Websites / How much do ecommerce web agencies charge?

How much do ecommerce web agencies charge?

Andy Thorne
graphic image of piggy bank

When it comes to building an ecommerce website, you might be surprised by how much web agencies charge, compared with an ecommerce builder (building it yourself). There are definitely some pros to using an ecommerce builder, in particular for small businesses.

However, while web agencies can come with a larger price tag, they also have a much larger range of benefits, so don’t discredit their value at first glance.

In this article, we’ll uncover the pros and cons of both ecommerce builders and ecommerce web agencies, as well as outline the amount of work that agencies put into a website project.

All of this information is important to factor in when making a decision about how to go about building a new ecommerce website.

Why choose an ecommerce agency rather than doing it yourself?

Why do-it-yourself with an Ecommerce Builder

Why do-it-yourself with an Ecommerce Builder

Thanks to their pre-built templates, ecommerce builders like Shopify make it pretty easy to set up a website.

Ecommerce website builders like Shopify are a great tool to use, in particular for small businesses who perhaps can’t afford the higher costs of a web agency.

Thanks to their pre-built templates, ecommerce builders make it easy to set up a website really quickly. As a business owner, you can control the look of the website, easily upload content and imagery and add products without needing to understand a single line of code.

You’ll still have a lot of flexibility when it comes to layouts and style.

However, ecommerce builders can quickly become limiting as your business grows due to limited features.

When you need special functionality, such as Product Add-on Customisers or Live Chat, you’ll need to use apps. However, the more plugins you add, the more your site will slow down.

What’s more, if you use an ecommerce builder like Shopify, your website site files will be hosted by them too, which can restrict you to their platform.

In June 2021, the Shopify website went down due to hosting issues. As a result all the individual websites built and hosted by Shopify also went down. There was nothing that businesses could do apart from wait for Shopify to fix the problem.

Pros Cons
Quick turnaround Limited functionality
Easy to set up Dependent on hosting from builder site
No need to learn code Difficult to improve technical SEO value

Why use an ecommerce web agency to build your ecommerce site

There are a wide range of benefits to using an ecommerce web agency to create your website.

Firstly, you’ll get a completely bespoke website, designed and developed by experts who can make sure it includes all the features you need.

Your website will also be completely unique to you, fitting in smoothly with your branding and products.

An ecommerce website agency will also have a lot of specialised experience, and therefore will be able to create better, responsive and reliable websites to keep up with new trends and technologies.

You’ll also be able to interact with a dedicated team who will understand your business goals, can answer questions and give you regular updates on the project.

Unlike ecommerce website builders an ecommerce web agency should look at your ecommerce website as part of your overall business and marketing strategy, as well as design and develop your website.

What platform should your ecommerce site be built upon?

What platform should your ecommerce site be built upon?

WordPress is the industry standard platform when it comes to bespoke ecommerce builds.

WordPress + WooCommerce (WordPress’s very own ecommerce plugin) is the industry standard platform when it comes to bespoke ecommerce builds. There are no limitations with both of these platforms as they are completely open-source, meaning developers are able to customise any aspect of the code to better suit the needs of the website.

Shopify is also customisable, but limited, unless you go for Shopify+ at £2000 per month.

Therefore, it’s important that your web agency builds your ecommerce site on a platform such as WordPress so that it can be tailored to suit your needs and ready for future developments.

However, for some businesses, the initial costs of an ecommerce web agency are too high, even though the long term benefits could be great.

Furthermore, even though hiring an agency to build your website will save you some time which you can focus on running your business, the time frame for designing, developing, testing and launching an ecommerce website can take at least 6-8 weeks.

Pros Cons
Completely bespoke website Expensive start up costs
Work with an experienced team Projects take a long time to complete
Considers your website as part of your overall business Long iterative process

How much does an ecommerce website cost when built by an agency?

If you want to understand the base figures of what a typical ecommerce web agency charges for an ecommerce design and build, please see the table below for reference:

Project Approach Approx. Cost Range
Off-The-Shelf DIY Ecommerce Website £500-£1,000
Bespoke Ecommerce Website by an Agency £8,000-£15,000
Complex Functionality Bespoke Ecommerce Website £15,000+

Things that are included in web agency costs

Here are the 7 elements to consider when doing an ecommerce project yourself or with an agency.

1. Research and planning

The first stage of any website project should involve in depth research into how your website needs to look and function. This will involve gaining an understanding of what your users need and how the site needs to function, wireframing and coming up with concepts for the way your site will look.

2. Design

Once the wireframes and concepts have been signed off, the wider site can be designed, to show how the site will look once it has been developed. This is a great opportunity for creativity and exploration to apply your brand to a new platform.

3. Custom web development

With the designs completed, developers can then build your working site, with custom functionality, and an easy to use page builder which makes it easy for you to update content and products.

4. Product data / migration

If you have an existing site, a web agency will be able to help you move product data over to your new site to ensure a seamless experience for your customers. Thanks to years of previous experience, the web agency will most likely be able to assist if there are any difficulties during this process of the website project.

5. Plugins and extensions

In order to give your site additional functionality beyond the usual ecommerce functions, WordPress plugins are required. However, with over 59,000 WordPress plugins available, it can be difficult to find the right WordPress plugin for the job. A good web agency will have a core set of plugins that are regularly updated and will function well together. As well as plugins, custom functions are built to remove the reliance on too many plugins. This sort of coding is possible with an experienced web developer.

6. Hosting

If your web agency offers hosting services, it would be wise to use them. The agency is already familiar with your website and they often have an existing relationship with a reputable hosting provider. This is particularly useful in case there are ever any issues with the hosting as they will be able to resolve the problem quickly.

7. Maintenance

Finally, an ongoing maintenance package is an add on service that you can take advantage of. The ecommerce web agency will look after the general maintenance of your website. This service may also include minor changes to the site such as updating content, adding new plugins and fixing any errors on site.

Things that aren’t included, but should be

Your agency should set goals that they want to achieve with the ecommerce website project such as a target conversion rate, bounce rate or number of visitors to the site.

Designing and building the site shouldn’t be the only goal. At Factory Pattern we stand by our work and believe that every ecommerce website should have a clear set of goals in order that you get a return on your investment.