Shopify is a brilliant platform. As a small business, you can get started right away with a hosted solution that gives you the freedom to build your online store, without the headache of the technical stuff.
However, as you grow your business, you might be looking to upgrade your site, improve conversion rates and increase revenue. That’s where the Shopify experts come in…
We know investing in a new website is a huge decision, but finding prices for these digital services online can be hard work. That’s why, in our previous pricing blog, How much does a website really cost?, we shared a full cost breakdown and price range for building a new, high-converting website on WordPress.
Every agency has its own process and approach to designing and developing websites. These blogs are designed to help you get a better understanding of what you’re paying for and why each element of the process is key.
We believe that in order to build a trusting relationship with your prospects, it’s important to be open and transparent about all parts of the purchasing process, including price.
In this week’s blog, we’re deep diving into how much Shopify experts cost to build your new e-commerce site. As always, our goal is to improve conversion rates and this is at the heart of everything we do in our tried and tested process.
We aim to work with organisations that are already established in their field but are looking to improve conversions, user experience and online presence. If you’re a smaller business, these prices could feel a bit too much for you for now so feel free to check out this blog for tips you can implement yourself.
So, let’s get to it, shall we? 👇
How much does it cost to build a Shopify website?
Just to make it clear, you can get started yourself for as little as £19 per month, but today we’re talking about working with a team of Shopify experts, like us here at Strafe Creative.
Bespoke sites designed and built by Shopify experts can cost from £20k to £100k plus.
A huge range right? Well, keep reading to understand exactly what that covers…
As with all complex projects, there’s no set price to reveal – each design and build project is bespoke to you and your needs. We’re going to break it down for you using our costing template so you can see where these price ranges come from.
For example, a local online cushion store with around 100 products will pay much less than a large, international organisation with over 1000 products that require international payment and shipping integrations.
Throughout the blog, we’re going to reference our client X Rocker as an example. It is not the exact brief or price that we worked with but hopefully, it will help bring to life the design and functionality possible within our price range.
X Rocker is redefining gaming chairs and accessories for customers all over the world. Their designs are bold, innovative and exciting and they are a top player (no pun intended) in the industry.
The X Rocker team came to us looking for a full website redesign and build. The goal was to enhance the digital user experience to reflect the quality of the products and increase conversions.
Why choose Shopify for your e-commerce site?
Shopify is a fantastic platform to host your e-commerce site. It’s easy to get started, flexible and offers many out-of-the-box features that you can’t access as easily via WordPress and WooCommerce.
A few great reasons to choose Shopify include:
- Hosted and secure – No faffing around with self-hosting and security options
- Regular maintenance – These updates ensure you have the latest version running at all times
- User-friendly – The back-end is really easy to work with
- Speedy servers – Means a speedy website. Especially if you’re in the UK or the US (where they are hosted)
- Community Vibes – Huge network available offering guidance and support for any Shopify issues
- Integrations – Lots of great e-commerce SaaS integrates easily with Shopify, for example, loyalty and referral tech, email service provides such as Klaviyo and many more
- Conversion-led – The Shopify team are regularly updating the UX in areas such as checkout to enhance conversion rate and user experience
How much do Shopify experts cost: what’s included as standard?
At Strafe Creative we work through a detailed and methodical process to ensure that we offer the best possible experience and results for each client.
Our years of experience in digital design and development have led us to tweak and refine this process. For example, a lot of detailed prep work and research is now standard as we’ve learned the benefits of this process, both to the client and their end-users.
In the design stage, we build out a user flow, wireframes, a homepage, and all internal pages such as about, services, contact etc. All our design work comes with unlimited amends to help you get a look and experience you love.
The build is done in six sprints, from the basic elements to the more complex and responsive functionality. We have an in-depth QA stage with over 200 checks to ensure only the best version of the site goes live.
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail…
Technical and Inspiration Meetings
During these initial meetings our team will work with you, to determine the objective and purpose of your website. Do you want to increase conversions? Or do you want to engage a customer community?
We’ll share our inspiration and ideas and together we’ll review sites you love and why.
User Flow and Wire Frames
Some agencies and freelancers don’t do this, but we see the value in spending time on a clear and intuitive user flow and building out wireframes. It not only helps us design a better quality website, but it also helps you see the journey a user will take on your new site and ensure they’re more likely to convert.
What’s particularly important in an e-commerce site is the range of different buying journeys users take. People browse sites in many ways depending on their purchasing intent, budget and where they are in the sales cycle.
They could start with the search bar, main menu, category pages, blog, product listings, filters, and new in and discounted items. We map out each possible user journey to ensure they all have an optimal experience.
The reason why the price of the homepage concepts is so high, is that these truly are the backbone of the look, feel and experience of the website. That initial landing experience for a user is vital to engage and excite them.
Whether that’s to purchase straight away, browse categories or learn more about the business, they’ll always start on the homepage. We’ve spent over a decade refining the elements and features that help to ensure a high-converting design and experience.
Given it’s such a key part of the user journey, and the project in general, we present 3 – 4 different concepts and designs to our clients and work through unlimited rounds of amends and iterations until it’s finalised.
This page then informs the rest of the internal page designs making that process much quicker and easier. It’s well worth the up-front investment in both money and time to nail this part of the design process!
How much do Shopify experts cost: what comes next?
Based on your site’s objectives, we’ll look to design and develop either page templates or a set of modules that can be mixed and matched across your site in different combinations. For example, image blocks, text blocks, client testimonials, reviews, partnerships, awards etc.
In our example with X Rocker, we included a range of Standard templates that suited all the additional pages they have, for example, retailers, shipping, quality guarantee, sponsorship and video guides.
These additional page requirements are often overlooked when costing up a project, but they are a really important part of the buying process.
Every client we work with will sign off the desktop designs and have a choice to review and sign off the mobile/tablet versions too. This however increases costs as additional amends means more development time.
How much do Shopify experts cost: in-depth research
At Strafe Creative we pride ourselves on an in-depth research process. We spend time working with you to identify the main pain points you’re experiencing with your current site.
For example, as an international organisation, X Rocker was having trouble managing payment, currency and shipping requirements for international orders. They were looking for a solution that easily tackled this problem and kept it simple for them to manage in the long run.
On top of this it’s imperative we understand your target audience; their needs, wants, expectations and objections. If needs be, we can work together to identify your ideal customer persona(s) and use this to inform our design and development work.
Often with e-commerce sites, a key challenge is understanding why some products sell better than others. To tackle this, we do in-depth research to understand exactly what users are looking for in this particular product.
Review websites are really useful for this as they highlight the features and benefits shoppers are interested in. Content like ‘reasons to buy’ helps us redesign product pages to showcase the best features and improve conversions.
Whilst we have great relationships with 3rd Party SEO and PPC companies, if our clients already have their own contacts we’ll work with them to identify any additional technical requirements they have ahead of the project.
How much do Shopify experts cost: what are the optional extras?
The next part of our conversation will go into depth about all the features you’re looking for. During the design process, we would add these features into the wireframes and user flow, and then build out the technical functionality during the development stage.
Each additional requirement and functionality request affect the cost. A great example is CRM integration.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration
CRM integrations can range from a simple email/data capture to a complex sync between your CRM and website. In e-commerce, the link is usually pretty basic, either for a newsletter or a customer enquiry form.
A complex sync with a CRM like Hubspot* could lead to customer data being automatically updated within Hubspot, based on the data they input on the site. This is more typical for a b2b business or a direct-to-consumer (DTC) site that offers a service or high-ticket product with a longer sales cycle.
In the X Rocker screenshot below you can see an enquiry form asking for details about a purchase. This links to a CRM to help manage complaints and issues.
E-commerce functionality options
Shopify offers a range of different functionalities and options for e-commerce clients. During the initial technical meetings, we will recommend which parts of the platform are best suited for the new site.
As part of the process, we will migrate all the products and stock to the new platform.
Other features and functionality to consider
On top of these choices, there are so many additional features to think about when considering how much a website costs. A few examples from the list below are:
- Google Speed Score – ensuring the site is really fast to load
- Integrating APIs such as Eventbrite, Calendly and Social Media Platforms
- A members area for users to log in and access their account
- A bespoke interactive section – this will be determined during the briefing stage and usually involves website features not listed here
How much do Shopify experts cost: what if I want to migrate my old website or content to the new site?
Migrating your data from one site to another is a cost consideration many people forget. Whether that’s products, blog content or SEO migration, we can arrange some of it or all of it, depending on what you prefer.
The costs listed vary here depending on the number of products and content. Transferring content is surprisingly time-consuming, so that is taken into consideration in the price.
When it comes to internal pages, a standard migration isn’t very common as the new designs usually require more information to help support conversion and SEO optimisation. Clients will work on this separately and provide it ready for launch.
During an e-commerce project, usually, the new product page designs require a lot more content that the original ones.
Take X Rocker for example, in the images below you can see how much more information the new site has compared to the old. Additional images in the gallery, easy-to-understand dimensions and specifications and a sticky check-out box on the right-hand side which stays with the user as they scroll down the page. Check out the full page to see further features, compatibility information and upselling opportunities.
We often recommend that the client chooses a few pages to complete fully and then they can add the new sections to more and more products over time, as they shoot additional photos and gather the extra information.
X Rocker Before
X Rocker After
On top of the internal pages and products, blog content also needs to be migrated.
The basic option for transferring blogs is a no-frills, export and import. Typically the overall layout might not look perfect but in general, it’ll match the format just fine. Around 99% of our clients choose this option and then in their own time amend anything they need to.
The full option includes our team spending time reformatting and ensuring that every single blog has been imported successfully and looks perfect in the new website design.
SEO migration is a complex and technical project and we only recommend doing this if you are making between £500k – 1 million in revenue, with plenty of traffic coming from search. It costs around £5,000 to do this and we work with our 3rd party partner to do so.
This leads us nicely to…
How much do Shopify experts cost: what about SEO and other marketing?
We are specialists in conversion-led design and development, so we choose to work closely with 3rd Party Marketing Partners who are experts in their field. From SEO, Photography and Copywriting we have contacts who can support the improvement of your website outside of the design and build we will work on.
As with any additional agency or freelancer, we will brief the project and receive a quote, however here is a rough overview of what to expect.
How much do Shopify experts cost: is meeting time included?
Meeting times and general communication schedules are taken into account when we price up a project. There are essential client meetings and prep required throughout the project which are included in the price as standard.
On top of this, we’ll arrange with you how much we communicate. For some clients who work in an agile methodology already, twice-weekly standups are preferred to keep the project moving forward in line with the business priorities.
In comparison, many busy MDs and business owners often prefer monthly updates as they just don’t have the time to speak as regularly.
The table below shows a range of options. Of course, the more meetings we have, the higher the price but we offer this range to be flexible with our clients’ needs and wants. We’ll discuss this in detail at the start of the project and plan this agreed communication strategy into our schedule.
Typically when working with e-commerce clients they opt for bi-weekly meetings with regular call and email updates in between.
How much do Shopify experts cost: can I just have the designs to implement myself?
Absolutely. We work with many companies who have the tech capabilities to build the website themselves but are looking for support in their design and UX.
Our client Drop Deck, for example, came to us for new branding and a homepage design. Once the project was complete, we packaged up all the assets, prototypes, design files and detailed instructions to ensure they could bring their new brand and homepage to life.
Whilst these projects are cheaper as we are not doing the development work, we spend time preparing all the documents and files so they can be easily used by someone else.
How much do Shopify experts cost: what are the ongoing costs of my website once it’s built?
What’s handy about Shopify is that all the hosting and security costs are included in the monthly payment, this also includes regular updates so you always have the latest versions. However there are some additional fees to be aware of.
Firstly, the transaction fees. These go down, the more you pay on a monthly basis. We usually recommend the middle payment option at £49 per month as the transaction fees are lower.
Secondly, plugin costs. Unlike WordPress where you pay for plugins on a one-time basis, Shopify keeps them updated for you via a monthly payment plan. Plugins may be required to integrate customer reviews or more complex coupon options.
Outside of Shopify costs, we also offer a number of aftercare options.
Bringing the costs to life
Whilst we cannot share the exact cost of the X Rocker website due to client confidentiality here’s another example.
Background: trainer company who have been selling their shoes through 3rd party sites for a few years, e.g. Boohoo. Despite high growth and great sales, they haven’t sold DTC before and don’t have their own website.
Brief: Credible and robust site to bring to life their brand in their own digital space. As there’s no current site there are no content migrations to consider. There are around 30 different products in total, with colour and size variations on top of that. They are planning to expand their range of products to include socks, hats and other accessories in the next couple of years.
That’s a wrap…
So there you have it, our totally transparent, upfront breakdown of what it costs to build a new website, on average between £37,000 and £55,000.
Whilst a high-converting new website might seem like a huge investment, many of our clients see such great results that the cost is returned in just a few months.
If you want to learn more about the project with X Rocker, read the full case study here.
Is a high-converting e-commerce site high on your priority list? Then get in touch by filling out the Project Planner below.
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