How much does an E-commerce website cost

Discussion in 'IT & Internet' started by Tangerine, May 15, 2009.

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  1. SillyJokes

    SillyJokes UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    4,504 598
    What you are not saying is that although your websites look like a car crash you are doing something right that appeals to your market.

    You have created a website that sells and I bet it wasn't by accident and you have spent a lot of time and therefore money (time is money) on them.

    Anyhoo, we've only ever had your word about the success ;)

    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: SillyJokes Member since: Jul 26, 2004
  2. website

    website UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    346 50
    try they are about £15 a month and very easy to use (free trial aaswell)
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: website Member since: Mar 29, 2009
  3. strikingedge

    strikingedge UKBF Regular Free Member

    464 112
    Well I wasn't...I'm advising on an appropriate budget - I am not a web designer but I have commissioned plenty of websites.

    My last site cost £14.00...the current one will cost around £5K - there is a world of difference in the feature set and the use of pro designers to do the look and feel and coding.

    One of the things I see all the time is web design agencies failing to educate their customers on what is a fully featured ecommerce site. A core part of the proposal should be telling them what is fit for purpose in 2009.

    I am not suggesting that any design agencies reading this or posting here would do that, and I think they would agree with me that some agencies charge whatever they think they can get away with regardless of the customer's needs.

    I know one company that spent £20K on a website. It looks terrible. It has no functionality. They built everything bespoke rather than using open source software which would have been perfect for their needs. If the intention was to build a site that would deliberately be invisible to search engines, then they also succeeded on that score.

    Was it their fault? Only about half, because the client didnt' provide a brief and changed her mind every 5 minutes. Yes, the agency was a bunch of evil shysters taking someone young with too much money for all she was worth - but the same agency would probably have done an OK job for a better prepared or informed client.

    How much did a good agency quote to replace it? £2k built over a month. So I'm not making this up ;-)

    Do you have to spend more to get a better site?

    Another company - I'll name this one...Conran - spent £40K on a website redesign a year or so ago (I wasn't involved and no-one who was is still at the company). However, they didn't brief it properly - the new site was far worse than their current one and someone forgot to mention that a backend would be quite useful for a webshop. They had to write off almost all (£35K) of that investment and stick with their current site.

    Looking at their current site - you could do that for £2K - a bit of CRE Loaded, basic design/ branding work and add in magic zoom...and you have it. Of course you need someone to take photos of all the stock and write content...and that will cost you a good £15K.

    Here's another one....launched two days ago:

    Look at the buttons on the right hand side. Your eyes do not deceive you....instead of taking you to webpages (as you might expect with a button "top 10 for men" etc., they are all individual PDF's that you have to download.

    They either had a complete amateur doing the brief, paid sod all for the design, pissed off the designers or haven't paid them to get a howler like that. Knowing the company a bit...I'd say all of the above.

    One final example of how paying more doesn't get you a better needs no introduction:

    100% flash, a fortune to build...and then another fortune to try and fix the original site to get it to where it is today....just about usable but no SEO to speak of. I can only assume it was the ghost of returning to haunt the fashion sector.

    You can spend £1K and get something crap, you can spend £2K, £5K or £40K or £10million and get something even worse. But if you want to get a decent site, you need a complete brief, realistic requirements, a good agency, a well informed client and an appropriate budget....which I'd humbly suggest is about £2K.
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: strikingedge Member since: Jan 25, 2009
  4. Interconnect IT

    Interconnect IT UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,244 195
    Excellent post there WhiskyFive
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: Interconnect IT Member since: Nov 15, 2007
  5. FireFleur

    FireFleur UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,868 441
    The major problem with pricing is that agencies tend to charge a middle man cut.

    If you have an existing web site that needs to be converted and someone has already paid quite a bit, the conversion is sometimes done as a bit of a loss leader.

    You have the text and the imagery, which is a big thing, and you may have a system to build an ecommerce shop, and the customer has already shown commitment to the process so a 2K punt is not bad for future work.

    Open Source GPL is problematic though, if you convey or distribute any of the work you have to do it under GPL, so you can quite easily lose your business process and make it available to others in the same field.

    Open Source is also open, so crackers have an easier time of it, in looking for vulnerabilities and creating mass compromise. The major open source development tools are scrutinised but those on the edge are often not.
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: FireFleur Member since: Oct 29, 2008
  6. edmondscommerce

    edmondscommerce Magento + PHP Expert Full Member - Verified Business

    3,656 624
    I think that pretty much wraps this one up
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: edmondscommerce Member since: Nov 11, 2008
  7. strikingedge

    strikingedge UKBF Regular Free Member

    464 112
    It doesn't have to be open source - Shopify is a good platform that I do recommend. I mentioned open-source for that client because they could have gone up with Zen Cart and got all the functionality they needed out of the box, rather than having to spend an extra £5K building it (which they did....there's no telling some clients ;-)

    And you will need the agency for future work - new homepages, newsletters, marketing, so FireFleur is right to suggest there is always an element of giving a good price at the outset to get a regular client.

    Sometimes I get the impression that the worse an agency is the more they charge - because they know there won't be a chance of future work!

    I know an extremely small organic giftware company - their entire budget was £1K but they wanted a full featured ecommerce site - the agency quoted £12.5K.

    Most of their proposal was fluff that they didn't need or hopeless overcharged and mis-specced.

    For instance, one item was £1.5K for off-site WorldPay integration when the client required on-site payments, £1.5K for planning, £4K for .Net is ridiculous what some agencies will try and sell, relying on a client's lack of knowledge and understanding of the technical jargon they drown them in.

    They came down to £1.3K plus a commission on future sales, which is quite a rare arrangement and does tie them in to the future success of the site. (Although I thought they should run a mile from any agency that has tried it on once as they're bound to try it again!)

    It still goes to show that if you enter into a negotiation with an agency well informed and knowing what you need, you can get them down to your budget and still get the same site.
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: strikingedge Member since: Jan 25, 2009
  8. FireFleur

    FireFleur UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,868 441
    I will defend the large agencies a bit here, because they are setup for corporate clients.

    Those clients have a budget, and it is not theirs, so they have to spend and they tend to want things handled well for their careers, not so much the final result.

    You will often find places, which are big in retail for example, and the online site can threaten other departments so you may have to just create a presence, or deliberately reduce functionality so it doesn't detract completely from the B&M.

    There are other variations, such as producers going to retail, you can damage relationships in your existing chain if you are too successful.

    So, if you are small, you put together a teams of pros to build your site, bespoke, using either open source development tools or paying for those tools.

    If you want to do it all yourself and you have some basic skills, and don't want to spend money, then you go straight to the open source offerings but you will have a lot of learning to do, and fixing.

    I don't use open source deliverable solution, but I do use open source development tools, for my own sites. I think that is more telling than anything else, what do ecommerce developers use for their own offerings, it is normally bespoke.
    Posted: May 18, 2009 By: FireFleur Member since: Oct 29, 2008
  9. zoezoe

    zoezoe UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    153 14
    2k is not enough I am affraid. That will cover just 4-5 days work and unless the client provides the design - this is not possible. As you suggest yourself this does not include the photography, marketing, SEO, writing the copy, brand identity

    The time for eccomerce sites is taken up on the design - and the amount of time spent on this will depned on both teh client and the designer.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: zoezoe Member since: Oct 17, 2008
  10. stephendoyle

    stephendoyle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    657 41
    bespoke or template

    vast difference in prices.

    cheap sites are great if they do what they say on the tin - drive targeted hungry buyers to a site and they are sure to buy.

    if you want to keep in contact with CRM system like newsletters etc.. then it may be worth investing more.

    good luck
    Stephen Doyle
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: stephendoyle Member since: Mar 7, 2007
  11. FireFleur

    FireFleur UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,868 441
    The time is in:

    Designer : the graphical message the feeling that you want to purchase from this site.

    Copywriter : the text message, it is the words that compel someone to buy, and the search engines look at the words.

    Administrator : the operating system set up and the complete environment capable of actually serving pages so the customer can buy.

    Security : the security, a business can be wiped out in 5 minutes unless you get the security correct.

    Business Analyst : relationships, you need to take a holistic approach and see how the position of the site will exist in the whole ecosystem.

    Marketing : the message of the business, spend your time developing the brand and the message, the customers will follow.

    Developer : you need it to work efficiently and be adaptable, if you need to distinguish on any level you need control of all the base code.

    Buyer: get the right products for the right price and everything else will follow.

    All are true, that's the problem with a limited budget you will make compromise, if your budget is large enough you address all the issues, to be honest that is the difference between successful sites and also rans.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: FireFleur Member since: Oct 29, 2008
  12. EastCoastInteractive

    EastCoastInteractive UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    38 12
    I recall having an enquiry once from somebody who wanted a site like (a bt-fresca store) but had a minimal budget. I told them that the functionality and design they required was unlikely to be possible within their budget, but it turned out they'd had quotes for less than we'd be prepared to do it for. I contacted bt-fresca as an aside to find out what their typical development cost was to illustrate to the enquirer .. 100k+ and 50k a year in ongoing supporting costs.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: EastCoastInteractive Member since: Apr 17, 2009
  13. FireFleur

    FireFleur UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,868 441
    To be fair that is about the right price. They are quoting for an ongoing relationship, others will duck in on the low initial bid, knowing it will cost more eventually, so a bit of upfront honesty there by Fresca.

    If you want to succeed you have to put in quite a lot to do it, to gain that critical mass required to push the business forward, it doesn't just happen.

    I think a lot of people think that just being on the web will just ensure it all works, it really doesn't and with the economy this way B&M could be a better option, we have deflation and costs for locations are dropping, and you will need to store stock anyhow. It could be a case of B&M and then move to Web, rather than jump to Web first, a budget may not be high enough for Web.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: FireFleur Member since: Oct 29, 2008
  14. zolacat999

    zolacat999 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 0
    most e commerce sites cost way above £1000
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: zolacat999 Member since: May 14, 2008
  15. strikingedge

    strikingedge UKBF Regular Free Member

    464 112
    I still stand by my £2K for a decent site. I have been careful to say this is a site with a standard (but still extensive) out of the box feature set (e.g. CRE, Shopify, Zen etc.) and doesn't include lots of bespoke design or coding.

    To come back on a couple of things:
    - Newsletters. Use MailChimp or something similar. Takes no time to set-up. However, if you want the designer to do lots of custom welcome emails...that's extra.

    - Copywriter. I would assume that the client would provide all copy for content pages...that's an extra as I have specified.

    - Administrator. The client is the administrator...if they want the agency to administer the site, then that is an ongoing cost - but unnecessary in my opinion.

    - Security. No agency should charge extra for making the site secure. If they have the nerve to charge extra for that, I'd suggest you go find someone who won't take the piss.

    - Business Analyst. We're talking small companies here with basic requirements. I'd lump this in with charges for "project management", "R&D" and "Training" as unneccessary fluff designed to extract money from the client. They are coming to the agency to build an ecommerce site, not to get business advice - not that I'd trust a designer to give it to me anyway!

    - Marketing. Again, I wouldn't put a design agency in charge of marketing my products. The branding is the important bit though - most clients don't have a clue about branding. Neither do the agencies. Maybe the agency is also a marketing agency....fine...spend extra if you want extra!

    But branding isn't hard and you don't need Pearl Fisher to come in and do it for you. You just need to put down what your company does and how you want it communicated. Come up with several ideas and test it with your friends.

    The designer is there to translate your ideas into an overall look and feel. But branding is more than a swish is about every interaction between the customer and the company, the emails, product selection, tone of voice, packaging and more....a developer can't build your brand and shouldn't pretend they can.

    - Developer. Again...small company + out of the box software. The developer is responsible for implementing a design template not inflating the costs by building (or pretending to build) everything from scratch.

    - Buyer.'re taking the mickey now! A small company with its own products (or bought in from wholesalers) does not need to have the design agency provide a buyer. They probably should have a buyer on staff if they're in fashion....but having one for a website build is daft.

    You forgot one:

    - Swish Offices with expensive coffee makers. The bigger the agency, the more your fees are there to pay for their offices and image. When I'm commissioning a project I want my money to pay for the development...not the agency's offices.

    I have always said that it is quite possible to spend £100K on a website. I have given examples where companies have spent that amount and got crap sites. But of course you can get an amazing site for that sort of spend.

    Still, if you want a decent good looking site and are prepared to negotiate or walk away from agencies who aren' can do it for £2K.

    Will it be a massive success?

    Who depends on your brand proposition, products, marketing and business processes....not something that your usual developer could give much useful input to anyway.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: strikingedge Member since: Jan 25, 2009
  16. edmondscommerce

    edmondscommerce Magento + PHP Expert Full Member - Verified Business

    3,656 624
    bottom line you get what you pay for..

    but I agree judicious use of £2k and there is no reason why you shouldn't get everything you need for an ecommerce site.. but the client would have to be prepared to put in a lot of work themselves and work around any limitations within the standard feature set.

    Another really common misconception is that you have to get the entire thing perfect from day one..

    Not at all, most of my work is on extending or customising existing live ecommerce stores. Once the site has been running for a bit, you have a much better idea about which customisation etc you want and which will generate the most ROI.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: edmondscommerce Member since: Nov 11, 2008
  17. strikingedge

    strikingedge UKBF Regular Free Member

    464 112
    Absolutely right - you don't need whizz bang bespoke functionality on day 1 to sell products - you can add it later if there is a need. Personally, I like to keep the buying process as simple and straightforward as possible.

    But even open source software will give you things like the option to contact the owners of abandoned carts, vouchers & coupons, wishlists, product comparison and more.
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: strikingedge Member since: Jan 25, 2009
  18. FireFleur

    FireFleur UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    1,868 441
    I would be careful with the security element, if you are looking to drop costs that is the one most take out first.

    Security is a process not a destination, you can accept something and have something that works without it being properly tested for potential points of compromise.

    You cannot guarantee security either, my point is if you use open source carts the ease at which the system can be compromised is higher. So just saying use open source carts is taking the piss, as you say, out off security.

    Security is something to be charged for as an extra because it is a costly process, and a lot of people don't want to pay for that.
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: FireFleur Member since: Oct 29, 2008
  19. calciumtech

    calciumtech Guest

    0 0

    First thing you need to establish is what you are actually going to be selling on the ecommerce site. THen you need to build in some important extra costs, such as yoru certificate and the grade of certificate that you engage for the security (i.e. super cheap or good high end). Then you have the Merchant Costs (Pay Pal is rather cheap, but you have Google now offering a service also).

    Then once you have all this it comes down to design and other things.

    So taking all this into account we have normally an entry level of somewhere between £1500 to £1995 as a guide. Now with in that is the key and this is what you have to look for with other companies, this is what we offer for the £1995 price as a guide, and you certainly should not get any less:

    • Number of Pages
    • Design for Home page & Multiple design for inner pages
    • Content Management System (CMS)
    • Unlimited Design Revisions
    • Email Address Collection
    • Flash Animation (if wanted)
    • Enquiry Form
    • Optimised Coding
    • Custom Look & Feel to what you want
    • Search Engine Submission _ manual
    • Directory Submission - Manual
    • Interner Explorer 6,7 & 8, FireFox, Google Chrome compatible
    They key things you need to remember is that you need to be able to change text on the site not just product so make sure you have a Content Management System built in as this is critical, and "SO MANY OVER LOOK THIS POINT ITS CRIMINAL...!", I cant tell you how many times i get upset with people telling me they are stranded because the web solution company did not do this. Also always remember OPTIMIZATION otherwise your shop will remain quiet in a side street of the super high tech highway!

    Hope that helps buddy!
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: calciumtech Member since: Jan 1, 1970
  20. strikingedge

    strikingedge UKBF Regular Free Member

    464 112
    Well, I think you could make the argument that open source software has been far better tested than new bespoke developments, so is likely to be more secure as its vulnerabilities are better known and addressed.

    I'm sure you will disagree with that sentiment and it isn't true all of the we can agree to disagree.

    I've mentioned Shopify....and there are lots of other solutions out there that aren't open source...if a developer did a Shopify template for me...they couldn't get away with charging for a security audit....although I wouldn't put it past some to try!

    Guess what...Shopify even comes with a CMS :)

    You know Fleur, all of what you say is completely correct (OK, maybe a few bits were rubbish ;-), but we're talking about very different types of development.

    I have always maintained this is about getting a small company on the web at minimum cost with a nicely designed fully functional website.

    Almost all your points are to do with largescale development projects for deep pocketed clients where said client does little more than commission it, but isn't involved in writing content, putting up products, administering, running the site etc.

    It is chalk and cheese. I work with small companies all the time and I often have a better understanding of their needs than they do - especially if they are new and don't know ecommerce very well.

    I also come up against web agencies who seem to think that a small business with an ill-informed client is little more than an opportunity to fleece them for all they are worth.

    I use some really outstanding agencies right now and I have fired some really appalling ones. I have zero tolerance for any agency salesman/woman who tries to bull**** me with technical jargon - and that happens constantly.

    I have a healthy appreciation that 70% of agencies out there are complete crap and another 25% will deliver crap if the client doesn't know what they want and fails to brief them fully. Actually, with a good brief, even a truly appalling agency can deliver a decent site given enough whipping - or at the very least you'll get your money back.

    5% are gems of course and I would warmly include any agencies posting on the UKBF forums in that figure. What's more - the fact they post here and are mindful of their reputations among their peers already shows they are a cut above the rest.
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
    Posted: May 19, 2009 By: strikingedge Member since: Jan 25, 2009
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