Selling online has become more commonplace than ever. Studies demonstrate that eCommerce sales in the United States alone will likely rise to $6 billion by 2023. And with the pandemic driving even more demand for online shopping, this trend is here to stay.
Globalgraphicswebdesign.com, an e-commerce agency in Toronto, saw the direct impacts of these changing trends as retail businesses scrambled to develop an online presence and complete their digital transformation.
The truth is—any modern business, regardless of size or industry, benefit from an eCommerce website. It’s an excellent platform for connecting with potential buyers, especially now that customers are buying online more often than ever.
Many companies find the cost to be a significant hurdle when it comes to building an eCommerce store. While cost was an issue in the past, there are many third-party services and platforms that lower the cost of constructing a professional e-store. So how much does a professional eCommerce website cost to develop?
What Are the Costs of an eCommerce Store?
An online store can cost a few hundred dollars to a few million for large enterprises.
1. Site Domains
A domain name is a URL your store will use, which you need to renew typically each year. Most domains cost around $15 annually, but the price could rise if the name contains a lot of generic terms. This is usually a sign that other competitors will be wanting the same domain.
All websites need to be hosted on a server before visitors can view them. Some eCommerce platforms like Shopify have hosting built into their subscription fees. If you host yourself, the cost depends on how much traffic the server will need to support. We advise avoiding low-quality servers that will likely result in technical issues.
3. SSL Certificates
SSL certificates are necessary for eCommerce. Why? An SSL certificate protects customers when they input their sensitive personal and payment information to a website. Search engines additionally will not showcase online stores without proper encryption.
4. Payment Processing
For every sale, you will likely need to pay a small percentage to the payment processing provider. Examples of these services include Stripe and PayPal. These fees are typically around 2.9% per transaction plus an additional monthly fee.
Choosing a provider with a high fee could result in higher prices for your products. If you want to save, WooCommerce is a platform well known for its low payment processing fees.
5. Art Assets
An online store is only effective when it looks attractive to visitors. That’s why businesses invest in professional layouts and visuals to decorate their websites.
You can choose from pre-made templates that have basic functionality built-in. These are inexpensive and easy to install, but customization options are often limited, and other companies probably have access to the same templates.
Theme frameworks, in contrast, give you more creative freedom and a chance to stand out. Shopify, for example, has a drag-and-drop interface to help small businesses get a unique look.
Site extensions are ways to augment the functionality of an eCommerce website. Features like pay-per-click marketing, newsletters, and live chat are some examples. Platforms like WooCommerce have options for free and paid add-ons, while Magento custom-makes them for a high-end price.
The cost of building an eCommerce site doesn’t end after you’ve opened up a shop. Don’t forget data backup services, important for keeping all your customer data and product inventory safe in the event of an accident. Security suites are often necessary too in addition to an SSL certificate.
The Foundational Costs
The primary cost to consider is the choice of the eCommerce platform. These serve as the foundation on which your store functions. They can vary in cost.
Shopify is an example that charges only $29 a month for a DIY solution to eCommerce development. You have the option of hiring a designer to help out for upwards of $1,800 if you want that extra customization. Entry-level platforms have limited feature sets but are the fastest way to get started.
WooCommerce, WordPress’s open-source eCommerce plugin, is an excellent mid-range option for many organizations. While you can certainly develop the site yourself, some extra development experience will be necessary compared to an entry-level platform.
Hiring a designer to build and develop a WooCommerce site will cost upwards of $2,800. While there is no subscription or initial setup fee, you still need to pay for add-ons, SSL certificates, and domain names.
Finally, we have platforms like Magento that are aimed at high-end online shops. Development is fairly complicated to the point where users will have to consult with a Magento specialist to build a site. The price can start at $4,500.
A few companies choose to custom-build their own eCommerce stores. Developing a website from scratch around your exact specifications can cost upwards of $10,000. This option is not too popular for small-to-medium-sized businesses for obvious reasons, who lean towards pre-designed platforms.
Should You Work With an Agency?
It’s not uncommon to hire an agency to handle eCommerce development for you. The service provider seamlessly handles all the order processing, UI/UX designs, and other tasks. They also provide you access to dedicated teams that understand the eCommerce space, which on its own, is worth its weight in gold. Just be sure to ask the right questions and understand all potential costs before committing to any project.