Avoid Sticker shock: The true cost of running an Ecommerce website

You have two options to create an online store: either hire a web developer or an ecommerce site builder. Your online store’s cost will depend on the method you choose.

If you use a web developer company, however, adding photos or videos to your store is free.

Ecommerce website builders are often the cheapest way to create an online store. Although free and open-source platforms can be attractive, you will need to pay for hosting, themes, plugins, as well as support from a developer in case you have special needs. This could increase your overall cost.

The best ecommerce website builders for:

Ecommerce website builders cost between $29 and $299 per month depending on whether you have retail stores.


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For new stores, however, the average monthly price for an ecommerce website will be $29, plus any sweat equity.

Factors that impact the cost of an ecommerce website


Prices for website hosting can vary. Prices start at $2.49 per monthly and go up to $1,000. Cost depends on many factors such as the traffic to your store and additional services such as backups.

Hosting is essential for any website to be able to store its files. domain is also required. This is your digital home for your online store.

Two types of hosting are commonly used by ecommerce companies:

Hosting SaaS ecommerce platform

Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify don’t require you to manage or install a domain. All you need is included with your monthly subscription fee.

Shopify plans include secure hosting.

  • Unlimited bandwidth so you don’t have to pay more if your traffic grows
  • Level 1 PCI compliance to keep customer data safe
  • Get the most recent features from with lightning fast servers and immediate updates
  • SSL certificate is required to protect customers from fraud and build trust.
  • Unlimited email forwarding

Only one thing you will need to do is purchase and register a domain. You can quickly start your ecommerce store by searching for available domains using Shopify’s domain name generator.


Prices start at $11 per annum, but can go up to $81 per annum depending on which top level domain is chosen.

Ecommerce website that you can self-host

WooCommerce, a plugin for WordPress, and Magento are both free ecommerce site builders. To manage your files and buy a domain, you will need to create an account with a hosting company.

There are some costs involved in self-hosting your site.

  • Hosting accounts start at $7.99 per Month
  • Domain names can be as low as $14.99 per annum
  • A SSL certificate costs $69 per annum

Bluehost, one of the most popular web hosts, offers a $2.75 per-month service that includes a domain name and an SSL certificate.

One drawback to this is the fact that your ecommerce store will grow and you will need to upgrade your hosting plan in order to manage increased traffic.

Self-hosting is a good option if you have a large website. It can run you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per monthly.

Hosting cost estimates:

  • Hosting as a SaaS: Starting at $29 per Month with Unlimited Hosting
  • Self-hosted Between $2.75 and 2K per month with incremental improvements


Payment processing

A payment processor is a company responsible for managing transactions so that shoppers can purchase your products. A payment processor is required for every ecommerce shop to accept payments via credit cards, debit cards, or other smart pay options.

The plan you choose for your ecommerce platform will determine the payment processing cost. The Shopify Basic plan charges 2.9% + $.30 per transaction for online credit card payments. Advanced Shopify plans have a 2.4% fee. The fee for payments made in person is lower due to lower fraud risk.


Shopify Payments is included with every Shopify plan. This allows you to start selling immediately. Shopify Payments is enabled once you accept credit cards as well as other payment options like Shop Pay and Apple Pay.


Customers can use ShopPay to make it simple to shop with a saved payment and shipping information. Shop Pay is used by more than 20% of shoppers.

Shop Pay checkouts have an average checkout-to order rate of 1.72x, according to our data.


LIVELY, a women’s lingerie brand, saw its average order value (AOV), increase by 6 after adding Shop Pay to their checkout options. This was compared with customers who used other payment methods. Shop Pay customers bought 35% more than customers who did not use Shop Pay.

Costs for web and brand design

Did you know it takes only 50 milliseconds (0.05 second) for someone’s opinion to form about your website? Shoppers buy based upon trust. Your branding can help to build that trust immediately.

Shopify and other ecommerce platforms offer templates that you can easily apply to your website. These templates are quick and easy to set up. Shopify Themes include tools that allow you to modify the layout, color, and style.

These templates include everything you need for starting your store.

  • Homepage
  • Product pages
  • Shopping cart
  • Visit the checkout page
  • FAQ
  • About pages

Shopify themes provide over 100 themes for free and paid to help you choose the right theme for your store. Themes can be based on large inventory, video and 3D products as well as minimalist styles, lively and fun.


The cost of themes can range from $180 to zero depending on which one you choose.

Shopify allows you to personalize your checkout. This gives you the ability to create an experience that customers will love and feel confident about keeping their payment and personal information safe. Customers feel that the site will take care of them.

John Hart, Ecommerce Manager at Peepers

Prices will vary depending on the services you require. For a custom job, OuterBox can charge up to $100,000. Depending on the scope of work, other Shopify agencies may charge between $5,000 and $20,000.

Your best bet? Shopify’s Experts Marketplace is a great place to start if you are looking for custom development or design work. There are agencies and freelancers that offer custom theme development. Prices start at $550.

Learn more:

Add-ons and extensions

It is almost impossible to have one software that meets all the requirements of every ecommerce company. You will likely want to add some features to your website.

To extend your store’s ecommerce functionality, the best eCommerce software allows you to add applications. You can choose to pay for some or all of them, which may increase the cost of setting up your online store.

The Shopify App store has over 3200 apps, plus many free Shopify app. There’s an app to help you add email marketing, social proof to your store or improve search engine optimization (SEO).


Paid apps come at a different price. Many apps are available as a monthly subscription. Private apps can be added to your store. These apps are stored on another server. However, you can generate Shopify API keys that will grant the app access permissions.

It is possible to spend upwards of $5,000 on custom apps depending on the experience and rates of your developer.


Costs for businesses

Budget is an important consideration. Although you can launch an ecommerce site for as low as $100, it’s likely that you will need to spend more to get your business going.

Our latest research shows that small business owners spend an average of $40,000 their first year. 9% of this is spent on online business needs. Shopify merchants spend on average $38,000 while non-Shopify merchants are at $41,000.


Online businesses can take time to make a profit. You need an ecommerce platform that doesn’t cost too much and provides the tools to help you succeed.

Be present in your business and then think about the future. Find an ecommerce platform to help you get there.

Get started building your ecommerce website today

The cost of an ecommerce site is not too expensive, as you can see. You’ll only need $29 per month to open an online shop with Shopify after you have purchased a domain. You can increase the cost if you add extra features or pay for apps.

Shopify allows you to choose how much money you wish to spend upfront. This will allow you to build a successful and profitable ecommerce website.

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