How Much Does an eCommerce Website Cost? [Updated 2021]
The formation of eCommerce website cost can become a very complicated matter. Basically, everything relates to your initial goals. If you want to develop a small and simple eCommerce site, you will most likely use ready-made solutions like Shopify for $1,000 or less.
Alternatively, custom eCommerce software development is a longer and more expensive process that is suitable for businesses that want to raise brand loyalty and serve as many customers as possible in a global arena.
This article is an eCommerce website cost guide based on our 10 years of expertise in implementing solutions for retail and wholesale businesses and covers the following aspects:
- Factors with direct influence on the eCommerce website budget
- Detailed estimation of the eCommerce website cost for each service
- Price ranges for design, development, QA, PM services included in custom eCommerce website
- eCommerce website pricing necessary for maintenance
- Checklist for how to choose the right software development vendor
After reading, you will have an explanation of all the steps involved in custom eCommerce software development and will certainly have an answer to the question - “how much does an eCommerce website cost?” so that you can plan your budget accordingly.
How Much Does It Cost to Build an eCommerce Website?
Generally, an eCommerce website cost may range from $1,000 to $1,000,000, or even higher. However, the minimum eCommerce website budget for custom development is around $60,000 per platform. This wide price range is due to factors like the scope and complexity of eCommerce site features, UX/UI web design, tech stack, web development services, and their pricing.
Our team recommends that our clients custom build eCommerce websites since this approach helps to gain higher user traction, enhance the customer base, increase revenue, and other benefits.
Check out the following table previewing the prices for the custom eCommerce site development of a more basic version, and an eCommerce website with extended functionality.
(core feature set with responsive design)
(more features and design of a larger complexity)
|Large version (complex multi-level website design, development, and support)|
|Timeline||~3-6 months||~6-9 months||( 9+ months (ongoing)|
Our team has vast experience in custom eCommerce software development. We created GoPuff, an online delivery and ordering platform, which is currently operating in 20 US states and continues to expand. These days, the MLSDev team provides ongoing support and eCommerce platform development services.
Are you interested in developing an eCommerce website?
Contact our team and receive a free consultation filled with business aspects, as well as technical specifics, for building an eCommerce project from scratch. Aside from our advice, you will get a time and cost estimation for your eCommerce business idea.
Continue reading to understand the process, services, and cost of each service involved in custom eCommerce website development.
eCommerce Website Budget: Influencing Factors
As mentioned, the eCommerce website quotation can range from $60,000 to $1,000,000 or more. This certainly does not make things any more clear, so let’s take a look at aspects that build up the eCommerce website price, namely:
- Vendor type (costs range if you decide to work with a freelance, in-house, or remote software development team)
- Vendor rates (vary based on the vendor’s location, experience, portfolio, etc.)
- Complexity of website design
- Number and complexity of website functionalities
- Number and integration of 3rd party services
- Timeline and business objectives (urgent projects cost more)
- eCommerce website hosting cost, SSL certificate price
- Marketing and SEO expenditures (depends on your promotional strategy)
In custom eCommerce software development, every project is treated as unique and it is literally impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer regarding the final website price.
Aside from the factors we’ve mentioned, your eCommerce site may require a specific set of features, mechanics, and user experience to match your business objectives. This makes the process of estimating an eCommerce website cost even harder.
Custom eCommerce Website Design Cost
In this section, the process of custom web design is presented, as it has a direct influence on the total eCommerce website cost.
Design development is one of the core milestones of every project, be it a website or an app. As of 2021, eCommerce website design cost can range from $1,000 to $100,000 and even higher.
At MLSDev a median price for UX and UI design services for eCommerce platforms is around $5,000 for one platform. Custom eCommerce website design price varies due to its complexity, the hours required to collect and analyze business requirements, as well as the number of features and platforms.
The price of designing an eCommerce website depends on the customer’s business financial capacities and plan, just the same as development. We cannot name a single universal web design price because it all depends on the particular project.
eCommerce website design costs differ from vendor to vendor as well. Typically, a vendor can only give an approximate eCommerce web design price after they have learned the basic project details. The main factors that define the total cost for the eCommerce website design are as follows:
- Number of web pages
- Need for website’s product graphics and pictures
- Level of web design customization
- Need for website domain and hosting
- Website interactivity
- Website responsiveness (optimization for use on mobile devices and tablets)
- Amount of materials provided by the client (graphics, content, branded materials)
Interested in learning more regarding the potential budget you need for custom web design?
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Website Design Cost. Discover the 3-step process of web design estimation, the cost to redesign your website, as well as the difference between basic and custom website elements inside.
Minimal eCommerce Website Cost: Feature-Set & Services
For starters, let’s clarify what is included in the $60,000 cost of an eCommerce website in its most basic version for one platform.
The compound number of hours performed for each particular service makes up the final eCommerce website budget. At MLSDev, we split the software development process into two sub-stages with the corresponding services included.
Discovery stage that lasts for approximately 2-4+ weeks & consists of:
- Market and competitor analysis (on demand)
- Product backlog development
- UX/UI design
- Team review
- Project management
- Early planning (first planning sprint of the development stage)
Development stage of a first eCommerce website version lasts for 3-6+ month and includes:
- Web front-end development
- Web back-end development
- Quality assurance and testing
- Project management
- Team review
Therefore, next we present a list of core eCommerce website features. This will give you a good idea about website functionality and help you figure out what exactly you will need to pay for custom eCommerce software development.
The following table presents the main features that make up a basic eCommerce website and consequently form the minimal budget for its implementation.
|Email authorization||Users can register/login with email||- Restore password included|
|Social authorization||Users can register/login to your e-commerce platform with a social network account||- The number of social networks that enable user authorization influence the estimate)
- Transfer of account photo and full name included
- Creation of a Facebook developer accounts (develop, staging, production)
- Facebook review process and project manager’s communication with support are not included in the estimate)
|Categories and products||Users can navigate by categories, subcategories (if needed) and products||-|
|Product search||Users can search products (basic)||- Filter by product parameters as Category, Range (e.g. price)
- Sorting by price
|Basic product page||Users can see product page||- Image, description, price
- Add to cart
|Product reviews||Users can see product reviews (basic)||- Starring and text reviews
- Average review on the product page
- No option to edit or delete your own review
|Basic cart management||Users can manage cart||- The back-end calculates the cost
- The cart is stored on the server
- Empty cart (all items), add items, remove items, change the amount of each item
- Coupons, promo codes or vouchers are not included
|CC payments||Users can pay with a credit card using the Braintree service||- List of credit cards, a user can add/remove them from their profile
- Credit card payment
|Checkout||Users can see the checkout process (basic)||- Basic instructions (text field)
- Choose payment method
|Order history||Users can manage order history (basic)||- List of all orders
- Repeat an order (fill the cart with the same items)
|Search||Users can search one type of entity by one criterion||- Each next entity influences the estimate|
|Favorites||Users can manage favorites (basic)||- One entity (product or user or image)
- Add, remove, index
- Each next entity influences the estimate
|Analytics||Integration with analytics (basic) (inaccessible to the user)||- One analytics tool (except Fabric) - Flurry or Google Analytics/Firebase or MixPanel
- Basic SDK configuration (minimum analytics - OS versions, devices, etc.), screen tracking for Android)
- Develop, staging, production
|CMS: Admin authorization||-||- Log in, log out|
|CMS: Admin management||-||- CRUD on administrators
- Full name, email
|CMS: Category management||-||- CRUD categories, subcategories, and ordering (the order of displaying)|
|CMS: Product management||-||-CRUD products, activate/deactivate|
|CMS: Order management||-||- List of orders with payment statuses (+manage payment statuses), filtering (by user, date) and sorting (by date)|
So, how much does an eCommerce website cost if it is a minimal version?
Here is an eCommerce website development cost breakdown based on the features and services listed above, as well as MLSDev service rates. The eCommerce startup costs will hit roughly $60,000 per platform, while it takes around 3-6 months to implement a custom website.
|Service||Basic eCommerce website: cost components|
(Web front-end & web back-end)
(Product backlog & functional specification development)
Disclaimer: provided information is meant to help you understand the eCommerce website development cost you would need to allocate for such a feature and service set.
Want to know the preliminary cost & timeline to build an eCommerce website?
Feel free to reach out to our team. We will gladly help you by preparing a rough eCommerce website quotation based on the detailed feedback from our Business analyst and Software architect.
Let’s now describe services included in the basic version, which consequently build up the total eCommerce website budget. Check out the pricing on UX/UI design, PM, QA, and website development services further, as these factors add to the total setup of an eCommerce startup cost.
Minimum eCommerce Web Design Cost
What is the minimum eCommerce website design price? Based on the eCommerce website development cost breakdown given in the previous paragraph, we can tell you that a basic design price will start at $5,000.
The design is the face of your website and plays a major role in a website visitor’s decision to engage with a top-notch looking website or to close an ugly tab. eCommerce website design pricing varies based on the vendor’s experience, quality of work, and your project requirements and timeline - just like every other service to be delivered.
Minimum eCommerce Website Cost for Development Stage
Speaking of coding, the website price for back-end and front-end starts at $40,000 and the cost can go beyond $1,000,000 based on project complexity and the eCommerce website developer you choose.
There is no one exact response for “how much does an eCommerce website cost?” because every project has its specific unique aspects. A feature might seem easy on the surface, but it may take weeks of coding to implement. Below, you can see examples of designs with basic features for custom eCommerce development by MLSDev.
A shop page allows a website visitor to navigate through products by categories, subcategories, and products. A user can search products, filter by category and range, as well as sort them by price.
A product details page on a custom eCommerce website includes an image, description, price, rating or star, text reviews, and an ‘add to cart’ feature. The page also includes a product suggestion bar at the bottom, which shows similar products that a website visitor might also be interested in.
A cart page includes empty cart, functions to add items, remove items, and the ability to change the amount of each item. The page also calculates the total cost of an order and shipping costs.
No coupons, promo codes, or vouchers are included because these complex features have to be implemented separately during custom eCommerce software development.
Minimum eCommerce Website Cost for QA
Your website development project needs to be monitored by a QA all the way from idea creation to the full application’s release to the market.
For a basic eCommerce website, quality assurance costs can fall anywhere between $5,000 and $7,000. For an ongoing project, this expense can grow to $100,000 or more.
For this price, you will get proactive quality management. A QA engineer makes sure that every feature of the website works as intended for the best user experience possible. It is important to prevent and eliminate any bugs, as soon as possible, before they interfere with the performance, appearance, or reputation of your eCommerce website.
Minimum eCommerce Website Cost for PM
The project management service is an integral part of the website development process, as it makes it smooth and streamlined.
For a basic eCommerce website, project management costs will range between $8,000 and $10,000. Depending on project complexity, the price can grow to $150,000 or more.
A project manager will organize the workflow, prioritize the features, and work closely with the team to make sure that the requirements, deadlines, and expectations are met in the best possible manner.
In the meantime, you will be able to concentrate on other aspects of your business that require your close attention. You can cut eCommerce startup costs by hiring an experienced project manager who will not only control and organize the workflow in the most effective way, but will also make sure that the solution you need is delivered in the most cost and time-effective manner.
To sum things up: even a basic eCommerce website consists of a fairly large number of core features that are impossible to cut. Just like a mechanical watch consists of gears you can’t take out to make it cheaper, an eCommerce website needs the features mentioned earlier to operate properly.
eCommerce Website Development Cost Breakdown: Complex Setup
But, what if you want to build an eCommerce website with functionality that was not included in the basic setup?
The table below illustrates the price for each service included in the more complex version of an eCommerce website. So, if you are considering creating an eCommerce site of a medium complexity, the cost will start at $120,000 for one platform. The price for a custom, large eCommerce website will cost you around $230,000 or more.
(more features and design of a larger complexity)
|Large version (complex multilevel website design, development, and support)|
|Time||~6-9 months||9+ months (ongoing)|
Interested in learning more details about website development and its cost?
Our team has prepared an in-depth guide: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?. Check out the cost if you decide to build a website from scratch and learn the сosts you should spend on advertising and SEO inside.
At the bottom, you can find an Infographic summarizing the key information from this article.
How Much Does eCommerce Website Maintenance Cost
Just like a newborn baby, your newly launched website needs constant attention and support. You may wonder - ”how much does it cost to maintain an ecommerce website,” which is the right question to ask during the early stages.
After the eCommerce website is released, it still needs continuous investment consisting of:
- Website hosting costs (you can choose a more affordable solution after website launch, and upgrade your hosting when your website generates enough profit. However, there might be some nuances depending on the hosting provider, and we advise that you learn them in advance)
- Domain name (annual expenditure)
- Administration costs
- Marketing and advertising costs
- Ongoing development budget (implementation of new features, website upgrades)
Cost of an eCommerce Website Based on Development Vendor
Having learned what budget you need to allocate to cover the average cost of an eCommerce website, you are probably wondering who can be trusted with the money.
The graph below illustrates the 3 distinct choices you have in terms of the software development vendor and the potential eCommerce website cost with each one.
Let’s discuss more details about each option, namely:
This is the most affordable option. You can find an eCommerce website developer on a freelance platform to deliver a service for $15,000 or even less. However, when it comes to freelancers, it is sometimes hard to see through the scams and find a reliable skillful developer.
You can find freelancers with the lowest web design prices easily, but it might be problematic to check their authenticity. As well, the only guarantee that you get is a money-back policy if you cooperate through a platform like Upwork. When choosing to work with a freelancer, you cut down on the eCommerce website costs, but you also take on additional risks.
- Custom software development company (like MLSDev)
The cost of eCommerce website development is likely to be higher compared to freelancers. This option is a reasonable balance between the price, quality, and guarantees. You can have your website built starting at $60,000 for its basic version on one platform, and you also get legal obligations and guarantees.
It is safer for your business to pay more and work with a custom eCommerce development company. First of all, this way you will know that you can always access your team during business hours. You know that the team members have obligations and guarantees to the company they work for as well as to you.
As well, by working with a company, you can be sure that your code and data are safe. What’s also important, if you choose to work with a custom eCommerce software development agency, is that they are most likely to allocate a team that works together and communicates effectively.
- Boutique software companies (like Fueled, Thoughtbot)
This is the priciest solution. When choosing a famous vendor who has the excellent experience of working with top-notch businesses, you pay for the name as well as for the services.
It is like getting a bag from a local leather business versus ordering a custom Gucci bag - both perform the same functions and can even look the same, but there’s an eye-grabbing label on only one of them.
If you’re willing to pay for the name, be ready for numbers that start at $150,000. The basic eCommerce website development price list of these companies is hardly affordable for a small to medium-sized company.
How Much Does an eCommerce Website Cost: Final Word
Now you know the answer to the question “how much does an eCommerce website cost?” As you can see, there is an abundance of complex factors that make it hard to come up with an exact eCommerce website quote.
The average cost of an eCommerce website is just a guide value that gives you an idea, but is no more precise than the average cost of a smartphone. After all, there are iPhones and no-name brands. The same goes for eCommerce websites.
Custom eCommerce websites will always cost more than template ones, but will also perform and engage the audience better.
Do you have an eCommerce project idea in mind?
We would be happy to discuss your idea and provide an accurate eCommerce website development quotation along with an expert consultation by our business analyst and software architect for free.