If you’re here reading this, I would assume that you’re on the verge of starting an online store and are at that point in the decision making process, where you’re budgeting expenditures and RoIs.
Before you even started thinking about the logo for your business, procurement strategies or supply-chain modules, you delved deep (still are probably) into understanding the pricing. This is sensible, too, as it would give you an idea on whether you could start the business, look for investments or reduce expenses that are under your control.
So, let me clear the basics – there’s no general rule of thumb, a mathematical formula or a generic answer to this at all. The eCommerce website cost is very subjective and boils down to a lot of factors.
It has happened tons of times in my career that people would walk up to me or call me on my phone, share their ideas and ask me how much an eCommerce website would cost. They expect an answer similar to the question of the price of a smartphone or a gaming console.
No, it doesn’t work like that.
There’s no straightforward answer to this. It requires serious conversations around factors, ideologies, development methodologies and more to arrive at a price that works both for the eCommerce development company and the aspiring business owner.
After receiving such kinds of questions continuously, I’ve decided I’ll dedicate an entire article on eCommerce website cost and put it out on the world wide web for people to read, incorporate, and reach to the conclusion.
So, let’s get started.
How To Calculate The eCommerce Website Cost?
An eCommerce store looks aesthetically neat and functionally sound but for it to work the way it does, diverse elements come together and operate in tandem with each other. Every element involved comes with a price tag (for development) and these are the fundamental factors that influence your website cost.
To give you an idea, here are some of the expenses you would incur initially:
- Website hosting expenses
- Website design expenses
- Website custom programming and functionality cost
- Website add-ons and extension expenses
- And Marketing, maintenance and payment gateway incorporation expenses
I’ll go ahead and do you a favor of elaborating each of the factors for better understanding.
Website Hosting Expenses
On the world wide web, your eCommerce website needs a place it can call home. It’s where it resides and the place where all the required files and elements are stored for retrieval, processing and display.
And when it has a place to stay, it also needs an address. As far as the internet protocols and jargon are concerned, it’s called the domain name. Having a good domain name helps you reach the exact audience groups you want to seamlessly.
However, there’s a catch. Most of the ideal domain names are already taken. So, if you’re willing to pay for the premium domain names, you could go ahead and purchase it, which will again influence your eCommerce website cost. Or, if you want to keep your expenses low, you could brainstorm on more creative names that people would have hardly thought of and then buy the domain name at regular pricing.
Let’s discuss hosting now.
There are two types of hosting options available to you –
- SaaS-based hosting platforms
Self Hosted Websites
These are the platforms or software applications that you can download from service providers’ websites, install and set up your eCommerce website. Before you host your website on these servers, you need to have your domain name and an SSL certificate for your domain ready.
An SSL certificate is nothing but an encryption layer you add to your website to prevent 3rd party elements on the internet from accessing your website’s details. By default, details such as the domain name, the owner, their residential and official addresses are visible to anyone and an SSL certificate prevents these pieces of information from showing up online. This costs you as well.
Once you have these ready, you could choose a platform like Magento or WooCommerce as your hosting service provider. Each has its own set of pricing, features and pros and cons. For instance, the pricing of WooCommerce starts at around $8 per month. When you pay for a year, there is a significant reduction in the price you would eventually pay.
That’s great you might think. Wait.
The basic plans are designed to handle only a specific amount of traffic. These are beginner plans that are ideal when you just start up. As your business grows and becomes more visible to potential customers, more people would want to visit your eCommerce store and purchase products from your brand.
At that time, when more people access your website at the same time, it would definitely go down or malfunction. That’s when you would be pushed to upgrade your plans to increase traffic, file storage and other functionalities.
For the uninitiated, SaaS refers to Software as a Service. These are completely contrary to self-hosted websites and differently influence your cost to build an eCommerce website. You don’t have to install any software or have a resource take care of its maintenance and management.
These are platforms you could use by simply logging in. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce are SaaS-based hosting platforms that let you create eCommerce websites almost instantly.
They offer tremendous templates, royalty-free images and other functionalities to help you set up your eCommerce platform from scratch even without technical knowledge or skills. You could choose your plan depending on your requirements and even scale up or down based on your business and turnover. To get started with SaaS-based hosting, all you need is just $30 per month.
eCommerce Website Design Cost
Website design. Big deal, right?
How much is it going to cost to hire a couple of freelancers and get logos and wireframes out?
Well, if you have this mindset, you’re doing it wrong because close to 75% of the internet population believes a website’s design is directly linked to its credibility.
Also, close to 38% of your visitors will abandon your website and never come back if they find your website’s design redundant or unattractive.
These aren’t my opinions but stats.
So, to make your eCommerce website stand out from the clutter (or crowd), you need to invest significantly on its design and aesthetics.
Now, SaaS platforms offer hundreds of themes and templates you could instantly check out and deploy for your eCommerce store. Most of them come for free or are priced very less. However, you need to realize that when something’s free or priced less, a major chunk of the population would head towards it.
This would make a lot of eCommerce businesses – regardless of whether it’s in your niche or a different one – feature the same, templated color schemes and aesthetics.
Custom designs, on the other hand, come with their own development expenses. Here, everything (logos, designs, website layout, responsiveness and more) is created from scratch and the process is very meticulous and customized. A number of factors like your target audience personas, their preferences, competition, demographics, technical learning curve and more are considered to ensure layouts, CTAs, images, text and its typography are all in line with the preferences and inclinations of your end users.
Comparing the eCommerce website design cost involved in the two, you would end up spending anywhere from $1500 to $2000 for templates offered by SaaS platforms and even more for a custom designed website.
eCommerce Custom Development And Programming Cost
Now that we’ve understood the importance of design in eCommerce website development and the relative expenses associated with it, let’s move on to understand that design is not everything for a website. In fact, eCommerce design carries just 50% of the weightage in the entire spectrum. It’s a medium to captivate audiences into using your online store.
Your visitors will sustain and explore your products and services only if it is technically sound, functionally seamless and secured. This is another factor to eCommerce website cost. To throw in some more numbers, understand that poor website design and functionality has cost eCommerce companies close to $2.6bn.
So, apart from how your website looks, how it functions is another major factor you need to consider. The functionality of an eCommerce website can be broken down into two categories –
- And advanced
Basic features are the bare essentials required to make your website operational. It does what you intended to and nothing more or less. Some of the basic features include
- Sign in options through social credentials
- different dashboards and accesses for admins, customers and vendors
- Payroll modules
- Inventory management
- Supply-chain management
- Profile creation and set up
- Customer support
- Technical support
- CGPR and privacy policies and more
Advanced features are modules that go beyond executing basic tasks and processes. These are your USPs or standout features that help attract more users and eventually turn them into customers. While a majority of the brands in your circle would stop with basic features, you could go a step ahead and implement some advanced modules that will help grow your business.
To give you an idea, here are some advanced features you could consider:
- Cart abandonment management
- Augmented and virtual reality modules
- Artificial intelligence powered recommendation engines
- Automation of supply-chain management or inventory management
- Personalized deals and discounts
- Voice search functionalities
- Regionalization of content and prices and more
As far as the cost is concerned, self-hosted and SaaS-based platforms involve similar expenses, where you would incur anywhere from $5000 to $15000. If you intend to go for a complete customized development process, your budget could go over $20000 for advanced development.
eCommerce Add-ons And Extensions Expenses
Extensions are services that are available for utilization when necessary. There are a lot of extensions and 3rd party plugins available for eCommerce websites that can be easily incorporated or integrated into your source code or SaaS platform. These influence your eCommerce website cost by helping you reduce development expenses you would otherwise incur when custom developing these modules from scratch.
Modules like analytics, heat maps, lead generation forms, newsletter or discount coupon sign ups, free shipping and more can be availed as extensions from platforms easily. However, when selecting a plugin or a 3rd party element, always ensure it’s from a trusted source or a developer by reading reviews. You never know what’s happening under the hood and it’s ideal to stay away from consequences by utilizing plugins from authentic developers and communities.
You’re not simply going to launch your eCommerce website and sit and wait for traffic to magically show up, are you? You’ll have to make efforts to bring traffic to your store by promoting it online across diverse channels and mediums.
Digital marketing is key in standing out today. With plenty of platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more available to reach out to your customers, you will have to consider expenses you will incur in generating leads and building brand visibility as well.
Apart from social media platforms, there are also avenues like search engines that are proving to be extremely successful and profitable for eCommerce website owners. Statistics also reveal that RoI from Google Ads is close to 200% and that around 63% of the users are more likely to click on a search engine like that of Google.
This means your eCommerce website development cost should include marketing expenses as well.
An eCommerce store (or any website) isn’t complete as soon as it is launched. In fact, the real challenge starts from after it is launched. The website has to be maintained for as long as you’re in the business of eCommerce. From handling heavy traffic during seasonal sales and deals to ensuring your website is devoid of DDoS attacks and other potential threats, there are tons of expenses associated with maintaining your eCommerce website.
When your online store is in the development stage, it suffers from tunnel vision, where your development teams are all looking at its functionalities from one perspective. Only when it is taken live and exposed to real people and real-world environments that its flaws actually start coming out. From bugs to lethal operational concerns, there could be diverse concerns associated with your eCommerce store and fixing each post launch will involve expenses. These are recurring expenses that you need to channelize every month or annually. For small and medium sized businesses, the expenses could be around $1500 per annum and for large businesses with heavy website traffic, this could be per month.
So, How Much Does An eCommerce Website Cost After All?
This is where it gets really confusing. Considering all the factors we’ve discussed so far, let’s quickly look at a table to understand it and differentiate pricing involved with two distinct approaches.
Pricing involved with two distinct approaches
|Industry Size||eCommerce Development Approach|
|Conventional eCommerce||SaaS Platforms|
|Small Scale||Less than $10,000||Less than $1,000|
|Medium Scale||$15,000 to $30,000||Less than $2,000|
|Large Scale||Over $30,000||Over $2,000|
How Can WebDesk Help You Build Top Notch eCommerce Websites At Reasonable Charges
Despite so many factors involved, not everything could be applicable to you and your business needs. At WebDesk, we believe every business is unique and what works for one need not necessarily work for another even if it is in the same operational space.
However, this clarity comes to you only when you talk to experts and veterans who have been in the industry for decades. That’s exactly where we come in. Our expertise lies in understanding your business vision, goals and requirements precisely to suggest you services, modules and functionalities required for your eCommerce business.
So, when you approach us, an eCommerce website is tailored according to your preferences. Regardless of your budget, you could prefer our eCommerce consulting services, custom eCommerce development services, 3rd party integration services and more.
All you need to do is have a clear idea of your business vision and get in touch with us for a detailed consultation. When we are on the same page, we will collaborate to work on turning your million-dollar idea into a profit generating business.