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How Long Does It Take to Build an E-commerce Website?

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Like most good things, if you want to build an appealing and interactive e-commerce website, it will not happen in a day. If you are undertaking such a task from start to finish, know that it needs time, effort, and resources.

As a business owner, once you decide to build an e-commerce site, there are two questions you should ask yourself. First, how much will it cost you? And second, how long will it take?  

The truth is that both of these questions have the same answer—it depends. When you start to build your website, you need to consider that dozens of other factors will come into play even though the cost and timeline are related.  

For instance, do you want to hire a web development agency to do the job for you or do you plan to hire a freelance developer? Then there is the matter of the different e-commerce website design strategies and models you will have to evaluate.

You also have to accept that the timeline you get from an agency or the one you draft up will still need to outline some significant milestones that the project will go through. In addition, every phase should have a set timeline that correctly corresponds with the size and complexity of the site you wish to create.

On the other hand, say you want to start a store with Shopify and stock ten items. It would be best to build a standard e-commerce website, which will only take a couple of hours since it doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise.  

However, if you need a customized e-commerce website that can effectively promote thousands of items, you will have to hire a development agency or several e-commerce web designers. Such a project could also take six to twelve months to complete and may cost you a pretty penny. 

What Is the Timeframe to Build an E-commerce Website?

As mentioned earlier, various factors affect the timeline associated with creating an e-commerce site. So, if you are unsure how to evaluate this concept properly, don’t worry; the information below will help clarify some things.

Using an Agency 

If you wish to create a large-scale e-commerce website, you might need a website development agency to help you with the task. Once you hire them, the agency will conduct an introductory session with you or your online marketing department to develop a timeline for the job. 

At this juncture, they will also require certain information from you before proceeding, such as your marketing objectives, company logo, products, and target market. To help speed up this phase, you will need to provide quick but detailed feedback.

With that said, let us now look at possible timelines for building an e-commerce website by analyzing various process milestones.

Milestone One: Proposal

The proposal phase can typically last anywhere from six to twelve weeks. During this period, the agency will begin to take various actions like planning out content, researching keywords, providing technical recommendations, and conducting a technical audit of your existing site.

Milestone Two: Architecture

The architecture stage can last between two to four weeks. This phase is when the site’s architecture and wireframes get drawn up. These are the outline pages of the website and showcase the layout of how the page content will look.

Milestone Three: Design

Typically, the web design portion of the building process takes four to five weeks, depending on the scale of the site. The homepage and subpages also determine the site’s layout and appearance. It’s key that the design be visually appealing, memorable, and most important of all, user-friendly.

Milestone Four: Development

The development phase of the e-commerce building process is when the agency starts to create the website. This can take less than a month for small businesses, but can be three to four times longer for larger ones. It is also when you create content, usually with SEO in mind. Other aspects addressed during the development stage include your call-to-actions (CTAs), headings, page titles, and image tags. The development stage ends once the site is fully launched.

Milestone Five: Support

The support phase is not a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process since building an e-commerce site does not stop upon site launch. As the site owner, you will have to keep everything in tip-top shape, regularly adding fresh, unique content to keep users engaged and returning to your site.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which option you choose for your e-commerce site – hiring a freelancer or a design agency – keep in mind that the process will still require quite the time commitment to see it properly developed. As the site owner, you’ll also be required to get involved with the process, so be ready to provide your insight and opinions when required. 

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