How much does an e-commerce site cost ?
So you have seen offers of building an e-commerce site from “FREE” to €1+ million. What the hell is going on and how to make sense of this.
Take the smallest 10 product ecommerce site.
The prime ingredient in any site build is time and skills.
How much time do I need to setup ?
To configure any type of ecommerce site from scratch for an experienced website builder doing the following items.
- applying a template to a production standard that does not look crappy. 16-24 hours. ( you need to remake all the generic banners )
- configuring tax and shipping rules for every country 4 hours
- setting up and testing payments 2 hours ( paypal or stripe )
- setting up a merchant credit card account ( days with the bank )
- inserting product 60-80 minutes per product minimum
- you need good images ( 15 minutes to edit and crop )
- you need good unique content ( 30 minutes to write good content )
- you need to optimise each product for the keywords ( 30 minutes to research the keywords )
- you need to enter in the price and the tax rates ( 2 minutes )
- you may need to enter in the product options like sizes and colours ( 10 minutes depending on the variants. E.G. Small Medium Large xLarge xxLarge). Rings would take longer. 25 sizes x 4 metal types x 12 types of birth stone , that is 1200 variants on 1 product !
We estimate a basic ecommerce website design site whether it be opensource or saas based will take a minimum of 80-120 hours to setup, not including product insertion.
If its your first time and you are doing this yourself put aside 200 hours. It may seem excessive but to get the production values just right, it will take alot of laps and re-dos. Our current website has over 275 hours on the clock for this current version. We are adding time every week.
You need a domain
.coms are around €10 per year.
You need hosting
Cheap hosting comes in from €60 a year but this will be slow and will hinder your ranking. To get good quality fast ecommerce hosting is essential, expect to pay €450 a year. Or you can go for a dedicated managed server at about €400 a month and you will be the fastest site possible.
How much to market my e-commerce site ?
Depending on the competition of the keywords you could spend 8 hours a week for months on end trying to get to the top of google.
Time writing guest blogs per week 3 hours
Paying social influencers to promote product. ( can be as high as €10k a shout out, but as low as €50 )
Paying for click ads on Google and Social media sites. Depends on the cost per click. Expect a 2-3% click through to a sale.
- Example : to sell a €100 product I may have to buy 33 clicks @ €2 a click, that is €66 advertising spend for a €100 sale. Be careful do your homework. That is why SEO is so important. Organic ranking is key.
Be Careful not to give away your business intelligence in the pursuit of cost saving.
Selling on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy allows your customer data and sales information to be seen by others. See our blog on this. 6 easy ways to lose your business intelligence.
Your e-commerce site is your sales person 24/7
If you paid a sales person too cheaply you would not get as a good a result as one who is paid more and then on commission sales. Same goes for a website.
No e-commerce sites are free, they all cost time.
To build a site of any kind requires time. The cost of that time is the key to the cost of the site. We all have finite time so do you have a spare 200 hours to build a site ? Maybe you do. If so remember that you have to put a value on your time.
The cheapest you are going to do is a Saas store where you pay a monthly fee and a % of sales. You will have to set the site up yourself 100%. There are downsides to this.
Where the Smart Money is
The smart way is to build an on premise store and get a professional to ecommerce design and build this. Most professionals who are going to give you a good design and after care service will take from 100 – 300+ hours to do this depending on the number of features.
How Much ?
How much ? Hours X your developers hourly rate. If you are being quoted round figure like €2500 or $10,000 then forget them, they have not done their homework and are guessing. There is no place for guessing in ecommerce. It just does not work this way. The more expensive per hour generally the better the quality. Look at the companies ecommerce design portfolio before getting a quote.
Search for sites where they have their signature that are not in their portfolio.
Alot of design companies show their best work. If they are doing shabby design you want to ask them about this too. Maybe the client insisted, but its interesting to get an answer.
Contact some of their ecommece companies customers for references.
Remember there are Ecommerce Grants available too.
Read our extensive ecommerce startup guide.