• Teamwork is critical between a merchant and an agency to keep the ultimate goal: selling things. 
  • Communication saves time.
  • Equip with tools to effectively communicate about issues to save everyone time.
  • A developer thinks technical, a merchant thinks dollars.
  • Empathy is invaluable between a merchant and developer relationship.

Whether you are a merchant or developer, I’m sure you’ve had frustrations with communication. Your agency may not be taking your website outage as critical, while the developer is annoyed because they can’t replicate the problem. I think you will find helpful tips to unite together and be a team to use this website to grow your business. 

Mark Lewis,

Mark’s motto is:

  • Empathy
  • Focus
  • Development

Empathy Is the Key to Teamwork 

  • Important to keep the mentality developers create the product to sell a product. 
  • Listen to the concerns and desires of the merchant. 
  • Blaming does not bring teamwork.

“There is so much to be gained by partnering up in teamwork. No matter where one lives geographically: it takes empathy, trying to understand where other people are coming.”

– Joseph Maxwell

How Communication Can Save Time

Merchant, are you communicating with your agency on a regular, even daily, basis? Regular communication will help prevent little things from boiling up to be a big crisis. It will also ensure the developer stays on a good trajectory and free from wasting time on trivial projects. 


  • Communication takes time.
  • Time is money.


  • Train the merchant on important details that matter when website issues occur. 
  • Give the merchant proper tools to effectively communicate.
  • Value each other’s time.


  • Won’t go back and forth so frequently in emails and phone calls. 

“The most frustrating thing for a developer is when you can’t reproduce an issue. Whatever everyone can do to communicate, how can you reproduce this issue, saves so much time.”

– Mark Lewis

Let’s Take a look at Merchants Versus Developers


  • Detail oriented.
  • They think in “If/Then” statements.
  • Sees bugs as their lot in work.


  • Thinks dollars.
  • Don’t have enough time. 
  • Sees bugs as a thief of food from their table.


  • Always be thinking of ways to save the merchant time and get the project done as quickly as possible.
  • Listen
  • Never blame each other! Mistakes happen. We are all human.


Merchant emails, “The checkout is down. The website is broken. 

Developer responds, “ Nope, you’re wrong. I checked it, it’s fine.” Note: the developer checked the checkout and it was working perfectly.

Instead consider: “I checked something. It seems to be working, but maybe there is another issue that we can’t nail down.”


Listening matters. Merchants are rightly concerned with the stability of their website. Their website puts food on the table. They put a lot of trust into their developers. Treat them with that same respect. If it’s a big deal to the merchant, communicate and prioritize what’s necessary to make them feel heard.

The Practical Takeaways from this Episode

  • Giving your developer the necessary information saves time and money.
    • It’s a 502 error
    • The page just locked up
    • The drop down menus don’t work
  • Take screenshots or a screen video to send to the developer or the developer to the merchant when the issues can’t be duplicated.
  • Empathy builds a team spirit.

This tool can save both the merchant and developer hours of time!

Final advice

We’re all human. We have our good and bad days, but empathy for all parties involved unites and creates a powerful team producing some really great stuff. Even though the merchant and developer think very differently, they still share the same goal: to sell more. Let’s do what we can to respect each other’s time and use the tools available to us to effectively communicate, and that just might save us hours this coming year. 

Comments (1)
  1. As a developer, I find that investing the time to train merchants on how to effectively communicate issues early on in a project more than pays for itself in time (and frustration) saved down the road. For bug reports, the “Description of issue / steps to reproduce / expected results / actual results” format has been very helpful.

    I didn’t make time to watch the entire episode, but great show notes. And I like the side-by-side video format.

    “The most frustrating thing for a developer is when you can’t reproduce an issue” – Completely agree with this quote!

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