What Is the Cost of Building and Operating a Magento eCommerce Store?
By David Ephraim, ATAK Interactive President, Development + Operations
One most critical concern you will face as an e-commerce store owner is the cost of building, operating, hosting, and maintaining an eCommerce store. These decisions are not easy, as features and pricing vary from platform to platform, and from version to version (i.e. Enterprise or Plus versions)
Boasting of over 250,000 merchants using it, Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today. And with the recent roll-out of Magento 2, which has since been updated to version 2.3, things are getting even better with the platform.
Estimating the cost of an eCommerce store Magento platform may not be easy, because prices do vary from time to time, and from one service provider to another. This article aims to provide the important information you need about the cost of building and operating a Magento e-commerce site so you can make the right decisions for your business.
Magento platform options
Magento offers two kinds of e-commerce platforms for your online store: Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source. Each of them can serve your business well, except that each suits a specific business type and size. You can choose the options that best suit your business needs after checking out this review. Each of these will impact the cost of building your Magento eCommerce store differently.
Previously known as Magento Enterprise Edition, this platform is the licensed version of Magento e-commerce services. Since it offers a lot more services compared to its other counterpart, Open Source, its pricing starts at $24,000 a year. Compared to the numerous benefits and functionalities of Magento Commerce, the high cost of building your Magento eCommerce store should not be a cause of concern. Some of these benefits include dedicated account management and comprehensive technical support – critical issues for every large-scale organization requiring an elevated level of functionality and support.
The Magento Commerce option also offers several unique features meant to enhance the performance of your online store. These options include the following:
- B2B functionality
- Advanced marketing tools
- Customer loyalty tools
- WYSIWYG page builder
- Content staging and preview
- Visual merchandising
Magento Open Source
Unlike Magento Commerce, Magento Open Source is absolutely free. You can access the free download and enjoy basic in-built functionalities. Initially known as Magento Community, this version was released way back in 2008 and became available for everyone to use.
Being free doesn’t mean it is entirely limited, but it also does not mean there is no cost to building your Magento eCommerce store. Users can use or install several extensions, and even configure the software to suit their business needs. Hosting a variety of useful tools to enhance the user experience, Magento Open Source appeals to startups and young businesses.
Another great thing about the Open Source is that the Magento development team has always been working hard to increase the functionality of the free platform by creating new extensions to add to what already exists. This means that users on the free version have something substantial going for them as they consider making the switch to Magento Commerce when their business hopefully expands.
Features with Impact on Price
Several factors come into play when determining the cost of a Magento development project. You have three options to choose from: hire a freelancer, a web development agency, and using your in-house development team. Each of the options come with pros and cons, and different pricing.
Hiring a freelancer will cost you between $10 and $200 per hour depending on your region. South-East Asia is the cheapest, charging between $10 and $20, while the US, UK, and Western Europe are the most expensive, levying between $150 and $200 per hour.
Engaging the services of a web development agency will cost you between $35 and $200 by the hour, and you enjoy high-quality features as well as professionalism. If, on the other hand, you choose an in-house development team, prepare to spend a minimum of $70,000 and a maximum of $120,000 per year.
Selecting your store theme is a critical business because the theme represents your business. It’s what your online visitors see first before venturing further into your store. Magento themes cost up to $200 or more. You may want to choose basic themes and hire a frontend developer to customize them, but keep in mind that these developers will charge you between $20,000 and $60,000 per year, depending on how much you need them.
You will need around $50 to $500 for Magento extensions. While some extensions are free, some may cost you thousands of dollars. However, be sure that whichever extension you use to increase the functionality of your online store, is compatible with your Magento version and does not cause possible conflicts with existing extensions.
Graphics and Brand Collateral
Your online store needs a brand image to differentiate it from other stores. It is important to be careful when choosing your theme color, logo and associated visual elements, such as product images and videos, to compete favorably. You will require the services of a professional graphics artist which will cost you about $8,000 to $18,000.
Domain for your store
The name of your store (domain name) should be attractive and easy to remember. Take some time to choose a domain name that reflects your business accurately. A brand-new domain name will cost you between $10 to $15 per year.
Magento hosting varies based on the level of service your site requires. Annual hosting costs for Magento start at $600 and can go up from there. Many Magento 2 site owners have enough traffic to justify a dedicated hosting package. Those packages generally start at around $250/month.
Breakdown of Costs to Consider
Whether you are downloading the free version or the paid Magento Commerce, you will incur costs of implementation, hosting, maintenance and support, among others. You have to factor in these costs when determining how much the Magento development project will cost you. Here is the breakdown of costs to consider.
Implementing the Magento platform will cost you anything between $18,000 and $100,000 depending on the version you have chosen. $30,000 is a general standard for a basic e-commerce website, but if you need a customized Magento design, customer groups, integration with back-office systems, and migrations to host, then you have to pay more.
Maintenance and support
An operational e-commerce site requires regular maintenance and support to keep it in tip-top shape. The cost of maintaining your site may vary depending on our choice –
whether in-house or outsourcing – and the activities to be conducted. A regular maintenance team working for four hours a week can cost an average of $2,500 per month.
If you need a dedicated server, you will have to part with $250+ per month, but you may also wish to have a shared hosting service to cut down on costs. Such an arrangement would cost you $50 on a monthly basis.
Third-party integrations can vary in complexity and price and are generally priced by either a onetime development fee or a monthly integration management fee for the lifetime of the integration. Integrations vary from complicated ERP integrations (i.e. NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics) to easier ones (i.e. live chat, or newsletter service plugins). An ERP integration could be anywhere from $5,000-$25,000, or we have seen where there is a simple monthly charge as long as you use the integration (i.e. $300/month ongoing). More simple integrations are sometimes done in an hour or two and can cost less than $300 in total.
If you are looking for a seamless and professional e-commerce platform management for your store, consider contacting us at ATAK Interactive. With 15 years of experience, we can guide you through the planning, development of the Magento platform, and advise you on the best solutions available and the best prices. We provide a comprehensive support and maintenance system for the Magento platform, and we will help you make the right decision for your business.
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