The cost of setting up an online store is always a stumbling block for many entrepreneurs, even a reason to stop implementing their dream idea. This is because they are not entirely sure how much it will cost to set up an online store, and is their budget enough to do so without running into financial problems in the future? In this article, we will learn about all the cost items for creating an online store, how to calculate it and how to reduce costs to the minimum.

Cost lines for setting up an online store

Each business project has a set of items that facilitate the understanding of the project costs, thus supporting decisions to suit the budget set and the cost of creating the online store changes according to the features desired by the store owner. The store that sells services does not have the same cost items as creating an online store To sell tangible products, important items to consider are:

Start-up costs

The articles of foundational costs refer to the costs that are paid to start establishing the online store, and they vary according to the method of creating the site and the features it provides, as well as other parties contracted to provide store creation services, and their clauses include:

  • Hosting: where the online store files are stored from the source code, product images, content, user data, and anything else on the store. The cost can be monthly or yearly with the many options that come with it.
  • Domain Name: It is the domain or address of the online store whose cost is annual, and it can also be paid every two years.
  • SSL Certificate: It is a certificate for data encryption between your site and the user, so you need to purchase it with an annual payment, knowing that most domain booking sites offer it for free.
  • Online store design: includes all costs related to website design from purchasing templates and plugins and hiring programmers.

Operational costs

The costs that are paid to run the online store, also vary according to what the site owner wants, for example, he may decide to manufacture products instead of buying them, or even it is possible to make some partnerships with other stores, in this case, the costs of purchasing and manufacturing products are zero. But always, when calculating the costs of online stores, it is preferable to take them in moderation, to let each person then decide what he wants:

  • Product costs: There must be costs to obtain the products or services sold on the online store, which include the costs of purchasing raw materials, manufacturing and servicing costs, or the costs of purchasing them.
  • Marketing costs: One of the cost items included in any feasibility study is an online store, represented in the costs of various marketing efforts from content, paid ads, management of social media accounts, improving the site’s ranking in search results and other marketing campaigns.
  • Maintenance cost: In some cases, there should be a person or team that provides technical support for the online store ready to fix problems quickly.
  • Shipping: Each online store owner bears the costs of delivering services or products, in which case he can deliver them himself or in partnership with some shipping companies.
  • Payment Gateways Costs: Payment gateways are the means by which buyers pay for the online store, and their cost is either a monthly or annual subscription, and sometimes there is a commission for each purchase.
  • Storage costs: If you buy and store products, there will be a cost of inventory in the form of frozen funds, in addition to the costs of holding the inventory itself.

Factors that affect the cost of creating an online store

The cost of any project varies according to what is required of the project owner, due to the many options that can be compared, for example, a simple online store with a low cost or an online store with multiple products and features, but at a high cost.

And if you decide to get a simple online store, you will sacrifice some features, but the cost will be low, and vice versa when creating an online store that combines a lot of features. The verdict is your budget, and here are the factors that affect the cost of setting up an online store:

1. How to build an online store

It is possible to create the online store as a custom programming or through the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress, there are also many other online store-building platforms, such as Magento and Shopify. Each of these options has a cost that is different from the other.

2. The cost of acquiring the products

It is possible for the owner of the online store to manufacture the products himself, in which case he will need to purchase the raw materials and then go through the cycle of making the products until they are delivered to the consumer, creating a lot of costs, but it will give him more customization options. Another option is to buy ready-made products or share another store and market their products.

3. Marketing Strategies

One of the important aspects that affect the costs of the online store – as we know – is that there are low-cost marketing channels such as marketing through search engines or creating an affiliate marketing program, and others that need to pay costs that may be high, such as what we find in paid campaigns.

4. Shipping Options

Owners of online stores can choose between shipping the products themselves, and in this case, they will need additional costs to rent or buy the shipping method or subscribe to one of the shipping companies, which are always considered to have low costs because they benefit from the principle of large quantities.

5. Sign up for hosting and domain name

The other area in which the cost of creating an online store changes, there are some hosting companies that offer discounted prices with a free domain name in addition to a free SSL certificate, and other companies that require you to purchase each one separately, also the prices between these companies vary in addition to the stability or change of the renewal amount.

6. Content creation options

The online store must share some content with users. In this case, there will be three options for the online store owner: creating the content himself, hiring a freelancer or freelancer to create content, or contracting with a company specialized in creating content. And each of these options directly affects the cost of creating an online store.

7. Payment Gateway Options

Payment gateways are different, and their fees or costs differ from one gateway to another. We find that there are payment gateways that have monthly or annual subscription fees and others that take a commission from each purchase.

8. The competition

The more intense the competition, and there are a lot of competitors for the online store, the marketing costs will be high, and we find that the online store is constantly spending to maintain its competitive position. And not only that, but it will also improve the quality of the products and the user experience.

Calculating the cost of setting up an online store

To calculate the cost of creating an online store, you will need to develop a plan or visualize the features you want to add to the store, as well as the requirements for creating it, the appropriate platforms, knowing the cost of products and determining the method of shipping them, in addition to other marketing costs. Now let’s take a look at the costs of each costing item separately:

1. Hosting

Hosting is a necessary component if you want to create an online store without resorting to platforms such as Magento and Shopify, and this hosting has many options that vary according to the rate of visits to the site, and the size of the storage, and others. But even though the online store is new, the shared add-on will be suitable for you at $3.95 a month in Bluehost, and it will give you a free domain and SSL certificate with it.

2. Domain

You can buy a domain from any of the other domain companies for $11 at GoDaddy or $8.8 at Namecheap, but I mentioned earlier that because Bluehost gives you a free domain name, it’s up to you and your preference.

3. SSL Certificate

This certificate works to convert your site from HTTP to HTTPS, to show that it is secure and encrypted to users, and it has become necessary to add it to the online store because it affects the site’s ranking in search results. As for its price, it is free for some companies, and its price ranges from $20 to $70 per year.

4. Online store building costs

If you decide to build the online store through special programming, it may cost you from $500 to $1,000 when hiring a freelancer or $1,000 to $5,000 when contracting with specialized companies, but when choosing other content management systems such as BigCommerce or WordPress, it will be less in terms of costs to be 200 $ to $ 700 when hiring a freelancer, and for companies, their prices range from $ 1000 to $ 2000. There are also other costs, which are:

  • Purchase of themes: its price ranges from $50 to $200, one-time payment, knowing that there are many free themes.
  • Plugin costs: No matter how beautiful and unique the theme is, you will need some plugins to improve your online store, such as WooCommerce to create your WordPress store, BEEKETING for product sales automation, and YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier for image zooming.
  • Platform subscriptions: If you decide to build your site on the e-store creation platforms, there will be fees to be paid periodically, for example, in Shopify, you will pay initially $ 29 per month.

5. Online store marketing costs

The online store needs a lot of marketing efforts, the prices of which range, and the marketing costs may be somewhat low compared to other costs, due to the presence of some low-cost marketing channels that give the online store some stability, including search engines, but when competition intensifies and trying to increase market share The cost will rise, and among the marketing costs you will need to pay are:

Content Creation

Content marketing is one of the effective e-marketing strategies, and in this case, you will need to create visual or text content according to the marketing plan. If you have a blog, the price for a thousand words ranges from $5 to $15 and for designs of logos and social media posts also ranges from $5 to $15 if you hire a freelancer.

Marketing campaigns

It is possible to conduct post-marketing campaigns on search engines or social media platforms and their cost ranges from $50 to $500 or maybe more, also for email campaigns, you will need to subscribe to some tools like MailChimp which starts at $9 per month.

Product Photography

Product photography is a marketing effort that varies in cost. Each photographer has his own price, in which case it will not work to hire freelancers from freelance platforms. So, you have to search for a specialized company or someone near you, and you can set up a simplified studio and shoot the products yourself if you have enough skill.

6. Shipping Products

As for the shipping and delivery of products, you will have two options, either by delivering the products yourself – and what I mean by yourself is that the online store will bear the burdens of the process of shipping the products – or by contracting with local companies in your country, whose prices and terms range from them.

7. Payment gateway costs

Payment gateways take a commission as a monthly subscription like for $20 per month, or a commission from each purchase, like PayPal payment gateway which takes 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction over $10.

Tips to reduce the costs of creating an online store

The price is always directly proportional to the quality, but in some cases, the budget is limited, which requires reducing costs to reasonable limits that ensure quality and store creation. Here are some tips to reduce the cost of creating an online store:

1. Choose the right hosting companies and domains

Like any other service, there are hosting companies whose prices are reasonable and others whose prices are high, and there are many companies that offer additional features with hosting to enable you to create your online store at the lowest costs, and the same for domain name providers.

2. Use of content management systems

Through WordPress or Magento, you will reduce the cost of creating an online store, unlike programming the website with special programming or using other online store building platforms, which charge a monthly fee. Using content management platforms is also easier and you can simply start designing your online store without much programming experience.

3. Trying to learn some skills

Without learning the skills that an online store needs, you will find yourself in an endless cycle of spending money on programmers, content writers, designers, and more. In this case, it is advisable to learn some skills to reduce costs. Taking into account the quality of the work.

4. Hire freelancers instead of companies

Freelance platforms are many, and in fact, they have contributed to the development of e-commerce, as it was and still is the main source of freelancers to perform the various tasks that store owners need. The prices for freelance services are always several times lower than for companies. The most important step is to find experienced and qualified freelancers to hire.


In conclusion, in the previous lines, we dealt with the cost of creating an online store, but I would like to remind you that this cost is variable according to many factors that we mentioned earlier. The bulk of the costs of the online store is the purchase and storage of products, so it is important to be familiar with everything related to inventory management in online stores.