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03 September 2021 • Create Your Online Store

The cost of launching an ecommerce website: Solution prices and other factors

The cost of launching an ecommerce website: Solution prices and other factors

According to 99firms, there are somewhere between 12 million and 24 million e-commerce websites around the world. You could say that the competition for starting an online boutique is rather tough! 

In order to attract as many customers as possible and make yourself stand out from your competitors, a key step is creating a great website. Your boutique’s website should have a great design, be ergonomic, include your necessary keywords. Furthermore, it should have no spelling errors and an intuitive catalog.

While designing a site with all of these different elements doesn’t come at the click of a button, it’s certainly essential to the success of your online business. In fact, 57% of internet users would not recommend a company that has a poorly designed site. 

Of course, designing the perfect site comes with certain costs that you’ll need to consider when you want to start an ecommerce business. Note that no matter what you’re selling, a high-quality site should be at the top of your priority list.

So how do you find the right solution in terms of quality and price for your online store? Here are some elements that will allow you to get a clearer understanding of the prices for creating a website for your ecommerce business. 

What are the differences between open-source and SaaS solutions?

First, you should know that there are two different kinds of solutions for creating your online store: open source and software as a service (SaaS).

These two different technical services will allow you to create a website with all the features needed to accept online payments. 

Let me first explain the real differences between the two different options. 

Open-source solutions are free software programs, often developed by communities of developers. With these solutions, the owner of the online store has access to all the back office features of their site. 

They can therefore be the administrator and manage their ecommerce site completely on their own, allowing for total customization. Despite their little-to-no initial costs, free open-source solutions often require a variety of additional modules and features that you’ll need to pay for. These items are needed to better optimize and customize your website. 

So what are the downsides to open-source solutions? In reality, in order to succeed with this model, you need a decent level of technical knowledge

If you decide to build your own site for your business with an open-source platform, you’ll have to take care of updating your pages or the HTML code yourself. It isn’t so simple if you’re a novice and you have a limited budget! 

This is exactly why SaaS solutions exist. These technical modules are accessible directly from an internet search engine. 

With this type of platform, you get to bypass the step of uploading your files to host them on a server. 

Everything is done, simply and online, through a website creation service.  

For this reason, it’s a great solution for beginners and newbies without any previous technical knowledge. 

In fact, SaaS solutions have evolved greatly and now offer sophisticated and well-developed features as well as attractive and customizable designs. 

With SaaS solutions, there’s no need to get your hands dirty. In exchange for paying a subscription, all the technical aspects for you are taken care of for you. This allows you to focus on selling your products and attracting new customers. 

The average costs of a website with each solution 

Now that you know how to distinguish an open-source solution and a SaaS ecommerce platform, let’s get down to the details and take a look at the differences in costs. 

The cost of an open-source online store 

When it comes to creating an open-source website, the cost can vary massively. There are a whole host of different things to consider! 

First, it'll depend on your level of technical knowledge. If you’re able to build your own web boutique and keep up the maintenance yourself, you could save quite a bit of money.

However, if that’s not the case, you’d need to call on an external service provider. This is where prices can start to climb. 

You’ll see the prices of external freelancers generally starting around $2,000 (USD). For this price, though, you shouldn’t expect a particularly customized website with advanced features. 

For this level of investment, the freelancer will likely buy a theme (or template in technical jargon), and customize it by adding a couple of features or making some slight alterations. 

To get your business online, you’ll also need to pay for your website hosting. Depending on the kind of traffic your store will generate, this could quickly become expensive. 

The more features you want to add to your business’s website, the pricier your bill will be. 

To give you an idea:

  • Freelancers generally charge around $2,000 and $20,000 to create your ecommerce website. 
  • Specialized agencies, in contrast, will charge even more. Their prices will range between $4,000 and $50,000. Depending on the complexity of your website, some could even get as high as $200,000.  

Rest assured, though, that a simple website with a payment solution will not reach these kinds of figures.  

If, on the other hand, you want to develop a business website where customers can access their own space, track their orders, or view their purchase history, the bill suddenly gets a bit steeper! 

In short, the price of an open source ecommerce website will cost you:  

  • $2,000–$200,000 for the website creation
  • $600–$3,600 per year for the website hosting
  • $500–$2,000 per year to install updates 
  • $200–$500 per year to add additional modules

The price of a SaaS ecommerce website 

Concerning SaaS ecommerce solutions, the prices work very differently. 

These website-creation platforms function on a monthly subscription basis. 

On average, their services won’t exceed $500 a year, unless you go for a complete premium service. 

Note that a premium service can be an option to consider to differentiate yourself from your competitors and increase your revenue more quickly when you become an online retailer and start generating a significant number of sales.

Don’t skimp on your investment. A few hundred dollars extra in costs can quickly pay off, and your success may depend on it! 

As well as the monthly subscription fee, SaaS platforms often take a percentage of your sales generated by your online store. These fees will be added to your monthly payments, so it’s important to bear this in mind when calculating the overall cost of your ecommerce website. 

Let’s take the example of WiziShop. The Smart plan begins at $40 per month with a 1.5% commission if you opt for annual payment or $55 per month with a 2% commission if you opt for monthly payments. You can alternatively decide to upgrade to the Business plan, for $115 per month with a 0.75% commission for an annual payment or $155 per month with a 1% commission for monthly payments.

Within these plans, all of our tools and features that enable your business to sell online are accessible at no extra cost: hosting, templates, web security, customer support, Business Coaches, ecommerce training, automatic marketing tools, product categories, filters, etc. 

So, overall, the price of a SaaS ecommerce website with WiziShop will cost you the following if you select the Smart plan and make an annual payment:  

  • $40 per month (with a 12-month commitment) and a 1.5% commission 
  • And that’s it! 

Of course, nothing prevents you from swapping from one solution to another. You're free to start creating your online store with a SaaS solution and then switch to an open-source solution later on. Or vice-versa! 

Test the WiziShop ecommerce platform free for 3 days and see for yourself why it's the best solution for your ecommerce business.

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The elements that impact the cost of an online store

Whether you opt for an open-source or a SaaS website for your boutique, the costs can vary considerably, depending on the different features that you expect and their complexity

This is also why an ecommerce site is always more expensive than a simple showcase site. 

Certain elements in particular can have a big impact on the cost. The design customization, its content, or the addition of extra features are all items that could play a considerable role. 

Let me run you through the importance of each of these elements, to perhaps decide where you can cut back and save a bit...

Customized design 

The customization of the design of your online store is the element that will have the greatest impact on its price

So what do you have in mind? What budget are you willing to invest in the customization of your website? 

Whether it’s an open-source or a SaaS website, it’s possible to purchase pre-configured templates that aren’t very expensive. 

On the other hand, you have solutions like WiziShop that provide lots of different templates for no additional cost

Customization tools are also at your disposal to create a unique online store, adapted to your brand image, without spending a penny more!

Emily and the Cool Kids design

Emily and the Cool Kids, example of a French online store created on WiziShop

Note that the development of custom elements is often expensive! Now, when you launch your project, there are lots of different expenses, and you can’t take care of everything at once. 

You’ll have plenty of time to work on the customization of your business’s website once you’ve started receiving your first orders. 

Remember that most of the biggest ecommerce websites, like Amazon or eBay, were not built in a day. They’ve customized their websites little by little throughout their development journey, making them what they are today! 

To get started, try to be reasonable and prioritize your expenses. Target the most essential investments and maybe leave your customization dreams in the back of your mind. That way you can put them in place at a later date when you can give them more attention. 

Written content

There’s another area you’ll need to invest in: your content! You may have the most beautifully designed website in the world, but if there' no content, what use is that?! 

But, do you have the heart and soul of a writer? 

Writing content for a website is not something that you can make up as you go along. First, it demands a significant amount of time. Not only that, it has a considerable impact on the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. 

In other words, the more high-quality text a website has, the better it’ll be referenced on Google. This in turn will allow it to rise to the first results pages when users search for your products (or other keywords associated with your business) online. This is what we call SEO optimization. 

If you decide to build a website with WiziShop, you benefit from a free and complete ecommerce training course. It’s included in your subscription! 

Within this training, you’ll learn all about the different tools for marketing your online store, and in particular, SEO! 

If you want to write all the content for your website yourself, you’ll first need to learn about the best practices for writing online editorial content. This is also included in our training courses! 

Whatever you do, remember that copy and paste is an absolute no-go

Google will punish you for doing so and also if you leave pages empty! If you decide to put a website online with around 100 pages, you’ll need 100 different and original texts, integrating keywords as well as internal and external links…a real headache! 

To help you with this, there are a number of agencies or marketplaces that offer a whole bunch of freelance writers for you to choose from. 

Some of the most popular are: 

All you need to do is place an ad listing all the articles you need, as well as any instructions. The editors will do the rest! In exchange for a fee of course… 

Here again, it’s very important to be attentive in the selection of your freelancer and to not let yourself be swayed by prices that are suspiciously low.

Make sure you check out the reviews to make sure that you are receiving top-quality work that you won’t need to make significant edits to afterward.

You can also take advantage of WiziShop's powerful AI feature, which makes the task of creating text content for your website super simple! With just a few clicks, you can generate product descriptions, translations, text rewrites, blog articles, and other types of text content in flash. You'll get unlimited access to our AI tool from the moment you sign up on our platform, no matter which subscription plan you pick!

Try WiziShop free for 7 days


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Product photos

In order to illustrate the different products across your ecommerce website, you’ll be needing product photos. There are a few options available to you. 

Your first option is to call on a professional photographer. Of course, this will come with a cost that varies depending on the needs of your business.

Another option is to have your products photographed by a professional photographer who comes to your home, in order to showcase them and make them attractive to your potential customers. 

Taking photos and editing them are expensive services, especially if you have a large number of products on your online store. However, high-quality images will help to give your site visitors confidence! 

Another, less expensive method is to opt for do-it-yourself product photography

Purchasing images

You’ll also need to think about integrating some images on your ecommerce website to make it come alive and appear most attractive to potential customers. 

This isn’t too technical, so you can do it on your own! However, you can’t just use any old image; you have to be careful with your selection. 

Most of the images you’ll find on Google are copyrighted. It’s therefore totally illegal to use them.

To find images that you can use legally, there are numerous sites for stock images that you can choose from. These include sites such as Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Canva, and others! 

Unsplash stock images

Certain sites that offer stock images are free, but their content is rather limited. If you’d like a wider choice, you’ll probably need to spend a few dollars.   

In addition, some non-copyrighted images are only available in certain dimensions. However, it’s essential that you choose images that are sufficiently large so that they don’t appear pixelated on your website. The price of the image will often depend on the desired format. 

Rest assured, though, that purchasing images isn’t one of the biggest expense items when launching the site for your business. 

Additional features 

Many features can be added when creating an online store. 

There are features of all kinds to meet your needs, but this is where the price can start creeping up. 

Basic extensions are relatively inexpensive, but they’re not free. The more specific their features, the higher their cost will be. 

Let’s look at an example. Certain clothing, sunglasses, or even car sales sites allow you to customize your products in real time, directly online. Now, this is a very advanced additional feature. To be operational, it requires a considerable amount of development time as well as lots of testing. It’s therefore a rather expensive feature...

With WiziShop, you benefit from over 400 features already included within your subscription, at no extra cost. These incredible tools will help you to start selling more efficiently online! 


Finally, before choosing the solution that will accompany you on your ecommerce journey, don’t forget to take a look at their client reviews and their customer support.  

If the prices vary massively from one freelancer to another, or one agency to another, there’s a reason why…expert help can be very useful for the development of your business

However, expertise comes at a price. The idea is, once again, to find the right balance between your budget, the quality of website you expect, your technical skills, and the support that you want. 

With WiziShop, our Business Coaches not only help you build your ecommerce website, but support you along the way with its development! 

True experts in ecommerce, they’re by your side, at no extra cost, to help you succeed in your new venture. 

If this is your first creation of an ecommerce website, I strongly advise you to define your budget beforehand and to establish a list of the essential features that you need.

Make sure that your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach. Allow yourself the opportunity to enrich your virtual boutique little by little, as you develop your revenue. Don’t try to get all your customized features together from the outset. Focus instead on the presentation of quality products. 

Likewise, be aware that any service provider calculates its price based on two main indicators: the time it will take to develop your website and their hourly rate. 

Your mission, if you accept it? Find the most competent provider possible, having the best ratio involving the daily cost x number of days!

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