So you’ve decided to hire an ecommerce consultant. The next question then becomes, how do you make sure you hire the right person for your business? This is a huge question that also relies a little on luck.
Fortunately, as someone who is also an ecommerce consultant and has taught others how to both hire and become ecommerce consultants, I can tell there are a few things to look for that most people won’t even consider.
And these things can make a break your search for extra help.
Fair warning though, it’s not as simple as just asking for “case studies”.
If you really want to make sure you hire the right ecommerce consultant the first time, then you need to think about the qualifying process completely differently versus hiring an employee or even a regular freelancer.
So with that said, let’s go…
What Ecommerce Consulting Services Can I Hire For?
The first step to getting the right help you need is to understand what ecommerce consulting services you can even hire for in the first place.
Long story short, you can find an ecommerce consultant for almost anything.
That’s because “consultant” can really mean anyone who offers freelance services. In fact, many use the words interchangeably.
However, there is one critical service that consultants offer that you generally don’t see in the sea of self-anointed freelancers. This service can be sold individually or can be included with any of the freelance skills above.
So what is it?
This includes analysis, strategy, and action plans.
For example, if you decided to hire an ecommerce copywriting consultant, they won’t just write words for you. They’ll also analyze your conversion data and lay out strategic action plans that would compound the results you would get from the copy they write. In fact, in many cases these strategic plans are more valuable to the business than the actual concrete deliverables.
It also opens up new services you can hire for.
For example, there are ecommerce consultants who specialize in helping you with hyper specific things like supply chain & logistics, unit economics, SKU strategy, and even “fractional CMO” services. These types of services are almost entirely analysis and strategy-based, rather than specific outputs like email marketing or CRO split-tests.
And this isn’t counting enterprise level consultants who directly help CEO’s.
So what does all of this mean to you?
When looking for an ecommerce consultant, don’t stop at specific deliverables. You’re don’t just want someone to help with writing SEO posts or create your Shopify store design.
You want someone who can think, so you can do things like dramatically increasing your sales on Amazon.
Ecommerce Consultant Hourly Rate: How Much Does It Cost To Hire Someone?
If cost wasn’t a problem, we would all want the world’s best ecommerce consultants helping us. Alas, that’s not possible, so you have to understand the relationship between cost and value.
One factor that leads to rates is service type and scope.
For example, graphic design will generally cost less than copywriting because copywriting has a much more relevant/immediate effect on sales. However, a big graphic design project is obviously going to cost more than a small Amazon product description project. Sometimes though, some ecommerce consultants will take a small pay cut if you give them big enough projects or retainers.
The next factor is experience and negotiation.
Basically, the more experienced an ecommerce consultant you want to hire, the more expensive. Obvious. But part of that is because of negotiation. Unlike many beginners who undercharge for their services even if they’re good at what they do, more experienced consultants will charge premium rates from the get-go. This is good because it signals confidence and commitment, which is exactly what you need in a consultant.
For argument’s sake though, let’s say you’re going for an “average” ecommerce consultant.
In my experience, this type of consultant will charge $100+ per hour.
In fact, if you come across an ecommerce consultant who charges less than $100 per hour, then you’re probably dealing with a less experienced player. And when it comes to hiring outside help, you usually get what you pay for. So make sure you’re financially ready before expecting top tier work.
But while $100+ per hour signals a real professional…
In cases where there is equity or performance based fees, rates can skyrocket. Sometimes even $1,000+ per hour or even more.
Of course, since it’s all performance based, there’s less risk for you. Plus, you have to already be pretty big for a consultant to even expect that kind of return on their services. And, you’re getting a huge ROI for their help. But, most consultants won’t go for this type of deal unless they’re financially stable and they really, really like you and your business. Hence why this is not common. So you’ll most deal with people who are in the low $100’s..
The Worst Mistake You Can Make When Hiring An Ecommerce Consultant
So, how can you tell if an ecommerce consultant is good or not?
Well, what you do NOT want to do is rely on the old, typical proof elements.
Talking to past clients
Now, don’t get me wrong. These are all typically good things for an ecommerce consultant to have and you should ask for at least some of them. It never hurts to have more data to make a hiring decision. However, if you think this is critical data that determines whether an ecommerce consultant can actually help you or not, you’re dead wrong.
That’s because in all cases, you’re just blindly guessing someone’s skill.
With these proof elements, all you’re doing is looking at someone’s “greatest hits”. Yes, it shows their capacity to get results, but it doesn’t show their capacity to do things reliably, every time. Kind of like when you see someone on Instagram posting amazing pictures of their life, but in reality they aren’t having nearly as much fun as they portray.
Because when push comes to shove, you need someone who can adapt.
Case studies or portfolio pieces don’t tell you that. At least, not on their own.
You have to look beyond the numbers to get someone who will be able to help you when everything is going bad. And I promise you, if you haven’t already seen a dip in your own business’ performance, you soon will.
The Real Secret Behind Hiring The Smartest, Most Experienced Ecommerce Consultant
You can’t hire an ecommerce consultant like an employee.
Heck, you can’t even hire them like a normal freelancer.
It’s not about deliverables or even numbers.
You see, the difference between hiring an ecommerce consultant versus other positions is that you’re looking for smarts. You want process, problem solving, critical thinking, market knowledge, experience, and perspective. You want someone who is going to give you confidence and clarity. Someone who you can depend on when things get tough.
You can’t tell someone has that from their portfolio.
That’s why the best way is to hire ecommerce consultants who share their knowledge.
You want to read their blogs or tweets. You want to watch their Youtube and TikTok videos. You want to listen to their podcasts and webinars. No, you don’t have to spend hours upon hours of content just to hire someone. Neither is anyone who publishes a book automatically great.
But if you take your time, you’ll find great ecommerce consultants you can actually trust.
Then and only then, can you use other proof elements to help make a hiring decision if you’re still having trouble justifying the cost. Because now, at least you have real context and understand what that consultant would do to help your business before you even contact them.
Ready To Scale Your Store? Hire Me.
If you’re looking for an ecommerce consultant who can help you scale your store, look no further.
These days, I run an agency called SupplyDrop where we specialize in ad creative for ecommerce brands. I’ve also personally helped 7-8 figure brands like Kettle & Fire and Drink02 grow as a consultant. And on top of all of that, I analyze the world’s fastest growing brands and document their best strategies in my newsletter.
Suffice to say, I’ve been around the block.
So if you need help with…
Just schedule a call and I’ll personally reply to you so we can set up the best time and day