How Ad Hoc Adjustments are Hurting your Ecommerce Store

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How Ad Hoc Adjustments are Hurting Your E-Commerce Brand

By: Arctic Leaf Team | May 16, 2023 | 2 Minute Read

Whether they are designing and developing your website or supporting your content marketing campaigns, agencies offer a myriad of options to bring on temporary experts that can “jump start” your brand’s project.

These services are typically called “ad hoc,” meaning services that are done only “when necessary or needed.” Ad hoc services often come with lower up-front costs and greater flexibility than long-term retainers. Plus, if you have the “only one or two things” mindset, ad hoc can be scalable to what you need in the moment.

They are a very tempting option for many e-commerce businesses that are just starting to outsource their brand experience to agencies.

Except with most digital agencies, that “in the moment” project may end up taking a few months to even get started. Other potential drawbacks could ultimately end up hurting your website and undermining the ROI of working with the specialized expertise a digital agency can offer.


Below are 5 Ways that Ad Hoc Adjustments are hurting your e-commerce brand:

Inconsistent Service:

When using ad hoc digital agency services, it is difficult to receive consistent service as you’ll likely be working with different agencies or freelancers on a project-by-project basis. You can try to stick with one agency or freelancer, but if they do not have the bandwidth for your project, you may end up waiting months before you can even begin. Or, if you chose to just work with someone else, you will end up with inconsistent quality, communication issues, or even worse, the need to hire another agency or freelancer to fix what another one did!

Higher Costs:

Ad hoc web services are often more expensive than retainer packages per hour of work. So, your single project investment may be cheaper on paper, but as more projects and hours of work come up, the per-project cost on that retainer goes down. Additionally, you will spend more time and resources finding and vetting each agency or freelancer for each project, which can add to the overall cost.  

Time-Consuming Management:

When working with multiple agencies or freelancers, managing the project and ensuring that everyone is working together effectively can be time-consuming and stressful. The pacing of projects can take a hit if a freelance designer leaves web development waiting. This can detract from your ability to focus on other aspects of your business and undermine wanting to outsource the project to begin with.  

Lack of Familiarity with Your Brand:

As each agency or freelancer you work with will be working on a different project, they won’t take the time to develop a deep understanding of your brand, audience, or goals. This can lead to inconsistent messaging and branding across different projects. Further, if you attempt to only use one agency or freelancer for the ad hoc work, it can take a much longer time for them to achieve the kind of familiarity with which a retainer-based hire will support you.

Difficulty with Long-Term Planning:

Ad hoc web agency services can make it difficult to plan for the long term, as you’re probably not even looking for an agency or freelancer until you realize something is broken. This makes it a reactive process that only services each issue as it arises. This means you will not have a clear idea of when or how often you’ll need work done, making it harder to budget and plan for web-related expenses. 

While ad hoc services are an enticing alternative to investing in a retainer option, the cost-to-benefit of ad hoc means that, over time, you will end up spending more money on less work. Ad hoc ends up undermining the ROI of the project as a whole, and ultimately hurting your e-commerce business. 

We know that ad hoc services can be a viable option for your brand, but as an agency with over 10 years of experience, we see time and time again e-commerce businesses switching from ad hoc to retainer and reaping the benefits! 

If you need any help weighing the pros and cons of ad hoc and retainer options for your next agency project, we would love to help! Please feel free to contact our Solutions Consultant, Chase Bowler at or (949) 377-1301 Ext. 172. You can also visit our website to learn more.