quickly! If you don’t have a point person or small team that you can trust to really own your e-commerce website, then Growth Spark isn’t the right Shopify agency for you.
- You’re uncomfortable making data-driven design decisions
User experience design for e-commerce websites is our specialty. It’s our passion, our focus, our expertise! While design is a subjective process, we do our best to make design decisions based on your customer data and well-researched, modern e-commerce best practices. We believe in our clients’ expertise of knowing their business, their industry, and their customers. This is why asking so many questions in the planning phase is so crucial! And after we have tapped into our clients’ expertise during the planning, what we hope for in a client is a team that believes in our expertise of knowing what UI design decisions will create the best e-commerce customer experience.
So if you’re uncomfortable with the thought of trusting an e-commerce design expert to make personalized, data-driven design decisions about your website – or you feel that you need to be in complete control of the design of your website, then we probably aren’t the right partner for you. We’ve found great success for clients that have embraced our design recommendations, recognizing that they are founded in their personal customer data (gathered during the planning phase) and e-commerce best practices.
- You’re looking for a webmaster
Our job is to help you launch a new, uniquely designed e-commerce business, to implement new designs, new functionality, new integrations, new things that will take your e-commerce business to the next level. We aren’t “webmasters”. We like to empower our clients to be able to update content on their websites on a daily basis. It would be too expensive for a client to have us make simple changes to their website at our hourly rate. We want our clients to have a certain level of independence once we have launched a new e-commerce site, relying on us for the groundbreaking innovations. So if you’re looking for a Shopify agency to completely own and maintain your website, we probably aren’t the right website partner for you.
Choosing the right e-commerce web agency to work with can be a daunting task. After all, you’re not just looking for someone to build you a homepage and disappear! You’re looking for someone to help you build an effective e-commerce business. You need a trustworthy, reliable partner who stays on the cutting edge and will help you maintain e-commerce best practices.
We don't want you to think that we're naysayers or too picky about our clients, but we believe that upfront honesty around what works with our client relationships is the key to success. If you feel the same way and need help growing your e-commerce business, we'd love to connect with you!