Maximising Your Shopify Store's Potential: When to Hire an Agency and When to Go In-House

James Kirkby
July 17, 2023

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, staying ahead of the competition is crucial. As an e-commerce business owner, you understand the importance of optimizing your Shopify store to increase conversions and boost sales. But the question remains: should you hire a Shopify agency or manage everything in-house?

The answer isn't as straightforward as you might think. It depends on various factors such as your business size, revenue, and the level of traffic your website receives. This guide aims to provide an honest perspective on when it makes sense to hire a Shopify agency and when it's better to keep things in-house.

We'll delve into the specifics of what a Shopify agency can offer, the benefits and drawbacks of in-house management, and how to decide what's best for your business. We'll also touch on the importance of data-driven decision making, the limitations of A/B testing, and the value of learning from your agency.

Whether you're a seasoned e-commerce veteran or a newcomer to the Shopify platform, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision. So, let's dive in.

Understanding the Role of a Shopify Agency

In the realm of e-commerce, a Shopify agency is a team of experts specializing in optimizing Shopify stores to enhance their performance and increase sales. These agencies offer a range of services, from store setup and design to ongoing optimization and marketing strategies. But what sets a good Shopify agency apart is their ability to tailor their services to your business's specific needs and goals.

Expertise and Experience

A Shopify agency brings to the table a wealth of expertise and experience in e-commerce optimization. They understand the intricacies of the Shopify platform and know how to leverage its features to your advantage. They're up-to-date with the latest e-commerce trends and best practices, and they can apply this knowledge to your store to enhance its performance.

Data-Driven Approach

A reputable Shopify agency operates on a data-driven approach. They don't just make changes based on gut feelings or assumptions. Instead, they analyze your store's data, understand your customers' behavior, and make informed decisions to improve your store's performance. This approach ensures that every change made to your store is backed by data and has a high chance of increasing your conversions and sales.

Comprehensive Services

A Shopify agency offers comprehensive services that go beyond just setting up your store. They can help with initial optimization based on best practices, ongoing optimization based on customer feedback, and creating landing pages for your ad campaigns. This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of your e-commerce business are optimized for success.

Education and Empowerment

A good Shopify agency doesn't just do the work for you; they also educate you about what they're doing and why. They empower you with the knowledge and skills to manage your store effectively in the long run. This approach ensures that even if you decide to bring things in-house in the future, you'll be well-equipped to handle it.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of In-House Management

Managing your Shopify store in-house can be a viable option, especially if you have a dedicated team and the necessary resources. However, it comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks that you need to consider.

Benefits of In-House Management


With in-house management, you have complete control over every aspect of your store. You can make decisions quickly without having to go through a third party.

Knowledge of Your Brand:

Your team knows your brand inside out. They understand your vision, your values, and your customers, which can be beneficial when making decisions about your store.


In some cases, managing your store in-house can be more cost-effective, especially if you already have a skilled team in place.

Drawbacks of In-House Management

Limited Expertise:

Unless you have a team of Shopify experts, you might not have the same level of expertise as a specialized agency. This lack of expertise can limit your store's potential.

Time and Resources:

Managing a Shopify store effectively requires a significant amount of time and resources. If you're a small to medium-sized business, this can take away from other important areas of your business.

Keeping Up with Trends:

E-commerce is a fast-paced industry. Keeping up with the latest trends and changes can be challenging and time-consuming.

When to Hire a Shopify Agency and When to Manage In-House

Deciding whether to hire a Shopify agency or manage your store in-house depends on various factors. Here are some scenarios where one option might make more sense than the other.

When to Hire a Shopify Agency

You're Generating Significant Revenue

If your e-commerce business is generating above $100k in monthly revenue, hiring a Shopify agency can be a wise investment. At this stage, even small improvements in your conversion rate can lead to significant increases in revenue. A Shopify agency can help you identify and implement these improvements.

You Lack the Necessary Expertise

Shopify agencies are experts in their field. If you or your team lack the necessary expertise to optimize your store effectively, hiring an agency can fill this gap.

You Don't Have the Time or Resources

Managing a Shopify store effectively requires a significant amount of time and resources. If you're already stretched thin managing other aspects of your business, hiring an agency can take this burden off your shoulders.

You Want to Learn and Eventually Go In-House

A good Shopify agency doesn't just do the work for you; they also teach you what they're doing and why. If your long-term goal is to manage your store in-house, hiring an agency can be a great way to learn the ropes.

When to Manage In-House

You're Just Starting Out

If you're just starting out and your store isn't generating a significant amount of revenue yet, managing your store in-house can be more cost-effective.

You Have a Skilled Team

If you already have a team with the necessary skills and expertise to manage and optimize your Shopify store, keeping things in-house can make sense.

You Want Full Control

If you prefer to have full control over every aspect of your store and make decisions quickly without going through a third party, managing in-house might be the best option for you.

The Importance of Data-Driven Decision Making and the Limitations of A/B Testing

In the world of e-commerce, data is king. Making decisions based on data rather than assumptions or gut feelings can significantly improve your store's performance. However, it's also important to understand the limitations of certain data-driven methods, such as A/B testing.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision making involves collecting data from your Shopify store, analyzing it to gain insights, and making decisions based on those insights. This approach can help you understand your customers' behavior, identify areas of your store that need improvement, and measure the impact of the changes you make.

For example, by analyzing your store's data, you might discover that a significant number of customers are abandoning their carts before completing their purchase. Based on this insight, you might decide to simplify your checkout process to reduce cart abandonment.

The Limitations of A/B Testing

A/B testing is a popular method for optimizing e-commerce stores. It involves creating two versions of a webpage (version A and version B) and comparing their performance to see which one performs better.

However, A/B testing has its limitations. For one, it requires a significant amount of traffic to produce valid results. If your store doesn't receive a lot of traffic, the results of your A/B tests might not be statistically significant.

Furthermore, A/B testing isn't always necessary. Some agencies might try to sell you A/B testing as a one-size-fits-all solution, but the reality is that it's just one tool in the toolbox. There are many other ways to optimize your store that don't involve A/B testing.

How to Choose the Right Shopify Agency for Your Business

Choosing the right Shopify agency is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your e-commerce business's success. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice.

Expertise and Experience

Look for an agency with a proven track record of success with Shopify stores. They should have a deep understanding of the Shopify platform and e-commerce best practices. Ask for case studies or examples of their previous work to assess their expertise and experience.

Data-Driven Approach

Ensure the agency uses a data-driven approach to decision making. They should be able to explain how they will use data to optimize your store and measure the impact of their work.

Transparency and Education

A good agency will be transparent about their methods and willing to educate you about what they're doing and why. This is especially important if your long-term goal is to manage your store in-house.

Services Offered

Consider what services the agency offers. Do they provide a comprehensive service that covers all aspects of your e-commerce business, or do they specialize in one area? Choose an agency whose services align with your needs.

Reviews and Testimonials

Check out reviews and testimonials from the agency's previous clients. This can give you an idea of what it's like to work with the agency and the results you can expect.


Finally, consider the cost. Remember, the cheapest agency isn't necessarily the best. It's worth investing in an agency that can deliver results and provide a good return on investment.


Choosing between hiring a Shopify agency and managing your store in-house is a significant decision that depends on various factors. It's about understanding your business's needs, your team's capabilities, and the level of control you wish to maintain.

Remember, a good Shopify agency is more than just a service provider. They're a partner who can help you optimize your store, increase your sales, and achieve your business goals. They should be willing to educate you about their methods, so you can eventually take the reins and manage your store in-house if that's your goal.

If you're unsure about the right path for your business, consider seeking professional advice. At Kirkby Consulting, we offer a free Shopify audit to help you understand your store's current performance and identify areas for improvement. We're a data-driven Shopify agency that believes in transparency, education, and delivering results.

Whether you're just starting out or already generating significant revenue, we can provide the expertise and support you need to take your Shopify store to the next level. Contact us today to schedule your free Shopify audit and take the first step towards optimizing your e-commerce business.

Why you should optimise your Shopify store with us

We are a hands-on, boutique Shopify agency. We have in-house e-commerce experts and web developers. We only take on a limited number of clients at a time, ensuring that you have our full attention when you work with us.

  • Over 100 e-commerce clients in the UK, Germany and the US
  • Ø 227% conversion rate increase for our new clients
  • Ø 32% additional revenue growth for advanced brands
Find out more about our team