[Budget calculator] Find out how much it costs to start an ecommerce in 2019

So, you have a great business idea and want to launch an online business, but you’re scared because of how expensive starting an ecommerce may be.

Will your budget be enough? Are you forgetting something important?

Worry no more! In this post, we list everything you need to take into account along with the approximate prices of them.

Let’s get started.

👉 1. Choosing a domain name and hosting

Though we’re going to explain both of these aspects together, they are certainly not the same thing and don’t need to be purchased from the same supplier.

✅ A. What is a domain and how much does it cost?

According to the definition:

A domain is a unique and exclusive name that identifies your website and the name that users type to reach your ecommerce.

For example, your domain could be www.myonlineshop.com. Ours is www.doofinder.com

There are many suppliers (two of the most common ones are GoDaddy and Namecheap), but they all work in a similar way and have similar prices.

Domains are acquired for a minimum period of one year (though you may choose a longer period of time), and then you need to renew it.

So you get a general idea, prices are around $10 or €12 per year.

IMPORTANT: Forget about free domains – they’ll only cause you problems.

✅ B. What is hosting and how is it contracted?

Do you know what it is?

Hosting is the space where a website is hosted so it can be visible online.

Here you have all the information about the best hosting and their prices for ecommerce, including all the things you need to take into account to choose yours.

And so you can do the math, bear in mind that you can find hosting starting around €15 per month.

IMPORTANT – AGAIN: Avoid offers from free or ultra cheap suppliers. A serious project isn’t a good fit for a free webhost.

  • It’ll freeze every now and then.
  • Your website won’t be secure.
  • The loading speed will be much slower (which is awful for SEO).

Do you know the price range for hosting?

If you’re just starting out, you can try shared hosting (less powerful), but if you already have quite a lot of traffic, it’s better to choose a VPS server.

  • Shared hosting: You have options ranging from €6 ($4) to €10 ($8) per month.
  • VPS: In this case, prices start between €15 and €25 ($12 and $23).

If you receive a lot of traffic, the best option is to choose an administrated VPS server (the supplier itself manages the server performance). In this case, the price is something around €50 per month on average.

👉 2. What is the best CMS platform and how much is it?

Luckily, you don’t have to know anything about design or programming to create your own shop, and that’s thanks to CMS platforms.

A CMS (Content Management System) is software for website creation and management.

This post goes into detail about the most well-known CMSs out there, but here you have a list of the biggest players and their corresponding prices:

✅ A. WooCommerce by WordPress

It’s actually a free plugin that allows you to install an ecommerce shop with WordPress.

Free of charge and easy to use. It’s the recommended option if you have just a few products.

✅ B. Shopify

A CMS in the cloud and the most common one for shops in the USA thanks to how easy it is to use, even for those with no technical knowledge.

There are several prices, though some plans start at just €30 a month.

✅ C. Magento

It’s the most used option by shops with huge sales volumes. However, you need to take into account that it’s a rather complex CMS (and it’ll also require a hosting that is, at very least, a VPS).

✅ D. PrestaShop

It’s the option between Magento and WordPress. It’s more complex than WordPress, but also much more powerful.

There’s also the “PrestaShop Ready” option, which includes hosting for €19.90 per month (they’ll be offering more options in the future) and other advantages. Have a look at this if you’re interested.

✅ NOTE: How long will my online shop “last”?

When you open your ecommerce for the first time, there are SaaS options such as Shopify that allow you to do it yourself quickly and without much prior knowledge.

However, if your business grows and you have a larger budget, you’ll need more powerful tools and platforms.

Our recommendation is to make the process as easy as possible: if the technical side of it is getting more difficult, hire external help and focus on selling.

If you don’t know whom to ask, you can turn to our partners, who are happy to help you with any ecommerce platform (with which Doofinder is connected, of course). ;)

👉 3. How much does an ecommerce design cost?

Now that you have the foundation, it’s time to flesh it out and think about aesthetics. And that means tackling the design aspect, which we explain in detail in this post – it’s worth checking out!

Some things to take into account:

  • The CMS that you’re going to use (we mentioned it before).
  • The template or theme.
  • The number of pages.
  • Functions (and remember, not all plugins or modules are free, so that may mean an extra cost that you need to take into account).

The budget for a website design depends on each website, so it’s difficult to provide an average price. It could range from €0 to more than €1500, depending on:

  • The number pages to be designed.
  • If it’s a 100% customized design or if it’s based on a template or theme.
  • If it includes branding work.
  • And a whole long list of other factors.

The more complex your ecommerce shop is, the larger your budget will need to be.

✅ A. What your clients read and what sells more: copywriting

Your ecommerce “copy” is key because it’s about texts focused on selling. That’s to say, they are written with the purpose of increasing your conversion rate.

Your website texts won’t be included in the initial estimate offered by the agency or professional, but they may offer you a price for this additional service. If they don’t, you’ll have to look for a professional copywriter to work with.

Think about everything related to your homepage or the “About us” section (the average price to write these two pages is about €450). Then add the product cards into the mix.

And, be careful with those:

  • Never use the texts provided by your suppliers. Thousands of shops have the same content, which means Google could punish you for having duplicate content.
  • The product card is the one that convinces a visitor to buy. You can’t afford to neglect them.

But what can you do if you have lots of products?

In this case, you could try to negotiate a cheaper price with your copywriter to take care of a set of product cards. And if you have that many, you can divide the job into different months so that you can spread out your costs over the same time period.

DIY option? Read this post and write your own product cards.

✅ B. Managing the blog: who writes the posts?

As we said before, you have the option of writing your own posts. If that’s your thing, you’ll definitely want to read these posts:

The “paid” option is to hire a specialized copywriter. And the price that they charge will obviously depend on their experience.

As a general rule, don’t trust a service that is charging less than €0.025/word because it’s impossible to assure good quality at such a rate.

✅ C. SEO – The magic behind positioning

You already know how important positioning is for any given online business. Winning Google’s love is essential to get qualified traffic to your website or, in other words, to get potential clients.

How much does it cost to hire an ecommerce SEO expert? Well, it depends.

Fees are normally estimated depending on the number of working hours needed to finish a project – and that depends on:

  • The size of your shop: The more categories and products you have, the more SEO work it’ll need.
  • Your target market: National and international SEO aren’t the same thing, nor if you’re focused on a micro-niche.
  • On-page and off-page SEO strategies: The arduous job of creating meta tags, URLs, link building…

Don’t trust people who give you a standard price without asking about the specifics of your website.

Ask for a few different estimates after specifying your needs and don’t make the decision based on price alone. As a frame of reference, it’s not normally less than €500 per month, though that will, of course, depend on the size of your website.

✅ D. Extra functions that you should have

As we said before, you’ll need to add different functionalities to your shop. For example, you may want to add a cookies notice, include cross-selling, or capture emails for a mailing list.

These are just some of the many features that we recommend having from the get-go:

  • Cookies regulations and GDPR (only if you have European clients).
  • Adding payment gateways so that your clients have more options.
  • Cross-selling options to increase your average checkout price.
  • Tools to capture subscribers. Bear in mind that on top of forms, you need to have an email marketing service (MailChimp offers a free version).

But don’t go crazy adding modules and plugins. Wait until you know what your business really needs and then react and choose accordingly.

👉 4. The important part isn’t selling – it’s getting paid!

We’ve talked about payment methods before, a vital element of your ecommerce business because, without income, there’s no future for your shop.

Check out this post about the different payment methods being offered, but always remember that: it’s worth investing to safeguard your money (both yours and your clients’).

And any payment method that comes with guarantees will come at a cost.

  • Virtual POS: The cost is different for each bank, but it’s normally around €25 per month if you invoice less than €1000 per month.
  • PayPal: They charge a commission depending on the purchase value. The standard fee is 4% + €0.30.
  • Stripe: It allows payments with every type of card and the commission is 1.4% + €0.25.

You need to choose the payment method that best fits your needs, your sales forecast, and your clients’ profile.

👉 Do the math to know how much an online shop costs

With this post, we’ve tried to guide you a bit in terms of the minimum necessary budget to start your own ecommerce business.

Remember that these are just approximate figures and average prices and that prices are normally established with the specifics of each project in mind.

However, this post can also serve as a checklist to remember all the factors that you need to consider when you start creating your shop. We hope it’s useful. ;)