Do you run a business from a physical location and need to expand your customer base or or if you’re looking to start a small business with products or services, an online store could be just what you’re looking for.
Services needed to create an Online Store
Creating an online business involves 3 main services: eCommerce website, domain name, and hosting. Start-up costs are relatively low-cost compared to a brick and mortar store. At a bare minimum, you’ll also need to pay for website themes and inventory. The average costs for eCommerce stores include:
- DIY eCommerce website theme: $100 to $300 OR
- Professional website development: $5,000 to $15,000
- Plug-in, Apps or extensions to enhance store functionality: Free – $299
- Domain name – $2 to $20 per year
- Hosting – $25 to 300 per month
Choose your platform
There are many different online store platforms that you can use. I peronally recommend that you use one of the following platforms:
- WooCommerce – Open Source software. Free to use. Plugs-in needed to customize store functionality.
- Shopify – Managed 24/7 support. Fees: $29 to $299 per month. Apps needed to customize store functionality.
- Magento – Open Source software. Free to use. Extensions needed to customize store function
Hiring your own team
Starting an online store is attractive since it needs very few people to go from concept to launch. In fact, you can start your online business by yourself. As the business grows, you can employ extra staff to help manage the site, pack products, and ship orders
If you decide you want to build an in-house team of experts, you should expect to pay:
- Web developer: $125 per hour
- Digital marketer: $500 – $3,000 per month
- Content manager: $500-$1,000 per month
- Customer Service (answer phones, respond to emails, process orders): $25-$55 per hour
- Shipping (pick and pack): $15-$35 per hour
You’ll also want to consider the cost of your inventory. If ordering products from suppliers you’ll need to locate high-quality products at a reasonable price or consider making the products yourself.
Obtaining insurance and permits for an Online Store
Just because you don’t have a physical store doesn’t mean that you can skip the licenses and permits. Be sure to check with your local authorities or an attorney to find out what permits and licenses are required for your state and county. The fees can vary from location to location. These can include:
- Business License
- Federal (EIN) Employer Identification Number
- Professional licenses specific to your industry
- Sales Taxes, don’t forget to check with your accountant to determine what you need to collect
Select a Payment Processor
As a new eCommerce business, you’ll need to select a payment processor that’s fast, secure and easy to use. This is the tool your customer will use to make a payment for the product or service you are selling on your website. A few popluar options are:
- Shopify Payments
Below are few examples of fees for a few different eCommerce platforms:
- WooCommerce: PayPal or Stripe – 2.9% + $0.30 for transaction.
- Shopify : Shopify Payments – 2.9% + 30¢ | Additional 2% per transaction for third-party payment gateways.
“If you build it they will come” is a misconception for many eCommerce store owners. Very few online shoppers are going to find your store without some effort on your end. Search engine algorithms are used to rank your website and where it should be displayed on search results pages. Marketing is extremely important for any eCommerce site. Marketing costs will vary, but on average, you should allocate 7% and 12% of your total revenue on marketing. Your marketing budget includes ad campaigns, social media campaigns and email campaigns that are designed to create brand awareness and drive traffic to your online store.
Do you have any questions? Feel free to email me! I’m here to help in any way possible.