How much does it cost to launch an eCommerce website

“How much does an eCommerce website cost?” — the topical question arises more and more often. 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 cost for me?” has no simple answer. There are different complex parts that should be considered to make any conclusion.

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

Four global leaders handle more than half of 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 at each one:


Launched in 2011 as a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress websites, it allows using most of the features any e-Store requires. Moreover, there are various extensions to use for special needs. They may be acquired for 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 ones (which 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 starting and rising your e-Store from the beginning. Here you may find hosting, templates, blogging tools, shopping carts, social platform integration and much more:

  • No transaction fees.
  • Free downloads- and server-side setup.
  • The most positive features: no technical knowledge is needed.
  • It may be purchased for:
  • $30 per month — Basic package.
  • $46 per month — Advanced package (with just a few more extra features).


An open-source e-Commerce platform, which was developed in 2007, has already buffed lots of e-Stores worldwide. From the beginning it was noticed by giants like eBay, which bought it in 2011. But lately, it was reborn with the name “Magento Commerce” and acted independently from eBay.

  • Each feature is highly customizable (catalogue, payments, analytics, reporting etc.).
  • Downsides of Magento products require both 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 nearly 400k people around the globe. It gained such popularity because of easy and user-friendly interface and tons of guides and tutorials which help to get even deeper knowledge. The main website also contains various useful tools, themes and features for an e-Store.

  • There is such system option as ‘Point of Sale’ to move your offline store to e-Commerce.
  • An upside of Shopify is that it 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 an eStore from a simple website. But acting that way you may face a serious problem to solve because most of them don’t include all necessary functionality. 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 their own custom site development. These may be extra security measures, colossal number of pages, advanced admin panel integrated. So, in such situations websites may be developed from scratch.

When website platforms are have been 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

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

Surely, if you desire to put your hands on popular domains, which 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 from. On that step making a wise decision may save you money as well as mistakes may cost you a lot. A good estimate of the site size and its upcoming traffic will help you choose what you really need, without overpaying for capabilities you don’t use.

Meantime, reliable and fast hosting servers should be preferred, because you don’t want to lose money while servers are down. It’s quite clear that customers are less likely to shop on slow e-Stores.

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

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

Self-hosting 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 another hand, all support is also your trouble.

Development costs

The new website creation process is one of the most expensive steps. There are many ways to pass that step for free, but only self-coding is the true choice. Otherwise website drag-and-drop builders, packages or other free methods won’t be able to make an 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 of choice 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 a wide range of skills. Mostly, developing process may progress much slower, as well as end-product quality may stay questionable.

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

Freelancer developers

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

Highly skilled (especially top) freelance 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 have mostly 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 ones may have much lower rates.

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 on the company location.
 To be honest, there is one more option.

Off-shore 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 offer lower charges to become more competitive. So their charges can be seductive to customers as well.

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

eCommerce website design costs

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

A well done e-Store design would provide them with that feeling. Responsive design fits any of customers’ 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. No matter how optimised and stable the site may be, if it isn’t visually attractive, customers are unlikely to shop there.

SSL certificates

Shopping via the internet is still a bit uncomfortable among people worldwide due to security reasons. SSL makes them sure that every bit of information they send won’t be stolen while processing to the data server. And most of customers would not shop in eStore that isn’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 content management system may already be integrated into most e-Commerce platforms, others may lack it. Surely, if you choose to build a custom website, CMS will bring you additional costs.

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 the 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 ones.

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. As its platform doesn’t include that integrated feature, it should be integrated additionally. The cost may vary depending on the specific payment gateways you decide to use.

An average integration cost varies from $250 to $5,000 initially, and from $0 to $150 per month for the gateway provider.

Popular payment services are: Paypal, Authorize, SecurePay.

Number of pages

The more pages your e-Store is going to have, the more you will 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 the quantity of pages you plan to include into the website.


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

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

3rd-party fees

Despite 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 will 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:

  • A short but good SEO-optimized text to each product will provide the top position in search for highly conversive search request.
  • A long text (3k words) with interactive elements, subsections, JavaScript inserts, will help the website 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 would cost you from $50 to $500 each. The price depends on the quantity of words it includes, as well as some other factors.

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 everything you want in time. Prepare yourself to planning eCommerce business. Don’t expect high results in a short period of time.

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:

  • Lack of or poor design with logo and some images.
  • The website includes less than 10 pages and less than 100 products.
  • It has a 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:

A perfect match for those, who are seriously engaged into eCommerce business and plan to expand their e-Store, adding new products and sections:

  • Good-, or Worldclass unique design, with product photo gallery.
  • The website includes more than 25 pages and 250 products with CMS integration.
  • It has a shopping cart, more than 2 methods of payment and shipping.
  • SLL protocols are integrated.
  • Customers and admin panels are included.
  • Customers support, chatbots etc. are present as well.
  • 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 an e-Store cost?”. It’s a bit hard to talk about any eCommerce startup costs, before you familiarize yourself with the details.
 In our case, clients usually have only an idea and the main request for their future website. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough. We get most of complex explanations and information that we need through conversation and discussion in our meetings.

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