Considering that eCommerce sales worldwide in 2018 is expected to cross 2.77 billion USD, everyone is either running an eCommerce website or busy setting up one
Before we even begin to answer the question how much does an eCommerce website cost, let’s understand that eCommerce is a channel of doing business, and in many ways, it is no different from any other modes of doing business.
The same rules of business apply: research demand-supply gaps, invest in people and processes, promote your offerings, build systems to serve better, keep learning and stay agile.
With that context, it’ll be fair to say you cannot expect to invest $10 in an ‘eCommerce website’ and look forward to making a couple of million dollars a few months later.
We’ll try and not dissuade you away from setting up an eCommerce website, but the total figure of eCommerce website cost will be significantly higher than a couple of Café Mochas at Starbucks.
As all eCommerce sites are not the same,the average cost of an eCommerce website depends of various factors like platform, requirements and customizations, as every eCommerce startup has different needs.
4 Most important factors in budgeting for an ecommerce website
When you ask the question ‘How much does it cost to build eCommerce website?’, There are numerous factors you’ll need to consider.
However, not all of them are of equal simportance. Hence, before we proceed to list out all the factors that go into the total costing, we’ll take up the four most important factors that will most influence your budget in both financial as well as strategic sense.
Let’s take up each of these four factors briefly.
The traffic, conversion and sales goals you expect to achieveYour systems should be designed to handle the load you desire to have. Design parameters will be drastically different for sites targeting 500 visitors a month and sites targeting 250,000 visitors a month. Naturally, your budget changes too.
The number of products you plan to offer for sale over timeIf you are selling only two products, say, half-pound pack and one-pound packs of Italian roast espresso coffee beans, your database doesn’t have too many variables to deal with.
Compare it with an online store selling 250 different types of tees in 3 sizes (S, M, L), the product pages and the database requirements grow huge.
Ongoing marketing activities: in-house vs outsourcedNo matter what an ‘expert’ tells you: online marketing and SEO is never a one-time thing. You need to do it on a regular basis, or else you will quickly fall off the search engine results.
Whether you have an in-house team to carry out the promotional activities or whether you’ll be taking help from an agency that’s expert in online marketing will become decisive in the long run.
Available technical resources for future maintenanceJust because a site is up and running right now, there is no guarantee it will run smoothly forever. A large number of issues, both minor as well as severe, can result from regular events like upgrades in 3rd party software to attacks with malicious intentions. Do you have a team to handle that? Or would you instead outsource to website development agency to do it?
Now that you have a better overview of the four most important factors in eCommerce web design pricing, it’s time to get into the technical details. Let’s start at the beginning: domain name and hosting.
ecommerce Domain and Hosting Costs
You begin by finalising a name for your venture. Unless you’re looking for a prized name (e.g. www.sellonline.com) or a short name (e.g. www.atc.com), you can get a domain between USD 10 and USD 20 per year.
Hosting fees can vary widely because of the range of services you wish to retain. These services are technical, and therefore, it’s a good deal easier to compare between one service provider and the other.
In many cases, however, it will not cover Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance – a secure payment environment required for companies that "accept, process, store or transmit credit card information"
ecommerce Web Design
eCommerce web design costs can vary significantly, and that’s a bit of irony because it’s not always easy to tell a good design from an average one. It’s perhaps a good idea to think from the customer viewpoint.
If the design is pleasant, easily navigable and well-laid, without looking gaudy, cluttered or too-easy-to-please, it’s got most things right.
eCommerce platforms have theme available, and some of them are free as well. Obviously, the paid ones are better in all aspects and you’ll be spending between $50 and $250 in buying the themes. But halt, that’s not all: You’ll want to customize these themes. Customizing themes takes a lot more expertise and you can expect to spend upwards of $1,500.
The discussion of eCommerce website design cost cannot be complete without considering costs for product images. Depending upon the number of products you carry, do park a budget for product photography.
You may want to hire a product photographer for professional photography of your products or If you are on a shoestring budget you can setup a home studio yourself.
ecommerce Programming for functionality and customization
Think of functionality as a cross between branding and customer experience, powered by coding.
Major eCommerce platforms like Magento will have own as well as third-party extensions written for needs similar to yours.
It’s wise to check out those solutions before you code your own, but at the same time it’s unlikely that you’ll get things exactly the way you want them. Either the coding might be fractured, or it leaves out a feature or it isn’t robust enough.
Your eCommerce website development agency should be able to audit what’s available and what’s missing. It can also tell you which extensions are likely to go bad from software upgrades in which case your customized code will turn out to be a winner in the long run.
To better understand how two major eCommerce platforms compare, you might want to refer to our post on Magento vs Shopify.
ecommerce website integration, setting up and configuration
There are a number of integrations a fully functional eCommerce website needs to have that can include inventory, database with customer and product details, social media platforms, payment gateways and third-party services.
Apart from cutting operational costs, integrations hugely improve customer experience, provide superior marketing solutions and make the purchase process easier, faster and more secure.
Just before the site goes live, all diverse pieces of code, graphics and database must be set up to perform as one single website. All the detailed, minute configurations must be tuned to perform at their optimum levels and work as a whole.
Training and maintenance for an ecommerce website
When you are discussing details of how much does it cost to build an eCommerce website with different agencies, you’ll find some agencies quote separately for training while others include it as a part of the setting up (and occasionally that of configurations).
It isn’t about right or wrong, it’s just that different agencies operate differently. No matter what, an eCommerce website design that’s fairly extensive will need training and documentation for managers to operate the site.
How much of maintenance will be required is a bit of an open-ended question, since it will depend to a great deal upon what strategic changes you make along the way – product changes, updates, adding entirely new lines of products, refund policy changes and so on.
An important rule to follow, however is this: Even if it sounds a little on the higher side, be willing to spend more on maintenance, because it will more than pay off in the long run.
Training is mostly a one-time expense, However a lot of vendors do bake in the training cost in the solution proposal which makes the one time training free. Maintenance, on the other hand, is something you’ll need for the entire life of the website and will likely cost you roughly 15 to 20% of the overall solution cost.
SEO and marketing for your ecommerce website
As clarified earlier, SEO and digital marketing is not something you can do once and forget it forever. It’s absolutely an ongoing process and needs as much expertise as any other area.
Remember, websites that remain in page 2 or later in search engine results have a tough time surviving in the long run.
Since SEO and marketing are not precise sciences, any leading digital marketing agency or top SEO agency will need to apply and improve their tools continually, in order to make sure you rank better.
Considering this, fees around $10,000 to $15,000 a year would be charged for marketing and related activities of a mid-sized eCommerce website.
Needless to say, every need is different and one size cannot fit all. through this post on how much does it cost to build an eCommerce website, we’ve tried to help eCommerce startups of all size. Surely you’d like to figure out more.