eCommerce Website creation cost: from platform to maintence

ThinkMobiles Team 13/04/2017

“How much does an eCommerce website cost?” arises more and more topical question. Traditional retail is slowly losing its own positions, while eCommerce is getting stronger day by day. 

But the simple question such as “How much does it would cost me?” has no simple answer. There are different complex parts that should be considered to make any conclusion.

How much ecommerce website will cost?

Estimated price$0

1. Type


2. Platform


3. Marketplaces integration


4. Shipping integrations


5. Payments


6. Analytics


7. ERP integrations


8. CRM integrations


9. Mobile apps


10. Design

Template Individual Premium

11. Extra features

Landing pages
Online Chat
Automatic backup

eCommerce platforms

Nowadays, there are many various platforms to launch own eStore. Features of those starting from simple eCommerce tools, like shopping carts and payment integration, enterprise class with much more complex and detail customization options.

Four global leaders handle more than half eStores. Their names are: WooCommerce, Squarespace Commerce, Magento and Shopify. To get to know about the difference between them let’s take a closer look to each one:


Launched in 2011 as a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress websites, it allows to use most of the features that any e-Store requires. Moreover, there are various extensions to use for special needs. They may be acquired free or be purchased to advance capability of the website.

  • It’s completely free to download.
  • There are bunches of free themes, and some premium (start from $39).
  • Prices of extensions vary from zero to $250.
  • Medium (better high) technical knowledge is recommended.

Squarespace Commerce

Built in 2004, Squarespace Commerce promises all-in-one solution to any needs. It includes everything that is necessary for start and rise of e-Store from beginning. Here are: hosting, templates, blogging tools, shopping carts, social platform integration and much more:

  • No transaction fees.
  • Downloads- and server-side setup free.
  • Most positive features: no technical knowledge is needed.
  • It may be purchased by:
    • $30 per month – Basic package.
    • $46 per month – Advanced package (with just few more extra features).


Open-source e-Commerce, which was developed in 2007 used to buff many of e-Stores worldwide. From the beginning it was noticed by giants like eBay, that bought it in 2011. But lately it was reborn with the name Magento Commerce and acted independently from eBay.

  • Each feature is highly customizable (catalog, payments, analytics, reporting etc.).
  • Downsides of Magento products that both require high technical knowledge and skill to use them.
  • There are two Magento products available:
    • Magento Community Edition distributed free of charge.
    • Magento Enterprise Edition would cost $18,000 per year.


It is used by close 400k people around the globe. It gained such popularity because of easy and user-friendly usage and tons of guides and tutorials to get even deeper knowledge. The main website also contains various useful tools, themes and features for e-Store.

  • There is a system option as ‘Point of Sale’ to move your offline store to e-Commerce.
  • Upside of shopify that requires almost no technical knowledge.
  • Shopify provides 4 formats to choose from:
    • Lite starting ($9 per month).
    • Basic starting ($29 per month).
    • Pro starting ($79 per month).
    • Unlimited starting ($179 per month).

Unfortunately, it has serious lack of customization options.

WordPress website boosted with eCommerce tools

WordPress has tons of plugins that may make eStore from simple website. But that way may be a hard problem to solve, because most of them don’t include all functionality needed. Building a puzzle from different plugins is not a wise decision.

The best idea here is to merge WooCommerce, Magento or Shopify into the website and use their features (SquareSpace doesn’t support such kind of actions). At the same time if you already have WordPress website you may save money on website development and design.

Custom eCommerce website

Sometimes there are reasons that force people to look for development of their own custom site. These may be extra security measures, colossal number of pages, advanced admin panel integrated. So, in such kind of situations websites may be developed from scratch.

How Much Does an eCommerce Website Cost?

When website platforms are chosen, the main step is done. But it is just only the start and it is too early to answer the main question. Many other things should be taken into account before.

Domain cost

Domain name would cost you nearly nothing in comparison with other things you would pay for. The average range for registration of a new one varies between $5-15 per year. Domain name may be any, but should be unique among hosts.

Surely, if you desire to put your hands on popular domains that are famous worldwide it may cost you a lot. But, mostly, it is a waste of money.

Hosting cost

Nowadays, there are many different hostings to choose. On that step, making a wise decision may save you money as much as mistakes would cost you. A good estimate of the site size and its upcoming traffic would help you choose what you really need, without overpaying for capabilities you don’t use.

Meantime reliable and fast hosting servers should be prefered, because you don’t want to lose money while servers are down. While customers less are likely shopping on slow e-Stores.  

Best hosting decisions for small eStores are: iPage, BlueHost, GreenGeeks.

Best hosting companies for heavy online shoping sites are: InMotion, WP Engine, Media Temple.

Self-hosted may be both good and bad. Likely, it would cost you more than a deal with host companies and would require good technical skills and knowledge. You are limited only by your own hardware, gaining more flexibility, on aother hand – all support is also on you.

Development costs

The creation process of new website – is one of the most expensive steps. There are many ways to pass that step by free, but only self-coding is the true choice. Otherwise website drag-and-drop builders, packages or other free methods could not make e-Store really attractive.

If you have no clue in programming it’s better to find someone to build your e-Store. Hopefully, today the range to choose is large. Surely, each choice has its own advantages and disadvantages as well as differences in prices.

Student developers

Students may have the lowest charges, but at the same time lack of wide range of skills. Mostly, developing process would progress much slower, as well as end-product quality would stay questionable.

Average prices vary from $5 to $25 per hour.

Freelancer developers

Freelancer developers could be easily found on numerous freelance platforms. Such kind of sites has a bunch of them to choose from. But finding among them truly professional and skilled workers turns out to be the major problem.

Good-skilled (especially top) freelancer developers usually have a schedule for the months ahead. Other freelancers with mid-, and low-charge rate still lack some skills, so in the end you still risk to lose time, or waste money (or even both).

You can try your luck by hiring freelancers on Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer. Note that prices may extremely vary from $10 to $100 per hour, depending on skills and regions freelancers are in.


Developer companies mostly have all you need to build your desirable e-Store. Starting from programmers and designers to project managers, full team would work for you. This time you may be calm that you pay for real things.

Such kind of development decisions has usually the highest prices for eCommerce websites among other options. Top companies offer high charges for their work, while low-rated may have much less.

Average prices are also extremely various for the same reason as in freelancer cases. From $20 to $200 per hour.

The trick is easy, good companies mostly have the same quality as end-products, but charges may be different, depending the location of the company.

To be honest there is one more option.

Off-shores companies

“Tax Haven” is a seductive option for business especially if native tax-rates are as high as the sky. Such kind of companies can be easily lower than the own charges to become more competitive. So their charges can be seductive to customers as well.

But such kind of companies still have bad reputation for a reason. Think twice before rush to cooperate with them.

eCommerce website design costs

The first impression is, obviously, an extremely important thing. Moreover, to attract and retail customers, a good looking design is necessary. It doesn’t matter what have you planned to sell, visitors enter the website from phones, tablets, laptops, and if they don’t feel comfortable, they would exit in no time.

A well done design of e-Store would provide them with that feeling. Responsive design fits any of customer’s’ devices and gives them great user experience.

Prices for design vary as much as everything else from $300 to $20,000.

It would be wise to fund into design as much as into development. Whenever good optimised and stable the site may be, if it isn’t attractive visually, customers, unlikely, would shop there.

SSL certificates

Shopping via internet is still a bit uncomfortable in case of security among people worldwide. SSL makes them sure that every bit of information they send wouldn’t be stolen while processing to the data server. And most of customers would not shop in eStore that aren’t defended by SSL.

SSL companies don’t set high prices, so it would not heavily impact on your budget. But such kind of protection would make your site safer for customers private data.

Cost of SSL varies from $9 to $50 per year, but also it may reach $500.

Other parts

e-Commerce CMS

While in most e-Commerce platforms content management system may already be integrated, others may lack it. Surely, if you choose to build a custom website, CMS would cost you additionally.

Such kind of tools would provide you with the possibility to add, edit and remove pages, products etc. without messaging with code and other stuff.

e-Commerce CMS would cost you from $0 (if it is integrated into the platform) to $1,500 per year, depending on how much functionality it will provide.

Database integration

This is an expensive and highly optional part of e-Commerce website. Honestly, e-Stores may easily stay good without it, especially small e-Stores. Database integration would buff user experience of your website, as well as help store all company data in one place.

Prices start from $2,500 and rise up to $30,000 initially.

Payment services integration

Obviously, any e-Commerce website should have at least one payment option available. It’s platform doesn’t include that integrated feature. So, it should be integrated additionally. Depending on which exactly payment gateways you decide to use, the cost may vary.

Average integration cost is from $250 to $5,000 initially, and from $0 to $150 per month for gateway provider.

Popular payment services are: Paypal, Authorize, SecurePay.

Number of pages

As many your e-Store would have pages, as much you would pay for building it in all meanings. More datastore, longer coding and testing process, more copywriting and SEO expenses on the server are required.

Moreover, some agencies may set their charges according to how many pages the website planned to include.


Any website in order to work correctly requires support and regular updates. Surely, larger and more complex websites’ maintenance is higher than of simple ones.

Additional expenses

Unfortunately, when e-Commerce website is done and maintenance of it fits, your expenses don’t end here. There are still some things you should pay for, to make e-Store done.

3rd-party fees

Dispite integration cost and maintenance of payment services, most of them are likely to take additional fees for each transaction. It may be a fixed or small percent of order value. Be attentive as fees would influence the profit you make for each sale.

Payment fees may vary from ¢30 to 3%.

SEO and Copywriting

Despite such kind of websites don’t need as many text pages as other websites, they still need them. To progress in search engines ranks and be noticed by audience, you can’t avoid these expenses. There are two different ways of effective money funding:

  • Short but good SEO-optimized text to each product, will provide the top position in search for highly conversive search request.
  • Long text (3k words) with interactive elements, subsections, JavaScript inserts, will help the website in efford to rise up in overall website positions.

Both strategies may be used at the same time, but they may hurt your budget.

A good copywriter text with good SEO average would cost you from $50 to $500 each. The price depends on how many words it includes, and others in addition.

Marketing and Time

To make money in e-Commerce, first you should be noticed by your audience. There are many marketing strategies that may suit your needs. But none of them are free.

Moreover, even the best choices don’t provide anything you want in time. Prepare yourself planning eCommerce business. Don’t expect high results in short period of time.

Prices by types of eCommerce websites

Small eStore:

Small eStores suit those who don’t plan to expand assortment in future and feels ok with limited functionality. Mostly it includes following features:

  • No-, or low design with logo, and some images.
  • The website includes less than 10 pages and less than 100 products.
  • It has shopping cart, payment integration and shipping setup;.SLL protocols are integrated;
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Email newsletter signup.
    2. Social platform log-in.
    3. Blog.

Cost: $2,000 – $5,000

Large eStore:

Best suits those, who are seriously engaged into eCommerce business, and plan to expand e-Store, adding new products and sections:

  • Good-, or World class unique design, with product photo gallery.
  • The website includes more than 25 pages and 250 products with CMS integration.
  • It has shopping cart, more than 2 methods of payment and shipping.
  • SLL protocols are integrated.
  • Customers and admin panels.
  • Customers support, chat bots etc.
  • Other features we can include:
    1. Database integration.
    2. AR and VR product preview.
    3. Product rates and reviews.
    4. Blog, forum.

Cost: $4,000 – $12,000


There are a lot of things that need to be considered before any professional developer and designer may answer the question “How much does e-Store cost?”. It’s a bit hard to talk to talk about any eCommerce startup costs, before acquaintance with details.

In our case, clients usually have only an idea and the main request for their future website. Unfortunately, it’s enough. We get most of complex explanations and information that we need through conversation and discussion on our meetings.

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