Are you considering to start an eCommerce activity or webshop? Then your first thoughts probably are: “How much does a webshop cost to build?” And that’s quite normal. That’s why we feel you need a clear answer to that question.
The cost of a webshop depends on the following parameters:
A webshop is never plug and play, there are always custom features to take into account. Have a look at the following list to see the different segments we look at to determine the cost of building a new webshop.
- eCommerce platform – Choose the one that works the best for you. And all of that depends on the functionalities and flexibility you need. (Magento, WordPress, custom build,…)
- Marketing research – Highly recommended as your vision on how it needs to look like and how things work on the webshop might be different from what your customers need. Asking questions that matter and backing them up with real tangible data is super important at the start of a website or webshop project.
- Design – Depends not only on your needs, but also on the customer profile you have. (UX and UI)
- Functionality – Custom functionalities and specific programmed features will increase pricing. (Shop the look, store pick up, custom blog module, customer reviews…)
- Data Imports – If you need product data or past order/customer data imported, this can increase your website development costs. Connecting databases involves most of the time a lot of custom development hours. But it is something you definitely need.
- ERP integration – Making an eCommerce website work with an ERP or other third-party systems will always result in extra custom development hours. There are thousands of ERP systems with their own unique complexities.
- Accounting platform integration – Less work for your team is a cost saving. So make your webshop accounting as easy as possible by choosing for the right platform. We make sure it connects seamlessly with your platform.
- Payment provider integration – One thing you will definitely need if you want to get paid for the items you are selling online. We can help you with selecting one that fits your national and/or international needs.
- Logistic partner modules – When people order items you will probably need to ship those. Automate this process as much as possible to reduce the costs of preparing the shipping and the cost of the transport to the customer by working together with a logistic partner you trust.
- PIM (product information management) – Incredible if you want one true source of product information instead of multiple different databases. Centralize all product data and use this to send the right data fields to different tools like your webshop, sales team, marketing team, shipment module, third party databases…
- SEO – Score in the search results in an organic way. This is not as straight forward as you might assume. There are a lot of technical settings that need to be configured just right in order to make your webshop score well in the ranking on Google and other search engines. (Site speed, mobile friendly, website security, meta text, alt tags on pictures, size of images,…)
- Marketing – A fully integrated marketing plan will boost the cost after the go-live of your webshop, but it will be critical to drive converting traffic to your webshop.
- Training – Make sure to include enough training hours so your team knows how to work with the webshop. Do not forget to include this in the expectation of the offer. It will save you time and money if your team knows how to manage the webshop, so you don’t need to call your agency for every little change.
Make sure that the offer of your agency includes all the parameters mentioned above. You need to be sure that an estimation of every little website detail is included in the offer. Only then you will have a clear view on the cost of a new webshop. At Baldwin we will always include an overview of all little tasks and the estimated time to complete that task.
How we calculate the cost of a new webshop at Baldwin
At Baldwin, we work per hour: we make an estimation of the amount of hours the project requires. So we don’t give you a fixed price for your project, but a very accurate estimate where we already include all the little task we know will be needed for your project. This way of working might sound different to you, but it is in most cases far more cost efficient. These are our arguments:
Doing more in less time
We start from the fact that knowledge grows. During the project cycle you will learn a lot from the solutions we offer, and our knowledge about your products or services will grow equally.
If you are choosing for a fixed budget approach, then you are also choosing the first proposal that you accepted or considered viable, while you (and we) may be having new ideas during the project. How many times have you started with a basic idea that eventually looked completely different in the end?
Most of the time the result is even better than what you pictured at the beginning.
Why is that? Because while working on a project you encounter situations that change your vision, you get new and better ideas or you may decide to make certain compromises, all with the scope of improving the end result. You let the project grow!
The development of a webshop is not different from this point of view, as every problem always has multiple solutions. It’s impossible to foresee every possible scenario or challenge at the beginning of a project.
Projects with a fixed price require extensive analysis and planning and they are bound to strict legal contracts or offers. The hours that have to be foreseen for discussions and adaptations of the original price offer cost time and money, and those resources could better serve for the real development of the solution.
Because your e-commerce knowledge will grow during the project, Baldwin proposes to stay flexible and come up with the best solution on the fly.
That will work so much better then to jump to conclusions at the beginning of the project.
Let’s put quality on the first place. Always.
Example: after signing your fixed price offer you get a new idea, or you want to adapt something we built to take a head start on a competitor’s webshop, or the developer discovers a conflict with a third party webservice that could not be foreseen while scoping the project.
Whatever the reason is, the project will not be build within the budget and within the agreed time frame and that will create tensions between you and the agency you are working with.
You want the webshop to be better aligned to your company, while the web agency wants to be rewarded for the delivered work.
All of this will imply new budget negotiations, slowdowns on the project and an unsatisfied client. That’s why web agencies use temporary solutions, quick hacks and other quality lowering methods. If there is pressure to deliver, the first victim will always be the quality of the work.
At Baldwin, we always strive for the best quality possible. Only this way can we be happy with our work.
Avoid a “technical debt”
If your current webshop is making use of the Magento platform, of course you want to be sure that all tailor made programming keeps working after an upgrade. Unfortunately it happens too often when you try saving money, you’re actually compromising the quality and after a short while you technical issues appearing.
To be able to deal with your future issues, first the older code has to be updated… or worse. You may just have to restart the entire project.
If you buy something offline, fruit or vegetables for example, you can check them; you can feel, smell or taste the quality of the product. Make sure you do the same with the webshop you develop – test it carefully.
If your webshop can be accessed online, it doesn’t mean that everything works perfectly. Sometimes you discover the dis-functionalities when you need to implement something new or just want to make an upgrade.
The only way to avoid a technical debt, is to go for quality from the start. We would prefer to postpone an extra module until it fits your budget then to build halfway, because it will hunt you and us in a later phase.
Mutual trust is mandatory
Now you know why we chose hour estimations over fixed pricing, and of course, we understand that many managers won’t feel comfortable with this flexibility.
We cannot emphasize enough that the e-commerce path we chose to follow together is based on mutual trust and confidence.
That’s why we share our time sheets, you can follow the progress of the project in our testing environment and we share our way of working in project management.
You will see the project growing from design to development, and you will have direct contact with our team.
A very important PS
Asking for flexibility has nothing to do with asking for a blank check. Of course, we work within a budget, but we prefer not to do something rather than doing it halfway and making the budget right. A perfectly working webshop is the ultimate end goal.
With this method, working with us will save you money in the long term.
Check out the latest projects of our happy clients. You will notice that we create webshops for all sorts of clients. From startups and local shops to seasoned international multinationals. Big or small, we love them all.
And do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your upcoming e-commerce project.