There are lots of very vague guides online as to how much an ecommerce website costs and a quick google search will result in answers ranging from $500 and $50,000+ and while these technically aren’t wrong, they also aren’t particularly helpful.
So, I thought I would crunch the numbers and try and come up with a more data driven post.
How Much does an Ecommerce Website Cost?
The average monthly cost for the basic package of a hosted ecommerce platform is $24.49 or $257.67 if paid for annually. Across all packages offered by the main hosted ecommerce platforms, the average monthly cost is $82.87 or $887.47 if paid for annually.
How was this Calculated?
First off, for this post, I only looked at fully hosted ecommerce platforms as they all offer a range of plans, which can be used to create an average and the platforms selected for this post are:
This can’t be said of self-hosted platforms such as WordPress + WooCommerce, Opencart or even Magento as the variables on these platforms vary so much. For example, web hosting alone can range from around $5 a month to over $1,500 a month, let alone the vast number of hosting companies that are out there and it is for this reason, why I haven’t included any of these self-hosted options in this post.
To calculate the average price, I took the monthly cost of all the packages offered by the 8 most popular hosted ecommerce platforms in North America and you can see all of this information in the table below:
|Basic Package||Mid Package||Top Package|
The average for all of the packages listed in the table above, comes out at $82.87.
I also looked at the average price if the packages are paid for annually as nearly all platforms offer a discount when packages are purchased annually.
|Basic Package||Mid Package||Top Package|
The average annual price for all of the packages listed is $887.47.
What About Apps & Themes?
So the first part of this post is just looking at how much the platforms themselves will cost you to use on a monthly basis but most ecommerce websites will incur additional costs in the form of Apps and Themes but how much can these cost?
While all the platforms come ready to go out of the box, many ecommerce stores will probably need some form of additional functionality or integrations at some point and this is where Apps come in, but how much can these cost?
To find out, I went through all of the Apps offered by the platforms I listed above to find out the price range of the apps that they offer, for this table I just looked at the monthly recurring costs of the apps.
Due to the constant evolving nature of app stores, the number of apps and pricing are subject to change but were correct as of writing this post
|Number of Apps||Cheapest App||Most Expensive|
Unfortunately, I am not able to provide prices for Squarespace as accessing their Apps requires an account or Big Cartel because all of the Apps require signing up to an account with the App provider. I could also only provide a from number for Volusion as none of the apps listed all of the packages available for the app.
Just to show you I haven’t plucked the highest numbers out of thin air, below is a list of the most expensive apps:
- Shopify: Yaguara
- Bigcommerce: Shiphero
- Shift4shop: Riskified
- Ecwid: Stamped.io
- Wix: Google Ads by StoreYa
The majority of the apps available for most platforms generally range between $0 and $100, with many being available below $50.
Some platforms, mainly Bigcommerce and Shift4shop do have apps that require up front payments and the most expensive App I found was the NCR Counterpoint app from Bigcommerce, which had an upfront payment of $5,000 and then recurring payments of $495/m.
Another cost associated with building an ecommerce website is buying a theme or template for your website, so that you can make your website fit your brands look and style.
In the table below are the theme selection options and prices for the platforms already listed in this post:
|Free Themes||Paid Themes||Cost|
|9||64||$100 – $180|
|12||152||$150 – $300|
Now these are just the themes available directly from the platforms, some platforms such as Shopify and Bigcommerce do have themes that are made by third-party developers that can be bought directly from the developer or third-party marketplaces such as Themeforest.
Design & Development Time
The biggest potential cost when it comes to an ecommerce website is employing the services of a designer or developer and according to Upwork, developers can range from $30 – $150 per hour.
The cost of the design or development time is very much dependant on what work is required, a simple change or line of code may only require a couple of hours of work, where as a complete website design may take days or possibly a couple of weeks or custom functionality may take a few weeks to write from scratch and then test to make sure it will work on a live store.
One piece of advice when choosing a designer or developer is to not go for the cheapest as it might end up costing you more in the long run as there is usually a reason why they are the cheapest. It is often more cost effective to pay a bit more to start with but go with an individual or company that has a good reputation and checkable history of work.
Website Cost Calculator
I have thrown a few facts and figures at you in this post but I thought I would create a simple calculator that you can use to help you quickly get a rough idea of how much your website is going to cost for a year.
Just a couple of points about how the calculator works:
- Platform Monthly Cost and App Monthly Cost are both multiplied by 12 to give an annual cost.
- The designer/developer hourly rate is multiplied by the specified number of hours.
- If you just want to figure out your design/development costs, then just enter the hourly rate and number of hours and leave the rest of the calculator blank.
This was quite a challenging post to write as the simple answer to how much does an ecommerce website cost is basically the same as asking how long is a piece of string, this is because there are so many variables as each ecommerce website has their own specific requirements.
But I hope this post and the calculator above has helped you understand some of the costs of using a hosted ecommerce platform to build an ecommerce website.
To get an exact figure of how much the site you require will cost, either ask the platform directly as many do all custom work in house or with platforms such as Shopify or Bigcommerce, you can hire a third-party developer who specialises in building sites using these platforms and they will be able to give you a more precise figure.