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How Much Does an E-commerce Website Cost? [2021 Overview]

Updated 01 Dec 2021

Published 07 Apr 2020

17 Min

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What’s the average cost of e-commerce website? It’s hard to tell as too many factors influence the price: features, design, integrations. Especially if you’re going for custom development, not some ready-made templates.

That’s why we’ve made a guide explaining how to estimate an e-commerce website cost, what influences it, and what are the MVP features for this type of sites. And we’re going to start with the most interesting part – average e-commerce website cost.

Why Invest in E-Commerce Websites?

First, let's see if it makes sense to develop your own custom trading website. Statistics say yes, definitely worth it. According to analysts, the size of the entire e-commerce industry will exceed $6.5 trillion in 2023. This clearly demonstrates that every year more businesses start their development paths in this direction and invest in creating their websites. As a result, overall e-commerce sales also rise.

E-commerce market sales

E-commerce industry market prospects

E-commerce websites are very popular among ordinary Internet users, and every year, more and more purchases are made on the Internet than in standard stores. All thanks to the incredible convenience that online shopping provides. In addition, online websites allow you to make purchases any day of the week and at any time of the day, which also boosts the number of sales. Analysts say that by 2040, about 95% of all purchases will be made through e-commerce platforms.

However, why invest in a custom store? Why not make a small e-commerce store using website builders with ready-made templates? There are several reasons for this, which stem from the main advantages of custom solutions:

Trustworthiness

Even though the website builders have pretty templates, they will be the basis for more than just your store. This approach will make the client think that you do not care much about your business or that you are a one-day shop that has decided not to spend money on custom design and features.

Unlimited possibilities

With a custom website, you can bring to life any of your ideas and features that will serve the good for your business. Any functional integration and technology can be implemented in order to fulfill the tasks of your store. Meanwhile, template websites have fairly limited functionality, which is enough to start a business but not enough to fully compete in the market.

Tailored design

No matter how many different templates there are, you can never find the perfect one that would showcase the color palette, idea, and mood of your particular brand. A custom website frees your hands and allows you to create a design that will 100% associate with your business.

SEO optimized

When developing your own website, you can take into account search engine optimization, which will give you a great boost in traffic immediately after the release of the site. However, templates provide only the most basic settings, which may not be enough for a successful e-commerce website launch.

Ongoing support

The situation in the e-commerce market is dynamic, and no one knows what will be in trend in a month. As a result, you must be ready to implement various changes and updates in order to have a competitive edge. You can lay the foundation for customization in your website, while the template-based platform only provides a standard set of features without any extensions.

Average E-commerce Website Design Pricing

In short, a custom e-commerce web design cost may range from $26,400 to $99,700 and up. That’s true for websites developed from scratch, not built with some ready-made templates (which may work well but for short-term needs).

Now, let's figure out where an e-commerce website cost comes from. To make it even more clear, we suggest splitting e-commerce websites by their complexity, from simple sites to more complex platforms. Large e-commerce sites have to be well-architected to cope with high loads and rank well on search engines. It (and many other points like unique design) is what makes e-commerce site costs go up.

By the way, the tech stack also changes from project to project – a simple website may not need push notifications or coupons, but it’s hard to imagine a large-size platform that doesn’t have these features.

Explaining how your tech stack may look like in our ‘How to Choose Tech Stack for a Web App’ guide.

Types of E-Commerce Websites

As we mentioned above, there are several different types of e-commerce websites that differ in directions, way of doing business, and complexity. Therefore, your platform choice will directly affect the final price tag of developing a digital solution.

Single brand website

These e-commerce platforms are among the most common and fairly easy to develop, as such websites sell products of only one brand. This approach narrows down the possible functionality since to start a website, it is enough to create a storefront with products, listings, and the ability to add them, as well as a basket with checkout and you are ready to go.

Great examples of such websites are the platforms of brand giants as Puma, Nike, Lego, and many others. For example, when you visit the Nike website, you will see clothing and footwear produced only by this brand.

Online retailers

This type of platform is the basis for various large stores selling goods of other brands. Such websites are more difficult to develop since there are a lot more products in assortment, which requires additional work with the server-side to make the website work smoothly.

A good example of a retailer is Dick's Sporting Goods store that specializes in sportswear. The store does not produce its own goods but is engaged in purchasing from famous brands and selling them in its store. For example, the website contains clothing from sports companies such as Columbia, NorthFace, Patagonia, and many others.

Marketplaces

The last type of e-commerce website is a giant platform where private entrepreneurs and sellers can put their products up for sale. The most popular marketplaces are Amazon and Etsy. They give private sellers full control over their account, its performance (on-site analytics of sales, returns, refunds), and so on. Besides, sellers can control the prices of their products, communicate with customers, manage shipping, and more.

Such websites are the most difficult to develop. In addition to huge server capacities, they require implementing complex features, such as analytics, stock control, shipping management, and much more.

Types of e-commerce stores

Popular e-commerce platform types

E-Commerce Website Cost and What Affects It

To keep it short, there are a few major cost-drivers:

  • Number of features and their complexity
  • Complexity of website design
  • Number of 3rd party integrations
  • Developers and their location

Let’s discuss each of them.

Features: Number and Complexity

It’s pretty easy: as your website grows, so do tech requirements. And the cost to make an e-commerce website.

Screens, buttons, fields, logic – when it comes to pricing, all these matter a lot. Besides, devs often need to use third-party APIs (e.g. to integrate payment systems or social login) or code from scratch.

Development cost here and below is estimated at $50/h (rates in Ukraine, Eastern Europe)

We’re going to calculate the cost of e-commerce website development by features in the next part of the article. But here’s a list of pages our clients often ask about:

  • Main page
  • Shopping cart
  • Favorites
  • Check out
  • Blog
  • Category pages
  • Product pages

And the features:

  • Integration with payment systems (Stripe, PayPal)
  • Push notifications
  • Recently viewed products
  • Products’ rates and reviews
  • Search bar with filters
  • Admin panel

Custom Website Design

Same with e-commerce website design cost: the more sophisticated the design is, the more time it takes. After all, design isn’t all about pretty looks but also about making the select-buy process simple, fast, and clear for customers. Or even encouraging them to buy some products.

Besides, if you want to include some animations or have a choice between 2-3 visual concepts (designers need time to get them ready), be ready to face a higher e-commerce website cost.

One more thing: you may want your website look good on mobile devices. There’s a good reason for that: in 2021, 72.9% of all purchases will be done from smarthphones.

That’s why you may want to add adaptive web design to the list of web development services. It makes web pages render well on different devices, including smartphones (so you won’t need to build native iOS and Android apps for mobile users).

Number of 3rd Party Integrations

If you plan to integrate third-party tools to handle payments, add a live chat or customize shipping options, be ready to face a higher e-commerce website design cost. Let’s start with must-have payment integrations – Stripe and PayPal.

Stripe takes 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge. Same with PayPal, but they also charge 5% + .05¢ for payments under $10.

Want a robot to call or SMS your customers? Or send them messages in WhatsApp? Twilio APIs, programmable voice or SMS is quite a good option. Let's see Twilio starting prices:

  • $0.0042 to send a WhatsApp message
  • $0.0075 to send or receive an SMS
  • $0.0085/min to receive and $0.013/min to make a call

Again, devs need time to integrate it (not much though).

Last example, emails. You’ll surely need them if you’re going to infom customers about their orders being collected or shipped. We use Amazon email sending service (Amazon SES). They charge $0 for the first 62,000 emails you send each month, and $0.10 for every 1,000 emails you send after that.

E-commerce website integrations

E-commerce site development cost: 3-rd party services

Developers and Their Location

Software development services in Eastern Europe cost less then in United States, Canada or Western Europe.

Here are the hourly rates in world’s biggest tech hubs.

Cost to build e-commerce website in different countries

CountryCost per hour, $

Canada

$100 - $149

United States

$100 - $149

Israel

$100 - $149

Australia

$100 - $149

Sweden

$100 - $149

UK

$50 - $99

Germany

$50 - $99

Norway

$50 - $99

Switzerland

$50 - $99

Latin America

$30-50

Ukraine

$25-50

Yet big price doesn’t necessarily mean big quality, and it may not matter from which country your devs are from – United States, UK, or Ukraine.

Nevertheless, if you want to get the highest quality of services at a low price, we advise you to pay attention to Eastern Europe and its most popular tech hub - Ukraine. This country rightfully takes its place in the top ten countries actively pursuing IT reforms and is a leader in offshore development. In addition, Ukraine has the following advantages that make it an attractive place for IT outsourcing:

  • Wide pool of developers. Currently, Ukraine is in third place in Eastern Europe in terms of the number of developers, and the trend will continue in the coming years. Analysts predict that the number of IT professionals will reach 242,000 by 2025.
  • Cost-effectiveness. This country is a real gift for those who want quality IT services at a low price. Companies in Ukraine charge from $25 - $50 per working hour, while in other regions prices are 2-3 times higher.
  • Trade openness. Ukraine has a visa-free regime with Western Europe and a time difference of only 1 hour, which makes this country convenient to visit if you want to personally control the development process. In addition, the country conducts trade with the EU and EFTA countries, uses English as a working language, has the same working values ​​as Western countries, which also contributes to fruitful and comfortable cooperation.
Website rates in biggest tech hubs

E-commerce website development cost in biggest tech hubs

Additional Cost Drivers

Despite the main costs listed above, owning a website imposes several additional, but no less important items to the list of expenses. Therefore, you should also take them into account when designing your own e-commerce website.

Domain name

Any business must have a memorable domain name, and getting one for your website will cost money. A domain name is your company's home in the internet world. Quality domains range in price from $5 to $10 per year. However, if you want a short domain with ".com" at the end, be prepared to pay from $15 per year. In addition, you should know that domain ownership contracts are often signed for up to 10 years, which allows you to dispose of your domain as you please.

Hosting

Hosting is the backbone of your website, without which you will not host your business on the Internet. You host your platform on vendor’s servers that provide access to users for your business and services, as well as support in case of disruptions. The ideal option for a business is finding a hosting that will allow you to host a website created from scratch. However, you should keep in mind that such hosting services cost a lot of money. And most importantly, never skimp on hosting. The cheaper the price, the higher the chance of work interruptions and poor customer support from the vendor. However, hosting prices range from $75 to $10,000 per year.

SSL certificate

An SSL certificate is a digital signature that enables a secure, encrypted connection between a website and a browser using the HTTPS protocol. In turn, HTTPS uses the SSL or TLS cryptographic protocol to encrypt the transmitted data. This certificate is extremely important for e-commerce websites, as you will be working with users’ personal data and other confidential information that needs protection from interception by third parties. The cost of such a certificate ranges from $6 to $150.

Maintenance

An e-commerce website thrown on its own won't last long. As a result, you need constant technical support, and your budget should include the costs for it. The support includes salaries for admins who manage the website and its functionality, various updates that bring new features, solutions to emerging technical problems, and much more. If you don't take care of these things, your platform will quickly lose its competitive edge. Support costs also vary and can range from $500 to $12,000 per month.

Marketing

Finally, if nobody knows about your website - it doesn’t exist. That's why you must add marketing expenses to the list. This category includes various services needed to promote your online store and fill it with content that will be optimized for search engines. Proper optimization will help you generate organic traffic, and with it, leads. The list of marketing costs includes:

  • Pay-per-click advertising. This is a form of online advertising in which ads that are relevant to the content attract users to the website. In this case, payment will be made for the "click" of users interested in your service. The service is also known as PPC, context advertising, or contextual advertising. The cost of such advertising varies greatly and depends on how demanded keywords are.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). This is a set of work on developing the site, changing its environment, analyzing user behavior, and improving the website’s position for various target requests. Roughly speaking, you permeate all the content of the site with relevant keywords that show search engines that your business benefits ordinary users and deserves to be above the rest of the websites in the search results. The cost of such services is usually around $300- $1,500 per month.

  • Copywriting. In order to correctly place keywords on the website, you need to fill it with content. Copywriters are engaged in creating articles, product descriptions, landing pages, and other works related to creating text. The standard price tag per article starts at $50.

  • Social media marketing (SMM). Don't forget about social networks and your image on them. SMM helps to get closer to your audience. Specialists in this industry generate content and promote your brand on popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. The service cost of a good SMM specialist starts from $400 per month.

Extra e-commerce website expenses

Extra things you must pay for when managing an e-commerce website

E-Commerce Website Cost: Estimate by Features

Your websites’ content, design, and domain name surely matter. However, features that you're planning to implement for the website will take up most of the budget.

How much to build an e-commerce website? Let’s see what development modules are there.

Cost to create an e-commerce website (development only)

ModuleGeneral featuresApprox time (hours)

Registration

  • Register using email and password
  • Login using social media
  • Forgot password
  • Logout

56

Main screen

  • Watched products
  • Last purchased products
  • Popular products

96

Catalog screen

  • List of categories

24

Product details screen

  • Photo slider
  • Rate
  • Add review

64

Cart

  • List of products
  • Checkout

112

Profile

  • Edit profile
  • Orders
  • Payment screen

64

Help screen

  • Terms and conditions
  • About company
  • Feedback form

32

Push notifications

  • Notifications

16

Analytics integration

  • Google Analytics (or another per request)

16

Total development time

480 hours

All e-commerce projects require a thoughtful admin panel for managing items, users, and giving different access levels to employees. Keep that in mind to accurately calculate e-commerce website development costs.

Admin panel development cost

ModuleGeneral featuresApprox time (hours)

Authorization

  • Sing up
  • Sign out

8

User management

  • List of users
  • User details
  • Create user
  • Search user

120

Item management

  • List of items
  • Create item
  • Delete, edit, search items

104

Requests

  • List of requests
  • Details screen
  • Change request status

72

Export products

  • From Shopify or other places per request

80

Payment management

  • Manage payments

40

Voucher management

  • Manage vouchers

32

Total development time

456 hours

In the tables above you can see an approximate development time by modules telling that developers will spend about 936 hours in total to implement those modules. Dividing that time into smaller parts (called sprints), we'll get about six development iterations. Keep in mind that software developers aren't the only specialists you need on a team to build such a complex product.

Here's the full team composition you'll need:

  • Front-end developer (2X) - all sprints
  • Back-end developer (2X) - all sprints
  • UI/UX designer - sprint 1-5
  • Business Analyst - sprint 1-5
  • Project Manager - all sprints
  • QA engineer - all sprints
  • DevOps engineer - all sprints
  • Team lead - all sprints

Given that team composition and the amount of work, it'll cost you approximately $99,700 to build the e-commerce website described in the table. As a software service provider, we can guarantee successful product delivery within a specified time frame only if all needed specialists are on the team.

The tables that we have shown you are just a rough estimate, the accuracy of which can range from 75 to 25%. The main purpose of such an estimate is to show you the amount of money you approximately should count on and outline development stages. As a result, you shouldn't regard this estimate as something unchanging. As soon as we delve into the discovery phase and analyze your specific idea and learn all the details, the numbers may change. However, we can immediately calculate a more accurate e-commerce website cost as soon as we know your project thoroughly.

Learn more about the discovery phase - the essential stage of any software development process

A detailed estimate is a 100% calculation of the development cost, which is agreed with the developers who will participate in creating the project. It includes all your requirements, technologies that will be implemented, wireframes, and other elements that outline your future product. If you have detailed documentation, we can calculate a detailed estimate in just a couple of days, and you will know the exact cost of developing your e-commerce website.

The price can also change drastically depending on your requirements. If you want to save some budget, there's a team augmentation model available. Choosing it, you simply hire as many developers as you need for the project and manage them on your own. However, you bear full responsibility for the result choosing team augmentation.

Get a custom estimate

Looking for an accurate estimate? Our tech experts will estimate your e-commerce project for free.

Tech Stack of an E-Commerce Website

What's more, I've asked our developers to make a list of technologies they would use to build such an e-commerce website. Let's see the tech stack.

Frontend:

  • Angular + Angular Universal (server-side rendering engine for SEO purposes)
  • UI components library like Twitter Bootstrap, Angular Material, or Semantic UI

Backend:

  • Nodejs + TypeScript
  • PostgreSQL or MySQL as the main database with Sequelize as ORM
  • Elasticsearch as full-text search engine
  • Redis as cache
  • BullMQ as the message broker

Integrations:

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as file storage
  • Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES)
  • Paypal, Stripe, Adyen, etc. for payments
  • Firebase Cloud Messaging for notifications
  • Login via social media API (Facebook, Gmail, Twitter)
Tech stack for building an e-commerce website

Full e-commerce website tech stack

Cleveroad Expertise

Cleveroad is a professional provider of custom digital solutions based in Ukraine - one of the most famous outsourcing destinations in Eastern Europe. For over ten years, we have been helping businesses of various industries acquire new technologies that boost their overall performance and help them reach new heights. In our arsenal we have:

  • 10+ years on the market
  • 120+ in-house engineers
  • 170+ successful projects

Our flexible e-commerce website pricing approach allows any business to get a custom software product. All thanks to various cooperation models created for the convenience of the client and meeting financial expectations. One such model is Time and Material.

This cooperation model allows you to start working on a project without having an exact scope of future work. Development takes place according to the following algorithm:

  • We provide you with a demo of the completed functionality and sprint reports for your approval and feedback.

  • If you would like to change something in the current sprint, we will deal with the implementation of the changes in the next one. Each request is documented and the total time required for their development is calculated.

  • If we do not meet deadlines, you will receive a bill only for the completed part of the work.

We build secure and converting e-stores for our clients and make a heavy focus on personalized customer experience.

It's always better to see once, though, so here's a case that recently expanded our portfolio. It’s a P2P website called AYIO that offers services in many fields – from travel to plumbing. We’ve included in it everything that a true e-commerce platform needs: a complex search system with categories, payment handling (we used Stripe), tracking of income and expenses, and many more features.

See your future e-commerce website?

We’ll calculate its cost for FREE. Just contact us and desribe the idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

From $20,150 to $28,800 and up only to develop the features. The exact cost depends on how complex your website is going to be, whether you need custom UI design, 3-rd party integrations, and additional services.

It depends on how much additional services cost. They usually include:

  • Domain name ($10 to $20/annualy)
  • Hosting ($100 to $200)
  • SSL certificate ($6 to $150)
  • Website maintenance ($500 to $12,000)
  • Marketing($1200 to $3000)

A simple e-commerce website will cost $20,150+ for features and about $3,250 for custom UI/UX design. More complex functionality will cost ~$28,800.

$3,250 for simple website design. If you want to add adaptive web design for mobile devices, it’ll cost 30% of the front-end part, not including the admin panel.

  • Must-have features: registration, user profile, main page, product pages, catalog, shopping cart, and help screen.
  • Additional features: wist list, analytics, social login, blog, push notifications.

There's no one-size-fits-all formula. But things like expert UI/UX design services, simple checkout, wish list, automatic emails, and a website blog may greatly help.

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