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How much does it cost to open an e-commerce? That’s the question many people have been asking in a year in which online sales have grown exponentially in all sectors, from technology to household essentials, from luxury to handicrafts. The benefits of online sales are now universally known and setting up an e-commerce site is certainly worthwhile to increase the reach of your business. Whether you already have a physical shop or not, e-commerce is the way to go to make your services and products known and purchased by a potentially unlimited number of people. At the same time, however, it is necessary to get rid of the myth of effortless success that the starting up of an e-commerce site commonly represents. When setting up an e-commerce site, one must bear in mind the various variables that can influence the success of the investment. In most cases, this involves asking yourself the right questions:
These are just some of the crucial aspects that influence the investment in e-commerce and that might lead you to ask for advice from a web agency like Moka Adv or to commission the customisation of an e-commerce website. If you want to find out how much it costs to open an online shop, you’ve come to the right place: this JOurnal article is to answer the main points to consider when starting up an e-commerce website.

Table of contents

E-commerce: definition

Running an e-commerce website can be relatively easy or very difficult. When approaching the world of online sales there are some choices in the initial stages that can affect your business for years and save you costly changes in the future. Before delving into the different costs involved, let’s take a look at the definition of e-commerce. E-commerce is neither more nor less a set of practices and processes aimed at selling products and services over the internet. This can take place either through marketplaces or through corporate e-commerce. This activity is nowadays largely enhanced by the use of social media, which is why we increasingly talk about social commerce. The growth of e-commerce in recent years has been exponential. The trend was already very positive, but with the pandemic there was a real boom. Even before the advent of the restrictions on social confinement and distancing, industry statistics agreed on a 75% increase in four years, from 2019 to 2023. For obvious reasons, however, these estimates ignored the health crisis and consequently what a boost it would be on consumption and purchases. The ways in which people discover new products and services are undergoing a slow but profound change that is convincing more and more manufacturers and sellers to display their goods online. In some cases, the ease with which a large number of people can be reached even prompts people to open the business itself. To ensure a successful e-commerce investment, it is essential to have a clear idea of how much it costs to open an online shop.

Starting up an e-commerce: the costs

The cost of setting up an e-commerce shop varies depending on the objective and the volumes to be achieved. In general, if you are starting from scratch, the items are as follows:
For each of these components, a wide range of offers can be found on the web, with a high variability of prices. One factor that particularly affects the costs of an e-commerce is the number of product pages that have to be created for the website. Each page, regardless of the overall quality of the website, requires copywriting and search engine optimisation (SEO). These costs can vary from 50 euros to 300 euros per page. It depends on whether it is a simple product page or a complex landing page or privacy policy page. The design of the e-commerce website can cost from zero to hundreds of euros, depending on the template chosen and the degree of customisation. The implementation of a responsive web design can be expensive but is now essential to increase internet traffic. It is important to carefully evaluate all the expenses that will be faced, having a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend and proceed accordingly. The most important item is probably the e-commerce platform.

How much does an e-commerce software cost

E-commerce software can be free or cost up to several hundred euros per month. The range varies depending on the functionality offered, the level of support services and the type of software. Opting for a free ecommerce platform will certainly reduce the initial costs, but it may still require the intervention of a developer to unlock certain functionalities and integrations. Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business model is the first thing to do in order to get off to a good start and not have to spend large sums of money later on transferring your site and products to another system (the so-called replatforming). Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.

How much does woocommerce cost

One of the most popular e-commerce platforms is undoubtedly WooCommerce, a free WordPress plug-in which, as such, only works as an application of the aforementioned CMS. At the same time, it is designed to work with most WordPress themes, so it will be easy to find a design you like. Compared to other e-commerce platforms, WooCommerce is highly customisable and leaves a lot of freedom of control to its back-end users. Freedom, as always, comes at a price and you may find yourself managing different aspects of the site when you could be focusing on developing your business. Some of the additional functionality may also increase costs and support is chargeable. For these reasons, the use of WooCommerce is usually accompanied by the advice of a web agency to facilitate the integration of plug-ins, to identify the correct add-ons and not to go over budget.

How much does shopify cost

Shopify is one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms in recent years, with around one million active users. If you’re wondering how much it costs to open an e-commerce business with Shopify, the answer is quite simple: four different plans are offered, ranging from $29 to $2,000 per month. The hard part is figuring out which plan is right for you thanks to a free trial period that only lasts two weeks. That’s a bit short for a user who is getting ready to use an online commerce platform like Shopify for the first time. This is why it is useful, when you are not a real expert, to take advantage of the expertise of a web agency. A good reason to choose Shopify could be the recent agreements between the Canadian company and various social media giants, such as Tiktok and Pinterest, which are focusing heavily on social commerce. Another advantage is that Oberlo, the best dropshipping platform, is only available on Shopify.

How much does magento cost

Magento is an e-commerce platform based on open-source technology with a lot of features that especially businesses with medium-high turnover could benefit from. The offer includes three plans: Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud. The first includes the ability to include product variants, mobile-optimised email templates and Google Universal Analytics. The second, designed for medium to large sized businesses, includes customised promotions, drag-and-drop CMS, strong SEO optimisation, customer loyalty tools, etc. The third, in addition to these and other features, stores all data on the cloud instead of a server. Given that it is a complete package, the initial investment to create a site from scratch with Magento is between 15,000 and 40,000 euros.

Other e-commerce platforms

When commissioning the development of an e-commerce website, particular attention must be paid to the choice of platform, which must have certain functions to suit the business model. It is impossible to say that one e-commerce platform is better than another. We have not included many of them here for reasons of space but, just to name a few, we cannot fail to mention Wix (from $23 to $49 per month), BigCommerce (from $29 to $299 per month) and PrestaShop (free).

What to know before opening an e-commerce

Opening and running an online shop is not as easy as it sounds. Although the costs and bureaucracy are far lower than those of a physical shop, these are still issues that should not be underestimated. Like all activities, it also needs a constant investment of time and resources. Selecting the right e-commerce platform is not a decision to be taken hastily. Opening an online shop is in fact a long-term strategy that will allow your company to move into the future, putting it firmly on the road to digital transformation. If you are planning to start up an e-commerce, fill in the Moka Adv formbelow to request more information and we’ll get back to you shortly.
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