“We really want to help our clients with their digital story.”

Interview with Anton Luyten — Managing Partner at Esign.


Digital agency Esign helps businesses with all the choices they have to make to be successful online. And many of these companies don’t always have the right knowledge to pull this off in-house. That’s why Esign consciously chooses Shopify. Anton Luyten, Managing Partner at Esign, explains: “We really want to help our clients with their digital story. And Shopify is ideal for companies that are just getting started in e-commerce or companies that want to take their shop to the next level. You can use the platform immediately without having to first try and figure out how it works.”

Managing Partner Anton Luyten discussing a design with an employee

For many of Esign’s clients, Shopify is the best choice when it comes to e-commerce platforms. “We’re crystal clear about why we think Shopify is better than other shop systems,” Anton says. “With other platforms, you can do everything,” he adds, “but do you actually need a platform that does everything? Shopify is ideal for companies just beginning in e-commerce, and there are many solutions on the platform that you can just use, you don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how it works first.” Yet, “on the other hand, it does have its limitations because it’s the same for everyone, but for many of our clients, it’s more than enough to handle everything they need,” he evaluates. These aren’t the only reasons Shopify is perfect for their clients: “It’s also a great choice because it’s stable and has large servers, which also means it can handle customers like Tomorrowland [ed. One of the world’s biggest music festivals], where tickets tend to sell out in minutes.”

In addition, Shopify is also excellent for larger e-commerce projects due to its stability and large servers. Fulltime Sport for example, a soccer store from Gent, sold no less than 10,000 mouth masks in one evening together with soccer club KAA Gent."

Banners in the Esign office

“What clients really need”

The overwhelming majority of Esign’s clients use Shopify. For the small group that needs more functionality, for example, recurring payments, Esign has its own e-commerce platform.

“As far as e-commerce platforms and online businesses are concerned,” Anton says, “we want to give the best advice possible because many companies have trouble figuring out what they really need. There’s a lack of knowledge around what’s actually a good investment. For example, a page in a book that’s distributed locally is tangible, but Search Engine Advertising isn’t.” He continues explaining businesses’ difficulty in making choices online and how Esign helps them figure it all out: “Should you spend a couple of thousand Euro creating an animated video, or should you spend it on Google? That’s why we try and organise an event a couple of times a year, to make everything easier for our clients. Here, we also want to ensure that they don’t hesitate to contact us if they have problems with their online story.”
Next to the above, Esign also handles big as well as small projects. “And,” Anton notes, “you also have access to the same knowledge as the big projects, even if you have less to spend.” Moreover, he goes on, “our designer stays in contact with the client. It saves a lot of money if you don’t have to pay for a whole team of project managers.”

“You have access to the same knowledge as the big projects, even if you have less to spend.”

Anton Luyten Managing Partner at Esign

Employees at work in the Esign office

As efficient as possible

Esign’s entire organisation is built around supporting clients in the most efficient manner possible. This shows up in the organisation itself and how it carries out its work. “For example,” he says, “we advise our clients to make some web pages uneditable. Around 80% of the pages can be modified and the client can even upload content themselves, but that’s not necessary for every page.” And the reasoning behind this move? “This way of doing things,” he reckons, “means it’s easier to build websites and therefore cheaper. The contact page is a good example of what I’m talking about here. If this page does end up needing changes, then that only needs to be done once a year in most cases, and when it does, we can make the changes for the client.”

A part of Esign’s approach to making things efficient as possible is not charging clients for Shopify maintenance. “I don’t like this way of doing things. I don’t want to have to pay to keep my site live while nothing has changed,” he says, “There are, though, monthly fees for our e-commerce platform, but in that case you benefit from new functionality constantly.”

Employees at work in the Esign office

Open and honest

Esign notices that a lack of knowledge defines other areas as well. “Some businesses think it’s unreasonable that you have to pay for a payments platform,” he remarks, “But the thing is, no one blinks an eye at paying for a point-of-sale terminal your customers can use to pay at your store.”

“Transparency is also very important when it comes to payments. We let our clients choose what they want,” he says. “But,” he continues, “it’s actually an easy choice. I tell our clients, ‘Look, here’s Mollie’s website. Everything you need to know is on there’. With other companies, this isn’t the case: you’d have to call them and really put a lot of effort into finding what you need to know. The fact that a company wouldn’t be transparent about these things is an indication that people shouldn’t do business with them.” He continues, “One of Mollie’s strongest points is that they’re open and honest about what they offer. And if you’re a Shopify user, then you have one of the best systems on the market when it comes to the backend; it makes sense that you’d want that for your payments as well.” Despite this ease, “It still puzzles us how difficult it is for some companies to build a good webpage where people can pay,” Anton says, concluding, “That’s why it’s logical that you’d end up with Mollie.”

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“We work closely with the entrepreneur to get the most out of a project.”— Gregory Vanhoucke, Exsited