Before going into detail of how much does an e-commerce website cost it is important that we are all operating under the same ideas. Most of us know that commerce is the process of buying and selling. eCommerce is therefore the act of buying and selling in an online environment. An e-commerce website is a website which connects a buyer with a seller, whether that seller is the owner of the website or another user.
“How much does an e-commerce website cost?” is not an easy question to answer. The amount you spend will be determined by your requirements of your site, your experience, and the amount of traffic you will receive.
What aspects of an e-commerce website go into an e-commerce website? There are many but here are some of the most important ones that we will consider.
- What platform are you going to use?
- How are you going to design your website?
- Do you need custom features or functionality on your website?
- Where are you going to host your website?
What platform are you going to use?
There are many existing e-commerce platforms and they offer a wide range of options. These fall under two main categories: hosted and self-hosted. The main difference is that hosted ones utilize a provided web service and you depend on the plans they offer. Self-hosted services require you to provide your own service and allow you to search for the best offers.
Hosted e-commerce platforms have a preset host that they work with and are often offered in a variety of packages depending on the features you want, the number of visitors you want to have, and the amount of data you need to store. Shopify, one of the more popular hosted platforms has three different main plans. They start at $29 a month and go all the way up to $179 a month.
Another option you have when using a hosted service is integrating it with your store’s POS system. Shopify offers this feature and starts at $69 a month and goes all the way up to $219 a month. If you have a physical store integrating your POS and your web sales can save you money in the long run but it also makes creating sales reports easier.
Some other hosted options are: Volusion, Big Commerce, and Webs. These options start at $5.99 a month and go up from there.
Self-hosted e-commerce platforms can be more complicated but can save you money in the long run because you are not paying a monthly fee for the platform, only for the hosting. See the hosting section for more information about web hosts.
Self-hosted platforms run the price range much as hosted ones do, starting with free options and working your way up. Most of the best options are free though.One of the more notable e-commerce options is WooCommerce, a free WordPress extension. WooCommerce allows you to work with a variety of different payment options and even helps you set up your tax options. When using WordPress as the backend of your website it makes set up and later modification easier.
Some other self-hosted options are: Magento, Zen Cart, and osCommerce. All of these options are highly rated and free. When considering getting extra themes or custom themes or extensions though might require fees.
Creating Your Own
A third, but significantly less taken, path is to create your own platform. Creating your own platform will require one web designer at the very least. This path is one of the most expensive options and most time consuming options.
How are you going to design your website?
In most cases the question of “How are you going to design your website?” are irrelevant. Most hosted, and even self-hosted websites come with themes and designs premade. What you will still need a web designer for, if you are not tech savvy or too busy, is to set up your platform and select a theme. You can also get a custom theme made for your website depending on the option you are using. Themes can cost anywhere from $1 to $250 if they are not free.
The cost for a web designer varies greatly depending on the options you need and the designer you choose. You can select someone anywhere from a freelance web designer to a web design firm. Depending on your needs you can even hire a team of designers/programmers. To hire a web designer, whether it is to make small changes to a theme, set up your website, or to create your website, can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Do you need custom features or functionality on your website?
Many businesses need custom features or functionality on their websites. Consider a business that does embroidering or engraving, they might need ways to select what the customer wants their product to say. Another company might want a blog or advanced payment options such as layaway. These kinds of features would need to be designed by your web designer or team of web designers. This said, some of these features are available at higher price levels or as extensions of pre-existing platforms. Remember to check to the platform’s website or consult with your designer.
Where are you going to host your website?
If you are going to self-host your website you need to decide where you are going to host your website. Hosting plans vary greatly. Website hosts can start at $100 a year but if you want a good host with support that will actually help you, you will want to plan on spending more money. $300 a month will keep your website up 99.9% of the time, with fast load times, and good support. When choosing your webhost you need to keep in mind how you will be processing credit card information. A $300 website will probably not offer you with true credit card processing security so if you are not going to use a service such as eBay or Amazon Payments you will want to look at spending anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000.
Creating your e-commerce website can be extremely affordable or it can be extremely costly. Well how much does an e-commerce website cost at the end? Anywhere from free to several hundred thousand dollars.