Ecommerce Agencies: Band-Aid or Solution?

Tyler Park

March 18, 2021

If your business is growing and you’re finding more and more need for support on various responsibilities, you’re probably asking yourself if you should hire contractors, new employees, or a specialized agency to help. An agency has expert experience after all, but does that extra support only help temporarily?

An agency can do a lot for your ecommerce brand when you’re in a tight spot: they can give you specialized advice, relieve some of the pressure on your team, and help you expand your brand presence in exciting new areas. Most businesses overwhelmingly choose to work with agencies when they’re trying to grow their brand, but are agencies really worth it? Or are they only a short-term solution for your brand’s needs?

Why brands choose to work with agencies

The cold, hard reality of working in ecommerce is that having only two or three pairs of hands to get the job done doesn’t cut it anymore. Ecommerce is too big and it’s too complex, with a myriad of moving parts to manage. Can you really expect a single employee to manage multiple product SKUs on multiple marketplaces using multiple advertising platforms, and be extraordinary at all of it? This mindset is what contributes to ecommerce teams being overworked.

When you only have the time and manpower to focus on one area of ecommerce, fires—like disparate data or price erosion—will inevitably start in other areas of your ecommerce. And when that happens you’ll somehow have to find the time and resources to put them out. By the time you get around to it, there’s a good chance the issues have escalated or solidified. That’s why working with one or more agencies makes so much sense. Agencies can be a fix to some of these issues.

Agencies free up your time to work on other issues

Brands who hire outside agencies to take care of things like marketing or social media find themselves saving a significant amount of time on hiring, training, and onboarding their own staff to do this work, as well as simply managing the staff themselves. Agencies, in many ways, act like co-parents for your brand: they take much of the load off your shoulders so you can get back to business and bring home the bacon.

Agencies give you niche expertise

You might be an expert at web development, and maybe your teammates are marketing mavens. But, no matter how talented your team is, there are always going to be elements of your business that fall outside of your expertise or that you don’t have the resources to do yourself. Agencies address the issue of siloed expertise by giving you a professional outsider’s eye on key elements of your business. There are agencies for your marketing, your advertising, your product images, your copy, individual marketplaces, international marketplaces—you name it! There’s an agency for everything. Agencies know their stuff, and they do it well so you don’t need to worry about it.

Agencies can improve sales

When sales are stagnating and you’re running out of ideas on how to improve, an agency can give your brand the juice it needs to get back in the game. Agencies supply brands with resources, sounding boards, and creative new perspectives on how they can grow. They also may have experience in proven strategies that you hadn’t considered, or didn’t know existed. The right agency can be a valuable addition for your ecommerce team.

The catch with traditional agencies

Even though there are very valuable benefits to working with an agency, a traditional agency isn’t always a one-and-done solution for your brand’s long-term needs. At best, an agency can take care of your immediate needs, bump your sales, and partner with you for long-term success. At worst, an agency can become an absolute money pit for your brand and do the exact opposite of what you hired it to do.

Traditional agencies can quickly get pricey

Entering into a contractual agreement with just one agency may cost you several thousand dollars per month for several years, and most ecommerce teams end up having to hire more than one agency to manage their brand. When costs pile up, soon your CEO is wondering what they hired you for in the first place if you are outsourcing so many responsibilities. They’re also questioning why they’re spending so much for services that aren’t driving significant profit. That’s a bad position for you and your team to be in.

Traditional agencies can have conflicting interests

Unfortunately, agency fees aren’t the only costly thing about them. Agencies have disparate interests that can create a lot of friction and ultimately interfere with your profits as well. While you’re concerned with growing your brand long-term, a traditional agency can be more incentivized to get in, drive quick results, and get out, even if they’re not spending your money in the most efficient or effective ways possible. Traditional agencies will almost always look after their interests first, making them the wrong fit for your needs.

It can be harder to coordinate efforts with traditional agencies

One thing that can be said about keeping all of your ecommerce grunt work in-house is that you can remain fairly consistent in your messaging, because it’s easier to keep everyone on the same page. Your team knows your brand better than anyone.

Once you outsource to an agency, you’re working with an entirely different body that, like we mentioned previously, has different incentives, systems, and goals than you do. More agencies means more meetings, which means more planning, different reporting formats, and more paperwork. In your efforts to create less work for your team, you may unintentionally create more headaches.

But don’t give up yet. While traditional agencies can have some faults, there’s a more effective and inexpensive option for your brand. And this option can get you long-term growth, save your brand money, and impress your boss, all while you give your overworked ecommerce team the chance to breathe. That option is Pattern.

Pattern: Not your traditional agency, but a long-term solution

Pattern puts a twist on the typical ecommerce team and agency relationship by centralizing everything you need for your brand that you’d otherwise hire an agency to take care of—marketing, advertising, SEO, shipping and packaging, product design, marketplace expertise, D2C, we do it all! With our myriad of experts working on your brand, you can work with one ‘agency’ for everything instead of several agencies for individual areas.

We use extensive data analysis to find and address the pressure points wearing out your ecommerce team, too, so you can get back in business. The best part? All of these services are included when your brand partners with Pattern. But now you’re thinking, how much will this cost me? If agencies are expensive and Pattern is an upgrade, this is a pricey solution, right? Wrong.

We believe in helping you succeed, and we’re so confident we can drive results that we pay you. We buy your inventory, take on the risk, worry about the product advertising, sales, and fulfillment, and then we look to the future to see how we can help you even more. And because we assume the risk, we can’t succeed unless you succeed. We don’t just take your product and run, we collaborate with your brand strategies, needs, and goals so that everyone can win.

A Pattern partnership is a lasting and supportive relationship. We invest heavily in your brand and put in the work to help you nail your long-term strategy and growth, not just benefit from short and gimmicky sales spikes. You don’t have to worry about investing tens of thousands of dollars into a partnership that keeps your team busy with ineffective projects and doesn’t ultimately get your brand where it should be. At Pattern, we pay you first and we only win when you do.

Get a demo today and see for yourself why Pattern had a 100% retention rate in 2020.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)