How to Start an Ecommerce Store with £100 ($150)
Want to know exactly how much it costs to start an ecommerce site? I’ve broken it down, step by step, cost by cost and guess what… it costs between £75 and £100 ($100-150) your first month all in!
What will you sell
I’m going to assume you know, I can’t tell you what to sell as that’s up to you to come up with something, to find a product and supplier, decide if you’ll stock it yourself or dropship it etc. I’ll be posting guides on these steps in the future. For now we’ll assume you have this sorted.
The main 3 things you’ll need are:
- A domain name e.g MaxCandles.com
- A hosting company
- An ecommerce platform
Additionally you may need:
- A logo
- A website theme/design
Two options here, either register one that is available or buy one, you’re best bet is to try and find one that is free to register. I personally use LCN for .co.uk domains and GoDaddy for .com’s , my advice is to grab both if you are a UK business but to focus on the .co.uk (add the .uk if you feel like it too). If you’re from another country go for the domain that is the most popular in your country.
Cost: £7 for a .co.uk for 2 years. & .com – £12 for 2 years ($10-15)
There are literally thousands of hosting companies out there, prices vary wildy and there are tons of factors that affect it, from how much disk space to the amount of bandwidth you’ll get. Put simply if I’m planning on using the Magento platform then I use Nimbus Hosting , they know how to host a Magento site and most importantly there support is awesome! For woocommerce/wordpress sites I use Vidahost, I currently have a reseller account (meaning I can host up to 50 different sites under this one account) which costs £180 a year (use discount code: EcomRide for 10% off any hosting). Obviously if you host multiple sites the cost per site for hosting drops significantly.
Magento hosting by NimbusHosting – £36/month ($56)
WooCommerce hosting by Vidahost: £15/month ($23)
Shopify hosting (provided by Shopify) – Free
Notes: These are hosting that I personally use and so are aimed at UK ecommerce sites. There are cheaper options out there but from experience I’ve found the cheaper options are not worth the hassle, you’ll have issues with downtime, bad support and it’s not worth saving a small amount. I’m happy paying these prices for the support and performance I get.
Essentially your hosting is the backbone of your whole business, if there’s an issue you need to use a host that you can trust to sort the issue out quickly. It’s worth looking into your hosting and checking they keep backups as well as making them yourself in case anything goes wrong.
For US entrepreneurs looking to host Woocommerce I recommend checking out Bluehost as I use them for our US based ecommerce site.
The Ecommerce Platform
I’ve gone into more detail about which ecommerce platform to pick and so we’ll just go with the costs.
Magento – Free
Shopify – from £18/month ($29/month)
These are the basic three things you’ll need to start an ecommerce site
Basic total cost to get your ecommerce site live:
One off cost of £19 ($29) for a .co.uk & .com domain name for 2 years
Magento site: £36 per month for hosting ($56)
Woocommerce site: £15 per month for hosting ($23)
Shopify site: £18 per month for Shopify ($28)
Additional cost you can/should be paying
You’ll want to change the design from the stock look as it’s horrible, there are some free options out there but don’t waste your time, the themes available for a small fee are well worth paying for and can transform your shop to look extremely professional. I buy all my themes via Themeforest and you’ll find the most popular Magento themes here. They cost around £50-70 ($80-100) which is nothing in comparison to what you’ll pay if you want a custom theme designed for your store (£3-15,000).
The same can be said for woocommerce, you’ll want to download a WordPress theme which is compatible with Woocommerce, again I look no further than Themeforest , they have a big range of themes for around £38 ($54-60), make sure you go for one that is responsive and has good reviews.
There are some nice themes given to you for free and available to download via Shopify, again you can also purchase premium themes for it, my one Shopify store runs on a theme from Themeforest , they are similar priced to the Woocommerce themes at £38 ($54-60)
You may want to get a logo designed, there are various options for this. Do it yourself for free, pay someone $5 on Fiverr.com or pay a designer to make one (£xxx). I always find that initially I’ll just open Photoshop and design a simple text based logo, maybe with a nice relevant icon and colour scheme and that does the trick.
There are a lot of extensions and plugins that all of the above platforms have available, lots are free but lots of the decent ones you’ll have to pay. So expect to pay some money for ones vital to your business in the future.
As many people say ‘Time is money’ and you’ll find that you’ll need to devote a decent chunk of time in playing with the settings on each ecommerce platform, installing themes, adding logos, content, products, help pages and so on.
Total cost to get your ecommerce site up and running on your domain name with hosting and a beautiful design
Magento: £69 one off payment & £36 per month ($100 one off + $56/month)
Woocommerce: £57 one off payment & £15 per month ($89 one off + $23/month)
Shopify: £57 one off payment & £18 per month ($89 one off + $28/month)
As you can see it costs between £75-105 ($100-150) for your first month and then after that a monthly cost of £15-36 ($23-56) for you to open an ecommerce store, not bad really!
Which one to go for?
- Magento – If you’re looking for a powerful option that can hold hundreds if not thousands of products
- Woocommerce – If you’re looking for a low cost entry into ecommerce & love the WordPress content management system
- Shopify – If you’re wanting a professional looking, easy to use and hassle free entry into ecommerce
Read my in depth article on this for more info: Shopify vs Magento vs Woocommerce
I have used all three platforms before and I only recommend companies that I have used and are happy with.
EcommerceRide Reader Bonus:
- 10% off all hosting with Vidahost using discount code: EcomRide
- 14 day free trial of Shopify
- US readers: We use BlueHost for hosting of sites aimed at US customers.
As usual, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the comments, I’ll reply to every single one and try and help if I can.