The cost of an eCommerce website isn’t an easy question to answer, as eCommerce websites can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the complexity of the site, the platform used, design specifications, and additional functionalities or integrations required. The initial setup cost is just one part of the equation and ongoing costs such as maintenance, updates, marketing, and scaling up as your business grows are also price factors to consider.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into every aspect of eCommerce website costs. We will break down the key components, compare different platforms and their costs, discuss the influence of design and integrations, and even consider the impact of scaling up as your business becomes successful.
Remember: Starting an eCommerce website is like starting any real business. It takes capital, planning, and a solid team to be successful. We work alongside our clients to be a part of that successful team.
Want a quick eCommerce website pricing overview? Watch our 4:05 video below!
How Much Does It Cost To Build An eCommerce Website?
On average eCommerce website design & development prices range from $10,000 to $250,000 or more. The website cost will ultimately be driven by the complexity of the project, the platform you select (Shopify, WordPress, Magento, etc.) the eCommerce features you need, and the type of eCommerce website company you select (U.S. based, or overseas, in-house, or outsourced).
When it comes to understanding eCommerce website pricing, it’s vital to recognize that a broad range of factors can influence the final cost. As such, the question “how much does an eCommerce website cost” doesn’t have a single, universal answer. Instead, the costs can range dramatically based on your specific business needs and objectives.
Firstly, the platform you choose to build your eCommerce website on can significantly affect the overall price. SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce typically charge a monthly fee that includes hosting and a suite of other features, while open-source platforms like WooCommerce or Magento require more setup and customization but offer greater flexibility. On the other hand, fully custom-built websites provide the highest degree of personalization but come with a higher price tag.
Secondly, the complexity and size of your eCommerce website play a crucial role in determining the cost. If you’re planning on having a wide range of products, sophisticated search filters, complex shipping rules, or multilingual capabilities, for example, your costs will increase.
Also, the design of your eCommerce website can impact costs. Opting for a bespoke design created by professional designers will inevitably cost more than selecting a pre-existing template. Yet, this investment can significantly enhance user experience and, ultimately, your conversion rates.
Finally, any additional functionalities or integrations you require will affect the cost. These can include elements like CRM integrations, email marketing tools, advanced SEO features, or social media plugins. Each of these elements can enhance your website’s performance but adds to the overall pricing.
Breaking Down the Costs: Key Components of an eCommerce Website
- Domain Registration and Hosting: Before your eCommerce website goes live, you need to register a domain name, which typically costs around $10-$50 per year. Web hosting, which provides the server space where your website data lives, can range from $3/month for basic shared hosting to hundreds of dollars per month for dedicated or cloud hosting solutions. eCommerce websites often require more robust hosting plans due to the amount of traffic and transactions they need to handle.
- Website Design and User Experience: The aesthetics and usability of your site are critical. Pre-made templates can range from free to over $200, while custom designs can run anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on complexity.
- Website Development and CMS: This involves the actual building of your site and can vary widely based on whether you’re using a self-service platform, an open-source CMS like WordPress with WooCommerce, or a bespoke solution. You may be looking at a few hundred dollars for a basic DIY site, up to $30,000 or more for a custom-built site.
- SEO and Digital Marketing: A fully integrated digital marketing plan will boost the cost of the build, but it may be critical for SEO and driving traffic to your site. After website launch you may want to utilize Google Ads consulting or an SEO consultant to continually improve your search marketing campaigns.
- 3rd Party Integrations: Making an eCommerce website work with an ERP or other third-party systems can often cost thousands. To process payments, you’ll need to integrate a payment gateway. Some platforms include this in their monthly fees, while others require separate integration. Costs can range from free to 2-3% per transaction, plus a small fixed fee.
- Security Features: Security is a must for eCommerce sites, which means investing in SSL certificates (around $50-$200/year), and possibly other security features or services such as PCI compliance audits.
- Maintenance and Support: Once your site is live, you’ll need ongoing support for updates, problem-solving, and maintenance. This can cost from $50 to $300per hour, depending on the service provider’s expertise, your website platform, and your specific needs.
eCommerce Website Cost Estimates
|eCommerce Pricing Factor||Small Business||Mid-Size Business||Enterprise Organization|
|Website Design / Graphics||$5,000||$15,000||$50,000|
|3rd Party Integrations||$1,000||$10,000||$50,000|
|Content Management System||$2,500||$20,000||$50,000|
|Website Hosting||$1,000 / year||$6,000 / year||$12,000 / year|
|eCommerce Website Maintenance||$3,000 / year||$12,000 / year||$60,000 / year|
|SEO Services||$12,000 / year||$50,000 / year||$120,000 / year|
Cost Analysis: Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Built eCommerce Websites
A key decision that significantly influences your eCommerce website cost is whether to opt for an off-the-shelf solution or a custom-built site. Both options come with their own sets of benefits and drawbacks, impacting cost, scalability, flexibility, and complexity. Let’s evaluate these two choices in greater detail:
Off-the-Shelf eCommerce Websites
Off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or WooCommerce are popular because they offer a quick, relatively inexpensive way to set up an online store. These platforms come equipped with various features for product management, payment processing, shipping, and basic SEO.
The primary costs include:
- Subscription fee: Most SaaS platforms operate on a subscription model, charging a monthly fee ranging from $30 to several hundred dollars based on the plan you select.
- Transaction fees: Some platforms, like Shopify or Shopify Plus, charge transaction fees unless you use their own payment processing system.
- Themes and plugins: While these platforms often come with free themes, premium themes with better design and functionality might cost you between $100-$200. Plugins for additional functionality also add to the cost.
- Setup and customization: While it’s possible to set up these platforms yourself, you may choose to hire a developer for a more customized setup, adding to your costs.
Custom-Built eCommerce Websites
Custom-built eCommerce websites provide the highest degree of flexibility and control, allowing for a completely personalized online store.
Here are the primary cost elements:
- Web development: Hiring a web development agency or freelance developers could cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the site’s complexity.
- Design: Custom designs tend to be more expensive than premade themes. You might need to budget several thousand dollars for a completely unique and professional design.
- Hosting and domain: Unlike SaaS platforms, custom sites require you to separately manage and pay for hosting and domain registration.
- Maintenance and updates: With a custom site, you’re responsible for all updates and maintenance, either in-house or through an outsourced provider.
Off-the-shelf solutions are typically more cost-effective and user-friendly, making them suitable for startups and small businesses with standard requirements. In contrast, custom-built websites offer unlimited customization possibilities, making them ideal for larger businesses or those with unique requirements, provided they are prepared for the higher costs and maintenance responsibilities.
Ongoing SEO & Marketing Costs
SEO is an ongoing effort. Regular site audits, keyword research, link building, and other SEO activities are necessary to keep your site visible in search engines. Additionally, you’ll likely need to budget for paid advertising, email marketing, and social media marketing to drive traffic to your site.
Be sure to ask what eCommerce marketing services are included in the initial eCommerce website development cost. Some companies offer eCommerce SEO services as part of their SEO packages, and some don’t. Having SEO features built-in is a huge benefit and could save you a lot of money down the road. It will also make your future SEO company’s or in-house team’s job a lot simpler and more efficient. Having marketing features built into your website is not a shortcut to page 1 rankings, but it is a major step in the right direction. Want to know more about ongoing SEO costs? Read our Complete SEO Pricing Guide.
Below is an example of one of our eCommerce SEO clients. If you need help with getting your eCommerce website to the top of Google, talk with our experts.
Quote Request - eCommerce Website Quote
General quote request form for all services
The Influence of Design on eCommerce Website Costs
Design is much more than just aesthetics when it comes to eCommerce—it significantly influences the user experience, brand perception, and ultimately, conversion rates. Therefore, it’s a critical component that can impact your eCommerce website’s cost. Let’s explore how design choices can affect your overall budget:
Template vs. Custom Design
Using a pre-made template is typically the most cost-effective design route. Many eCommerce platforms offer a range of free and premium templates that you can customize to some extent. However, if you want a unique look or need specific design elements, a custom design might be the way to go. Custom designs involve hiring a professional web designer or design agency, which can add significantly to your costs.
In our increasingly mobile world, ensuring your eCommerce website is responsive (meaning it looks and works well on all device types) is no longer optional—it’s a necessity. While many modern templates are already responsive, a custom responsive design can add complexity and cost.
User Experience (UX) Design
Good UX design—how users interact with your site—is crucial for eCommerce. Elements like intuitive navigation, fast page load times, clear calls to action, and easy checkout processes can dramatically impact your conversion rate. Special attention to UX design, whether through templates or custom work, can influence your overall design costs.
Consistent, professional branding across your eCommerce website can make your business appear more trustworthy and memorable. Elements like a custom logo, matching color scheme, and consistent typography all add to the design complexity and cost.
High-quality photos are essential for eCommerce, and professional product photography can be a substantial cost to consider. Alternatively, you might choose to use stock images or take your own photos, depending on your products and budget.
Graphics and Animations
Custom graphics, interactive elements, and animations can make your eCommerce website stand out. However, they require additional design work and can increase the cost accordingly.
Remember that while good design involves an investment, it’s also a powerful tool to drive conversions and create a lasting impression on your visitors. Balancing your design needs with your budget is key to creating a cost-effective, successful eCommerce website.
Above: Custom preview functionality is an example of a feature that can increase the price of an eCommerce website.
The Impact of Integrations and Add-Ons on eCommerce Website Pricing
Integrations and add-ons provide additional functionality to your eCommerce website, enhancing the user experience and streamlining your business operations. However, they also contribute to the overall eCommerce website cost. Let’s delve into some common types of integrations and add-ons and how they affect your pricing:
Payment Gateway Integrations
To accept online payments, your eCommerce site needs to integrate with one or more payment gateways. While some platforms include a few options, others might require additional integrations. Keep in mind that these payment providers often charge transaction fees.
Automated shipping calculations and label printing can save you a significant amount of time. Integrations with carriers like USPS, FedEx, or UPS, or using a multi-carrier shipping software, can involve one-time integration costs or recurring subscription fees.
CRM and ERP Integrations
Integrating your website with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can streamline your sales, marketing, and operational processes. These integrations usually require a developer’s expertise and therefore add to the overall cost.
Marketing and SEO Tools
To promote your eCommerce store and optimize it for search engines, you might want to integrate marketing and SEO tools. Whether it’s email marketing software, social media scheduling tools, or SEO analysis platforms, these can either be free, paid, or offer freemium models.
Analytics and Reporting Tools
Understanding your customers and their behavior on your site is crucial for growth. While many eCommerce platforms offer built-in analytics, more advanced reporting tools like Google Analytics or Tableau may involve additional costs.
Depending on your business, you might need specialized add-ons. For example, if you sell customizable products, you might need a product customization tool. Or if you run a subscription box service, you might need a subscription management add-on. These specialized tools can vary greatly in price.
When considering integrations and add-ons, it’s important to understand their costs and weigh them against the value they provide to your business. Not all eCommerce stores will need all types of integrations, so choose those that align with your business needs and goals.
Web Design Company Selection Affects Website Costs
The eCommerce development company you choose will certainly affect website pricing. Some companies are based in the U.S., and some are overseas. Remember, you’ll usually get what you pay for. A higher-priced company usually will provide more top-end work, while going overseas to save money often results in headaches and 2 a.m. phone calls. Be sure whoever you choose is reliable, has an actual office, and will be easily accessible when having questions, both during the development phase and after your website is completed.
If you would like to receive a free eCommerce website cost estimate from OuterBox, please call us at 1-866-647-9218. or request a website design estimate online. We look forward to talking with you.
In this guide, we’ve explored the basics of eCommerce website pricing, various key components of a website, differences in pricing between off-the-shelf and custom-built websites, and the role of website complexity. We also covered the different types of eCommerce platforms and how each influences your budget. Additionally, we examined the significant cost factors related to website design, integrations, add-ons, and scalability.
While it might seem overwhelming, remember that every decision you make towards your eCommerce website is an investment in your business’s future. It’s crucial to balance initial and ongoing costs with the value these investments provide—whether through enhanced user experience, streamlined operations, or potential for growth.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much an eCommerce website costs, but with this guide, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to navigate your eCommerce website development journey. Remember, the ultimate goal is to build a site that serves your business needs, aligns with your budget, and provides an engaging platform for your customers to shop.