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How an agency can supercharge workshops for your eCommerce business

If you read the previous posts in our Why Workshops series – we reckon you’re probably at one of two places. Either you’re ready to start workshopping with your team, in which case – great! Mission accomplished!

Or – and more likely, since you’re back here for more – you’re thinking, “All that sounds brilliant, but there’s no way in heck I’ve got the time to devise, organise and run a series of workshops with my already time-strapped team.”

We get it. And that’s why we (and many other agencies out there) offer all our clients workshops – both as part of larger development projects, and as standalone services. Some clients come to us for an end-to-end redesign and development of a huge eCommerce website – but others just need a little help figuring out a single step of their customer journey. A great agency can help with both!

Here’s just some of the ways an agency (like JH) can help with your workshops and research…

Outside point of view

Heard of the phrase ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’? That’s how it feels being on the inside sometimes – whether it’s a huge problem you can’t see past, or an issue that’s going unnoticed because ‘we’ve always done it that way’, often all it can take is an outside party to realise a solution or provide an alternative viewpoint to get things moving again.

Getting an agency on board is a great way to do this – not only are they often seeing your company and roadblocks with fresh eyes for the first time and can rise above any internal politics, but they’ve most likely fixed a similar problem elsewhere before, so know first hand what works and what doesn’t.

Problem-solving expertise

Pinpointing the issues is one thing, solving them is another. Blending your internal expertise with an agency’s expertise can not only throw up solutions to problems you may not have found alone, but they can do it faster, and sometimes even take them to the next level – turning a solution to a problem into an ongoing advantage for your firm. 

Of course, an agency won’t necessarily have all the answers – but neither does your boss. Only through effective collaboration, research and knowledge sharing can we overcome problems and develop innovative ideas – but that’s much easier when you bring the right minds together in a productive space.

Not only can a knowledgeable agency provide you with a solution – they might even have several ways to approach it, and be able to find the best way that works for your team. They can also provide advice on future-proofing, so you won’t be slapping plasters onto things and having to rebuild them from the ground up later down the line… No-one wants that! And lastly – get even more out of an impact/effort-style workshop with an agency on board, who really know which priorities will get you the best ROI for the least time and money invested.

Overcoming business as usual

We’ve all been elbow-deep in a project – and feeling like we’re really getting somewhere – only to suddenly have to extract ourselves to fight fires elsewhere. How many brilliant projects or ideas have you started, only to lose the motivation, resources or time somewhere along the line, leaving them unfinished? 

It’s a tough one – so many of us are guilty of being so busy with our business as usual that we are often not taking the time to develop a vision for the future, solving a problem, or continuously innovating. It’s not like we don’t want to do these things – we simply don’t have the time to work on them.

But that’s precisely where working with an agency can really shine – letting you break out of business as usual and switch to an innovation mindset. 

When you ask an agency to run a workshop with your team, they can accelerate the lengthy process of the noodling around – either into a couple of hours, or what we call a one week sprint process (where we develop and test a prototype or idea in a 5 day workshop). Not only are you saving valuable time, but you can tap into a lot of other people’s ideas and put them to good use.

Get to the root cause of issues faster

Even if you’ve figured out the problem – sometimes it’s not so easy to figure out what the root cause is. Say you know your website speed is affecting your conversion rate – the actual cause of this could be a number of things, from outdated plugins to unnecessary redirects. Do you have the time to explore a long list of possibilities to find what will make the biggest difference for you?

Well, if you don’t – these things are an agency’s bread and butter. Not only can they find all the causes of an issue, they’ll be able to rank them in order of importance – so you can decide not only where to start, but what to focus on, and where your time and money will give you the best ROI.

Hold more productive workshops

Last of all – but probably most important of any of our points here – is that organising, running and adjudicating workshops is hard work. There’s a lot of up-front preparation to be done, not to mention the technical skills required – and wouldn’t you and your team be put to better use actually engaging with and contributing knowledge within the workshop, rather than being tied up making sure it stays on track?

Agencies already know the tools, techniques and have the facilitation skills to orchestrate the session. Bring them – and their experience of running workshops – on board, and save yourself countless hours of preparing, refining, and reporting your findings. 

There’s another element to this too – with someone independent of your organisation hosting the session, your team will likely find it easier to be open and honest. It’s hard to quantify the value of having an independent (and experienced) facilitator to draw the information out of people that may otherwise have been missed. 

So – now you’re either ready to really get the most out of your workshops with your agency, or you’re more informed on what to look for when choosing a new partner to work with. Win-win. 

Join our Workshop?

If you’d like to learn more about workshop tools and techniques that can help grow your business, we’re running a series of invitation-only workshop events designed specifically for eCommerce merchants. Email to request a space and date.

Missed our previous posts in the series? Check out why you should switch to workshops and how workshops can help your business grow – and sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss our top tools and resources for hosting remote workshops.