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How much does an eCommerce website cost to build?

how much does an eCommerce website cost to build?

So you’ve got a rock-solid business idea. But how much is it going to cost you to take what’s inside your head and turn it into a beautiful, fully-functioning online store?

The short answer: it depends.

Because every eCommerce website is unique, it’s difficult to pinpoint exact costs from the get-go. But once you know the factors behind website development costs overall, you can get a clearer idea of the budget you’ll need to start an online store,

In this blog, we’ll break down all the major aspects of eCommerce website costs and explore strategies to keep your costs to a minimum when launching your online business idea.

button to launch your Wix eCommerce store

5 top factors that impact eCommerce website costs

01. Number of pages

One of the biggest defining variables is the size of your store. Most eCommerce websites will grow to have hundreds of pages, spanning category pages, product detail pages, and other purposeful landing pages.

In general, the more pages you have, the most costs you may incur in terms of website storage, bandwidth, and design. While you may not know the exact number of page you’ll need, start by asking yourself these key questions:

  • How many categories and products do you plan on launching with?

  • How many product variations do you anticipate having?

  • What content does your site need to include?

  • How do competitors lay out their site?

02. Design and user experience (UX)

A whopping 94% of shoppers’ first impressions specifically relate to your website’s design, according to WebFX. That means that nearly every customer expects to see a beautiful, well-branded site—which may, in turn, require the touch of a highly skilled web designer.

But rather than just creating an eye-catching website, you’ll want to build an eCommerce store that’s also user-friendly. That’s where your site’s UX comes in. The ultimate goal of your site’s UX design is to reduce the number of clicks (or taps) it takes for a shopper to find a product and complete a purchase.

In eCommerce, successful UX involves a number of things: easy-to-navigate menus, detailed product images, mobile-friendly pages, smooth checkout, and more. Depending on the complexity of your site, your design and development costs may vary.

Quick tip: If you’re not sure where to start with UX, check out other retailer’s sites and study how they use navigation menus, breadcrumbs, search bars, filters, buttons, and other elements to remove friction from the buying experience.

03. Web hosting

There are two basic options for web hosting: self-hosting or hosting via a software as a service (SaaS) platform.

  • If you choose to self-host, you’ll need to pay for a domain name, hosting fees, and an SSL certificate. A domain name can cost between $10 to $20 annually. Dedicated third-party hosting can run you $85 to $750 per month. And an SSL certificate runs an average of $60 per year. In addition, you’ll need to add a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal to design your site, add your products, and maintain your site. In general, self-hosted costs are far less predictable than SaaS costs, which are more structured and all-inclusive.

  • If you choose a SaaS model, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee—typically between $20 to $200/month. In most cases, that fee will include free hosting. Wix for eCommerce, for example, starts its pricing with a Business Basic tier at $27/month. This tier includes web hosting, a free custom domain name for one year, and a free SSL certificate. You also get a drag-and-drop website editor that lets you handle content management without needing to know how to code.

04. Custom features and eCommerce functionality

A self-hosted or SaaS platform will give you the basics you need to create a website. However, an eCommerce site requires much more. You’ll need to connect your site to payment gateways, fulfillment options, promotion tools, and other functionality that transforms your site into a store.

Some eCommerce platforms like Wix include many built-in features. Others require many plug-ins and integrations to work.

Plugins range from free to anywhere between $40 and $500 on average. A few popular plug-in examples:

  • QuickBooks Connector - The app lets you automate your accounting by syncing site sales to an existing QuickBooks account. It’s free to install and comes with a 30-day free trial. After the trial period, you’ll need to pay subscription fees that range between $30 to $200 a month.

  • Price Table - This plug-in lets you create side-by-side price tables on your website. It’s free to install and runs between $3.19 and $12/69 a month.

  • Modalyst - A popular dropshipping and print-on-demand platform, Modalyst is free to download but charges between $30 and $67 per month, depending on your subscription plan. (However, with a Wix Business Unlimited or Business VIP plan, you can gain access to Modalyst at no extra charge.)

Payment gateways also bring some downstream costs. Most of the top payment apps charge you 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Make sure to factor these ongoing expenses into your overall eCommerce website budget.

05. Maintenance and support

In addition to calculating how much it costs to build and launch an eCommerce website, you must set aside money for regular maintenance and support.

You can either handle maintenance in-house or hire a web developer to do it. Maintenance will include items like site improvements, updates, bug fixes, and new pages.

Your maintenance plan should further embrace these crucial considerations:

  • Website speed - As you add products to your site, you run the risk of slowing down your site, which is one major reason why eCommerce sites fail. Proper maintenance will help you launch new content without crippling your website’s performance. Considering how an improvement of just one-tenth of a second in mobile load times can produce 8.4% more conversions—site speed matters.

  • Website security - Almost 75% of the data breach cases investigated by Visa in early 2022 involved eCommerce companies. That’s why routine updates, security checks, and patches are a must-have for your online store. Staunch security will help keep your data—and your customer’s data—safe from hackers and ensure your website stays up and running.

So, how much does an eCommerce site really cost?

Your total costs will depend on all the factors listed above, plus other considerations like your website copy (who will write all the copy for your pages?), product photography, SEO strategy, and more. It will also depend on whether you plan on building your eCommerce site on your own, engaging web developers (among other professionals), or hiring an agency to do the work for you.

These variables mean that there are no hard-and-fast numbers, but these ranges can help you start budgeting more wisely:

Small store (1 to 99 products)

  • Cost to start on average: $1,000 - $5,000

  • Maintenance costs: $500 - $1000

Medium-sized store (100 to 499 products)

  • Cost to start on average: $5,000 - $10,000

  • Maintenance costs: $1,000 - $2000

Large store (500+ products)

  • Cost to start on average: $10,000 - $50,000+

  • Maintenance costs: $2,000 - $10,000+

3 smart strategies to control eCommerce website building costs

How can you stay at the lower end of cost ranges—or even come in under the averages—when you build an eCommerce site? These four strategies can help you save some money without impacting quality or design.

01. Use pre-made templates

When it comes to creating the perfect look for your eCommerce website, you have two options: You can pay a web designer to create a custom design for you. Or, you can use a pre-made template built specifically for eCommerce.

Paying a designer will run you about $75/hour on average. (You can find talented and ready-to-hire web designers on the Wix Marketplace.)

Alternatively, you can purchase pre-designed templates, which are usually free or, at most, a couple hundred bucks.

Considering how website developers may charge as much as $3,000 for a mobile-optimized website, templates tend to be more affordable and easier, especially if you’re starting with a smaller site.

Wix offers hundreds of designer-made online store templates for various types of business. Check out 27 of the best eCommerce website templates.

02. Choose the right platform

Using a SaaS-hosted platform will save you money on hosting, domain registration, and an SSL certificate. However, not all platforms are created equal.

Some require many more plugins than others to create a fully functioning store. Others are simply clunkier, and more difficult to use. So, as you shop for the right eCommerce platform, make sure to ask the right questions:

  • Does the platform allow me to customize the look and feel of my site according to my brand’s specific needs?

  • Does the platform support my desired payment solution(s)? Do I need to be able to connect it to a POS or enable other special features, like recurring payments?

  • Will the platform give me the storage space I need to get started and the additional capacity I’ll need to scale my business appropriately?

  • Does it integrate with my preferred sales channels and apps (e.g., the marketplaces I sell on, or my inventory software)?

  • Can it help me win back customers with abandoned cart recovery features and other marketing tools?

  • Does the platform include easy-to-reach customer support in case of emergency?

Shameless plug: If you’re wondering “is Wix good for eCommerce?” the answer is yes. When you choose to build your eCommerce website with Wix, you get access to secure online payments, a minimum of 50GB of storage space, and unlimited products. Then, as your business grows, you can scale up your subscription plan and get added services, such as dropshipping, product reviews, and automations.

03. Prioritize necessary features

Consider how when you buy a new car, you can save money by being selective of the features or option packages that you actually need.

The same principle applies to building an online store. You’ll want to spend most of your budget on the need-to-have features. When you’re first starting out, focus on pages and features that are most likely to drive sales:

  • Product category pages

  • Individual product pages

  • Multiple payment gateways

  • Simplified checkout

  • Integrated site search tools

  • “Related products” widgets that drive cross-sells and upsells

  • Technical SEO to help people find your site

Once the basics are in place, you can start budgeting for add-ons. Most eCommerce platforms will offer you hundreds of apps that you can integrate into your online store whenever you’d like. These apps make it easy and cost-effective for you to scale your store as customer demand increases.

Inside the Wix App Market, you’ll find 500+ powerful solutions for coupons, accounting, fulfillment, warehousing, print on demand, and more.

Are you ready to build your online store the smart way?

Before you start to write a single product description for your online store, do your homework. Compare your options. Ask for quotes. Test out several eCommerce platforms for size.

Don’t rush the process or simply jump on the cheapest quote. Rather, understand how far your money will get you and make a well-informed decision.

If you decide Wix for eCommerce is your best option, sign up today.

Allison Lee

Allison Lee

Editor-in-Chief, Wix

Allison is the editor-in-chief at Wix, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

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