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 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)