As increasing numbers of customers turn to the web to take care of everyday essentials and grand, one-off purchases alike, it’s no wonder that you’re looking to get a piece of the eCommerce action for yourself.
You’ve seen how sites like Amazon and eBay have evolved into shopping powerhouses over the past two decades, and you don’t see any reason why your business couldn’t become firmly established as one of the web’s favourite shopping sites.
Still, as the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money, and eCommerce is certainly no exception.
If you’re struggling to tally up the cost of your new online store, here’s a few things you’ll need, and their associated costs:
The good news here, is that you can actually get your hands on a solid eCommerce platform without spending a penny. Popular tools like the Magento Content Management System and the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress are both available to download and install for free. Though there are some costs associated with them -as we’ll learn as we go along- getting the basics set up won’t cost you anything. There are also numerous website builders that enable you to design and setup your online store without the need for WordPress or an expensive platform such as Magento.
That said, some beginners may be better off investing in a fully-comprehensive eCommerce solution such as Shopify, which has a beginners plan for just $14 per month.
If you’re opting for one of the former two options, then you’ll need some solid web hosting on which to place your site. Bear in mind that the cheapest shared plans rarely come with the things like dedicated IP addresses and shared SSL certificates, both of which are essential to the security of your site. To get those, you’ll be looking at investing in one of the higher-end business packages, which start from as little as $20 per month from some top hosting companies.
Themes and templates
So, you’ve got your new eCommerce platform all fully installed on your web host and you’re almost ready to go. There’s just one problem though; the whole site just doesn’t look very appealing. It’s bland, boring, there’s no colour, no layout, just a bunch of text dumped on a white page.
To solve that, you’ll be looking at investing in a website theme which you download, install on your website, and then customize to get your site looking just the way you want it to. For WooCommerce themes, you’ll be looking at spending around $58, whilst Magento themes tend to retail a little higher at about $98.
Remember when we said there were still some costs associated with the free eCommerce tools? Shopping carts are one of the big ones. Whilst WooCommerce does come complete with PayPal integration, if you want to allow customers to pay direct by their credit or debit card, you’ll need to look at incorporating a shopping cart. Leading models such as ZenCart start from around $20 per month.
Other things you’ll need
That’s the basics covered, but if your new online store is going to be any kind of success, there may be other things you have to pay for. Think about whether you’ll have to hire a professional photographer or invest in a new camera to take high quality images of your products. Are there other costs associated with your content, such as hiring a professional copywriter or paying for somebody to make you a sales video?
Then consider the cost of marketing your site too. Sure, there’s lots of free tools out there to help you promote your site online, but if you’re planning a paid advertising campaign on say Google or Facebook for example, those things cost money.
All in all though, even adding those costs together may well seem like a bargain to get your piece of the eCommerce action for yourself.