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Digital eCommerce Agency: How Does It Work?

June 16, 2020
3 Min Read
Digital eCommerce Agency: How Does It Work?

If you haven't worked at or with a digital eCommerce agency before, understanding what we do and how we do it often leads to a number of questions:

  • How does an eCommerce marketing agency operate?
  • What benefits can an agency offer?
  • How much does an agency cost?

Groove Commerce is committed to helping eCommerce businesses grow. To accomplish that, we believe every client needs to understand how an agency functions. Whether you're just getting started or are evaluating a new partner, we've outlined some essentials to help you understand what makes a great agency.

Digital eCommerce Agency: What Is It?

A digital eCommerce agency is an external team that partners with your business to solve complex problems and help you achieve your goals. Agencies often achieve this through strategic use of creative, technology and marketing services.

Every agency operates differently, so in this post, we'll share our process and perspective for working with clients. Our agency runs using a full-service model. This means that we offer strategy, creative, marketing and technology services under one roof. We use inbound marketing to attract new visitors to your website and create engaging website design and technology to help them convert.

How Can A Digital eCommerce Agency Help?

Up-To-Date Guidance

A successful eCommerce marketing agency has their fingers on the pulse of industry trends, systems and software to help you succeed. Whether you're looking for help with SEO strategies, web design or lead generation, a qualified digital eCommerce agency will demonstrate a clear understanding of where eCommerce is headed.

Agency partners often create and research their own informational content to stay abreast of how changes can influence their clients. We recommend asking for these types of resources during your search process to validate and differentiate agencies from each other.

Outside Perspective

We believe an outside opinion can always provide value. A successful digital eCommerce agency offers fresh perspectives and suggestions to improve your marketing and your business.

We view our client relationships as partnerships. By this, we mean that we become an extension of the in-house team to provide insights, strategies and tactical support.

Technical Expertise

We believe that business strategy should drive technology decisions. As such, a qualified eCommerce marketing agency partner won't sell you generic technology out of the box. Rather, they'll provide a prescriptive stack that directly relates to your objectives.

eCommerce agencies often partner with technology platforms to offer a high level of technical understanding and expertise. When choosing an agency, we highly recommend evaluating certified partners who are qualified to work on your chosen technology.

At Groove Commerce, we are both an Elite BigCommerce and Diamond HubSpot Agency Partner. We strongly believe in the power of each of these technologies and frequently recommend them to our clients. However, we maintain our stance that every client is different, and because of this, we work on additional platforms like Shopify Plus, WordPress and Magento when they make sense.

Based on the features you need to improve performance, our team is here to help evaluate what platform(s) will be the best fit for your business. 


Communication is the hallmark of a successful agency-client relationship. However, we often find that this is a pain point for many clients who worked with the wrong partner. So how do you find the right fit?

We recommend looking at the sales process as an indicator for communication cadence and transparency. Here at Groove Commerce, our account managers oversee the relationships we have with our clients, acting as a single point of contact to streamline communication.

When your questions need answering, they will put you in touch with the team member who is most knowledgeable about the topic in order to ensure you get the best, most-relevant answers possible.

Should I Hire An Employee Or A Digital eCommerce Agency?

Many businesses debate hiring an in-house marketing employee with hiring an external agency. Although there is definite value in adding internal staff, we find that hiring an external partner provides more return for a smaller annual investment. For example, let's look at the breakdown below:

1 Year Expenses

Internal Marketing Employee

Skills & Bandwidth

Companies typically have two options when hiring internal employees: specialists or generalists. Specialists provide value because they have a high level of understanding about a specific area. However, their bandwidth to perform tasks outside of this area will be lower and require additional training.

By contrast, generalists are able to perform many different kinds of tasks at a lower level. This can help businesses accomplish more, but generalists lack refined skill sets that can help them move the needle. 

  • Estimated Average Annual Salary: $70,000
  • Estimated Average Annual Benefits: $14,000
  • Estimated Average Annual Training, On-boarding and Equipment: $5,000 

Total: $89,000

External Agency Partner

Skills & Bandwidth

With an agency, you gain access to an entire team of highly skilled specialists. As a result, this unrivaled expertise can help your business grow with a smaller investment. With an inbound marketing retainer at Groove Commerce, you'll gain access to the following:

  • Digital Strategists
  • Interactive Designers
  • Front-End and Back-End Developers
  • Dedicated Account Managers
  • Estimated Total Annual Marketing Retainer: $84,000

Full-service agencies are cost effective because you don’t have to worry about extra expenses, which also gives you more control over your budget.

Granted, both scenarios can go up or down depending on your needs and investment. However, we find that agencies are able to provide more value for the investment than in-house employees.


eCommerce marketing agencies are designed to help businesses grow. Whether you're unhappy with your current partner or looking to engage with one for the first time, research is an important part of the process.

We hope this post has helped you better understand how agencies function and are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Please reach out through the contact form below and we'll be in touch shortly!

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Internal Marketing Manager

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