If you’re preparing for a website redesign, you may be wondering is a custom ecommerce website worth the Investment?
Over the past 4 years, we’ve worked with dozens of ecommerce brands in multiple verticals. Through our experience, we will be able to educate whether a Custom Ecommerce Website is right for you!
Disclaimer: Before Proceeding, Please Read If You’re A Startup Or New Ecommerce Brand!
Typically, when startups or businesses without a web footprint approach us to build a platform, we suggest going the minimum viable product (MVP) route. This provides them with the opportunity to test the market and their positioning within it with relatively low risk and investment.
For example, base level templates from SaaS platforms such as Shopify or WooCommerce are a great opportunity to get a store up and running quickly. Both base platforms without customization is pretty simple to work with, even if you do not have any web development experience.
However, as you get more traction online, you might consider creating a custom theme for your store. A custom theme will differentiate your store from others that use your previous “off-the-rack” theme.
What is Your Goal?
The decision to build your site from scratch or start with a templated theme isn’t an easy one. Ground-up development gives you full control over every decision as you plan, create, and optimize.
But is control like that really important? Perhaps a better question is: “What’s your goal?”
If your goal is just to sell some stuff out of your garage, then no, that kind of customization and control probably isn’t worth the cost + investment of a custom designed + developed website.
However, if your goal is to build a brand by attracting people across a broad customer base so that they can be converted into potential customers, then yes, the benefits typically outweigh the costs.
What are the Benefits of Custom Design?
Brand Credibility Creates Trust
If you’re in the business of selling a Ecommerce product, it’s all about your brand. While your business offering may or may not be better than your competition, the strength of your brand is what gets people to purchase your product.
With a templated website, your ability to differentiate from other competitors will be limited. For example, when potential customers see a cookie cutter website, they see a cookie cutter brand, and that will likely impact how they view your brands credibility. This is very important, as according to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not.
With a custom website design, you are far more able to showcase the true power of your brand and what makes you unique.
A beautiful website design with a strong, focused brand promotes your business as more reliable, more professional, and more compelling.
Optimal Customer Experience
You know what your customers want, and how to get it to them. You can design a site that works perfectly for them, rather than try to work around limitations in a template.
For example, a one-size-fits-all website solution is unlikely to give your particular customers the unique experience they deserve.
With custom web design, you can tailor your website to your customer—because you know them best.
Whether it’s a unique landing page layout, a clear navigation architecture, a highly responsive design, or an intuitive user funnel, your website needs to provide a great experience at every step of the way.
Why? Because every interaction with your website is an interaction with your business.
Save time and improve efficiencies by optimizing a lot of your business functions using a tailor-made website. Something as simple as capturing potential leads into a specific table in your website administration area and exporting them to an Excel file using a structure that is optimized for your sales team can greatly increase business efficiency and decrease the amount of time you spend organizing your customer data.
Whether you want to connect your internal POS and stock-keeping software to your website for automatic updates, or to automatically add customers from your website into your CRM system, integrating XML feeds into your website means you can actually design the functionality of your business needs.
Conversion + Return On Investment
The core purpose of a business website is to attract people and convert them into customers. Everything about the design of the website needs to be geared to that purpose. And designing a familiar and comfortable E-Commerce experience is that basis of that conversion.
Every previous benefit on this list has been building to this point. Having a custom website will draw more potential customers to your site, provide a better customer experience once they’re there, save time and improve efficiencies by automating functionalities, and ultimately convert more visitors into business.
That’s why it’s wise to view your website as an investment rather than an expense. A powerful website will pay itself off many times over by working for you to generate new business.
A custom theme will cost considerably more than the off the rack template you might have previously purchased. Custom theme design prices will be based primarily on two factors:
#1: The expertise of the agency/freelancer you choose.
Agency/Freelancer expertise, is perhaps the most important of those variables.
Typically a highly reputable Agency is going to cost considerably more than an individual freelancer.
You will need to choose a Partner that’s right for your project.
SG Web Partners likes to consider itself in that middle tier as our low overhead and well refined processes allows us to offer agency quality (or higher quality) websites at competitive price points.
#2: The complexity of design + scope of the project you wish to implement.
Lots of factors are involved, but project scope and Ecommerce maturity will significantly influence which end of that scale a project falls into. For example, When we create a custom Ecommerce theme for a client, we do a lot more than just developing a custom theme.
We’re usually leading an E-Commerce implementation project from start to finish.
In this scenario, we’re typically talking about the following:
- Custom Designed Theme
- Custom Developed Theme
- ERP Integration for the following functions (Inventory Sync/Import, Orders to ERP, Fulfillment/Tracking Import)
- Ecommerce Marketing – collaborating with both your internal team and your external stakeholders to execute your marketing strategy efficiently.
- Customize the Checkout Process
- Web Applications-Custom Built Scripts +Web Applications
As you can see, Ecommerce stores can take many forms, ranging from very simplistic to very complex, and there IS NOT a one-size-fits-all answer.
Thus, A fixed cost or packaged model for Ecommerce pricing just doesn’t work as it assumes that solutions for brands are predictable and prioritizes technology over brands/business needs.
However, I am not writing this article so you can be left hanging and willing to give you some high-level estimates of what we have charged during the past 4 years working with dozens of Ecommerce brands in multiple verticals.
Below are Estimates of costs for starter, small, medium, large, and enterprise custom Ecommerce website design + development cost investment should be. Please note that we never have estimated a project solely based on number of SKUS. However, we have included SKUS with each tiered estimate, as it hopefully makes each tier more understand.
We also wrote an article How Much Does an Ecommerce Website Cost in 2019? and created the Ecommerce Cost Estimate Calculator, a tool that gathers the customer’s ecommerce data (Sales, Average Order Value, number of products, 3rd party integrations, etc.) to quickly and automatically provide a realistic estimate.
- SKUS: 1-10 SKUS
- Estimated Cost: (See above-use a pre-built template site with Shopify or WooCommerce)
- SKUS: 10-50 SKUS
- Estimated Cost: $20,000-$30,000
- SKUS: 50-500 SKUS
- Estimated Cost: $30,000-$50,000
- SKUS: 500+ SKUS
- Estimated Cost: $50,000 or more
Take a look at a few of the Ecommerce websites we have done to get an idea of our capabilities: