Magento Melbourne scene, part 3: Buyer’s Guide – Magento service providers

This is part 3 of series of articles about Melbourne Magento scene. In Part 1 we’ve talked about general availability of talents with Magento skills, where they work and how many of them have Magento certification. Part 2 provides comparison of two fundamental ways to develop Magento store – outsource (use external service provider) or do it in-house. In Part 3 we’ll review what options do you have as a buyer if you decide to outsource your Magento eCommerce project.

Hero image for Magento Melbourne Scene part 3

Melbourne Central, one of the biggest shopping malls in Melbourne; image credits – Paul Trafford (CC)

Introduction, Melbourne Magento Buyer’s Guide

Assume that you’ve decided to outsource all or part (if you use hybrid approach) of your Magento eCommerce store project to an external service provider. What options do you have as a buyer, who can help you and what are the differences between providers? There is no lack in options available, dozens if not hundreds companies in Melbourne claim that they can help you with Magento, but how to select one that will be a good match for you? A goal of this post is to provide a guide for buyer of Magento solution, classify service providers and supply you with information that help you in the selection process.

Classification of Melbourne Magento service providers

There are several ways to classify organisations that can help you to build or modify Magento eCommerce based online store.

By type of business.

One possible classification is a type/class of business that provides Magento-related services. Here we can have:

  • digital agencies that in turn can be full service or specialist/boutique
  • full service advertising agencies, that also do digital,
  • IT consultancies (also full service or specialist/boutique)
  • individual professionals.

There are pro-et-contra working with any type of the business from this least, since our business is a boutique eCommerce consultancy, we have our (maybe biased) point of view on why this kind of business provides better value to the clients.

By official association status and presence/absence of Magento Certified professionals.

Magento has a partner program for different categories of businesses that facilitate use of the platform; the relevant category for our case is Solution Partner. There are 3 levels in the program – Associate, Silver and Gold. Solution partners starts from Associate level and can progress to Silver and Gold once they can prove relevant experience and meet other criteria.

On individual person level Magento has four certifications – 3 for technical experts (Developer, Developer Plus and Front-end Developer) and one for business expert (Solution Specialist). It will be fair to assume that the presence of Magento Certified experts add credibility to a service provider.

Magento official solution partners

Ok, let’s see what Magento official solution partners have presence in Melbourne. There are six Magento Solution Partners in the most liveable city, four of them have Gold and two have Silver level. The information about all of them is presented in the table below.

Magento official solution partners with offices in Melbourne, Australia

Solution partner Level Website HQ HR-1 * HR-2 ** Type ***
Balance Internet Gold Click to visit Melbourne 22 16 DAS
IE Agency Gold Click to visit Melbourne 4 29 DAS
WeAreDigital Gold Click to visit Melbourne 6 2  DAS
Netstarter Gold Click to visit Sydney 31 1  DAS
White Labelled Silver Click to visit Melbourne 7 10 ECC
Next Digital Silver Click to visit Melbourne 2 3 DAS

* HR-1 indicates number of Magento Certified experts in the company according Magento official website

** HR-2 indicates number of people with “magento” keyword working in the given company in Melbourne according LinkedIn

*** Type indicates type of business:  DAS – specialised digital agency, ECC – eCommerce consultancy

Several interesting observations based on this data:

  • Balance looks as the strongest official partner in Melbourne from local human resources point of view
  • all Magento Solution partners have strong focus on eCommerce, there is no single generalist digital agency or consultancy
  • Netstarter presence in Melbourne seems to be minimal
  • It is unclear how WeAreDigital can have 6 Magento Certified experts and just 2 people with Magento skill listed on LinkedIn
  • IE has the most people with some level of Magento expertise in Melbourne, but just 4 certified developers

Working with Magento official solution partners

While Magento Solution Partners with Melbourne presence is a quite diverse group in terms of business size, focus area and clientele, there are certain similarities and working with a Magento official solution partner makes sense if you:

  • Have a sizeable budget ($100K+ at least, some providers from this group are not really keen to take projects from new clients with less than $250K budget);
  • Value an additional level of assurance that your project will be handled properly, which official Solution Partner status provides
  • Value additional services that often (while not always) you’ll get access to, like Social Media marketing or SEO;
  • Don’t mind following sometimes complicated processes

So in general an official Magento Solution Partner may be a good much for a big business, especially in the cases when price tag and ROI are not extremely important.

Other service providers with certified Magento experts

The next group represents other service providers who offer Magento eCommerce implementation and have Magento Certified Developers or Solution Specialists in the team. The list isn’t very long and presented in the table below.

Business Website Type *
Magenable Click to visit ECC
Citrus Click to visit DAS
August Click to visit DA
Flyonit Click to visit ITC
23 Digital Click to visit DA
Salsa Digital Click to visit DA
Webnova Click to visit ITC

* Type indicates type of business: DAS – specialised digital agency, DA – generalist digital agency, ECC – eCommerce consultancy, ITC – IT consultancy

Note that we have relied here on the data from Magento Certification Directory, there may be situations when a certified expert hasn’t indicated his/her affiliation with a business.

The businesses presented in this group are more diverse and include both specialised providers, that focus on eCommerce (like our business – Magenable or Citrus) and more generalist digital agencies and IT companies.It is interesting to note that there is no single general advertising agency or tier-1 IT consultancy presented there.

What you as a customer should expect from this category of providers?

It’s harder to do a generalisation here, but most if not all the businesses represented in this category are not huge, so you can expect to have more personalised approach there than from bigger service providers, willingness to work with smaller projects and better value for money. On the other hand, having Magento Certified Developers and/or Solution Specialists on board makes it less risky for the client to work with these providers.

Other Magento service providers

Aside of mentioned above service providers there are dozens if not more businesses that offers Magento design, development and consulting. Probably some of them have qualified people in team, can provide decent level of quality and just don’t bother to get their specialists certified, but from the potential client point of view it is not easy to verify that claims. So sticking with providers who have Magento Certified experts is a safer bet.

If you have suggestions about making this post better – feel free to add your comment!


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