One of the most frequent questions we (understandably) get is:
How much money does an eCommerce website cost?
We’ll try and answer this question to ensure you have a better base understanding of what you should be expecting when it comes to paying for an eCommerce website.
However, before we begin, you should probably know that there are two issues with answering this question.
- Cost is relative to personal standard. Someone’s high-end eCommerce may be someone else’s basic eCommerce. Everything is down to person preference and perception.
- Agencies, freelancers or anyone else offering this service have wildly different pricing structures so we can only really speak for mid-size, independent agencies outside London. Inside the capital and you can safely add a fair amount more on top.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that a freelancer will be a cheaper option, but there are lots of reasons why you’d typically choose an agency over a freelancer. Take a look at this post on what a digital agency actually is for a bit more guidance on what type of digital business would suit you.
What we’re going to try and do is give you an idea of what an eCommerce website should cost across the three eCommerce platforms that we work on, helping you estimate the budget you’ll need for completing your project.
What platform should I choose?
This is probably the biggest dictating cost factor when we quote for an eCommerce website. To be clear, it is entirely possible to have a totally bespoke eCommerce platform, but that would be expensive and impossible to give a ballpark figure on. So let’s keep things simple.
We work on three platforms and match the client’s budget and brief to the most suitable of these for every project. These platforms are:
WordPress with WooCommerce: ££/£££
To give a bit of guidance on why these platforms vary in cost, here’s a very brief list of pros and cons for each one.
- Really cost effective in the short term
- A beautiful selection of modern templates
- Very easy to use
- Limited – what you see in terms of structure and functionality is what you get
- You are governed by what Shopify do including having transaction fees
- It’s very difficult to move your site from Shopify
Check out this article for more in-depth pros and cons on Shopify.
- Cost effective in the short and long term
- Easily scalable
- Open source which means it’s hugely flexible
- Performance decreases with the more products you put on
- Fairly standard in size, so won’t be able to handle a very large amount of products
- Quite difficult to integrate EPOS systems and existing software
More detailed pros and cons for WooCommerce can be found here.
- Incredibly powerful and totally customisable
- Runs more than one store in multiple languages from one admin area
- Integrates with many EPOS systems and existing software
- (Great) specialist developers for Magento are expensive
- Usually requires a longer lead time
- Hosting is more expensive because of the sheer size of Magento websites
Here’s a bit more information on the pros and cons of Magento.
What are the factors that affect the cost?
There are a lot of variables when costing up an eCommerce website project, and it’s important to know that, unless you have an endless budget, compromises will have to be made. To avoid any nasty surprises, here are some of the factors that affect cost:
Timeframe or deadline
If you need the website quickly or have a tight deadline, you will normally have to pay a premium for this.
If your data is all over the place, it will take a significant amount of time to sort it out and make it usable.
The more products you have, the more work that needs to go into to ensuring the back end of the website can handle this.
Bespoke projects are the most expensive but entirely custom. If you don’t need this, choosing an open source platform is always more budget-friendly.
Complex functionality like t-shirt builders, product bundles or store finders require more complex development work.
Integrating your website with any of your existing systems like your EPOS system or an API can take a fair bit of development work.
So…how much should I be budgeting?
We’ve made it to the money talk.
To reiterate, these are our estimations. We think it’s useful to be able to give a ballpark figures because it can seem like a stab in the dark and we find that a lot of people are surprised at the cost of eCommerce websites.
It’s all relative.
£1000 – £7000
A very simple eCommerce shop on Shopify or WooCommerce with a few products and basic functionality.
£8000 – £17,000
An eCommerce shop using WooCommerce with basic functionality and up to a couple of hundred products. At the higher end of the scale, more complex functionality is possible.
£18,000 – £25,000
An eCommerce website using either WooCommerce or Magento with a large product range and a few pieces of complex functionality.
A powerful Magento or WooCommerce eCommerce website that includes extra integration, complex functionality and a huge product range.
We can’t even go there because these builds start from a blank slate…but you know that by now.
There. We’ve done it. The thing that everyone balks from and says ‘never ever do this’, we’ve done. We wanted to try and shed some light on the value of the work people in our industry do. Some agencies charge a tonne more and some freelancers charge half of what we’ve said. As long as you’ve gained insight and feel like you’ve got a better idea of what these things can cost, then we’ve done our job.
It’s also important to note that we encourage phased projects so you can achieve what you want to but spread the financial costs. Moving more costly features or functionality into a monthly retainer or a Phase 2 can really help.
Hopefully you’ve found this helpful! If you want to talk to us about your latest project, give us a buzz and we’d love to have a chat.