Costs of starting an online store - complete guide


In one of my previous articles I have made a comparison between two of the most known platforms, Wordpress and Shopify. There is no clear winner following the article in terms of overall score, but when it comes to E-commerce, clearly Shopify is the winner. Simply because it was designed to be the winner in the E-commerce field.

All of us have been thinking at some point of starting a business, being our own boss, getting rich and staying home.

Well that is extremely possible, not easy to achieve, but at least possible and as you will see below, not that expensive.

Where do I start?

First things first I am not talking about how to start a business, what to sell, where to sell, how to create your logo, choosing your niche and so on. This article`s purpose is solely to cover the upfront costs of starting your online store.

As we already established by now, Shopify is the to go platform for this one so the first costs you will have is by subscribing to one of their monthly plans:

Shopify offers four different plans:

  • Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, with 2.9% + 30¢ per online transaction. 
  • The main Shopify plan costs $79 per month, with 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction.
  • Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month, with 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction. 
  • Shopify Plus, a more advanced plan starts at $2000 per month

Each of those plans offer the base needs plus extra features if you choose a more expensive one. You can see the difference between them here and choose the right one for you.

I for one recommend choosing the basic plan to start with and upgrade later on the way if needed.

You then need to choose a theme for your store. I recommend going for a free one offered by Shopify, but if none of them suits your type of business or design patterns, fell free to choose one of their paid themes, or third party-theme.

Keep in mind that a paid theme can cost you anywhere from $50 to $2-300, depending on complexity.

So just from these 2 steps your costs can be around $29 a per month or $29 per month plus an upfront cost up to a couple of hundred $. Solely your choice, but at the start you may want to keep the costs as low as possible.

My store looks nice. What now?

At the moment of launching your store you need a domain name. You can buy one from Shopify, buy one from any other provider like GoDaddy ( I recommend it ), or maybe you already have one lying around.

A domain name can be as cheap as a few $ per year or if you want to buy one with a specific name that is for sale, maybe hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but that is not really a smart move right at the start. 

You also need a business e-mail address that your domain provider will offer for a cheap price. It is necessary to "look good" on your online presence.

Thankfully you do not need to invest a dime in security, because Shopify has one of the best and offers it for free. Well not free, but the costs are in the monthly subscription fee you pay.

Everything is up and running. Is this it?

Well not quite. If you want to actually make some money from the start, you need some marketing. SEO and other channels will bring visitors to your store, but not right away, so you need to run some ads.

Use social media channels like Facebook and Instagram to promote your products. Use paid ads at a rate of aprox. $5 per day to reach a good amount of targeted clients, and you can make the first sale right on the first day.

Use Google ads to be the first in the search results. You can use a budget of $2-300 at the very start and hopefully your store will gain enough traction to go by itself.

Bottom line. How much?

This depends solely of your choices. Best case scenario you have to pay $29 per month for the subscription, around $50 per year for your domain and email and by not running ads it comes up to a maximum of $33-35 per month. Not bad at all. 

If you choose a more advanced plan, a better domain and you run lots of ads, well then the costs from day one can easily go over $2-500 per month or even more. 

But I am sure that if you choose to go with higher costs you have a good strategy in mind and expect a faster ROI ( Return Of Investment ).

I can only wish you good luck and lots of sales by following this path. If you enjoyed reading please do share this with your friends.


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