How much does it cost to create an e-commerce site in 2021 / 2022?

How much does an e-commerce cost in 2021-2022?

It is legitimate that you ask yourself this question, but it may be simple, but it is impossible to give a single valid answer. Actually, it depends. Each company is different and, depending on its size, status (early or established), strategy, budget and timelines, the figures obtained may be significantly different.

To be honest, the price of an e-commerce site can vary from 5 000€ to more than 500 000€. But putting forward an accurate final cost for such a question is really complicated, as an e-commerce project involves many variables.

 

You can also go directly to the
summary of the main costs of creating an e-commerce site

 

What variables will determine the price of an e-commerce in 2021-2022?

As you can see, the price differences between one e-commerce site and another depend on many factors, but above all on the scope of the project.

The size of your customer base determines the technology, hardware and software requirements. If you have a large customer base, you will need a website and compatible applications that can handle a lot of simultaneous traffic. These factors dictate the technology to be used, as well as the type of network, servers and other hardware required.

Moreover, the more pages an e-shop has, the more expensive its creation is, since the coding, integration, testing, writing and SEO processes are multiplied.

Therefore, the price of an e-commerce can vary according to the circumstances, and your needs:

  • Do you have the internal resources available and knowledgeable to provide what you need?
  • How many pages?
  • How many products?
  • Will certain products be available in different colours, sizes, etc.?
  • Is your content ready or do you need an agency or a provider to take care of it and optimize it for search engines?
  • Who will be responsible for the maintenance of your e-commerce after it goes live?

To determine more precisely how much it costs to create an e-commerce site, all these questions should be asked beforehand.

As you can see, creating a website is a complex project that covers different aspects and involves various subjects. All of these variables mean that the answer to the question “how much does it cost to deploy an e-commerce site?” will depend on a thorough examination of your needs.

To help you see more clearly, you will find below the breakdown of the different main elements that influence the final cost.

 

E-commerce platform

Globally, 7 main players share the e-commerce website creation market:

  • WooCommerce : a CMS platform to transform your WordPress website into an e-commerce.
  • Squarespace : a CMS in SaaS mode allowing to create a website with e-commerce features.
  • Magento: a powerful open source CMS to create a very personalized e-commerce.
  • Prestashop : an open source CMS to create an e-shop adapted to the needs of small and medium businesses.
  • Shopify : a CMS to create an online store without any technical knowledge.
  • Drupal Commerce : an extension of the famous Drupal CMS, to add e-commerce features to your website.
  • Wizishop: an e-commerce solution for less experienced users.

Among these CMS (Content Management System) solutions, it is a matter of choosing the one that best suits your current business.

All-in-one e-commerce solutions such as Shopify, Squarespace or Wizishop leave less room for customization, but allow for a faster learning curve.

With this type of solution, you are allowed to change the design of the site, but you cannot change most of the built-in features or functionality. Basically, an all-in-one e-commerce solution is like renting an apartment. You can live in it, decorate it and invite friends, but you are not allowed to destroy the walls or remove the built-in appliances.

This is why these solutions are perfectly suited for small companies with a relatively small product catalogue, simple requirements and a desire to launch their e-shop relatively quickly and cheaply.

Modular and scalable e-commerce solutions, such as Magento or PrestaShop, allow you to develop a highly customizable e-commerce site.

 

To learn more about choosing your e-commerce solution, you can also read our article :
Magento vs Prestashop

 

If you want additional security measures, if you want an advanced administration panel and if you have a product catalog with several thousand references, and therefore a huge number of web pages, this type of solution is perfect.

These open source CMS offer almost infinite combinations and customization, and can thus meet all the needs of a company. However, they require a high level of technical knowledge and are therefore mainly adopted by experienced users, entrepreneurs with developers at their disposal, people willing to invest their time to understand how they work or companies using a specialized agency.

 

How much does an e-commerce solution cost?

The price will really depend on the type of solution chosen to create your e-commerce. Depending on the simplicity or complexity of the platform, and the price of the license, costs can vary considerably for similar functionality.

If you use a CMS like Shopify or Squarespace, you won’t pay an upfront cost, but a monthly fee of between £29 and £299 for the former, and between £11 and £24 for the latter. These fees include security upgrades and updates.

For a configurable and customizable solution like Magento, you are likely to spend at least 5 000€ for a basic configuration and training, and up to 50 000€ for a custom and ultra-customized design.

As for licensing fees, Magento has an open-source version, but also an enterprise version with a licensing fee of about 15 000€ /year.

 

Domain name

Your domain name is the address of your online business. It’s a part of your overall brand, and without it, you simply can’t build a website.

 

How much does a domain name cost?

Compared to other elements, a domain name will cost you almost nothing.

The average price for the registration of a new domain name varies between 5 and 15€ per year. You are free to choose any domain name, as long as it is unique, i.e. nobody else owns it.

Generally, you can buy a domain for a maximum of 10 consecutive years to keep it under your control.

You can also configure your domain to renew automatically. This way, you will at least receive an email telling you to renew your purchase, even if you are using a credit card with an upcoming expiration date.

Some domain name services also allow you to use your bank account information so you don’t have to worry about expiration dates.

In any case, the payment method you choose has no influence on the price – it is purely practical.

 

E-commerce hosting

Once you have a domain, you will need to host it.

Hosting services allow Internet users to access your e-commerce site. They provide space on their servers for your website so that you can develop it.

Depending on the e-commerce solution you choose, you will find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • With a hosted solution (like Shopify, Squarespace or Wizishop): the software runs on someone else’s server. In this case, you won’t have access to the code that runs your site and you won’t have to worry about updates.
  • With a self-hosted solution: the software runs on your own machine. You create the code and are responsible for downloading and updating it.
  • With a non-hosted solution (like Magento or Prestashop): means that you will have to pay to be hosted and maintain your site code and hosting environment.

 

How much does it cost to host an e-commerce website?

It all depends on the hosting service you choose. A good estimate of the size of your e-commerce site and your future traffic will help you choose what you really need, without paying too much for capabilities you won’t use.

The price difference between the hosts is due to the fact that they offer additional support and features for your website, where some only offer server space. In other words, getting low cost hosting means you won’t get much support.

The safest way to host a custom e-commerce site is to use a “managed” solution, where a technical support team is available 24 hours a day in case you encounter problems. Managed server costs can vary between 300 and 2000€ per month depending on the expected traffic, and therefore the power you need. At £300, you’ll get decent service and support, but probably not true PCI (credit card security) compliance.

For a site with average requirements for speed and security hosted in a cloud environment, hosting will cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per month.

 

Web design

The overall design of your e-commerce site is obviously an essential factor in its success, as it will determine the first impression of your visitors. If your design looks sloppy or outdated, your potential customers will probably feel the same way about your business. In order to ensure that this doesn’t happen, you need a design that fits your brand.

Design style can be divided into four categories:

  • Simple design: works and looks good, but is not very innovative, impersonal, and probably won’t work on all devices (computer, mobile, tablet).
  • Modeled design: more powerful, it has additional graphics, a more robust color scheme or other additional design elements.
  • High-end design: is characterized by a professional and distinguished appearance, in line with your brand’s graphic charter.
  • Custom design: These sites are designed to go beyond the competition by using interactive elements, high-resolution images, videos and a range of intuitive features. They offer users a perfect shopping experience.

 

How much does web design cost?

Many platforms, especially SaaS offerings, have design galleries, themes or templates that you can use to design your e-commerce site.

Expect to go from 0 to 2000€ to buy a template, then from 1000€ to 2000€ to make minor modifications and customizations.

When you enter the custom design: “sky is the limit”! But a custom theme can cost anywhere from €10,000 to €100,000 depending on the specifics, requirements and depth of the process.

 

Custom programming and e-commerce features

Some specific e-commerce features require custom programming and therefore only larger budgets can support the design and development.

Alternatively, many platforms provide extension support to add functionality to a merchant site. If your company has a smaller budget, it will have to rely on the features already integrated into the e-commerce solution or on the purchase of extensions (but some are free) to improve the user experience of its site.

 

How much do additional e-commerce features cost?

Adding standard features via the purchase of extensions should not really increase the price of your e-commerce site.

Apart from basic extensions, developing custom features for your e-commerce site is usually the most expensive part of a project.

For example, if you want to develop a feature that allows customers to customize their clothing or products and see the results in real time, then you will need to hire good developers/agency to develop carefully tested, secure and reliable code.

 

SSL Certificates

Internet transactions must guarantee a certain level of security. The SSL certificate ensures that all data exchanged cannot be stolen during processing by the web server. Also note that most consumers do not take the risk of buying from an e-commerce site not protected by an SSL certificate.

This type of protection makes your site more reassuring, and secures customers’ private information (credit card numbers and other confidential data).

 

How much does an SSL certificate cost?

The price of an SSL certificate generally varies from 9 to 50€ per year, but can also reach 500€.

 

To learn more about the SSL certificate and the security of an e-commerce site, you can consult our article on this subject by clicking here.

 

Third-party system integration

The e-commerce world uses the term ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to describe a host of software that manages your inventory, orders, shipments, billing and other back-office services.

Nothing is mandatory, but if you want to streamline your company’s communication or simplify your customers’ shopping experience, integrating with third-party systems is often a must.

 

To learn more, you can read our article :
7 good reasons to connect ERP and e-commerce

 

How much does it cost to integrate third-party systems?

Some ERP solutions can cost more than 100 000€ for a single annual license. Integration with an e-commerce site can also take hundreds of hours of programming.

A smaller company can rely on out-of-order or integrated back-office solutions to reduce costs.

 

SEO and copywriting

Writing and content creation are essential for any website, and are just as important for an e-commerce site.

Most companies create their own content: product images and descriptions, videos, brand presentation, etc.

But most of the time, the content created is not optimized for search engines.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website so that it ranks as high as possible in the search results pages of Google (and other search engines).

SEO is an important factor in the success of your e-commerce site in the long term. To avoid being cannibalized by the competition and increase your revenue, you need to be able to attract search engine users. In which case, you won’t get a steady stream of new customers.

 

How much does SEO cost?

The first major factor in SEO pricing is the number of pages you want to optimize on your site. For an e-commerce site, this answer is almost always higher than 250.

A single good text for SEO, coupled with the optimization of the various attributes and meta tags, will cost you from 50 to 500€. The price depends on the amount of words included, as well as other factors.

Either way, the money spent on SEO is always worth it. Short pages are great for conveying information in seconds, and longer pages are essential for success in search engines. Using a strategic mix of these two types of pages can dramatically increase your traffic, and therefore potentially your customer base!

 

Maintenance

When an e-commerce site goes live, your expenses do not end. Indeed, any website requires support and regular updates in order to function properly and remain fully operational.

The maintenance of an e-commerce site includes the repair of any bugs that appear, the introduction of new elements on certain parts of your site and the general maintenance of your site.

Without maintenance, it is only a matter of time before an e-commerce site encounters problems such as a payment bug, a graphic error on product images or even non-responsive pages.

 

How much does the maintenance of an e-commerce cost?

Certainly, the price of maintaining larger and more complex websites is higher than that of simple ones.

However, as a general rule, the cost of maintaining an e-commerce site amounts to between 3 and 10% of the revenue it generates in a year. So, if your business generates €1 million in revenue from its e-shop, you should expect to spend at least €30,000 a year to maintain it.

 

Summary of the main costs of creating an e-commerce site in 2021-2022

This list will give you an idea of the combined costs that may be applicable to your situation.

  • Design and construction:
    > between 2 000€ and 5 000€ for a very basic e-commerce site from a small agency or independent, probably built on Shopify or WordPress.
    > between 20 000€ and 30 000€ for a more sophisticated e-commerce site built for you by an agency.
    > about 50 000€ for more complex projects with a Magento type solution.
    > 100 000 € and more when you work with 360° agencies on complex technologies.
  • .NET domain name
    > Between 5 and 15€ /year.
  • Hosting (unless you are using a hosted e-commerce solution like Shopify) :
    > from 300 to 2 000€ / year depending on variables such as the e-commerce CMS used, the number of products, pages and the anticipated traffic of the site.
  • SSL Certificate :
    > from 9 to 500€ /year.
  • Copywriting and SEO :
    > from 50 to 500€ x number of pages to optimize.
  • Maintenance :
    > Between 3 and 10% of the revenues generated by e-commerce over a year.

 

What are the next steps in creating an e-commerce?

  • Make a list of your requirements. Consider the specific features you need.
  • Prepare information about your brand and your target customer.
  • Make a list of your online business goals.
  • Find examples of competitors whose online presence you like, and others whose online work you don’t like, so that you can provide examples to the agencies or developers you’ll be considering working with.
  • Establish a budget that includes the creation of the e-commerce site as well as the management of the maintenance after the launch.
  • Look for web agencies that have in-house designers and developers.
  • Provide your documents to the final candidates and ask for their recommendations and estimates. Ask for a formal proposal.
  • Compare the estimates and interviews of the various agencies selected and check their references.

 

In conclusion, with so many variables to consider, budgeting for an e-commerce website development project for your business can be a bit confusing.

Creating an e-commerce site can cost anywhere from €5,000 to €500,000, so it’s important to know the factors that go into the price. The cost will ultimately be determined by how you want your e-commerce site to work.

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