What is the real cost of starting a Shopify store?

Starting your own Shopify store is an incredibly exciting journey, however it’s important to know what the actual cost of starting a Shopify store is before you begin. While it may seem like a simple and cost-effective way to venture into ecommerce, Shopify stores, like all businesses, have an initial cost that’s important to take into consideration. With so many variables at play, it is essential to understand the financial outlay, especially if you are considering ecommerce funding. This guide is designed to help you unravel the true costs in order to help you make informed decisions.

Shopify Subscription Costs

The first cost of starting a Shopify store that you’ll encounter is the monthly subscription fee. Shopify offers several plans tailored to different business sizes:

  • Basic Shopify: Ideal for those just starting out, this plan provides all essential features for a budding ecommerce store at $39/month.
  • Shopify: Targeted at growing businesses, this level offers additional features like gift cards and professional reports at $105/month.
  • Advanced Shopify: Meant for scaling businesses, the Advanced Shopify plan includes advanced report builder and third-party calculated shipping rates at $399/month.

Domain Costs

Since Shopify stores are incredibly customized and individual, much like retail small businesses, your online store needs a memorable address. While Shopify provides a free “.myshopify” domain, it is advisable to invest in a custom domain to build trust and brand recognition:

  • Buying from Shopify: Shopify offers domain registration, streamlining the process.
  • External Registrars: You can also purchase domains from third-party registrars and link them to your Shopify store.

Be sure to compare price points between Shopify and external registrars so that you’re able to get a domain at the best cost. 

Theme and Design Costs

The appearance and branding of your store plays a major role in attracting and retaining customers. Though it’s an additional, and seemingly optional, cost of starting a Shopify store, it’s worthwhile to invest in designs and customization that you really love and that will be aesthetically pleasing to your customers.

  • Free Themes: Shopify provides a selection of free themes that are both responsive and professional-looking.
  • Paid Themes: For more niche requirements or advanced features, premium themes are available at varying prices.
  • Custom Design: Hiring a designer for a tailor-made appearance can range dramatically based on complexity and expertise. This is by far the most expensive option, but it can be worthwhile in the long run if you can design a website that stands the test of time. 

App and Plugin Costs

Shopify’s App Store is brimming with tools to extend your store’s functionality. Make sure that you take the time to identify which plug-ins are worth investing in when it comes to the cost of starting a Shopify store for your business:

  • Free Apps: Many apps are available at no cost, offering basic functionalities.
  • Paid Apps: Advanced features or specialized apps typically come with a monthly fee or a one-time purchase cost.

Transaction Fees

Every sale you make comes with associated costs. Two of these are credit card fees and additional transaction fees. 

  • Credit Card Fees: Shopify charges a fee for credit card transactions, which varies based on your subscription plan.
  • Additional Transaction Fees: If you use payment gateways other than Shopify Payments, there might be additional fees.

Marketing and SEO Costs

If you want to drive traffic to your site to increase sales, you’re going to invest some capital in marketing. The beauty of Shopify is that it has some of these tools already built in. It also integrates well with other digital marketing features, so you can tailor your advertising efforts according to your business’ needs.

  • Shopify’s SEO Tools: Shopify offers built-in SEO tools, but for advanced functionalities, you might consider plugins or external tools.
  • Advertising: Platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads require a budget. Determine a daily or monthly spend based on your targets.
  • Email Marketing: While some tools offer free tiers, scaling your email campaigns might require premium subscriptions.

Funding Your Shopify Store

The overarching question of “What is the actual cost of starting a Shopify store?” resurfaces here. The features and tools may start to add up, which could result in a higher cost than you originally budgeted for. Given that, how can budding entrepreneurs fund their Shopify store?

  • Ecommerce Loans: Specialized funding tailored to ecommerce startups can cover initial costs or scaling investments.
  • Personal Savings: This common route involves bootstrapping your store using personal funds.
  • Venture Capital: If your store targets a large market with significant growth potential, attracting venture capital might be an option.
  • Viably: Viably is the all-in-one ecommerce banking and funding solution for your business. With tools designed to grow with your business, Viably is the ultimate funding partner. 

Considerations and Hidden Costs

Don’t forget about the surreptitious hidden costs that may be lurking in the background. Some of these might look like refund policies, international fees, and maintenance costs.

  • Refund Policies: Returns and refunds can affect your bottom line, which is why prioritizing quality control is paramount. Still, returns are par for the course and should be factored into your financial planning.
  • International Fees: Selling globally? Consider currency conversion fees or international transaction charges.
  • Maintenance: Regular updates, theme modifications, or unforeseen glitches can result in additional expenses.

Planning is Key

Answering the question, “What is the actual cost of starting a Shopify store?” demands thorough research and clarity about your store’s specific needs. By understanding the associated expenses and budgeting adequately, you can lay a solid foundation for your ecommerce venture. Remember, investing smartly at the outset can pay dividends as your store grows and thrives. Use professional Shopify store solutions to help you with your ecommerce funding as well.

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