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10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an E-Commerce Development Company

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an E-Commerce Development Company

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an E-Commerce Development Company

We have outlined the essential aspects of determining whether a specific e-commerce development company suits your business needs. We have also presented questions you should ask your e-commerce development services provider.

Think of your e-commerce site as your storefront. Its aesthetics and user experience influence how your customers perceive your business and affect your conversion rates. To get the most out of your online store, you will need to rely on professional e-commerce development services.

However, picking the right e-commerce development company is no easy task. You need to ask the right questions to find the perfect match. This post will help you do just that.

We will outline the main criteria to rank potential e-commerce development service providers and give you questions to ask to ensure the best possible choice of store developer.

10 Questions to Ask an E-Commerce Development Company

  1. What is Your Development Agency Expertise?
  2. What Experience Do You Have Creating E-commerce Sites Using The Chosen Platform/Technology?
  3. Do You Have Experience Working With Clients in Our Industry? 
  4. Can You Show Us Your Portfolio?
  5. Can Your Provide References?
  6. What Are The Costs Of This Project? Do You Have Defined Timelines?
  7. What is your Development Process?
  8. How Do You Prioritize SEO During Development? 
  9. How Do Ensure The Website is Mobile-Friendly? 
  10. Can You Tell Me More About Your Support And Maintenance Plans?

Looking to hire an e-commerce development company? Search  for industry-leading service providers on The Manifest.  

What is Your Development Agency Expertise?

The first step in developing an e-commerce site is to choose your technology. Your e-commerce development services providers can use numerous platforms, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento, to create your online shop. Alternatively, you can build your store from the ground up using development stacks based on JavaScript, Java, PHP, NET++, or other languages.

Building an e-commerce store using native technologies enables more customization while basing your web store on an e-commerce platform is more cost and time-efficient.
There are pros and cons for different CMS platforms. The agency you talk to can give their estimation of which platform is the most appropriate for your online business.

Additionally, when considering WordPress and its plugins for e-commerce websites, you should know that the chosen agency can develop it custom or use predefined templates. So, if you base your store on the WooCommerce platform, you should carefully evaluate whether to rely on plugins or code custom solutions. While plugins can be more cost-efficient, they can negatively impact future scalability. On the other hand, developing custom code will require more resources and enable better scalability.

Ask your e-commerce development company about their coding practices and methodology to ensure that your store is easy to maintain and that you can add additional features.

List of benefits of having a custom-built e-commerce store.


Once you have chosen your platform or technology, assess your potential e-commerce development company experience by asking the following question:

What Experience Do You Have Creating E-commerce Sites Using The Chosen Platform/Technology?

Evaluate a company's experience using the tech stack or platform you wish to use to build your e-commerce site. For example, if you have chosen to develop your site using WooCommerce, you should ask how much experience the company has in creating stores in this CMS.

Although extensive experience in a particular technology does not guarantee success, more than five years of experience will increase the likelihood of it.

Do You Have Experience Working With Clients in Our Industry? 

Ideally, the chosen design and development company should have experience in your industry. Previous experience developing e-commerce solutions in your niche enables developers to tailor your store's user experience and design to resonate with your ideal customers.

Can You Show Us Your Portfolio?

The next step in assessing your potential e-commerce development services provider's experience and expertise is to ask them for their portfolio and references.

Most companies only show a few projects on their website, so you should ask for a portfolio. When questioned, they should be able to give you a comprehensive portfolio of their previous projects.

Evaluate their portfolio by paying close attention to the following aspects:

  • Do you like the design of their e-commerce stores?
  • Are they user-friendly and easy to navigate?
  • Do they load fast?
  • Do they scale well with different display sizes?
  • Is the checkout process simple and intuitive?

Can you give us your references' contacts?

Obtaining references will enable you to contact the company's previous clients and gain first-hand experience working with an e-commerce development company.

When contacting their past clients, ask about:

  • The company's communication and responsiveness.
  • Their project management.
  • The development process and openness to suggestions and revisions.
  • Their pricing model and transparency.
  • Punctuality and adherence to set time frame.

BONUS: Check Client Reviews

To further assess an e-commerce development company's quality of services, you can also check reviews of their previous clients on independent sites such as Clutch. Reading their previous clients' reviews may give you an insight into the quality of their services.

Before contacting an e-commerce development company, create a comprehensive list of features, functionalities, and integrations you need.

Creating a list of features and functionalities and communicating it to your e-commerce developers will enable you to assess their understanding of your requirements and ability to meet them.

On the other hand, it will enable an e-commerce development company to more accurately estimate the costs and time needed to develop your e-commerce website, making your initial meetings more efficient.

What Are The Costs Of This Project? Do You Have Defined Timelines?

After clearly communicating your business requirements and ensuring that your e-commerce development services provider understands them, you should establish the budget and the deadlines.

Your e-commerce development services provider should have a transparent payment structure, divide the project into simple, actionable steps, estimate development time and the number of developers needed, and provide you with a quote based on those factors.

If you already have a deadline, consult your development agency to see how feasible it is. By estimating and adapting your deadline, you can avoid compromising the quality of your online store.

Learn more about the cost of E-Commerce Website Development in Clutch's Pricing Guide

What is your Development Process?

When building a store, you should account for your business growth. Scalability can be predicted in advance. However, you should check with the design and development agency to see if they have experience and a plan for implementing a greater number of features and an increase in traffic.

There are different things that agencies can answer. However, some of the most basic ones are:

  • choosing a hosting provider and their package that can support significant traffic
  • selecting an adequate platform
  • writing clean and well-documented code.

The chosen agency should write clear, scalable, and well-documented code.

Ask your development services provider for an overview of their PM process. An experienced development company should have a detailed methodology and be able to explain it to clients.

The development process is illustrated using the example of a WooCommerce store.


Although approach and methodology may vary between companies, they typically include:

  1. Defining requirements
  2. Creating wireframes and prototypes 
  3. Development phase
  4. Testing 
  5. Launch and deployment
  6. Ongoing Support

Defining requirements

The development process should start with clearly defining your requirements and goals. You should ask about the company's communication and project management plan at this stage.
Creating wireframes and prototypes

After you define your requirements and goals, a design and development agency should provide you with wireframes and mockups of your store's design and functionalities. Those early prototypes will give you an overview of your store and allow you to provide feedback.

Development Phase

After the design is approved, the company will start the development cycle. Ask how they facilitate communication among team members and with a client during the development.

In the testing phase, the chosen team should put your store through extensive QA testing to ensure that all issues are addressed.

Launch and Deployment

Your e-commerce developers should configure databases and servers and ensure a smooth launch. During the launch phase, they must keep open communication and promptly resolve possible issues.
Ongoing Support

Finally, ask your e-commerce development company about their support and maintenance plans.

How Do You Prioritize SEO During Development? 

Search engine optimization (SEO) enables new customers to find your business organically, so you should ask potential developers about their SEO practices.

You should ensure their services include creating XML sitemaps and SEO-friendly URL structures, page loading and image optimization, and using canonical meta tags.

How Do Ensure The Website is Mobile-Friendly?

Finally, they should utilize responsive and mobile-first design principles. Apart from enabling a smooth shopping experience regardless of the device your customers use, responsive design is an important search engine ranking factor. Namely, Google has used a website's mobile version for ranking since 2020.

Can You Tell Me More About Your Support And Maintenance Plans?

Ask a development company about their maintenance and support plans.
Regular maintenance is essential for running a successful e-commerce store. It ensures that your software is up to date and your website is secure.

Through regular security updates and backups, e-commerce maintenance service providers ensure the safety of your and your customer's data. Regular updates of software and plugins also prevent incompatibilities that can cause bugs and errors.

Additionally, support plans ensure an agency can resolve emerging issues immediately, enabling an optimal user experience.

Choosing the Right E-Commerce Development Company

After you’ve read through company reviews, researched potential service providers, and created a shortlist of potential providers, an interview is an important step when determining if an e-commerce development company is the right fit for your upcoming project.

During the interview process, you should be prepared with questions that can help you make your hiring decision. These questions can give you a better understanding of their expertise, what it’s like to work with them, and the quality of the results they deliver. 

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