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How much does an Ecommerce Website cost in the UK?

A helpful brief put together by our Ecommerce experts at Riotspace.

Cost estimation is the first step when looking to start any business, and there are many things to consider, especially when building an ecommerce website. All ecommerce website designs will vary in price, based on specific requirements that you are looking for. In a digital world it is essential that your online store stands out from your competitors, so a premium website designer and good SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) are critical.

In this article, we will cover the basic costs you’ll encounter when developing and running your ecommerce website in the UK. By obtaining a quote from Riotspace Creative you will gain understanding of the price of ecommerce websites, based on the specifics that you have given to Riotspace. All ecommerce website builds will vary and if you require additional features then you can expect your ecommerce website to cost more.

We always recommend speaking to a reputable ecommerce website designer such as Riotspace Creative who can help outline the specifics of your ecommerce website in order to have accurate cost estimation. Ultimately, the total cost of ecommerce website design will depend on the type of ecommerce website you are looking to build, your budget, assistance you can provide the designers and many other factors. If you are a start-up then you may be able to access various grants or plans to help build your ecommerce website.

Average Cost of an Ecommerce Website in the UK

Your ecommerce website can cost as little as £1500 using a simple plan, or the excess of £20,000 if yours is more complex. This massive difference is enough reason to warrant thorough planning and cost estimation.

A small, low budget with premade styles and pre-sets may cost less than £2,000. This may be something to look at for a start-up or small business. On the other hand, if you plan to process millions of transactions annually and desire quality custom architecture, you could end up spending more than £100,000 to launch and run your ecommerce website.

You may also need a team of professionals to help run your online store. Below is a sample breakdown of the cost of an ecommerce website with standard features required to turn over a few million in annual revenue for small or medium enterprises. The ecommerce website design cost also features subscriptions and additional requirements.

Ecommerce Website Service Average Cost
Website Design/Development (one-off) £2,000 – £20,000
Support and Maintenance (annual) £790 – £7,990
Web and Email Hosting (annual) £240 – £2,400
SSL Certificates (annual) £100 to £500
Photography (per session) £300 – £1,500
Copywriting (per day) £240 – £800
Search Engine Optimization (per month) £200 – £500

Calculating the Cost of Your Ecommerce Website

All ecommerce website designs follow similar approaches when it comes to estimating the cost, though the specifics vary depending on the ecommerce website you are creating. Below are some key steps and decisions to help you with your calculations:

Outline Your Needs

Your requirements from your online store may vary greatly, so it is crucial to specify everything you’ll require to make it a success. You can pull up a list of what’s needed to set up an ecommerce website from any online resource, but the priority should be your specific needs. Essentially, you’ll have three classes of requirements as follows:

  • The must-haves – Comprises what you must have to create the ecommerce website and includes the ecommerce website design, hosting, SSL certificates, support, etc.
  • Non-necessities – These are things you don’t necessarily require but add value and efficiency to your website.
  • Future needs – As the name suggests, this category features things you are working towards and will need in future.

If you have a good plan before you contact your website designer, that will help in obtaining an accurate quote from the beginning, rather than adding features as you go along. It is also essential to discuss each element with a at Riotspace and determine what you can adjust without compromising your business.

Custom vs Off-The-Shelf

Before you start an ecommerce website, you must determine if you want a custom (bespoke) platform built from scratch or a templated design. Both have significant impacts on your project’s cost and also draw different types of business owners. A custom approach will cost more than pre-built websites, but you will get a unique website found nowhere else. You’ll also have an easier time tweaking themes, styles, and codes to suit your aesthetic expectations.

On the other hand, pre-built ecommerce websites come with themes and features that are not necessary for your ecommerce site build. They are cheaper and kept simple, all you need to do is populate the templates. However, you will be sharing the style with other entrepreneurs that purchase the same template. There is also a limit to what you can upgrade or tweak. Two main aspects are vital in deciding which option to go with: design and development.


By choosing a less complex design you can purchase specific elements that improve your website design such as specific layouts, sections, or styles. This sort of design is easier and quicker to build, and your ecommerce website should be completed quicker than if you have chosen a bespoke design.

This option is best suited to businesses with a smaller budget or time constraints. However, a pre-set website has many limitations and may not be the way to go if you want to grow your brand and business in the future.

Bespoke websites may cost more than what you may spend on a pre-built ecommerce website. However, they are worth the time and effort, especially if you want to grow your business. You can easily customise everything to create something unique to your business and customers. It is also easier to upgrade and eliminate any features you don’t need, unlike off-the-shelf designs that may have irremovable elements.


An off-the-shelf design comes with a premade theme and packages, so you’ll spend less time in development. However, the templates are made for the mass market and may feature several packages and styles that you won’t need but can’t remove. These extra features can slow down your website. Also, the designs aren’t customised for your business and may lack search engine optimisation so you may need to contact a digital marketing agency like Riotspace Creative who can provide these services.

A bespoke website is built from scratch, allowing you to include what’s necessary for your brand. It may take more time to develop as everything is customised for your business. You’ll also need an experienced ecommerce website designer who understands your project requirements. Once your project has been completed your business will have a professional ecommerce website with all the features and functionality needed.

Upgrading a bespoke website is easier as you can choose which areas need attention, as opposed to a pre-made theme where you may need to change many aspects of your ecommerce website just to change the one thing that was needed. You can switch features, integrate new technologies, test different SEO extensions and tweak various things to fine-tune your store for optimum performance. A bespoke website will always cost more than a pre-made theme or templated website, but the control that you will have over any redesign or additional features you may need is worth it.

Additional Website Costs

There are many additions to any ecommerce website design cost. The more complex your build, the more additions you may need, which could significantly increase the total cost of running your ecommerce website. Here are some of the extra fees that you may incur.

 1) Website Hosting Fees

You’ll need to host your website on a server; while prices start at an affordable range, website hosting costs can quickly soar beyond your budget. If you expect to process thousands of transactions, host heavy traffic, and use thousands of images, you’ll need a larger server dedicated to your business.

Dedicated server hosting is more expensive than standard shared hosting plans. On average, a small ecommerce store will cost around £240 per month or more if you need greater server space and bandwidth. Established websites with thousands of traffic and transactions may spend several thousand pounds annually and need dedicated servers.

 2) SSL Certificates

You’ll need to protect your website from hackers, malware and other cyber threats; SSL Certificates are your starting point. These certificates come with varying features and protection, but you don’t have to purchase the most expensive encryptions for your start-up. Most small and medium enterprises will pay around £200 per year on SSL protection. You can also find free options. However, it is strongly recommend purchasing a certificate to get better protection against existing and emerging threats.

 3) Updates/Upgrades/Bug-Fixing/Backup

Websites need maintenance more frequently than you might think. With new advancements and technology come new standards. Updating your security algorithms, plugins, and extensions will cost between £80 and £150 every month. Some web designers have maintenance packages, you can also purchase these services separately. You also need to back up the website just in case you suffer a breach or breakdown. Backups can restore a site quickly, reducing downtime and development costs.

 4) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Your website won’t be any good if no one can see it. That’s why you need to invest in SEO. Search engine optimization aims to rank your site on the first page of results for specific keywords belonging to your business. Note that SEO is always changing, so you need an ongoing plan or assistance consistent results. The cost also varies significantly, depending on how fast you want to grow the business. You’ll pay anything from £500 to thousands of pounds per month.

The Bottom Line

Ecommerce website design cost is just one of many fees you’ll incur for developing and maintaining your ecommerce presence. If you have a large enterprise, you’ll need more complex processes and features. You should also consider training your personnel to equip them for day-to-day operations. Other things that could impact the total cost include migrating to another website/domain or even switching website hosting plans as you scale to improve business processes.

A good website will take longer to develop, especially if you choose bespoke designs. In this case it is essential to have a comprehensive plan and understanding of your requirements and to have a realistic budget that accommodates miscellaneous fees. Choosing the cheaper off-the-shelf option can save you some money, but you may end up with a poor-quality ecommerce website that could cost you potential business. We therefore recommend speaking to several website design and digital marketing agencies, including Riotspace Creative before you pay for your online store.

Our UK team, based in Dorset, is ready to provide help if you need ecommerce website advice or answers to your questions. Get in touch today to find out more about budgeting for a new ecommerce website or redesigning an existing online store.

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