OuterBox has spent 18 years spent building custom, large-scale ecommerce websites. Does that mean it’s a good fit for small businesses that want to offer a world-class online experience for their clientele?
This web design turned digital marketing firm offers a buffet of design and marketing services, many of which may be applicable outside the ecommerce landscape.
Yet, while OuterBox promises to increase traffic, leads, and sales with an expert team, their services come with a hefty price tag. So, we look at their offerings to find out what's on the table, and more importantly, understand if small businesses and professional service providers can find these same solutions elsewhere for a fraction of the price.
What is OuterBox?
OuterBox is a custom website design and marketing agency founded by Justin Smith. They pride themselves on providing all web design and marketing through their in-house team. They tend to focus on big clients, particularly national ecommerce retailers.
The entirety of the OuterBox team — that's 90+ staff — works from two offices, in Akron and Columbus, Ohio. While the company is based in the Midwest, they have served clients across the country since 2004.
Since their launch, they have created hundreds of websites and managed millions of dollars in ad spend. OuterBox is a Google Partner, and in 2012, they made the Inc. 500 list for one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.
What features does OuterBox include?
OuterBox may have started as a website builder, but these days they’re rapidly shifting gears to become an SEO-focused firm with website support services.
According to customers reviewing OuterBox on Clutch, 85% of their service focus is around SEO, with another 10% on PPC. Only 5% of customers report using them for web design and development. So if you go to them for a website, know that it’s not exactly their specialty.
OuterBox designs and develops custom (non-ecommerce) websites through Magneto, WordPress, and other major platforms. Their designs incorporate SEO best practices. In addition, websites come complete with custom copy and a content strategy. OuterBox also ensures clients can update sites themselves through an easy-to-use website management tool.
Ecommerce website design
OuterBox specializes in building custom ecommerce websites on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, nopCommerce, and others. Many of their designs incorporate custom-coded functionality, ERP, and data integrations to support the online retail experience.
The majority of services offered by OuterBox fall under the SEO category, including:
- Link building
- Content marketing
- Backlink and profile management
- Split testing
- Local SEO
- Code optimization
- Leads generation
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and paid search
A secondary component of OuterBox's digital marketing services covers PPC advertising and other paid search tactics. They specialize in Google Ads, Amazon, and Google Shopping. Their team is PPC Management Expert Certified in Google Ads, Google Video Ads, and Google Analytics.
Other digital marketing services
Outside the realm of paid ads and SEO, OuterBox also offers the following:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing and campaigns
- Content marketing
- Google Analytics Universal account migration
How much does OuterBox cost?
OuterBox is yet another digital marketing company that doesn't publicly list its prices, especially for its web design and development elements.
If you want to know more, you get funneled into a contact form to request a custom quote.
A few of their paid search services are the only exceptions regarding public pricing. When they do list prices, they are buried deep in the fine print on the service page. You've got to dig around to find them, and not every page has this information.
For example, the fine print on the OuterBox Google Ads page states, "Pricing for managing a Google Ads campaign can vary but typically range from 7-12% of spend. Meaning if you spend $10,000 a month on Ads, at 10% your management fee would be $1,000."
Unfortunately, when you jump to the Google Shopping page looking for similar pricing details, you won't get what you are looking for. You'll see "How much should I be charged for Google Shopping management?" listed under OuterBox's Google Shopping FAQs, but they don't answer the question.
Instead, the company states, "For the most part, only you can decide what your budget in Google Shopping should be." A frustrating non-answer.
We dug into what information has been made available across review websites and found a little more insight into the rates for OuterBox's services.
According to DesignRush, a typical project budget with this company sits between $1,000 to $10,000. On Clutch, a minimal project with OuterBox is priced at $1000, but often long-term SEO projects tip over the $100,000 mark.
Who is OuterBox best suited for?
The OuterBox team has two specialties. The first is custom ecommerce websites for large retailers. They declare, "If you are a large corporation looking to develop a custom, well-branded ecommerce website, OuterBox offers the staff and solutions to help you achieve your goals on a large scale."
The second specialty is SEO. There is more than one SEO strategist on the OuterBox team, and most reviewers give OuterBox top marks for these services.
However, those same reviewers also report massive project budgets of $50,000 to $200,000 for SEO alone. Clearly, OuterBox is a company focused on serving large brands with substantial marketing budgets.
So, what about businesses that are neither ecommerce retailers nor big-budgeted enough to afford the prices of OuterBox's SEO work?
As a small business or service professional, you likely won't have the ability to pay for the digital marketing services and design by the OuterBox team. And even if you did have $100,000 to go toward a website or an SEO strategy, chances are, for your business, it would be overkill.
Instead, professional service providers like lawyers, architects, mortgage brokers, and coaches would be better served with B12. We combine the power of AI with the personal touch of professional SEO specialists, copywriters, and web designers.
As a result, B12 delivers beautiful websites generated by AI but refined by experts, so you launch faster without sacrificing quality or customization.
Most importantly, our pricing is simple, straightforward, and public. You can try it out for free with no credit card details required.
What are the pros and cons of OuterBox?
How good are OuterBox's pre-built website templates?
OuterBox does not use templates. All of their websites are custom projects designed from the code up. That’s part of the reason for the steep price tag of their work.
Putting pre-built website templates aside for a moment, we've looked at their custom ecommerce designs as displayed on their portfolio page. The good news is that they all seem to load quickly and function well.
The bad news is that many have a pretty basic design, so simple that you might assume they were built from templates. Considering the price tag tied to these custom projects, the simplicity is rather surprising.
Finally, a few websites in their portfolio seem based on outdated design trends. The content and graphics are crowded, and there appears to be little attention paid to the user experience (UX).
In sum, we can't fault their websites for functionality, but many of the designs leave much to the imagination.
Does OuterBox offer copywriting, design, or technical support?
Unlike other custom website design firms, OuterBox does offer a la carte digital marketing support, including SEO copywriting services.
With that said, it's not entirely clear what this entails, beyond vague promises to increase traffic, organic ranking, and conversions. Do they write blogs? Sponsored articles? SEO-driven product descriptions? You can’t be sure.
They don't list a price for copywriting, so you'll have to submit your inquiry through their contact form.
Web design is included when you use OuterBox for a custom website. The OuterBox team of developers and designers tackle substantial design projects for large companies and ecommerce brands that need advanced functionality and integrations.
Per reviews, web design services' prices start at $10,000.
Presumably, OuterBox provides ongoing technical support for their websites through their client portal. They also offer Website Maintenance services, but again, the specifics and prices are buried way down the page.
We did find a small note suggesting an hourly rate of $165 for all maintenance work, but this is built into a monthly package depending on your needs. Meaning, your monthly bill will likely be much more than $165.
According to the fine print, ongoing maintenance may include any of the following:
- Existing content copy updates
- Site security updates
- Structured data markup
- ERP integration
- Database programming
- Page speed optimization
- SEO audits
- Emergency on-call support
- Code upgrades
What are some OuterBox alternatives for small businesses?
OuterBox may excel at building large-scale ecommerce websites for companies with large marketing budgets, but chances are they aren't a good fit for small- and mid-size businesses.
As a professional services brand or solopreneur, why would you need to overspend on a custom website with custom integrations when there is a much more affordable option already packed with the features you need?
For a business coach, accountant, insurance broker, or any other professional service provider, B12 is a power-packed website builder with built-in tools to help you look professional, engage clients, and streamline business operations.
Our intelligent AI website builder creates a near-instant industry-specific draft, which we then help you customize to suit your brand, vision, and services. You'll be up and running in 30 days with all the online support you need to attract, win, and serve your clientele. The tools built into your website include online payments, contracts, online scheduling, SEO, client intake forms, and email automation.
OuterBox review summary
OuterBox is a digital marketing company that launched as a web design firm, but it's now switching gears to focus on SEO, PPC, and other online marketing services.
They still build custom websites, but most of their business comes from long-term, big-budget SEO work, at least according to customer reviews on Clutch.
When they do website development, their clientele is made up of almost all large ecommerce retail brands. This particular specialty may not lend itself to other industries, including smaller businesses and professional service providers.
Like many older custom web design companies, OuterBox doesn't provide rates online (at least for most services). Instead, if you have questions about prices, you are funneled into a contact form.
This is not only frustrating but also a barrier to service. What happens if you submit a request, go through the lengthy quote process, and the services or budget doesn't suit your needs? What if they are way out of budget? You've just wasted your valuable time.
No matter the size of your business, B12 can help you launch a professional website in 30 days or less. Plus, even our Basic package comes pre-loaded with tools that support operational tasks like scheduling and invoicing online.
At B12, we value your time as a small business. This is part of the reason our pricing model is simple, so you know exactly what you'll get when you sign up, plus, you can try it out for free.
Sign up now to see an AI-generated design based on your firm, industry, and preferences in only 60 seconds.