eCommerce is growing at a rapid speed. As a result, the demand to build online stores has become more and more popular these days. However, estimating the investments to start an eCommerce website is still a struggle for many merchants. This is understandable because the total eCommerce website cost varies widely, depending on the type of platform you want, store expectations, and other factors.
If you are planning to build your website without a plan, you can easily end up overspending. But don’t worry, we are here to help!
In this article, we will break down all the information to give you a clear idea of how much an eCommerce website costs. Specifically, we will take in consideration all the factors contributing to a website cost such as website builder (like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce), design expense, apps and plugins,… to help you easily estimate.
Ways to build eCommerce websites
The eCommerce website cost depends greatly on which platform/website builder you choose to create your website. There are 2 ways to build an eCommerce website, which are using open-source platforms and hosted platforms.
First, let’s look at the eCommerce website cost when you use open-source platforms
1. eCommerce website cost using open-source platforms
To build an open-source website, there are 3 essential things you need to have for your website, namely a hosting provider, a domain name, and an SSL certificate.
A hosting provider
Hosting plays an important role in ensuring the proper performance of your eCommerce website. There are different kinds of hosting such as:
- Shared-hosting: This is typically the least expensive option, as you’ll be sharing server space with other websites. The provider will allocate the resources, and you pay a certain amount of money every month. It costs you from $4 to $10 per month.
- Virtual Private/Dedicated Server (VPS): VPS is a hosting technology with several isolated virtual machines on a single physical server. You, as its user, get the right to control the whole process at a root-user level. The cost of VPS ranges from $30 to $90 per month.
- Dedicated server: The client gets the physical machine that has certain characteristics and locates in a specially equipped data-center. It starts at $120 and can be up to $190 per month. This is the most expensive option, as you’ll have an entire server all to yourself.
A domain name
A domain name is an address where Internet users can access your website. You must register the domain name before using it. Domain name costs are typically charged every year, but you might also purchase a domain for multiple years to save money.
According to Domain.com, the average cost for a domain name is $10 to $15 per year.
An SSL Certificate
SSL certificates are a must for eCommerce sites. It is the encryption certificate that helps your customers know it’s safe to enter payment data and personal information on your website. In many cases, if your site isn’t secured with an SSL certificate, people tend to refuse to shop on it. An SSL certificate may also impact your site ranks in search engine results.
The cost can range from around $10 to more than $100 a month, depending on the hosting provider you choose and the level of assurance you want.
There are some platforms which are quite complicated to install. Therefore, you may have to hire someone else to do it for you. They are professional developers who can help you set up everything to provide seamless customer experience, including displaying products, processing orders, and managing inventory, shipping, and payments.
The cost of working with professional developers varies depending on how much work you need. Typically, they will discuss your needs before providing a package estimate. Normally, it’ll cost you no less than $5000.
2. eCommerce website cost using hosted platforms
Unlike open-source platforms, each pricing plan of hosted platforms normally include all the costs of a domain name, hosting service, or SSL certificate. You just have to pick a plan and then an online store is ready to sell. However, there are some additional fees which are notable such as transaction fee that we will discuss further on the next part. Now, let’s look at the pricing plans of some popular hosted platforms.
BigCommerce is a cloud-based SaaS solution that supports a wide range of functionality and business needs. You can purchase monthly subscriptions between $29.99 and $299.95 for essential packages that support SMBs with online stores.
Shopify is a fast and easy way to get your shop online. Packages cost between $29 and $299 per month, depending on how many accounts and locations you want to support and what shipping and payment options you choose.
Since you already have a basic website, let’s look at some other factors that make your store ready to be in operation.
Apps & Plug-ins
Firstly, apps and plugins are indispensable parts of an eCommerce website. It allows you to add new features to your eCommerce website and extend its functionality. From forums and galleries to chat service, PPC marketing, and newsletters, extensions can improve a variety of customer-facing or business-facing processes. Besides free apps and plug-ins, there are many paid options so your eCommerce website cost may increase.
Let’s look at the costs of add-ons and extensions on popular eCommerce platforms.
BigCommerce’s app marketplace offers a great number of free and paid apps. Many third-party apps are available by subscription. You can also hire developers to create custom apps for a single store. It costs you more than $1000, and the cost depends on developer rates and skills.
Magento add-ons tend to require custom development, which can be expensive. It may add up to $10,000.
Normally, Magento extensions can cost you around $100 to $500
Shopify offers both free and paid apps. They are usually billed monthly. Shopify also allows you to add private apps made specifically for your store. The cost for your custom app is about over $5000, depending on developer rates and skills.
WooCommerce – WordPress plugins – are generally cheaper since they’re billed on an annual basis, unlike Shopify and BigCommerce.
You can select from free or paid extensions. Moreover, you can also use WordPress extensions since WooCommerce is built on WordPress. WooCommerce paid extension costs start at $19 and can go as high as $299 (depending on licensing plans and features of a plugin).
If that’s not enough and you want a custom feature, you can hire a developer to make a plugin for you. It could cost you somewhere around $500 to $10,000 depending on how much work is involved or the rates of the developer you hire for the job.
The overall design of your eCommerce website is another critical factor contributing to your store’s success. The design of your site is the first impression that you make on new visitors. If your design looks outdated, potential customers will think the whole business is not up to snuff.
Fortunately, most eCommerce platforms understand this, so they offer ready-made website templates. Store owners can customize the layouts using simple drag and drop tools. In case you find it difficult to choose the suitable theme for your site, you can take a look at our reviews on best themes of most popular platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce,…
Store owners can also purchase premium designs that come with additional features, priority support, and unique layouts. Of course, you can always hire a developer to design a completely custom template from scratch with custom features.
Let’s see how much it costs to design an eCommerce website on different platforms.
- WooCommerce : Free, $99 for premium, and $5,000 for custom
- Shopify: Free, $160 for premium, and $5,000 for custom
- BigCommerce : Free, $160 for premium, and $5,000 for custom
Finally, payment processing fees can’t be ignored when you’re selling online. This is an expense that eats into your profits, so it’s essential to plan.
How you process payments depends largely on the platform you choose. Let’s examine how things align with some of the most popular platforms, starting with WooCommerce.
If you’re running a self-hosted store on WooCommerce, you can use any payment processor you want. WooCommerce provides support for Stripe and PayPal, both of which allow you to easily accept credit card payments. However, there are plenty of other extensions available, granting you access to a larger selection. As a brief overview, here’s what you can expect in terms of costs:
- PayPal: 2.9% + $0.30 for transactions over $10
- Stripe: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
PayPal and Stripe have almost the same arrangement, with the only difference being that PayPal charges more for purchases under $10.
If you opt for Shopify as your platform, you can gain access to a unique payment processing solution known as Shopify Payments. In case you choose other payment gateways, you have to pay transaction fees, which are noticeable because it impacts directly to your profits. This fee covers the charge for Shopify to integrate with an external payment provider. It depends on the plan that you choose. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:
- Basic Shopify: 2.0 %
- Shopify: 1.0%
- Advanced Shopify : 0.5%
In brief, I have just shown you the cost of each part of creating an online website. The cost varies depending on your demand, which ranges from free to thousands of dollars.
I hope that the cost breakdown will help you estimate the expense properly so you can build your own website suitable for your needs and your budget. Other than that, we highly recommend you have a clear strategy when starting an eCommerce business.
Once your website scales up and you need to migrate your data to a new platform, you may wonder how to migrate all your data and extensions you have on your old store automatically and accurately. Don’t worry, All-In-One Service provided by LitExtension will help you deal with this problem. Please do not hesitate to contact us!