Trapped in k(no)wledge, or why you need e-commerce consultancy

Julia Łączyńska

hat do you do when you're planning to take out a loan, buy a new car or pick the most attractive shares on the stock market? You ask experts for advice. Investment and the risk of personal loss arouses in us the need to find out as much as possible about a subject before making a decision. And it is no different when it comes to business development. When you are trying to choose the best ones for you in a sea of options, e-commerce consultancy comes to the rescue.

Trapped in k(no)wledge

Socrates' words "I know that I know nothing" have gone down in world history as the essence of wisdom and for hundreds of years this philosophical maxim has inspired generations of scientists, businessmen and experts. And what's more, since the 1990s we have had scientific evidence that Socrates knew what he was saying.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive error in that people with little knowledge in a field tend to overestimate their competence, while skilled people are more likely to underestimate their knowledge. This apparent paradox is actually very logical - with residual knowledge, choices seem simple because the person is unaware of how many options and factors he or she has to consider. Meanwhile, the further into the forest, the more trees there are. 

What does this mean for business? The impression of an in-depth awareness of the requirements and opportunities of today's market can be misleading and decisions based on incomplete information can be wrong. When looking for the best solutions, it is therefore worth consulting independent experts, i.e. business consulting. Consulting is a valuable service for businesses with different levels of knowledge: for start-ups, it can help to raise awareness of the market and set the direction for long-term, strategic development, while for experienced companies, it can identify areas for change and modernisation or facilitate decisions on the choice of new technologies. 

  • According to a Fortune report, up to 42% of start-ups fail because the market lacks demand for their product. 
  • As many as 37% of companies cite execution and 22% strategic planning as the areas they find most problematic for business development.
  • According to members of Forbes' Business Development Council, some of the biggest challenges companies face include understanding consumer behaviour, choosing the right technology, maintaining growth during inflation, understanding customer needs, maintaining audience attention and meeting the demands of a changing market. 

What do the above challenges have in common? They all stem from a lack of sufficient knowledge of how to plan, enforce and maintain a company's growth in the market. And they are all areas of business consulting.

Areas of e-commerce consultancy

1. Choice of e-commerce platform

"Which e-commerce platform should I choose for my business?" is probably one of the most frequently asked questions by companies that want to start selling online or change their existing tool. Magento, Shopware, BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce - these are just a few of the many platforms that allow you to implement and develop an online shop. Each offers a slightly different set of functionalities, architecture mechanics and customisation options and is profiled for specific types of business. Consulting in this area involves identifying the needs and describing the characteristics of the business and recommending the tool that will suit them best. Specialists will assist with both the selection of the first platform and building a shop from scratch, as well as migrating to a new platform.

2. E-commerce technology architecture

Deciding on the architecture of a sales platform is a big challenge for companies, as it requires a lot of technical expertise. Particularly as today's market offers a huge range of possibilities and trends change rapidly as new opportunities emerge. Strategic technology architecture consultancy will help identify the best solutions based on development goals and plans, budget, sales model and scale. This area of consulting concerns the selection of backend and frontend technologies, integration with external tools or the choice between a monolithic or distributed application.

3 Strategic planning

Growth planning is the foundation for successfully scaling a company and succeeding in the market. At the same time, as many as 90% of companies are unable to successfully implement their strategy. Many factors are responsible for this: lack of knowledge of the industry context and target group, unawareness of the possibilities of modern technologies, lack of analysis of sales results, the economic situation and market trends, or idealistic wishful thinking. Strategic consultancy makes it possible to dress up expectations and business objectives in a realistic framework and timetable, to define priorities and to plan short- and long-term development. With a good plan, backed by expert knowledge, a company can expect the best while being prepared for the worst.

Why use e-commerce consultancy?

You already know in which areas you can expect support from experienced consulting agencies. Now we'll focus on why you should do so. Here are some of the benefits you will gain when you seek advice from e-commerce experts. 

Objective assessment of business health

As you develop your business, you inevitably lose objectivity. You know your brand and product, understand its values and believe in its success in the market. This situation sometimes makes it difficult to look at the business critically and without emotion and to set it in a real market context. An experienced consulting firm can see your business as it is, objectively assessing its strengths and weaknesses in the context of your competitors.

Access to practical knowledge

Companies that are professionally involved in consultancy have probably seen it all. Many of them also provide implementation services in addition to consulting, so they can supplement theoretical knowledge with practical experience of the effectiveness of technology solutions and strategic decisions. Having access to a wide range of practical expertise is invaluable, so by seeking advice from an external e-commerce agency you can extend the scope of knowledge beyond your internal structures.

Recommendations of best solutions

Many vendors are concerned that consultancies will only recommend to them solutions that they themselves implement to win customers. This is a common fear that leads businesses to not fully trust an agency's objective assessment. However, it is worth looking at this topic in reverse. E-commerce agencies, which are market leaders, offer their clients the solutions they have found to be the best after an in-depth analysis, and which have the highest effectiveness compared to competing tools. The recommendation of selected technologies is therefore a testament to their potential, as no successful company could do so with an ineffective technology stack.

A safer investment in the future

In business, there is nothing worse than a misguided investment that results in losses instead of profits. Consultancy makes it possible to plan the development of the company in a better and safer way and to choose more effective tools tailored to the needs of the clients and the company.

Opportunity to test a potential business partner

Engaging with a new business partner is always a bit of a risk: will the company understand the specifics of my business? Will it know how to support my growth? Does it really know its stuff? Apart from its purpose in itself, a consultancy service additionally allows you to verify the competence of your potential business partner relatively inexpensively and to check that you understand each other well and that the cooperation is going as you expect. Consultancy or strategy workshops can therefore be the first step towards further, fruitful cooperation on a larger scale. We know such cases from autopsy!

One step further: the e-commerce audit

An e-commerce consultancy will provide you with a set of advice, guidance and recommendations on platform selection, strategic plans or technology architecture, but it is not a service that involves an in-depth analysis of your business from the technical side. So if you need an in-depth diagnosis of your sales platform and specific guidance on which areas to improve, change or expand, consider an e-commerce audit.

At Strix, we offer platform performance and UX audits. Along with an in-depth analysis of the current state of your platform, we will also provide you with detailed recommendations for changes prioritised from most urgent to least urgent. If you would like to learn more about this topic, we've prepared an ebook full of knowledge.

e-commerce audit ebook

Do you need a business advisor?

Stable, well-planned business development is too serious a matter to leave to chance. If you are looking to improve the health of your business, for new growth opportunities, or need advice on the choice of technology or strategy - contact us! Not only will we share with you our knowledge, built up over 14 years in the market, but we will also help you implement the best solutions. Why work with us? We believe that our results speak best for themselves, so take a look at our portfolio!

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Let's work together

If you want to move your sales to the online world, are looking for new ideas for strategy or innovative e-commerce technologies - write to us! We will be happy to talk about the best solutions for your business.