Financial planning, particularly the cost of building an e-commerce website, is usually among the top things to review when looking to launch a startup. How much does it really cost to build a successful e-commerce website? As you probably guessed, there is no defined cost that fits every venture. There are various factors that determine how much you will spend building a custom e-commerce website.
Small and medium businesses, for instance, will spend anything from $5,000 to $500,000. On the other hand, large enterprises feature numerous operations will require a complex platform with more integrations. The cost may go as high as millions of dollars. What’s more, you need to determine whether you want a traditional e-commerce site or a SaaS (software as a service) e-commerce.
Traditional websites usually cost extra to build, but they have unique benefits to make them solid solutions for various kinds of stores. Nevertheless, you need a comprehensive review of the business in order to choose the most ideal solutions for your needs. Below is a brief look at some cost determinants and conventional rates for building e-commerce websites.
The e-Commerce Platform
There are several kinds of e-commerce website platforms available for today’s business owners. Offers range from simple solutions to high-level integrations, SaaS modules, ERP systems, and custom configurations. Most options offer a customizable platform that houses various features and integrations. Magento is one of the leading solutions if you want to create an online store or build e-commerce websites.
Alternatives include Shopify and WooComerce among others. These offers are available in various plans/editions to suit different businesses needs. Prices between basic and premium packages also vary greatly depending on the integrations and features included. You can check out Magento prices to compare existing packages and determine the ideal solution for your e-commerce website. It is also very important to assess your business needs and goals before choosing a platform. Not all high-end solutions are ideal for every startup.
Web Design Costs
Once you have chosen a platform and package, your next big spend will be on web design which is another priced service. Web design can cost anything from $2,000 for simple and minor changes to upwards of $150,000 for custom designs. Web designing basically involves selecting unique templates, themes, design galleries and SaaS integrations for your business.
Although most platforms include these features, they may not be the ideal solution for your business especially if you are concerned about creating a unique brand. The default applications can be used by any e-commerce with some plan. To create something unique, you will need custom templates and integrations which usually come at a fee. Custom themes cost up to $250 and require another $1,000 for making small changes.
Custom Functionality And Programming
Preliminary web design will help you create a unique e-commerce website with all the basic functionality. However, the basic features are not enough. You will need different extensions depending on the e-commerce you are building. This is why most platforms offer modules that support extensions allowing you to integrate third-party applications and functionality.
You can also hire programmers to code and implement different extensions required for the business. Custom extension programming can be very expensive especially since it entails code writing, thorough auditing, and testing, troubleshooting, maintenance, and security configuration.
Extension codes can also break down after launching your e-commerce so you will probably need ongoing support or in-house teams to handle glitches. Custom development can cost from $400 to $150,000 or more depending on the complexity of your e-commerce website.
Web Hosting Costs
Web hosting is another inevitable recurring expense of creating an e-commerce website. However, it is more predictable compared to other costs. Its pricing is just as variable depending on the nature of your business and SaaS applications used. Typical hosting for small and medium startups cost from $20 to $250 per month. As your sales and needs grow beyond your existing SaaS solutions, the hosting costs will also go up.
Hosting a custom website usually starts at around $300 per month, but these plans do not have reliable credit card security (PCI). If you anticipate a very busy site that has a high demand for security, scaling, speed, and redundancy, then you need a more improved hosting plan to accommodate these growing needs. Hosting busy custom e-commerce sites can cost up to $2,000+ per month. When choosing hosting services, pay close attention to storage space, bandwidth and number of customers, transactions per minute, orders, emails, domain names, and traffic.
As aforementioned, e-commerce websites need ongoing technical support. Extension modules and custom codes can break down at any time especially if you have thousands of customers visiting your site. When e-commerce systems are overwhelmed even when your plans offer unlimited resources, you will encounter horrible delays.
Regular troubleshooting and maintenance will help you identify vulnerabilities and fix them before the problem gets out of hand. Existing systems, extensions and applications also need to be upgraded when new versions and features enter the market.
There is no room for delays and breakdowns in the online world especially if you run a mega online store. Even temporary delays will result in income loss and you may lose the chance to capture prospect leads interacting with your business for the first time. Accommodating ongoing maintenance is therefore very important when planning your e-commerce website launch. Maintenance may cost you $500 up to $5,000 per month.
You should consider personnel training to benefit from using in-house departments rather than outsourcing all your rudimentary services. Ongoing training allows your teams to smoothly implement various modules and technologies. It also improves workforce efficiency and streamlines communication between departments especially when everyone involved understands how the systems work. Training may cost from $500 to $5,000 per module depending on the complexity and number of staff.
Building an e-commerce website requires adequate planning to make sure all the important areas are covered. You do not necessarily need to put up a million dollars upfront although that would be a great start if you have the money. However, you can start with the basics such as domain name, platform and hosting services. Once these are in place, you can work around the offered templates before investing in custom web development.
It is hard to put a cap around the total amount needed to build an e-commerce website since every business is unique. It all boils down to the type of e-commerce you are launching. Simple online shops only require a small startup capital usually below $20,000. Even the premium platforms like Magento have basic packages that cost around the same amount.
Your expenses usually increase as your operations continue to expand in both scope and scale. It is also important to consider your marketing, content creation and SEO expenses particularly if you want to start generating income soon after launching the e-commerce site.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.