If you’re looking to maximize your brand’s reach, creating an eCommerce website can be a great way to do so. By moving your business online, you can make it more accessible to your target audience and tap into undiscovered markets.
However, shifting your business online can come with its own set of costs and challenges. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the relative costs of creating an eCommerce website and the different tools and platforms you can use to make the process easier.
While there are many top eCommerce platforms available, we’ll focus on three of the most popular: WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify. By exploring these options, you can find the best fit for your requirements and technical skills.
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- 8 Different Types of eCommerce Websites
- How to Calculate Your eCommerce Website Cost
- Estimated Cost of Creating a Replica of Popular eCommerce Websites
- Total Cost of Building an eCommerce Website
- Tips for Keeping Your eCommerce Website Cost Low
8 Different Types of eCommerce Websites
There are various types of eCommerce websites that cater to different business needs and requirements. I’ve discussed 8 of them in a table below to make it easier for you to understand:
|1||Business-to-Consumer (B2C)||Businesses sell their products or services directly to consumers.|
|2||Business-to-Business (B2B)||Businesses sell the product to other businesses.|
|3||Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)||Consumers sell their products or services directly to other consumers.|
|4||Consumer-to-Business (C2B)||Consumers offer their products or services to businesses.|
|5||Business-to-Government (B2G)||Businesses offer their products to government organizations.|
|6||Government-to-Business (G2B)||Government organizations offer their products or services to businesses for purchase.|
|7||Government-to-Consumer (G2C)||Government organizations sell their products or services directly to consumers.|
|8||Mobile commerce (m-commerce)||It allows users to purchase products or services through their mobile devices.|
How to Calculate Your eCommerce Website Cost
Determining the cost of an eCommerce website for your business involves several important factors, one of which is choosing the right platform. Some popular options include WooCommerce and Magento, which are both free to use, while Shopify is a paid platform that offers a 3-day free trial period that can be extended to 3-months by paying $1/month for three months.
WooCommerce is also a plugin, but you can’t use it to the fullest without buying a domain name and suitable WooCommerce hosting. The same applies for Magento.
I guess what I’m trying to say is – the final cost of your eCommerce website will depend on the specific features and functionality you want. To help you better understand the cost factors involved, I’ve divided website costs into three main categories:
- Initial Costs
- Development Phase Costs
- Post Development/Ongoing Cost of An Ecommerce Website
By considering these factors and breaking down the costs into different categories, you can get a clearer idea of what it will take to create and maintain a successful eCommerce website for your business.
1. Initial Costs
Some of the initial key expenses involved in building an eCommerce website may include the following factors:
- Cost of Hosting Solution
- Cost of Domain Name
- Cost of SSL Certificate
- Cost of Paid Tools
Cost of Hosting Solution
The hosting provider you select can have a significant impact on the overall cost of your eCommerce website. It’s important to choose a reliable eCommerce website hosting service that can handle the expected traffic and ensure fast page loading times.
For instance, if you choose a low-quality hosting provider, your website may experience slow page load times, frequent downtime, and other technical issues. These problems can result in frustrated customers and lost sales.
If you’re using WooCommerce or Magento, both of which are self-hosted solutions, you have the freedom to choose your own hosting provider. This gives you more flexibility to select a provider that fits your budget and performance requirements.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a hosted eCommerce platform. You must choose their hosting program if you want to use the platform. Their costs are as follows:
If you have the freedom to choose your own hosting provider, you may be able to find more affordable options. For example, Cloudways offers plans specifically designed for Magento and WooCommerce-powered websites. Our pricing plans are often more cost-effective than other managed hosting solutions.
Additionally, for personalized hosting recommendations, explore our Web Hosting Pricing Calculator. This tool gauges your traffic to recommend the best server size and also furnishes a comprehensive comparison between Cloudways hosting and its top competitors.
Here are the pricing plans for Cloudways:
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Cost of Domain Name
The cost of a domain for an eCommerce website can vary depending on several factors, such as the top-level domain (TLD) you choose, the registrar you use to buy the domain, and whether the domain is already registered or not.
Typically, the cost for a standard TLD, such as .com, .net, or .org, can range from $10 to $50 per year. However, some popular TLDs, such as .shop or .store, may have higher costs due to their popularity among eCommerce businesses.
Cost of SSL Certificate
The cost of an SSL certificate for an eCommerce website can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of SSL certificate, the vendor you purchase it from, and the level of validation required.
There are three types of SSL certificates:
- Domain Validated (DV)
- Organization Validated (OV)
- Extended Validation (EV)
The estimated cost of each type of SSL certificate is listed in the table below:
|SSL Certificate||Estimated Cost|
|Domain Validated (DV)||$50 per year|
|Organization Validated (OV)||$50 to $150 per year|
|Extended Validation (EV)||$150 to $500 per year|
2. Development Phase Cost
After you’ve paid the initial costs, it’s time to move into the development phase costs. To give you a general idea, here are some of the costs you can expect during the development phase of an eCommerce website:
1. Development and Design Costs
The rapid rate of expansion of the eCommerce industry means that you have to think outside the box to come up with an engaging design for your eCommerce website. A good user interface and interesting design is very important.
By giving your website a clean and user-focused look, you’ll be able to attract more customers. You can check out our blog on top 20+ eCommerce website design examples to take inspiration from.
Thankfully, most eCommerce platforms understand that store owners want something that looks neat and clean.
Magento Development & Design Costs
Magento is an open-source platform that provides an easy way to customize themes. Each Magento theme offers basic features like a responsive website layout, easy installation, and support for multiple languages. However, the platform also provides creative control, allowing you to install themes through Composer or by manually uploading the files.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to create a custom theme, you can buy one from a third-party marketplace like ThemeForest. The price of decent Magento 2 themes starts from around $99, but it can go higher depending on the features and complexity of the design.
If you’re looking to create a custom theme, hiring a developer is the best option. Depending on the level of customization you need, the costs for design are likely to start from $500.
WooCommerce Development & Design Costs
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is absolutely free to use. WordPress, for those who don’t know, is one of the most popular website builders in the world.
Using page building plugins for WordPress which come with drag and drop tools, you can create all kinds of product pages and landing pages.
It takes hardly a few minutes to do that!
There are literally thousands of different WordPress themes available for you to choose from like Astra, OceanWP, and Neve. Plus, any WordPress theme can be customized to work with WooCommerce.
As for pricing, there are some WordPress themes that cost under $20, while others cost hundreds of dollars. It primarily depends on the level of customization that you want and the features that you require. That said, there are also several third-party platforms that sell themes on discounts as well.
If you choose WooCommerce, however, you won’t have to spend a lot on setting up the theme.
Custom themes are more expensive, starting from $1,500. There are some enterprise level themes that cost upwards of $30,000.
If custom designing is not your thing, there are also plenty of web design agencies that you can hire if you want someone to professionally develop your website.
Shopify Development & Design Costs
And finally, you have Shopify. Shopify has an assortment of several free and paid themes, and as you can expect, the paid themes are obviously more intuitive and packed with more features.
The number of Shopify themes is considerably low when you compare it with the thousands of WooCommerce themes available or those for Magento, which is entirely open-source.
Shopify theme costs can vary depending on the level of customization and features you require. On average, a pre-built Shopify theme can cost around $120. However, if you need custom development and designs, the costs can quickly add up.
Developers may charge upwards of $5,000 for a custom website theme, not including other website development costs. In more complex cases, costs can exceed $25,000. The overall cost will depend on the level of detail and range of features you require, as well as the complexity of the design.
2. Payment Processing Costs
In order to convert virtual shopping carts into actual sales, you’ll need to integrate a payment processor on your website. There are several widely accepted payment processors available to choose from.
It’s important to note that most payment processors charge a small transaction fee for their services, although the fees may vary.
To better understand the different payment costs, let’s explore the options available.
Cost of Integrating Payment Processors in Magento
Magento 2 comes with three default integrated payment gateways: PayPal, Authorize.net – AIM version, and Braintree. Each of these payment gateways charges a fee per transaction, which can add up over time, especially if you have a high volume of sales.
If you choose to integrate PayPal, you will be charged a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for every transaction processed through your site. This fee may become significant if you have a large monthly sales volume.
Authorize.net – AIM version also charges 2.9% + $0.30 for every transaction processed through their platform, and Braintree charges the same rate.
Alternatively, you can set up Stripe as a payment gateway on your Magento site, which also charges a fee per transaction. However, keep in mind that you may need to pay a developer to integrate the Stripe API into your site.
Overall, when choosing a payment gateway for your Magento site, it’s important to consider the transaction fees as well as any additional costs associated with integration.
Payment Costs in WooCommerce
WooCommerce is also open source, and supports more than 100+ payment gateways. They have a host of extensions available on their platform that you can choose and integrate on your website with ease.
In fact, they even have support for regional payment providers, which is excellent for smaller eCommerce websites targeting customers in specific geographical locations.
Some of the major supported payment gateways include:
- Amazon Pay
- WooCommerce Payments
Since the list of payment gateways compatible with WooCommerce is too long, I’ll just share with you the most commonly used payment gateways in the United States and their associated fees in US dollars:
- PayPal charges 2.9% plus $0.30 for transactions that exceed $10 in value.
- Stripe charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
- Authorize.net charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction and an additional monthly fee of $25.
Payment Costs in Shopify
Shopify has its own Shopify Payments gateway, but there are several other options available to you. The company supports payments from hundreds of different processors, including Amazon Pay, Katapult, Skrill, Stripe, DigiPay, Coinbase, Braintree, and Bread.
It’s important to note that Shopify charges 2.9% + 30 cents for each transaction through Shopify Payments. For all other gateways, the company charges a 2% fee on each transaction, along with any fee paid to the processor.
3. Cost of Add-Ons
E-commerce platforms don’t include all features in one package by default. That’s because the choice of features ultimately depend on the nature of your website.
This is where plugins and add-ons become important. These can be used to add specific functionalities that align with your website’s requirements.
Costs of Magento Add-Ons
Magento extensions can cost anywhere between $50 to $1,000. Prices usually vary depending upon the features of the extension and the cost charged by the agency that develops it.
To get custom extensions developed, you will need a team of developers with considerable knowledge of Magento.
That said, there are a lot of free extensions too that you can use to save cost.
Costs of WooCommerce Add-Ons
You simply can’t beat WooCommerce when it comes to plugins and addons. I say this because it’s WordPress-powered. If you don’t know, with WordPress, you get access to more than 55,000 plugins. We have compiled a list of more than 250 WordPress free and paind plugins that you may want to check out.
Some WordPress plugins are free, while others cost money. Prices for enterprise level plugins can go as high as $299, though most paid plugins start from around $19.
If you want custom features, you can expect to pay anywhere between $400-$8,000.
Costs of Shopify Add-Ons
Shopify has a very secure marketplace with all kinds of addons. They are usually free, but there are also many paid versions too. Most paid Shopify addons charge on the subscription model, so expect to pay a monthly fee.
Shopify even gives you the ability to run custom apps that you have designed primarily for your store. They are stored on a separate server, but you can create a custom API and use them in tandem with your Shopify store.
If you want a custom app, it’s going to cost you upwards of $5,000 for your Shopify store.
3. Post Development/Ongoing Cost of eCommerce Website
Now let’s discuss the post development costs of an eCommerce website. Here are some of the costs you can expect during the post-development phase of an eCommerce website:
Maintenance & Update Costs
After you have created your website, you also have to regularly maintain and update it. The maintenance costs can vary for each eCommerce site, depending on the size and complexity of it.
Here are some of the estimated maintenance costs for differently-sized websites:
- Small sites: $100/year
- Midsize sites: $400 – $500/year
- Larger sites: $1000+/year
When it comes to marketing your business, you can either hire an agency or choose to go the DIY way.
What’s the difference and how does it impact your business?
Let’s take a look how marketing impacts the cost of an eCommerce website.
Below is a table detailing different marketing activities and their associated costs, broken down by two different tiers of agencies.
Tier-1 agencies have been in business for over 20 years and provide comprehensive support. On the other hand, tier-2 agencies operate on a nickel-and-dime model with lower upfront costs than their Tier-1 counterparts.
Note: These quotes are estimates and are subject to change based on location and time.
|Marketing Activity||Tier 1 Agency (Monthly)||Tier 2 Agency (Monthly)|
|Paid Social Media||$4,400||$4,000|
|Pay Per Click / Google Ads||$6,200||$6,000|
|Search Engine Optimization||$2,000||$1,800|
Now let’s compare this to the recruitment cost of building your own in house marketing team. These prices are rounded off estimates from multiple sources online, hence, they may be subject to change.
|Specialist||Approximate Salary (Yearly)|
|Social Media Manager||$55,000|
|Digital Marketing Manager||$73,000|
The costs that I’ve shared above should not matter to you if you choose to perform marketing activities on your own.
If you’re planning to run a DIY method of marketing, you can set aside $4000 to $8000. You can designate about $4000 for paid social media promotions and about $8000 – $12000 on ad spend.
To ensure the safety and security of your eCommerce site, it is important to invest in proper security measures. This includes protecting your website from potential security breaches. After developing your eCommerce site, it is essential to evaluate and invest in the necessary security costs to safeguard your online business.
Here are some of the security costs that may be associated with your eCommerce site:
|Security Measures||Estimated Costs/year|
|SSL Certificate||Free or may cost several hundreds dollars|
|Fraud Prevention tools||$500-$600 per year|
|PCI compliance||As per trustnet, it can cost $10,000|
|Other website security services (firewalls, malware scanners, intrusion detection systems)||$5000 – $6000|
Estimated Cost of Creating a Replica of Popular eCommerce Website
To give you an idea of the potential cost involved in building an eCommerce site, it can be helpful to look at examples of popular eCommerce websites. Keep in mind that these prices are rough estimations based on several factors.
In this section, I will discuss the estimated costs of some well-known eCommerce websites that we all use frequently. It’s important to note that these costs are not exact figures and may vary depending on various factors such as:
- Size of the eCommerce store
- Features of the eCommerce store
- Functionality of the store
- Popularity of the store
- Security and robustness of the store
|Popular eCommerce Stores||Estimated Cost of Website Development||Time to Develop|
|Amazon||$50,000 to $150,000||12-16 months|
|Ebay||$50,000 to $100,000||6-8 months|
|AliExpress||$50,000 to $90,000||7-9 months|
|Target||$40,000 to $100,000||6-8 months|
|Walmart||$50,000 to $100,000||12-16 months|
|Alibaba.com||$50,000 to $100,000||12-16 months|
|Rakuten||$40,000 to $80,000||6-8 months|
|JD.com||$30,000 to $70,000||5-8 months|
|Newegg||$30,000 to $90,000||4-7months|
|Mercado Libre||$40,000 to $100,000||6-9 months|
Total Cost of Building an eCommerce Website
The cost of building an eCommerce website can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and complexity of the website, the functionality and features required, the design and branding elements, and the web development team’s expertise and experience.
Additionally, there are other costs to consider, such as domain registration, website hosting, payment gateway integration, SSL certificate, website maintenance, and marketing expenses.
All of these factors can contribute to the final cost of building an eCommerce website. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider and plan the budget for the website development process to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure that the website is built to meet the specific business needs and goals.
I’ll now share with you the costs you may incur when developing an eCommerce website on popular platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.
- WooCommerce – pricing starts from free, though it can go as high as $5,000 depending upon the number of additional extensions and plugins that you choose from.
- Magento – this is free to use and completely open-source, but the costs of hiring a developer and designing the website, along with the theme, could balloon to around $3,000-$5,000.
- Shopify – pricing starts from $1,000 and can go higher than $10,000 depending upon the size and scale of your website. Prices continue to increase as your sales start to grow.
Keep in mind that if you decide to go with WooCommerce or Magento, you will need to factor in the cost of hosting. While you have the freedom to choose any web hosting provider, selecting Cloudways as your hosting platform comes with a multitude of benefits. Not only is their pricing highly flexible and scalable, but you’ll also save a significant amount of time and money in the long run.
Tips for Keeping Your eCommerce Website Cost Low
Here are some suggestions for limiting the cost of an eCommerce website. The actual cost will depend on your perception and vision of the store. However, if you’re keen on reducing the cost, you can consider the following:
- Invest in the best hosting that provides you maximum services with less cost.
- Use a pre-made template that already has the basic layout and design elements in place.
- Focus on the essential features only and limit the number of features to save cost
- Focus on clean lines and a simple color palette to keep the design cost low.
- Consider hiring a freelancer or a small agency to lower the rates and offer more personalized service.
- Use open-source software.
In conclusion, I hope this article has provided valuable insights into the costs of starting an eCommerce website. It’s important to remember that while the initial eCommerce website cost may seem daunting, investing in your online store is necessary to create a strong foundation for your business’s future success.
As your business grows, you’ll need to invest in better infrastructure and design to stay ahead of the competition. By being generous and spending money where it is crucial for your business’s growth and success, you’ll be able to establish a thriving eCommerce website. Thank you for reading, and I wish you the best of luck on your eCommerce journey!
What is the most costly part of an e-commerce website?
Can shipping be considered part of the cost of an eCommerce website?
Shipping can be considered as part of the cost of an eCommerce website, depending on how the eCommerce website is structured and how it operates.
If the eCommerce website is responsible for handling the shipping and delivery of products to customers, then the cost of shipping would likely be included in the overall cost of running the website.
How much does it cost to maintain an eCommerce website?
Here are some of the estimated maintenance costs for differently-sized websites:
- Small sites: $100/year.
- Midsize sites: $400 – $500/year.
- Larger sites: $1000+/year.
Which CMS should I choose for my online store?
WooCommerce is considered as the most popular choice for an eCommerce store, however, it all comes down to your individual needs. You choose a CMS based on the following factors:
- Size of the store
- Complexity of the store
- Budget for the store
- Technical expertise
Do I really need website maintenance?
Yes, you need website maintenance to ensure that your site is secure, fast, functional, and optimized for search engines. It helps ensure that your customers have a positive experience, which can ultimately lead to increased sales and business growth.
Liza Rajput is a Technical Content Producer at Cloudways. Being a software engineer, she loves to play with data and its processes and wishes to grow and excel in Data Science and Big Data Engineering. She has also been an avid reader and exceptional writer, with sufficient experience in technical, research-based, and creative writing.