The total cost to build an ecommerce website ranges from $30 to $10,000 depending on your business needs and your own experience.
Small to medium-sized ecommerce businesses spend roughly $1,000 - $10,000 per month on marketing, whereas large businesses spend around $5,000 - $15,000 per month on average.
Small to medium-sized businesses invest around $4,500 - $15,000 per year on branding, whereas large businesses spend around $30,000 - $80,000 per year.
Payment gateways are often ignored by new entrepreneurs due to lack of experience, but they can affect your ROI in a very significant way, such as your margins and even conversion rate.
In our recent article on "10 Things to Consider Before Starting an Ecommerce Business", we insisted that there’s no absolute figure that could be quoted as the average cost to build an ecommerce website.
Ecommerce website costs vary extensively, and you might find yourself spending anything from $50 to as much as tens of thousands of dollars. It all depends on the type, size, structure, and specialization of the online store you intend to set up.
You should also keep in mind that this is not a one-off thing. Rather, ecommerce website projects usually incur both upfront costs and ongoing costs.
This guide appraises all of them by breaking down ecommerce website pricing into the variables, attributes, and rates for each of the elements required to get an online store up and running. At least with these pointers, you’ll be able to come up with a more precise budget for your ecommerce websites.
Now, to get you started, here’s a preamble that explains how to use our estimates to work out the actual cost of building your ecommerce website.
How much does an ecommerce website cost?
Instead of relying entirely on automated website cost calculators, you might want to develop your estimates from scratch while factoring in all the project attributes.
The best way to calculate ecommerce website cost is to start with the tools, solutions, and services you’ll need to meet your business requirements.
We’re talking about stripping your proposed online store down to its domain name, ecommerce platform, add-ons, supporting solutions, and infrastructure providers. You can then appraise them individually, before finally drawing up a conclusive ecommerce website budget from their cumulative costs.
Each element here should be tied to your specific ecommerce business needs, which can be defined by answering basic questions like;
For instance – if you’re hoping to start a B2C business worth $20,000 in annual sales and then grow from there, you might want to look into the architectures of comparable small ecommerce businesses.
You’ll find that many of them are built on scalable full-service ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace – which should then provide you with a baseline for estimating the expected ecommerce website development cost, hosting costs, payment processing costs, etc.
For more on that, we now invite you to follow along as we explore various categories of ecommerce website costs across each of the three main levels of business – small, mid-sized, and large.
Ecommerce website building costs
To figure out how much you’ll be spending on website building, you need to first make up your mind on the approach that you’ll be taking.
You could work with website builder software, hire a web designer to tweak your ecommerce website design, or maybe entrust everything to a web development agency.
What you end up choosing here, and the subsequent ecommerce website costs, are largely dependent on whether you’re setting up a small online store, a medium-sized business, or an enterprise.
Solopreneurs would, for instance, consider building an ecommerce storefront on an already established online marketplace like Amazon, AliExpress, or eBay.
In that case, they need to create merchant accounts on the platforms and then set up product pages by configuring basic storefront templates on a visual website builder.
The whole process should take a couple of minutes, and you won’t need any technical website design skills or extra accessories.
Are you considering opening an ecommerce store on Amazon? Check out our Step-by-Step guide on how you can get started.
All that you’ll be billed at this stage as your ecommerce website cost is probably the merchant account subscription charges – which are typically based on the number of listed items. The platform may, alternatively, let you in for free but then proceed to deduct commissions from your sales.
That places your projected ecommerce website pricing between $0 and $500+ per month, with the possibility of incurring more as your sales numbers pick up.
Small to medium-sized businesses
Small to medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, would typically go for end-to-end SaaS ecommerce platforms that offer a dynamic website builder, along with customizable ecommerce website themes, plus the full stack of store management functionalities.
We’re talking about the likes of Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, and Squarespace – all of which can design, host, and power ecommerce websites for as little as $30 a month. You get to build your online store by tweaking a pre-built template on an intuitive WYSIWYG editor, a task that could take you several hours.
Some of the website templates that you’ll find on the ecommerce platforms are free, while the ones loaded with advanced features go for about $60 - $200 each.
Medium-sized ecommerce businesses that need more flexibility could, instead, opt for WooCommerce – which is a free, open-source ecommerce platform that rides on the WordPress framework. It just so happens that while WooCommerce is compatible with drag–and–drop WordPress page builders, you can only realize its full potential through custom coding.
Hence, you may need to hire an experienced website designer for the custom development job. Freelance professionals are the cheapest – with an hourly rate of $30-$45 for beginners, $50-$100 for intermediate-level experience, and $125+ for the most advanced WooCommerce developers.
When you add that to the cost of purchasing premium WooCommerce themes, an SSL certificate, and whatnot, the total development cost would be about $1,500-$6,000 for a medium-sized ecommerce store.
Still, that’s nothing compared to the ecommerce website costs incurred by large enterprises.
They typically contract full-service web development agencies to set up and maintain all the custom features needed for managing diverse product catalogs, unique customer journeys, omnichannel experiences, and a high traffic volume.
This level of configuration is only possible on self-hosted open-source ecommerce platforms like Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento), WooCommerce, and PrestaShop.
It then takes agencies over 200 hours to code the entire ecommerce website design from scratch, build custom functionalities, attach third-party services, and deploy the ecommerce websites on self-hosted environments.
In total, the costs for building an enterprise-level ecommerce website design could add up to about $10,000 - $30,000.
💡Tip: When exploring an ecommerce platform of your choice, consider priorities such as security, costs of ownership, shipping, universal integrations, user experience, and SEO feature.
Domain and hosting
A domain name is probably one of the cheapest things in the bill of ecommerce website costs.
You could register yours for as little as $0.50 - $15 a year. And since you’re probably planning to run the ecommerce site for the long haul, you might want to go for the maximum domain registration period of 10 years – which will bump up the total bill to $50 - $150.
Some of the most competitive SaaS ecommerce platforms have, otherwise, included free domain name registration in their package of complementary offerings. But, keep in mind that the generous provision rarely extends beyond your first year of service.
Other than that, there are places to buy ecommerce websites and domains from pre-existing businesses. This is the option to consider if none of your preferred ecommerce website domains is available. But, be prepared to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a catchy ecommerce domain.
📌Recommendation: Registering your domain for years in advance helps secure your online identity, promotes better search engine rankings, and saves more costs in the long term.
Moving forward, you'll also need hosting services for your ecommerce website. This is where you choose a web host whose infrastructure is aligned with your ecommerce platform and business needs.
Small online stores
Solopreneurs and small ecommerce businesses are particularly lucky, as their SaaS ecommerce platforms typically double up as domain registrars and hosting providers.
Take, for example, Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, and BigCommerce. Their ecommerce website packages come bundled with provisions for domain name registration, web hosting, website building, and powering online stores.
Shopify, for instance, sells its all-in-one ecommerce solutions for $32 - $399 a month. And whichever package you choose, you're guaranteed a domain name, web hosting services, a free SSL certificate, an online store, omnichannel selling, plus so much more.
Wix, on the other hand, charges ecommerce websites between $17 and $35 a month, while SquareSpace goes for $33 to $65 a month.
Medium-sized online businesses
While medium-sized businesses can survive on Shopify's Advanced package, a self-hosted ecommerce website gives them more room for scaling.
As such, you'll find most of them deploying open-source ecommerce platforms on hosting servers purchased from third-party web hosts.
For instance – WooCommerce users have been riding on managed WooCommerce hosting services from the likes of Cloudways, WP Engine, and Kinsta. These hosting solutions offer auto-scalable cloud hosting infrastructures that are exclusively optimized for WooCommerce online stores.
The hosting costs for packages with those advanced features go for $200 – $1,000+ per month. And yes – they come with domain name registration, free SSL certificate, automated backups, security patching, and performance optimization tools, among other provisions.
As for enterprises, their resource demands can only be met by dedicated hosting servers.
The accompanying ecommerce website costs range from $400 to $3,000+ for both managed and self-administered hosting environments.
Branding is all about creating a distinct and consistent identity for your company. This is where you design the symbols and elements that will relay the value, culture, vision, and purpose of your ecommerce business to potential customers.
A report in 2022 from Statista shows the brand value in million U.S. dollars for leading brands in the U.S.
As you’ve probably guessed, branding is yet another ecommerce engagement whose strategies and costs differ quite extensively between small businesses, medium-sized stores, and large enterprises.
Small ecommerce businesses
Solopreneurs and small ecommerce stores tend to manage their branding in-house, with the help of automated brand design tools.
They use web-based domain name generators to find domain name ideas, website builders to create their ecommerce website design from pre-built templates, and AI-driven logo makers to develop and design logos, while social media mockup generators come in handy when you need to build illustrations for social media.
Many of these branding tools have a generous free offering, but you can only unleash their full design capabilities after upgrading to a premium plan.
In the end, you’ll spend about $3 - $200 on web-based logo makers such as Tailor Brands and Looka, and $10 - $32 a month on design tools like Canva and Adobe Illustrator, all the while sourcing templates from platforms like Creative Market and GraphicBurger for $2 - $500.
Combined, all these costs add up to about $100 - $1,000+.
Medium-sized ecommerce sites, on the other hand, would rather outsource the tasks to third-party professional consultants.
They typically work with both freelance and contracted graphic designers, product designers, UI/UX designers, animation designers, and so forth.
These are the parties who proceed to develop a consistent corporate identity through social media templates, logo design, brochure design, ecommerce website design, and branded domain names.
In return, they're paid per project – with the average compensation rate for experienced professionals being about $100 - $150 per hour. This translates to about $4,500 - $15,000 for all your branding visual design projects.
Large businesses are known to take a more streamlined but rigorous branding strategy.
Instead of forwarding their projects to different professions, they prefer to have a single turn-key branding agency handling both their visual design assets and brand communication systems.
The agencies themselves are multi-disciplinary, as they have highly-specialized designers, copywriters, PR experts, strategists, and art directors collaborating to fine-tune every aspect of the branding process. At times, they even come in to train enterprise staff on their roles in executing the branding workflows.
The end result is an improved relationship with customers, and the subsequent fee invoices tend to add up to about $30,000 - $80,000.
The costs for building and running a payment gateway service on your ecommerce website depend on, among other things, your ecommerce platform's flexibility, the payment processing fees per transaction, and the modes of payment preferred by your customers.
Your ecommerce platform, for starters, is the one that defines the type of payment gateways that could be integrated into your ecommerce site.
If you've built a Shopify ecommerce store, for instance, you could choose between Shopify Payments and more than 100 other integrable third-party payment gateways. Examples include Skrill, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, etc.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, supports over 84 payment processing solutions – with some of the biggest being WooCommerce payments, Square, Amazon Pay, Authorize.net, Worldpay, Braintree, and PayPal.
You might want to dig through all these integrations and find out the payment processors that are available in your country of operation, and then compare them by their payment processing modes and costs.
The ones that you subsequently settle for should be offering the lowest payment processing costs on your customers' preferred remittance channels.
On Shopify, for instance, Shopify Payments would be the best option for minimizing the cost to build an ecommerce website.
US ecommerce stores subscribed to the basic plan pay 2.9% + 30¢ per card transaction.
But, if you switch to a third-party payment gateway, Shopify will levy an extra charge of 2% above base payment processing costs.
As for WooCommerce users, here are some of the expected payment processing fees for USD card transactions across various payment gateways:
- Authorize.net: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction + $25 monthly fee.
- Stripe: 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
- PayPal: 2.9% + 30¢ for transactions over $10
Ecommerce software and plugins
Once you've customized your ecommerce site design and added the best payment processing gateways, you can switch your attention to the store functionalities. The objective at this point is to identify all the desired features that have been left out of the default system, and then maybe try to work them in yourself.
There are various methodologies you could use to set up those custom features, and each has its own impact on the ecommerce website costs.
Small ecommerce businesses
Small online stores should have it particularly easy – as all they need to do is search for appropriate integrations from their ecommerce platform's app store, and then install them as add-ons.
Shopify itself boasts an app store of over 9,000 apps, which have been developed by close to 1,000 third-party vendors. You should be able to find simple integrations for elevating your product research, sales processes, order fulfillment, marketing and conversion, ecommerce store design, as well as store management.
The only problem is, only a handful of them are free. Most of the ecommerce software here comes at a price, which could be one-off or subscription-based.
Check out the List of Best Software and Tools to grow your ecommerce business in our comprehensive guide.
You can expect to pay $10 to as much as $400+ per month for each premium app. So, by the time you're done adding a series of essentials – such as CRM, abandoned cart saver, form builder, product search, currency converter, order tracking, and product reviews – you'll have incurred a bill of $500 - $5,000+.
Medium-sized ecommerce businesses
Whereas small ecommerce sites can fit all sorts of app integrations into their ecosystems without needing major tweaks, growing medium-sized businesses are not so fortunate.
Their deeply customized ecommerce platforms often require some technical configurations to fully integrate additional features.
Consider WooCommerce-based online stores, for instance. Even though they have access to over 55,000 free WordPress plugins, they still need resources to integrate them into their already extensively reworked framework.
The money in this case pays for the technical expertise required for custom development, as medium-sized businesses need skilled WordPress developers to manage the whole process of adding ecommerce functionalities.
Therefore, in your estimated costs to build an ecommerce website, you might want to factor in even the labor rates for such professionals. They range from $30 - $175 per hour, with the average being $70.
But, that's not all. Keep in mind that WooCommerce plugins are not all free of charge. The ones that power advanced features are largely premium, and each goes for $19 - $299.
This brings the ecommerce website cost for adding essential plugins to about $2,500 - $10,000.
With enterprises running more intricate business ecosystems, you can bet that it takes even more hours of custom development to piece together and sync each new ecommerce functionality.
In fact, more often than not, these ecommerce websites are forced to develop their own custom apps from scratch. The resultant builds are then integrated into the underlying ecommerce platforms through an Application Programming Interface (API).
As for the costs, it takes about $500 - $10,000 to engineer each custom plugin. And with that, you can now guess how much it'll cost to build an ecommerce website, and then accessorize it with custom Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) plugins.
💡Tip: Look for key factors such as security and compatibility when choosing your enterprise's payment gateway.
Marketing your ecommerce website.
As the new ecommerce website project approaches completion, we'd advise you to consider capping it all off with strategic marketing.
You see, a well-calculated marketing pipeline is exactly what you need to get your brand noticed, generate leads, attract customers, drive the growth of your ecommerce store, and then gradually transform it into a successful online business.
And in case you're wondering, we've included marketing as one of the ecommerce website building costs because it begins as soon as the online store starts taking shape – not after the launch date.
While the ecommerce site is cooking, you could begin spreading brand awareness with pre-launch campaigns.
Then just as the market is warming up to the brand, you can go ahead and start with a soft launch. That'll give you the opportunity to gather feedback from your target audience, which will then help you to fine-tune the ecommerce business ahead of its main launch.
By the time the ecommerce store is going live, you'll have created enough buzz around it to arouse interest from the target market. This is how you get to pull in a sizable stream of visitors right from the word go, who’ll then provide just the right amount of traction on which to build your mailing lists and kickstart personalized omnichannel messaging.
At that point, you'll also need an automated Customer Relationship Management system to coordinate engagements through all the customer touchpoints, track the leads while they sail through the sales funnel, maintain contact data, as well as qualify warm leads that are ready to convert.
The journey doesn't end with conversion, though. Even after leads turn into customers, you should still target them with the aim of winning them over as repeat customers. These are the consumers who drive brand loyalty plus peer-to-peer recommendations.
And while you rally them, search engine optimization, influencer marketing, and affiliate programs will be generating more leads for your ecommerce store.
And with that, here's a breakdown of some of the major ecommerce website costs that you'll be incurring through those marketing strategies.
- PPC: Small to medium-sized businesses are investing $1,000 - $10,000 in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising every month, with their cost-per-click averaging at $2.59.
- Influencer marketing: Macro influencers (with 500,000 - 1 million followers) charge about $5,000 to $10,000 per post, mid-tier influencers (with 50,000 - 500,000 followers) charge $500 to $5,000 per post, micro-influencers (with 10,000 - 50,000 followers) charge $100 to $500 per post, while nano influencers (with 1000 - 10,000 followers) ask for $10 to $100 per post.
- Press releases: Each press release written by a skilled professional writer will cost you between $500 to $2,500.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO agencies charge ecommerce websites about $150 - $250 an hour, which ultimately translates to $2,500 to $10,000 per month. The average cost of search engine optimization, on the other hand, is said to be $3,000 per month.
- Social media marketing: On average, businesses spend anywhere between $500 - $10,000 per month. It is important to distinguish between social media marketing from social media management because they require different pricing plans.
- Customer Relationship Management: CRM systems for small businesses usually start at $12 per user every month, while enterprise-level CRM systems typically sell their advanced features for $50 - $150 per user every month.
- Email marketing: For most businesses, the cost of email marketing ranges between $300 and $2,000 per month, while large enterprises typically spend $5,000 - $15,000.
Total Cost to Build an eCommerce Website
To sum it all up, here’s a table outlining all the ecommerce website cost estimates that we’ve covered.
|Website building||$30 - $1,000||$1,500 - $6,000||$10,000 - $30,000|
|Domain and hosting||$32 - $500 a month.||$250 - $1,000+ per month.||$400 - $3,000+ per month|
|Branding||$100 - $1,000+||$4,500 - $15,000||$30,000 - $80,000|
|Payment gateways||From 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.|
|Add-ons||$500 - $5,000+||$2,500 - $10,000||$500 - $10,000 for each custom plugin.|
|Marketing||$2,000 - $10,000 per month.||$10,000 - $50,000+ per month.||$50,000 - $150,000+ per month.|
Evidently, it’s not cheap to build an ecommerce website. And let’s not even mention the many hours that you’ll be committing to the project.
Well, the best way to make it all count is to spy on your competitors’ infrastructure, and then ensure that you’ve invested in a much superior ecosystem.
That should give you a solid foundation on which to build a highly competitive ecommerce store, capitalize on your rivals’ weaknesses, and then use the dominance to generate positive ROI for your new ecommerce business.
Now that you've learned all about the costs you need to build an ecommerce website, it may be time to consider defining your brand and starting an ecommerce business in 2023.
Can I build my own ecommerce website?
Yes, you can build your own online ecommerce website. It is recommended that you consider taking the following steps: 1. Choose the platform to sell your products 2. Customize your site with ecommerce themes/templates 3. Set up pages, software or plugins, and product listings 4. Choosing suitable payment gateways 5. Launch your website and start selling
What is the cost structure of building an ecommerce website?
How much will it cost me to maintain an ecommerce website?