How Much Does It Cost to Build an eCommerce Website?
As a business consultant, I frequently browse Quora.com and Reddit.com, platforms where I can ask questions and connect with people who offer valuable insights and interesting answers. After spending a lot of time on these sites, I've come to the conclusion that when people are discussing website or app development, they have price in mind first and foremost. Price, price, and nothing but price.
Cost analysis is usually reduced to multiplying the number of development hours by the average programmer's rate. In my opinion, it is better to consider the cost on a specific example. Let's take an eCommence site, which is one of the most popular types of websites nowadays.
How much does it cost to develop an eCommerce site? How much does it cost to hire someone to build an eCommerce website? Such questions always cause heated debates among both entrepreneurs and developers. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to these burning questions. When it comes to eCommerce website pricing, a wide range of factors can influence the final cost.
Factors That Affect eCommerce Website Cost
The platform we choose to build our eCommerce website can have a significant impact on the overall price. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce usually charge a monthly fee that includes hosting and a range of other features. The amount of this fee often depends on the number of company employees using the platform or how many features are required.
Platforms like WooCommerce or Magento, which are open source, require additional installation and customization efforts, but in return provide unparalleled flexibility. On the other hand, fully customized websites offer the utmost level of personalization, albeit at a higher cost.
The cost of an eCommerce site greatly depends on its complexity and size. When we aim to offer a vast array of products, advanced search filters, complicated shipping rules, and multi-language support, our expenses are bound to rise substantially.
The design of our future eCommerce site also affects the cost. Opting for a custom design created by professional UI/UX designers will inevitably cost more than choosing an off-the-shelf template. But it should be remembered that a customized design can significantly increase the usability of the site and, ultimately, the conversion rate.
The cost will be affected by any additional features or integrations we will need. These may include items such as CRM integration, email marketing tools, or social media plugins. Each of these elements can increase the performance of our website, but also increase its overall price.
A website can have as little as one page or as many as 1000 different pages. Not surprisingly, the cost of developing a website increases with the number of pages. In the case of an eCommerce site, each product requires a separate page. But, in the eCommerce case, each product page has unique content and one template. So, you will pay only for one page and get the page for each product.
Many eCommerce websites rely heavily on images, which need to be high quality and professional. A customer should look at the product and immediately want to buy it. Product images should be well lit, properly sized, taken from different angles, and optimized for search. The file size should be small enough to load quickly, but large enough to show details.
The presence of a shopping cart and checkout distinguishes an eCommerce website from a standard website and increases its price. Online payment systems such as PayPal or Google Checkout offer their services for free. But they deduct a percentage from our revenue for each transaction. Other options, such as Authorize.net, have low transaction fees but charge setup fees and monthly fees.
Which option is the best choice for us? There is absolutely no reason to make a hasty decision here. We need to determine our projected revenue to decide which option makes the most sense for our business.
Choosing eCommerce Website Features and Functionality
When entrepreneurs decide to enter the digital market, they often have a limited budget. They spend money on procurement, logistics, and storage. But they all want to expand their market without going bankrupt. Let's look at how to get into the market as quickly as possible with a rough estimate for building an eCommerce website.
The very first thing a store needs is product management. This is an expensive part of any online store. The easiest way is to use one of the existing services: WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, or others.
For a beginner in online commerce, we would recommend choosing Shopify as the main platform for product management. This is not because it is better than others, it just has a feature that we will talk about later.
All eCommerce websites have built-in themes that provide an interface for users. However, the biggest problem with embedded interfaces and themes is that they are very poorly optimized. The so-called SEO optimization is almost non-existent with such themes. To create an interface for users, we recommend building a custom online store that uses the latest architecture and meets the needs of the community and search engines.
First, we have to answer the question: what pages of the site will we need? Our primary goal is to create a homepage, product search page, product details page, and shopping cart.
The homepage should make it clear what the site is about and what it sells. It should include the main product categories, favorite products, brand information, and a form to collect email addresses. Of course, each page will contain a navigation bar and a footer (the bottom of each page). The navigation bar may include the shop logo, brand name, links to the most important pages, and a shopping cart icon. The footer will contain social media links and other page links.
Timeline: 20–40 hours (if the design is provided)
Product Search Page
If you click on any image on the homepage, you will be taken to the search page. What parts does a search page normally consist of? It mainly consists of filters and the results window. The filters can be very varied, as you can filter the goods according to all properties.
The search page can also contain a search bar, so that when a customer enters a text in this bar, the output window displays products corresponding to this text. If the output window displays product cards, there are variations in the number of products displayed.
As a rule, 10 to 50 products are displayed on the page at the same time. To see the next products, the buyer can scroll down the page and wait until more products are loaded. The product pages can also be managed via buttons. This means that it is up to the user whether they navigate to the next page using the sequential number or across a page. In general, these variants do not have a major impact on the development time of the page.
Timeline: 30–70 hours (The development time of this page relies on the quantity and type of product properties for filters.)
Product Details Page
This page usually does not contain anything extra than product cards. Each card should include all the necessary data about a particular product: photo, description, characteristics, etc. It will not be superfluous to place a video demonstrating the product in detail. Also, here the user can specify that he or she wants to receive emails with discounts for this particular product.
Timeline: 16–24 hours
Shopping Cart Page
The shopping cart contains all selected items, the sum of future purchases, the possibility of entering a discount promo code, and a mechanism for recalculating the final amount.
Timeline: 16–24 hours
Now we can finally explain why we chose Shopify in the first place. When a user clicks the "Pay" button in the shopping basket, Shopify handles all user interactions. This platform will provide the payment interface, payment mechanism, and order processing. This allows entrepreneurs to save a lot of time and money at the initial stage, as developing their own payment and order interaction system is costly and time-consuming.
At this point, after about 170 hours, the entrepreneur has the first version of their fully working eCommerce site. Yes, many features can still be added in the future. But search engine robots are already indexing the online shop and moving it to the top of the list so that Internet users can find it for all relevant queries.
Estimated Cost of the Site
The approximate initial cost of such a project would be starting at $9,000. The price will largely depend on the location of the development team. This factor plays a crucial role in the cost of developing an eCommerce website. There are freelancers, onshore developers, and offshore development teams. All of them differ in terms of the services provided and the corresponding cost.
Freelancers work independently, and their level of accountability may vary. They may not have the same level of supervision and control as employees in a traditional work environment. This can make it more difficult to meet deadlines, ensure compliance with project requirements and address any issues that arise. Rates for software development freelancers can vary greatly depending on experience, skills, location, project complexity, etc.
Onshore software development teams are typically based in countries with higher labor costs, which can lead to higher project expenses. Developers in these regions often command higher salaries and rates compared to offshore or freelance options.
Offshore development teams are often based in countries with lower labor costs compared to developed countries. The cost of living, wages, and overhead expenses in these regions may be significantly lower, allowing offshore companies to offer their services at a more competitive rate.
According to the 2023 Global Software Outsourcing Rates and Trends Guide, hourly rates for offshore software development services vary significantly depending on the country and region.
- North America: $62-$209 per hour
- Central and Eastern Europe: $26-$95 per hour
- Latin America: $34-$96 per hour
- South Asia: $24-$71 per hour
The timelines and costs mentioned above are estimates that may vary depending on the project's scope and requirements. Nonetheless, these figures provide a rough idea of the budget to bear in mind when engaging in discussions with a web development company about building an eCommerce website.
How much does it cost to develop an eCommerce website? It is still impossible to give a definite answer, as the cost of development is determined by various factors. It is also important to take into account the ever-evolving online shopping industry and carefully adapt to digital updates. To keep up with the rapid pace of the industry, companies need an experienced and diligent team of software developers who can promptly solve any problems that arise.
For more than 20 years, Cyfrania team has helped 200+ customers from 50+ countries to turn their ideas into reality without going bankrupt. One of our recent projects is an eCommerce platform for exploring and purchasing Montessori products - toys, educational materials, and furniture. The team, which consisted of two experienced developers, delivered the project in just 12 weeks.
If you also have an idea that you want to implement, simply complete the form provided below. Cyfrania team will be excited to take on a new challenge and make another customer happy.