How Long Does it Take to Build an eCommerce Site?

Ecommerce website

In today’s digital age, having an eCommerce site is critical for any business looking to succeed in the online marketplace. By 2026, retailers expect 24% of purchases to occur online. However, building an eCommerce site is not a one-size-fits-all process. The time it takes to build an eCommerce site can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the site, the design and branding requirements, the platform selection, team size and expertise, and project management methodology. 

Therefore, businesses must understand the estimated timeline for building an eCommerce site and ways to speed up the development process without compromising quality. If you’re experiencing website-building birthing pains, this guide will explore the estimated timelines for building an eCommerce site of different sizes and provide tips on expediting the development process.

Factors That Affect the Timeline for Building an eCommerce Website

The timeline for building an eCommerce website can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the site, as well as the development team’s experience and resources. Let’s explore these factors and how they affect website building time.

Complexity of the Website

Naturally, developing a complex website with dozens of working parts takes longer. For instance, an eCommerce website with a sizable product catalog will demand time and resources for developing product pages, categories, and search functionalities.

Custom Features

Integrating custom features via third-party software such as payment gateways, shipping providers, or email marketing tools can be time-consuming, especially if these integrations require significant development. Each integration requires research, configuration, and testing and may need additional customization and niche expertise to fit your website’s specific needs.

Other custom features that can eat into your timeline include membership systems, subscription models, and custom shopping carts. Complex features require in-depth planning, development, and testing.

Design & Branding

If a business has well-defined branding guidelines, the development team can use them as a reference point to design the eCommerce site’s look and feel. An established brand bible can help speed up the design process, as the development team will have a clear understanding of the business’s branding requirements.

Teams lacking brand guidelines must spend more time developing brand elements like logos, color schemes, and typography.

On the other hand, a business undergoing a design overhaul may take even longer to develop a new website fully. 

Platform Selection

The development team’s familiarity with the chosen eCommerce platform can impact how long it takes to build the site. If you’re familiar with the platform, you can work more efficiently and complete the project faster than developing a new platform from scratch.

Open Source

Open-source eCommerce platforms are typically free to use and can be customized and extended by developers to meet the specific needs of a business. These platforms offer a range of customization options, such as new functionalities through plugins and extensions. They are community-driven, undergoing constant improvement for a meager cost.

Platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, or OpenCart offer more flexibility and customization options but can take longer to build. These platforms require more development time and expertise to set up and configure, and they may require additional time for testing and maintenance.


SaaS (Software as a Service) eCommerce platform is a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to build and manage their online stores without installing or maintaining any software on their servers. Instead, the platform is hosted and managed by a third-party service provider.

Pre-built Saas templates don’t require additional technical expertise, making them more accessible and quicker to build. However, SaaS eCommerce platforms are often limited in their customization options.

Generally, developing open-source platforms can take longer than their SaaS counterparts because of the demand for technical experience. However, your resource, budget, and background can significantly impact these timelines just as much.

Team Size & Expertise

Whether it takes longer to develop an eCommerce website with an in-house or outsourced team depends on various factors, including the project’s scope, the team’s skillset, and the team’s availability. 


In-house teams with the required experience typically build websites faster. However, you may not get your time’s worth if your in-house team is already attached to an ongoing project or has limited availability. 


Outsourcing a web design agency in Dubai may be faster if the project requires a large team with diverse skills, as it allows businesses to tap into a wider pool of resources and scale up or down as needed.

Estimated Timelines for Building an eCommerce Website

Remember, size and complexity often determine how long it takes to develop an eCommerce website. Thus, these projected timelines are merely estimates.

  • Small website: Small eCommerce websites with a limited product catalog take four to eight weeks to develop. These websites typically boast simple payment and shipment functionalities.
  • Medium website: Medium eCommerce websites with customized functionalities like personalized shopping carts, a vaster product range, and integrations can take three to six months to build.
  • Large/enterprise website: Larger eCommerce websites with extensive product catalogs and complex integrations can take six months to a year to build.

How to Speed Up the eCommerce Website-Building Process

Building a website doesn’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t have to take longer than you anticipate. Here are a few tips for speeding up the eCommerce website-building process.

Set Clear Goals and Requirements

Before starting the development process, it’s essential to define clear goals and requirements for the website. Keeping your team focused allows you to avoid unnecessary work. Deprioritize low-priority features, scheduling them for later stages of development.

Precise requirements also help define the project’s scope, which can help avoid scope creep. Scope creep occurs when new features or requirements are added to the project after development has begun, which can lead to delays and additional costs.

Use Pre-Built Templates

Pre-built templates come with pre-designed layouts and structures, which can save time during the initial setup of the website. The development team can focus on customizing the template to fit the business’s branding and requirements rather than building everything from scratch.

Templates also reduce design time, with pre-built elements like headers, footers, and product pages. These pre-defined designs are consistent, reducing the need to design each page individually.

Incorporate Project Management Tools

Project management tools provide a centralized location for communication, collaboration, and document sharing between team members. With the appropriate centralized tools, you improve collaboration and communication between team members, reducing the risk of misinterpretations. 

In addition, you can create, assign, and track tasks, avoiding missed deadlines and delays. On top of scheduling capabilities, project management tools help to oversee resources like budgets and timelines, ensuring efficiency and reducing the probability of overruns.

Employ Automation Tools

Automation tools can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as code generation, testing, and deployment, freeing developers’ time to focus on more complex tasks. With a streamlined development process, developers can work on ensuring total accuracy across the entire website, reducing time spent on testing and debugging.

Automation tools also improve a website’s scalability, allowing it to handle more traffic and transactions.

Use Third-Party Integrations

Integrating third-party services and tools can reduce the time required for development. Developers can use pre-built APIs and libraries to add functionality to the website without coding from the ground up. 

You can also achieve seamless user experiences and novel features without custom development. 

Test Early & Often

Through regular testing, developers can identify and alleviate issues early, preventing bugs and errors from becoming too burdensome and time-consuming. There are several ways to test your eCommerce website:

    • Functional testing: This type of testing focuses on ensuring that all the website features, such as search functionality, product listings, and shopping cart, are working as expected.
  • User interface testing: Developers test interface elements like buttons and links, ensuring they are responsive on all devices and screen sizes. Remember, 91% of consumers shop using their mobile devices—a responsive website is imperative for success!
  • Performance testing: Websites should function seamlessly under different loads and conditions. Developers ensure your website can handle high traffic and transaction volumes.
  • Security testing: Trustworthy websites should be secure and protect user information like credit cards and personal data. This type of testing identifies vulnerabilities in the website’s code and infrastructure.
  • Usability testing: Developers should get feedback on usability and functionality, identifying areas of improvement. 

Outsource Help

Just because you have a native development team doesn’t mean they are constantly at your expense. If your team is preoccupied with other, more pressing duties, consider outsourcing help from a web design agency in Dubai.

Outsourced teams can allocate more resources and focus solely on the project, providing faster turnaround and flexibility.

The Bottom Line

Building an eCommerce website can take a few weeks to several months, depending on various factors such as website complexity, platform selection, and team size. However, by following some best practices, such as setting clear goals and requirements, using pre-built templates, utilizing project management and automation tools, and regularly testing, it is possible to speed up the website-building process and deliver a high-quality website promptly.

If you’re looking for help building a dynamic and innovative eCommerce website, Igloo is a web design agency in Dubai with the expertise to create something spectacular. Our comprehensive web and app development services provide impactful solutions that leave lasting impressions on your customers.


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