The High Street is changing beyond recognition, and the internet is fast becoming the first place people go when they are looking to buy. Any retailer who is seeking to adapt to the changing marketplace, and wants to boost sales and increase market share, needs to be thinking seriously about setting up an Ecommerce website and the costs involved. However, both established businesses and start-up enterprises can experience many difficulties in what is a potentially complicated and error-strewn process.
If you are considering setting up an Ecommerce website you will need to think very carefully about these elements, each one as important and integral to the success of your venture as the others:
- Platform: the structure and functionality of your website. This concerns your Ecommerce website’s usability and is arguably the single most significant aspect of the user’s experience and your company’s efficiency as an online retailer.
- Payment provision: this will give you the ability to accept payment online, and, given the potential for fraud, it is an essential component of online retail.
- Web design: providing an eye-catching and well-thought out design will help attract customers to your website and encourage them to make more purchases.
- Marketing: the internet is a crowded marketplace. Making sure people know about your website and making it easy for them to find you is vital to your venture’s chances of success.
So how much should you budget for these things, and what are some typical costs?
Ecommerce website costs
The industry leader for Ecommerce platforms is Magento. Owned by eBay, this software developer offers a range of platforms that are suitable for all levels of Ecommerce activity. Having built its success on its products’ flexibility and ease of use, Magento is widely regarded as the best option by many of the world’s leading online retailers. Due to the versatility of its products, a Magento platform is also ideal for small and start-up enterprises. Typically, the installation of a professional Magento-backed Ecommerce website, including product population, will cost in the region of £10,000.
There are cheaper options available, although these are not as comprehensive or as flexible as a standard Magento platform. Woo Commerce is a plug-in for WordPress websites that gives them an Ecommerce functionality. Comparatively easy to install, a web design company will charge around £3,000 for a Woo-themed Ecommerce website.
There are also plenty of other platforms that offer a standard Ecommerce interface and allow you to choose an off-the-peg web design or theme, including Shopify and Seller Deck. A basic Shopify Ecommerce website can cost as little as £20 a month, with more features and file storage on offer in the higher price ranges. Costs for Seller Deck’s simplest interfaces start at a purchase price of around £500.
Merchant accounts and payment service providers
If you are planning to accept credit or debit card payments online, you will need to set up an Internet Merchant Account and have a payment service provider. These both entail set up fees, monthly service charges and transaction charges, depending on the size and scale of your business and its credit history.
If your venture is on a smaller scale, there is also the possibility of only accepting payment via a payment processing company such as PayPal, which doesn’t involve the same levels of expense.
Other costs of Ecommerce websites
Depending on the size of your budget, and your company’s ambitions, it may well be worth getting a professional web design agency to create an unique and attractive design for your website. These will tend to charge by the day, so the larger the website, and the more specific your requirements, the more you can expect to pay.
The other thing which you should always build into the budget for your Ecommerce website is its marketing. Online advertising and making sure that your website enjoys a high position on search engines like Google and Bing can be costly. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an essential aspect of any Ecommerce website’s success, and for most online retailers it is an ongoing expense. Get detailed advice from an online marketing expert, and make sure that your marketing spend is built into your budget from the outset.