When someone is looking for an eCommerce development agency, it is quite common for that person to think that it’s the best option to go with a local agency. But, is it really true?
Are there important reasons to give a local eCommerce web development agency an advantage over a global one?
No. Not really. While some of the decisions are based on personal preferences, from a business growth perspective, there are several important reasons why working with global agencies is a better choice.
Let’s start by trying to define the terminology used in this blog post.
What exactly constitutes a “local” agency? Cambridge dictionary states: “existing in, serving, or responsible for a small area, especially of a country”. So, we can conclude that “local” agencies are thought of as those providing services within a single country, and usually, it’s the country they’re based in.
And for the sake of this post, I’ll use “global” agency as a term to describe those agencies that work with clients from various countries. They don’t necessarily need to have offices around the world, but rather the expertise needed to provide services to international clients.
Do we need face to face meetings?
We live in modern times. Nobody can deny that. And technology is developing more and faster than ever before. Because of that we also live in a time where technology is entering all aspects of our lives. And one of those aspects is also how we communicate, meet new people, get new customers or new clients.
Let me ask you one simple question. How many people in the last 5 years did you first meet online and later established some kind of a meaningful relationship?
I am betting quite a lot. And I am also betting that number is increasing every year.
Meeting face to face, or in person, is still very important. We meet in person with those persons/clients/customers with who we want to establish a strong bond. This is not the question here.
But the question is this – Isn’t it more efficient to first “meet” online and then, if everything is ok, meet in person?
We also live in fast-paced times. Every minute of a business day is important. It’s more logical to first try to meet your potential eCommerce development agency online. After you have established a good rapport, or even started business cooperation, you can arrange a meeting in person.
In other words, meeting in person can be used as the final confirmation of a strong business relationship you are about to establish.
In many other cases, meetings in person can be a waste of time – which you do not have in abundance. This rule applies both to local and global eCommerce website development agencies.
In case that the cooperation is fine and proven (regarding results), a global agency would gladly come to meet you in person. Or, they will invite you to visit them wherever they are. That can also be a good chance to combine business with pleasure, expand your horizons as you learn about new interesting places.
In short – meeting in person with the global agency is not a problem. And it usually happens after the cooperation has already kicked off. Modern technology can help bridge the gap at the beginning of business cooperation.
Local or global connections?
Again, we live in modern times. It’s not a problem to connect with local businesses anywhere in the world. Try to search on LinkedIn any state and any type of business. You will get lots of results.
It’s not an issue for any agency to make quality local contacts that can help them and their clients.
But, there is also one thing that nobody is thinking. What if you need an agency with global connections?
Why would you need such an agency? In cases where you are selling products or services intended for the global market. Chances are that the local agency is not going to fulfill such requirements. Especially if such an agency does not have any global experience.
In short – anyone can get local connections, but not everyone can get global connections (and experience).
How big is a local agency
When you are searching for the right website development agency you have to think about how many employees the agency has. Along with the information of how many projects they are working on at the moment. You need this information to see if they can complete your eCommerce project within the expected time-frame.
There is also a question of hiring 3rd party developers. If the local agency is small, then they are probably using services from 3rd party eCommerce developers. Do not get me wrong. Such developers can have great knowledge and do the job with quality.
The problem is in communication between the website development agency and such developers. If the communication is not set up in the right way there can be great misunderstandings. And chances for such mistakes are, unfortunately, growing larger as the developers are further away from the agency (time zones, etc…).
Global development agency, on the other hand, works on various international projects and because of that, it has enough workers. Even if the agency is engaging 3rd party developers on some projects, it has established communication and project delivery processes.
In short – a local agency can be rather small and could be limited in the amount of job it can do or take on, while a global agency probably has more employees and is more organized.
I have heard many times that the response time of local agencies is usually much faster. Well, is this true? Let’s just think about the types of communication used. In the case of phone calls it’s almost instant.
In the case of email, it also can be very quick. But, this is where it gets interesting. Local agencies are in general much smaller than those working with global clients. So, can we also conclude that smaller agencies have smaller amount of work? And, because of that, can offer a much quicker response time?
But, there is something more to it, that almost everybody forgets (intentionally?). Larger eCommerce development agencies, in general, have a dedicated communication team/people. It all depends on how they are organized. Of course, phone calls are considered a quick communication channel. And email is generally considered slower.
In short – don’t be surprised if the global agency has a quicker response time than the local agency. It’s all a matter of (dedicated) people who communicate with you, and how they are organized.
How much local is local?
Previously we defined a local agency as the one providing services mostly within a single country. Now, a country, or even a state for that matter, can be a big one. In the case of the United States, it can span across several time zones. But, even if we look only at a single country, we can still be talking about fairly large distances. And a trip from your office to the agency’s one can take up to several hours.
In that case, do you think you can have frequent face to face meetings with a local eCommerce agency? Or, would it be more efficient to do those meetings via Skype, Hangouts, or any other online channel?
In short – even a local agency can actually be based very far from you. So much that in some cases it negates the difference between “local” and “global”.
So, there you have it. These are probably the 5 most important reasons when talking about “the need” for a local development agency. There are even some more interesting points. For instance, the global agency is more aware of the global eCommerce changes and trends.
Also, there is “fear” from global agencies (unjustified fear that agency doesn’t know the language or similar…), thinking about our planet global warming and minimizing our own carbon footprint (why insisting on face to face meetings when we can have the same meeting with a help form online technology) and so on…
I hope these 5 reasons will help you choose the right agency!