An eCommerce website is a great way to deliver a unique shopping experience compared to that visitors get in online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon. You get to personalize many different aspects, including the content, the overall design, and the progress of the customer journey.
However, one challenging step before building an eCommerce website is calculating the exact cost of the initial investment your eCommerce business will require. Without doing proper research and crafting a clear plan, you can easily end up overspending.
This article will cover the detailed costs of creating an eCommerce website and provide a step-by-step guide on how to make one yourself.
Calculating eCommerce Costs
Several aspects to look at when calculating eCommerce website costs are:
An eCommerce platform. The price range depends on the platform you choose. WooCommerce is free, but you have to buy a hosting plan beforehand, and the web hosting price can start at $2.59 per month. Meanwhile, hosted eCommerce platforms, like BigCommerce, come with the software and hosting included, and it can cost $29.95 per month for the standard plan.
- A domain name. Refers to your website’s address. A hosting service usually offers a free domain name for one year. If it doesn’t, a domain name will cost between $9 and $14.99 per year.
- Store theme and designs. Many WooCommerce themes are free, and some are premium, starting from $30. Some hosted platforms also provide free themes, and their paid themes can start from $160.
- Add-ons. Expand your eCommerce functionality, like email marketing and site analytics. In WooCommerce, the price range for add-ons and plugins is between $0 to $299, depending on the software you choose. Meanwhile, some hosted eCommerce platforms charge for the add-ons in a subscription payment model.
- Payment processing fees. Depends on the payment options, currency, and regions. Generally, online payment systems, like Stripe and PayPal, charge from 3.4% + fee per transaction. Meanwhile, the average costs for each credit card processing are between 1.3% and 3.5%.
After calculating all of the costs above, here are the estimated total costs of creating an eCommerce website:
- $500 to $3,000 for a basic WooCommerce plan that includes shared hosting, a paid theme, and few paid add-ons.
- $5,000 to $10,000 for an advanced WooCommerce plan consisting of better hosting, custom eCommerce design, and paid plugins.
- $1,000 to $10,000 for a hosted platform. The price will increase if you make more sales and use third-party services.
How to Create an eCommerce Website
Below is the process of building an eCommerce website, starting from discovering your niche to promoting it.
1. Find Your Niche
A niche refers to a particular segment of a larger market identified by unique needs and characteristics. For example, shoe market niches are stilettos, handmade shoes, and running shoes.
One way to find your niche is to look for trending products. It has a higher chance to be profitable since the products are popular and have a demand.
Some tools to search for trending products are:
- Google Trends. Type specific keywords to find out the popularity. Or, go to the Explore or Trending Searches pages to find out the top search topics in a certain period of time.
- TrendHunter. Display trending products of various niches worldwide.
- Amazon Best Sellers. Showcase real-time best-selling items from many categories.
2. Get a Domain Name
If you have a domain name idea, check its availability on a domain availability checker. Then, if it’s available, buy it from a trustworthy domain name registrar accredited with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
If you don’t have name ideas yet, a domain name generator can be helpful. Just type related keywords in your niche, and it will come up with many results. For memorability, choose a short name with no more than three words and avoid using numbers and hyphens.
3. Choose the eCommerce Platform
Many options are available when picking the best eCommerce platform for your needs.
Generally, different types of eCommerce platforms can be divided into these two:
- Pros: Provides more control over your website so that you can customize it based on your needs.
- Cons: You have to purchase a hosting plan separately and often deal with the maintenance yourself.
- Examples: WooCommerce and OpenCart
- Best for: People with at least some basic technical knowledge
Hosted eCommerce platform
- Pros: An all-in-one eCommerce solution, including hosting, technical support, and eCommerce functions. No need to worry about upgrades or maintenance.
- Cons: Restrictions on functionality and customization. Generally, it also costs more than the self-hosted option.
- Examples: BigCommerce and website builders
- Best for: Beginners
4. Customize the eCommerce Website
A website theme and template you choose will likely be too generic if you leave it as it is. Therefore, personalize it to match your branding and needs.
Several website elements to customize are:
- Structure. Includes pages to put on your website, product categories, and internal links.
- Design. Consists of web design components, like your company logo, color scheme, and images.
- eCommerce functionality. Help customers shop for products easily. Examples are shopping cart, wishlist, and shipping calculator.
5. Launch Your eCommerce Website
When every step is done, you’re ready to launch your store. However, it’s essential to double-check everything before making the site go live.
Check whether the price, product descriptions and contact info are correct. Also, make sure the technical functions work smoothly, such as site speed and responsiveness.
Then, consider going through several sample purchases to ensure that the checkout process is smooth.
6. Promote the eCommerce Website
There is no instant alert for notifying internet users about a new website. Therefore, you have to find ways to promote your eCommerce business effectively.
Here are some marketing strategies to try:
- Content marketing. Helps your site rank better and reach more customers. Examples include blog posts, infographics, and video content.
- Social media marketing. Grows audience and brings traffic to your website. Some techniques on social media marketing are creating social media posts and conducting live videos.
- Paid advertising. Boosts traffic more quickly than organic efforts. Several places to display ads are search engines, social media, or popular sites like online newspapers.
The total cost of making an eCommerce website depends on different aspects you choose, such as the kind of eCommerce platform, website theme, and add-ons. Generally, it ranges from $500 for a basic plan to $10,000 for an advanced option.
In this article, we’ve also learned six steps for creating an eCommerce website:
- Finding a profitable niche
- Getting a domain name
- Picking the most suitable eCommerce platform
- Personalizing the eCommerce website
- Launching the website
- Promoting the website
Now you know the costs and steps of building an eCommerce website. By calculating the costs and following the steps, you will be more prepared to launch your new website and get into the market. Good luck!