Latest comparative studies of e-commerce platforms show that Magento still maintains a stable market share with 26% among Alexa top 1 million sites – it’s one quarter of all sites that are using some type of an e-commerce solution.
This only shows that merchants recognized Magento’s potential and their number is growing each year. But, how will you decide on a development partner who will help you build a quality solution to improve your business, and what should you keep in mind when deciding on your project budget?
Let’s assume that you’ve already decided to go with Magento platform and that you prepared all project specifications. Now, you think everything is ready on your side and all you need is to decide on a budget and find a development company that is reliable, trustworthy and capable to deliver everything you imagined.
How to decide between different solution partners?
No matter if you are running offline stores or not, or if you perhaps want to migrate your current store to Magento – the process of finding a development partner is usually the same – even though, sometimes less efficient if you are unaware of what to look for in a partner.
So, here’s a quick overview of some of the questions that might help you in choosing among various companies:
a) How experienced is the company? (look into their portfolio, check level of proficiency, see if they have certified developers, are they a Magento partner)
b) What do others say about their work (reviews and testimonials)? How does Magento community see them? (this type of information is very easy to find)
c) Do they work on fixed price or hourly rates and do they offer support in a long term?
d) How do they work with their clients? (project communication, especially if they’re in another time zone, meetings, project management tools they use)
e) What would it feel like working with them? (this is a gut feeling, but usually a correct one)
What to have in mind when deciding on a budget?
In most cases, you know how much money you want to invest and you try to search for a development company that will meet your expectations. So, should you always try to fit into the frames and are you aware of what should be considered when deciding on budget in a first place?
Here’s a shortlist of things to have in mind when determining the budget:
Usual project costs – licensing costs (Magento EE or any other software license), hosting, payment processing fees, shipping, marketing campaigns and many other costs of running an ecommerce business – some of these may be very specific so make sure to do your research.
Specific project costs – phases in a development process and some details that you are mostly unaware of and that might take up more time (and money) than you expect:
a) Planning – probably the most demanding phase, sometimes even more than development itself. Includes analysis of your current store (if you have one) and your business goals, as well as planning the design approach (responsive or mobile + desktop) and the integration of your store with (m)any 3rd party services.
b) Design – duration of this phase depends on the choice(s) between going responsive or not, and then between using some generic theme or a custom-built one. While custom themes may be more expensive in the short run, they’re definitely something your customers will recognize.
c) Development – mostly depends on your individual request, number of custom features and extensions as well as integrations planned out in the first phase.
d) Ongoing support and optimisation – once you’re done, the real work only begins. Since your store is constantly changing and growing, ongoing support around testing and optimization is a process that usually requires some extra assistance (and budget).
Final decision making
This overview might help you understand why each development company will prepare different project estimates for the same project requirements. Sometimes prices could seem rather high at a first glance but you should also take into consideration that if the store is built properly with all the best practices in mind, you should have your investment pay off sooner than you expected.
Your decision shouldn’t be made solely on the price, but taking into account the level of proficiency and experience of the potential partner company.
Here at Inchoo, we offer full customer support, before, during and after project is done, transparent prices and quality development work performed by Magento professionals.
I hope you’ll find this article useful when you start planning your new Magento project.
And if you’d like to get in touch with us, feel free to do so anytime. 🙂