E-Commerce Insights

How Much Does Ecommerce Website Development Cost? 2021 Updated

When it comes to how much an eCommerce website development costs, it totally depends on the size of your business. Each company size will require different levels of feature complexity, security, marketing investment, and maintenance contributing to the total cost. 

In this article, we will break down each cost, how important it is and how it varies among different sizes of business. Therefore, you can have a precise financial plan to build an eCommerce website. 

The lazy checklist: overall price and cost breakdown

Let’s get down to the number right now. Here is the estimated cost of a good eCommerce website development:

Number of employees Annual revenue IT team Cost to build an eCommerce website
Small business 1-50$50,000 – $10 millionNo IT member or only a few$5,000 – $100,000
Medium business50-500$10 million – $100 millionA small team$100,000 – $1,000,000
Large enterprise500+$100 million +A strong team of specialists$1,000,000 +

We know that it’s pretty vague, but it’s as far as we can go. There is no size that fits all. A precise number can not practically reflect your unique business with its own characteristics. 

The good news is that you can still find a plausible development cost of your eCommerce website for your business by considering its contributing factors. 

Building a website: the cost breakdown

Here are the essential factors that make up the total development cost of an eCommerce website:

  • ECommerce platform 
  • Web domain & hosting
  • Web design
  • Custom development
  • Extensions
  • Marketing

Let’s get down to each factor now.

Cost breakdown in detail

Platform cost

The first step of building an eCommerce website is to choose an eCommerce platform. A platform helps you build a stunning digital store with full features at an affordable price. Plus, with an eCommerce platform, you will not need to code from scratch. 

There are about a dozen of reputable eCommerce platforms on the market with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the brief price & characteristic comparisons of Shopify, Magento & WooCommerce – the 3 biggest eCommerce platforms in 2021

Brief price & characteristic comparisons of popular platforms

ShopifyMagentoWooCommerce
CharacteristicsDo not need coding skills

Lacks of flexibility
Need good coding skills

Best for flexibility and scalability

Take time to build
Need basic coding skill

Good flexibility and scalability
PricingBasic: $29/mo

Shopify: $79/mo

Advanced: $299/mo
Free for Open Source version

Enterprise plan: $20,000/ year
Free to install

However, please note that the costs of these platforms above do not speak everything. 

While WooCommerce is free to install, you still need to buy a bunch of extensions to make your website actually work. The same thing goes for Shopify. 

Also, even though Magento is hard to implement for non-experienced coders, you can always hire a Magento expert team to build a customized website at a reasonable price. Similarly, the Magento Enterprise plan is incredibly high, yet it has such an ultimate list of functions that you probably need not pay for any other extensions. 

In the end, it’s hard to tell which platform is cheaper or more expensive than others. 

All we can tell is that Shopify is generally great for small business owners with little customization needs. Magento is the go-to platform for big enterprises as well as small and mid-sized companies with high demands for customizations and great scaling-up potential. WooCommerce, meanwhile, falls somewhere in between. 

You should learn more about their distinct features to find a suitable platform for your company.

Read our dedicated eCommerce platform comparisons: 

Domain cost

Every website needs a domain name which is your store name in the URL bar of the browser. The domain name is the website’s home address. You need to register your domain name to the internet for the same reason why you need to register your home address to your city authority.  

Generally, a domain costs you $10 – $20/a year. How much you pay depends on your registrar, degree of protection for personal information, and the name of your domain itself. 

Hosting cost

Web hosting services are inevitable for your website to be stored on the internet and viewed by users. 

The price for web hosting varies greatly from the cheapest of $2.49/month to even more than $800/month. It depends on:

  • Your hosting type (Shared Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Hosting or Cloud Hosting). The hosting type will significantly affect your website speed and security.
  • Host provider
  • Your type of SSL certificate. An SSL certificate can cost from free to $450 a year. 
  • Other services (CDN, Daily backup, etc)

The cheapest option often comes with low security and the loading speed of a sloth. No eCommerce store owner would want this. Therefore, even small, low-budget store owners should not directly go for the cheapest but consider investing in a more decent option from a reputable hosting provider.

Here are our referential budgets for a good hosting service for some company sizes:

  • Small company: $5 – $30/month
  • Medium company: $20 – $120/month
  • Large-scale company: $120 – $800/month

Note: some eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, Wix provide you with their in-house web host services for no additional cost so you don’t need to buy a server from a third-party provider. 

UX – UI Design & Theme cost

UI – UX design creates an attractive appearance for your website to leave a favourable impression on your customer. It also delivers a smooth experience so visitors can enjoyably shop. Nowadays, it’s not difficult to have a decent web design.

Theme cost

Ecommerce website theme

Firstly, there are tons of beautiful themes for you to choose from. Some themes are so newbie-friendly that you can drag and drop to make adjustments to them. 

Prices for an eCommerce theme can vary greatly depending on its functions. 

A Shopify theme for large-scale companies with powerful functions and supports can cost up to $350, while for Magento, you may have to spend up to $500.  

On a smaller scale, for most platforms, you can easily find themes at the prices of about $100$300 based on designs and functions.

Also, free themes are available for almost all platforms. These themes are various, easy to use and responsive, which is perfect for starters to roll. 

Read more: Best free Magento themes

Design cost

Of course, you can always skip pre-built themes and invest in a unique website with extraordinary visual effects or animations for your brand by hiring a designer. The cost is from $2,000 – $35,000

Extensions cost

Shopify apps

Extensions are an affordable and convenient way to improve your website’s functions. There are extensions for every aspect of your website from SEO & marketing to shipping and accounting. 

Your budget for extensions depends on how you manage their financial aspect. You may have to spend greatly on a premium extension for an important feature while making good use of a free extension for another feature. The goal is to not overspend the budget yet still get a good ROI. 

Furthermore, just like your house, you would not want your website to be filled with unnecessary stuff. Too many extensions will slow down your site. From 5 to 10 is a good number of extensions for an eCommerce store. 

In many cases, you have to pay a monthly subscription fee to use an extension. However, there’s lots of free ones as well as one-time charged ones. 

The average cost of valuable extensions for popular platforms: 

  • Shopify: $5 to $99/month
  • WooCommerce: Free to $199/year
  • Magento: $40 – $500 lifetime

Marketing

Building a website is not a one-time job, you have to make a constant effort to keep it growing every day. It’s the job of a marketer.

ECommerce marketing is a large field with many different channels such as SEO, ads, email marketing, social marketing and so on. Which channels to put priority on depends on your business size and strategy. 

Basically, you need to write captivating product descriptions, take product photos, write SEO blogs to gain traffic, conduct ads & email marketing campaigns, and analyse data. While individuals can do them on their own, bigger companies hire a professional agency or have their in-house team to do the job. 

Moreover, the methods to hire a marketer/ marketing team are also different. You can:

  • Hire a freelancer/ agency and pay based on his/ their hourly rates and your project’s duration
  • Pay monthly to get your SEO & MKT done
  • Pay for each project
  • Pay a fixed price for a specific service

In general, it’s hard to tell the marketing cost for your business, but 10%-20% of your net revenue is a good rule of thumb. 

Ecommerce website cost: Custom development

Custom development is for designing distinctive functions that available extensions can not offer. Also, it helps create a robust website with all of its features integrated well with each other, get rid of bugs and guarantee a smooth experience.

Some small businesses do not have to think twice about custom development. They can totally rely on a close platform like Shopify as well as themes and extensions to build a website for their basic needs. 

On the other hand, the bigger the business, the higher the demand for customization. A fully customized website can reach its full potential of scalability and functionality. 

Custom development pricing for popular platforms

Magento

For a platform of great scalability and powerful features like Magento, the costs of developing a Magento website from scratch range from $5,000 to more than $100,000 (1- 4 months of execution). This cost is driven by two main factors: features and the developer’s rate. 

While the average hourly rates of developers in the US – Canada and EU ranges from $100 to $175/ hour and $40 – $85/hour respectively, you can rely on a team of coding experts in India & Southeast Asia with an affordable rate of $15-$40/hour. Also, there is not much difference among the hourly rates of developers for Magento and other platforms. 

Shopify

For a closed platform like Shopify, you do not need to hire a coder to develop your website from the beginning. Instead, common tasks for custom development often include store migration, theme & experience customization and domain setup. If you want to make adjustments to some small features, you can expect to spend about $100 – $250. Bigger projects with much more complexity will take around $1,000 – $2,000 or more. 

WooCommerce

A WooCommerce store owner would seek the help of an IT expert to optimize the site’s speed, security, API integrations or modify the theme. From code tweaks to projects on a large scale, the overall budget ranges from $500 to $20,000 or more. 

Develop your eCommerce website with SimiCart

With a calculator in hand, you may now come up with the development cost of your eCommerce website. Whether it is higher or similar to what you have expected, please remember that a refined eCommerce site is totally worth the investment. Soon you will witness enough traffic, engagement and conversion for your ROIs.  

If you are still finding an affordable yet powerful solution for your eCommerce website, please feel free to ask us. SimiCart has over 10 years of experience working with 1,000+ small and big companies developing highly efficient websites. Together we will create the dream website for your brand. 

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Chi Tran

A wanderer at heart who tries to embrace all small beauties, live healthily and learn every day.

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