Online retailers have a great opportunity to fill the gap created by increasing brick-and-mortar store closings.
Some brands have an established online presence. Others are looking to start an ecommerce site.
You may have a small business and are wondering how much an ecommerce site costs.
This post will discuss the costs involved in launching an online store.
Let’s take a look at all aspects related to the cost of an ecommerce site.
Ecommerce website price: Two driving forces
There are two main categories of expenses regardless of website type – an ecommerce shop or a basic WordPress site.
- Design and functionality – This is what visitors see when they visit your website, interact with the content and make a purchase. The layout of your website can have an impact on how long they stay on it and the conversion rate.
- Infrastructure These are costs that you need to build and maintain your ecommerce store. However, your audience may not notice them. Below we’ll go into more detail, but let’s focus on the basics: buying a domain, setting-up hosting, and search engines optimization.
Before your website goes live, success begins long before it is there. It all starts when you make a plan to build your website. This includes a list and budget.
You’ll see that almost everyone has to pay these expenses as I breakdown the ecommerce site cost question:
- Domain name
- Custom design
- Web development
- Expert in setting up
- Marketing and SEO
- Payment processing
- Plug-ins and apps
You can also use many platforms and software programs to create an ecommerce website .
1. Domain Name
A domain name is essential for any website. It is your permanent address for your online store. So it is important to make the right choice.
The price you pay to purchase a domain name is dependent on many factors.
- The registrar where you purchase
- The most popular TLD for domain names (.com)
- If you are buying a domain on the secondary market
You can expect to pay between $10 and $20 for a domain name from a registrar like Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Tip – Some web hosting companies offer a free domain name when you sign up to a new plan.
2. Hosting costs
Hosting is the heart of your online store. Your website must be accessible to the public.
There are two options available:
- You can self-host your ecommerce site
- You can use an ecommerce platform (more details below) that offers hosting (SaaS).
You are responsible for purchasing your own hosting if you decide to host your store yourself, as is the case with WooCommerce.
There are many options, from budget hosting packages to more robust and advanced stores, so there is no shortage of choices. The following are some of our top-rated hosting companies:
Prices can vary from company-to-company and plan to plan. However, you should budget between $5 and $20 per month.
Tip: Hosting six- or twelve months in advance will save you money.
Your hosting will be included if you build your store using a popular ecommerce platform like Shopify. Shopify offers three options.
Both hosting options have their pros and cons. You may also need to upgrade your plan as you grow your e-commerce site.
You don’t need to spend a lot to get a professional looking ecommerce store design. While you may be able to spend thousands of dollars, it is not necessary for you to get started.
WooCommerce is a great tool for online stores. There are hundreds of WordPress themes available for free, and premium options that cost only a few dollars.
Start with a free WordPress theme that you can customize yourself if you have a tight budget. If you have the budget, Astra and Divi are worthy of consideration.
If you are using Shopify as your ecommerce platform, expect to pay slightly more for a premium theme.
Start your search by searching Shopify Theme Store. It lists all of your options, both paid and free. You will find plenty of options if you have a budget between $160 and $200.
The cost of a theme to your online store ranges between free and around $200.
4. Cost of custom website design
After doing your research on paid and free themes, you realize that it is impossible to get exactly what you need “outside the box”. You have two choices.
- You can customize a theme to suit your needs
- A professional can customize a theme that is already in use
- You can have a custom-designed design created from scratch
A custom design is best if you want a unique look. The custom design is made specifically for your store, business, and needs.
Cost of a custom designed website is what could hold you back. The cost of a custom design will vary depending on its size and scope, but you can expect to spend a minimum of $1500 to $5,000 . If you are more interested in an enterprise-level design with many internal pages, such as product and category pages, your cost will easily rise to $10,000 to.
5. Development of an Ecommerce website is expensive
There is a distinction between design and development. These things may come in a bundle, or they might not.
Design is what it sounds and is outlined below. It is the design of your website. It is what visitors see when they visit your website.
However, development includes many other services that can be used to power your website.
You might hire a web developer to help you with the following:
- Creating an online shop with product descriptions and photos
- Implementing and/or customizing a checkout system
- Create a plug-in or an app custom to your needs
- Customizing website code
All of the platforms that we have discussed are “out-of-the-box” solutions. For a more customized experience, you don’t need to develop anything.
Hire a web developer, or a company that specializes in web development. Double-check their knowledge with the platform you choose.
Rates will vary depending on the experience and platform of the project, as well as where they are located. The $15-$30/hour range is the lowest. For more complex projects like custom coding, 150+ is possible.
Tip: You may be able save money by setting a fixed price instead of paying per hour.
6. Setup Expert
They are not necessarily developers or designers. They are experts in setting up ecommerce websites. They are experts in the various platforms and can provide guidance or complete the task for you.
The platform you chose has many options for how to choose an expert for your ecommerce site. Shopify has a huge list of setup specialists available to help you. This is one of the greatest benefits.
Expert assistance starts at 500, but it can go all the way to $15,000+. To narrow your search, you can filter by budget, language spoken, or country/region.
Each provider also has a profile which outlines their experience, the services they offer, how many jobs they have completed and any reviews. Request a quote for your project.
Shopify’s basic setup costs $500-$1000. To fulfill your more complicated needs, it will likely take 1,000 or more.
You can hire an independent setup specialist through Upwork, or any other freelancing platform, if you use a different platform. You can hire someone at a comparable price to a developer for $15/hour .
Tip: Before you hire a setup specialist, make sure you have consulted your developer to determine if they can help you. This person might be able complete all tasks for a setup expert and save you time and hassle.
7. Marketing and SEO
It doesn’t matter if you have the best ecommerce site in your area. But it won’t do any good without traffic. People need to visit your website, engage with your brand and share their positive experiences with their networks.
Marketing and SEO are key here. A marketing strategy is essential if you want to launch an online store, or improve the results of your existing one. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Content marketing
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Word of mouth
- Pay per Click (PPC).
You’ll learn more about what works and what doesn’t for your store by trying out each of these ideas. There will always be those who are afraid of PPC costs increasing quickly. If you know how to do it correctly, you can make a positive return.
This category is difficult to price. A world-class agency could be hired to manage your social media accounts for thousands of dollars. You could also do it all yourself, taking photos and producing video content as well managing your accounts.
You can start by looking for tools that will help you achieve your goals without spending a lot of money. Check out Constant Contact if you have an extensive email marketing list. There are two options for monthly plans, one with a free trial.
Your results in marketing and SEO are more dependent on your efforts than how much money you spend. These questions will help you make a decision about what next.
- Which areas of SEO and marketing have the greatest chance of a positive return on investment?
- Are you able to handle all aspects of marketing internally?
- Do you feel comfortable with the idea that a contractor or agency might be hired to assist with your marketing?
You must also set a budget. You can plan your budget based on what you have available, no matter how small or large.
8. Payment Processing
Payment processing fees are essential if you sell online. It is important to plan ahead as this expense can eat into your profits.
The platform you choose will determine how you pay. Let’s look at how WooCommerce and WooCommerce work together.
WooCommerce allows you to use any payment processor for your self-hosted shop. WooCommerce allows you to have the most variety and the best deals.
Here’s a quick overview of the costs involved in obtaining a job.
- PayPal – 2.9% + $0.30 on transactions above $10
- Stripe – 2.9% + $0.30 Per Transaction
PayPal and Stripe almost have the same arrangement. The only difference is that PayPal charges more for orders below $10.
Shopify is your payment platform. Shopify Payments is a unique payment processing system. Although it’s the most straightforward to implement, you are not forced to use it. You still have the option to choose from other payment gateways.
Here are the costs:
- Shopify Payments – 2.9% + $0.30 Per Transaction
- Third-party payments: Payment gateway fees and a two percent transaction fee
Shopify Payments is the same price as PayPal or Stripe through WooCommerce. Shopify users who choose to use a third-party service will be charged an additional 2 percent.
Consider your payment options when choosing a platform. You can expect to pay 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction.
9. Apps, plug-ins and extensions
No matter what you call them, extensions, plug-ins or apps, you will likely need several of these to build your ecommerce website. The more you have , the higher your overall ecommerce website costs.
Apps, plug-ins and extensions are essential because the platform you select may not provide everything you need. These solutions can help you customize your store.
The plus side is that all the top platforms offer a library where you can find the right solution for almost any problem.
WooCommerce leads this market, thanks to the thousands of extensions and the tens-of thousands of plugins for WordPress.
You can expect to pay $10 to $300, with the exception of free extensions.
Shopify is a little more complex than Shopify. However, Shopify offers APIs that allow developers to customize your store using third-party apps. Start your search
They do however offer APIs that allow developers to integrate their services or solutions into Shopify.
There are some apps that are completely free and others that cost $100 or more per month.
Shopify can also be used to locate a professional developer for your custom app. Prices are typically $1,000 and higher depending on the project scope and expertise.
You have hundreds of options , from free apps to paid ones to monthly subscription.
If you need a custom-built app with fees starting from $1,000, and rapidly rising, you can also search the BigCommerce partner directory for a developer.
10. Shipping costs
If you are selling physical products, shipping will not be an issue. This section can be skipped if you are selling a service such as SEO google optimization or a downloadable product like an eBook.
Shipping and fulfillment shouldn’t be too expensive if your business only ships a handful of items per month. Some companies, such as UPS and FedEx, might be a good option. As your business grows and you add more product pages, shipping costs will rise.
It is a good idea to invest in dedicated shipping solutions. These are the top shipping options you should consider.
ShipBob has been a market leader in 3PL shipping solutions. It is an all-in one order fulfillment platform that allows companies to delight customers by giving them complete control over their inventory, order management and shipping.
ShipBob operates its fulfillment centers in-house. ShipBob has its own fulfillment centers, so if something goes wrong while you are trying to ship something to a customer you can get support right away. ShipBob also provides its own technology, including warehouse management tools, which allow you to align your orders across fulfillment centers.
ShipBob offers fulfillment centers in the US, Europe, and Canada that are ideal for international companies. Shipping rates can be reduced around the globe and you can offer excellent customer service. In some cases, companies can arrange next-day or 2-day shipping. ShipBob’s fees can be predictable and reasonable. Custom quoted rates are available depending on the item and location.
ShipStation integrates with many eCommerce software options and is a well-known shipping and order fulfillment tool. Shipstation is a great option for anyone who wants to be more in control of what happens after a customer has completed their shopping cart. It works with many sales channels and environments.
Shipstation allows companies to import data from multiple sources online at once. You can sync your order fulfillment strategy across all platforms, including Amazon, Facebook, and websites you create. Shipstation offers a variety of automation options that will make it easier to delight your customers.
Shipstation is a one-stop solution for order fulfillment. It makes it easy for business owners to quickly get their items to customers. The backend allows you to compare shipping rates.
Shippo is another option for companies who need to send their products to customers from anywhere in the world. Shippo integrates with over a dozen online shopping carts and carriers. Shippo can be set up with Amazon, eBay and many other online shops, such as Shopify, Magento and Stripe.
Shippo offers great rates via fulfillment and shipping carriers such as FedEx, DHL and Canada Post. They also offer solutions for customers around the world. Shippo’s user-friendly environment is a major benefit. It’s easy for you to set up your fulfillment strategy with a state of the art backend system.
Pay as you go is simple to understand. Prices are based on the amount of shipping and how much weight you have. Shippo has limited customer support and assistance for those who require it. There could be improved security features in certain places.
Stitch Labs offers a state of the art inventory management solution that is suitable for both small and large businesses. This software system tracks everything your business needs, including invoices, orders placed on-site, inventory items, and many other details. Stitch Labs, like other top inventory management software, is simple to use and great for brands.
Stitch Labs allows you to combine multiple channels into one backend, which is great for those who sell in different areas. You can also customize the backend to keep track of pre-discounted products and loyalty programs in one place.
Stitch Labs has the perfect solution for you, whether you are looking for an order management system or wholesale management.
Recommendations for Ecommerce Solutions
There are many ecommerce platforms that can be considered. Each one has its own pros and cons.
We’ll be giving an overview of four popular platforms to build an ecommerce site. You’ll need to compare more than just pricing. We will be focusing on the details that were previously discussed.
Shopify has been the preferred platform for ecommerce stores since its inception.
Sign up to create an account and you can start setting up your store free of charge. You can also test the platform 14 days. The best part is that you don’t need a credit card to get the free trial. It’s fast and easy to get started.
Shopify offers three pricing options.
$29/month includes all the essentials for opening an online store. The $79/month or $299/month packages will suit you better.
Shopify’s pricing structure is one thing that will be obvious to you: you get a lot for your buck.
BigCommerce may not have as many users as Shopify but is still a leading platform.
The pricing structure is similar to Shopify. There are three tiers available, along with an enterprise option with customized pricing.
Each pricing level is $.95/month less expensive than Shopify. If you are looking to save money, you can pay annually. This will save you 10 percent.
BigCommerce has a long feature-list for each tier so that you don’t miss out on any features when you choose this platform.
Square Online has been growing in popularity, with this platform becoming increasingly popular among those who want simplicity at a lower price.
Square Online Store offers three paid plans for those who need more features.
Square Online Store is significantly cheaper than BigCommerce and Shopify with its premium plan starting at $72/month.
Keep in mind the lower price when comparing Square Online Store’s features to those of its primary competitors. It could be the deciding factor.
This open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress is free if you are looking for something free.
WooCommerce has more than 87,000,000 downloads. It is the most used ecommerce platform to build an online store. This is not due to the fact that it’s completely free.
WooCommerce has many features and is simple to use. You also have access to an extension store that will allow you to customize your store. WooCommerce is powered by WordPress and you have access thousands upon thousands to third-party plugins.
These are just a few reasons that WooCommerce is so trusted by millions of people:
Squarespace, another great ecommerce platform for small businesses that want to start online, is a content management system and ecommerce platform. Squarespace, which is cloud-hosted, offers extra flexibility and comes with tons of great integrations. SquareSpace allows you to sell via social media channels.
Squarespace is a popular choice for business owners who need help creating a visually striking and creative website. This product gives you a lot more creative control, as well as access to many image-based themes. There are many templates to choose from for your eCommerce project. You can also work with professionals to make it more unique.
Squarespace offers SSL certificates and domains for free. You can use Squarespace’s mobile-optimized checkout without any transaction fees. This product lacks some eCommerce functions compared to WooCommerce or Shopify.
Magento, a popular web design tool, is great for beginners. Magneto is a leading solution for eCommerce and online selling. It promises a great user-experience for both website owners as well as their customers. Magento is a great tool for established and successful retailers, providing access to many web design themes and custom development tools.
Magento can be used to sell products on Amazon or eBay. You can also have eCommerce functionality on your site. To make the most out of this solution, you may need to collaborate with freelancers or developers.
Open source means that things such as website hosting and SSL certificate security are up to you. You will need to learn how you can make your website unique with custom themes and online support.
Wix has been a top choice for ecommerce development. Wix offers a wide range of features at a low cost, making it easy to create a website that will attract and keep your ideal customers. Wix’s ease of use is one of its greatest assets. With a drag-and drop interface, you can quickly build your online store. There are hundreds to choose from, and all templates are mobile-friendly.
Wix offers many payment options and secure checkout options. With your in-store tools, you can create stunning product galleries. Wix also helps you calculate shipping costs and tax rates globally. Wix doesn’t offer as many shopping options as Shopify.
Wix is not as advanced as other website builders. However, it is very user-friendly and integrates with ERP to make your store more efficient.
Volusion is a great tool to help you create something unique. Volusion is a great product for companies looking to grow massively. All the data you need to track the performance of your website can be gathered in one place.
Volusion requires no programming knowledge. There are many tools that can be used to customize websites and optimize for SEO. You can also see what you will pay upfront for your store, starting at $29 per month. Volusion’s biggest problem is its lack of tools for content marketing and blogging. If you plan to promote content, you may need to hire a web designer.
Volusion is an excellent choice for companies who want to be creative with their online image. Volusion allows you to quickly jump in and play with themes and styles.
Ecommerce site costs
At this point, you should have an idea of the cost of an ecommerce site.
These are the key points to keep in mind:
- You can easily create an e-commerce site using platforms such as the ones mentioned above.
- Price varies depending on seemingly infinite factors.
- Start by creating a scope and setting a budget.
You can design your online store and launch it for as little as 500. If you are willing to spend a lot to have everything perfect, it is possible for your costs to go well beyond five figures.