If you’re asking 100 people how much does it cost to open up a Shopify store and how long does it take you shouldn’t be surprised to receive 100 different answers, ranging from “almost free and in a couple of hours” to thousands of dollars and several months of hard work. The truth, in my opinion, lies somewhere in between. Why is that?
Shopify remains THE main player on the market when it comes to interest from merchants, as you can see from the graph below. According to an announcement at the Shopify Unite conference in June 2019, 820.000 merchants were using the Shopify platform for their stores.
When it comes to picking a tool to build your business, pricing consideration is just one factor out of many, and I’d argue that this factor should not be the most important one. After all, what will help you reach your goals — automatically opting for the cheapest tools and apps around, or selecting the best tools available, even if they cost more per month?
Let’s start with the Shopify pricing plans. There are three:
- Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, with 2.9% + 30¢ per online transaction.
- The main Shopify plan costs $79 per month, with 2.6% + 30¢ per transaction.
- Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month, with 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction.
Each time a customer purchases from you (a transaction), depending on which Shopify plan you subscribed to, a transaction fee will be charged. The fees are 2% for the Basic Shopify plan, 1% for the Shopify plan, and 0.5% for the Advanced Shopify plan.
To check out these fees you need to:
- From the Shopify admin, click Settings.
- Click Billing.
- Click on the bill you want to view in the Bills section.
- If a bill includes transaction fees, then the Transaction fees section will have links to the associated orders. Click to see the information.
Here’s a more detailed look at what Shopify has to offer in terms of plans:
Basic Shopify allows you to sell an unlimited number of products. This is the cheapest available solution when you have a vast product range. Shopify doesn’t limit the number of products or file storage. This plan also contains “Abandoned Cart Recovery”.
However, features like gift cards or professional reports aren’t included. It’s great to see that telephone support is already part of this plan. The plan named Shopify is $50 more expensive, but has a lower credit card rate and provides more features.
The rate charged for credit card payments is 0.3% lower and professional reports provide greater insight into your online store, making analysis more convenient.
In any case, you should check your Google Analytics before upgrading to this plan, it’s free and will give you a good understanding of your online shop’s performance. This plan also includes gift cards though this feature can be added with an app in the much cheaper Shopify Basic plan.
Advanced Shopify is the most expensive plan. But therefore, the credit card payment rate is the lowest (see table) and it provides the best shipping conditions for the US. This plan is the only option if you need real-time carrier shipping, which means that the shipping cost is automatically calculated by a third party. Furthermore it has an advanced report builder that will allow you to customise own professional reports.
Shopify Plus is an enterprise solution for businesses that seek a scalable ecommerce platform. Long story short: Shopify Plus pricing starts at about $2000 per month which is a massive increase compared to Shopify Advanced ($300). But what will you get on top? A dedicated support team will help you with the launch and will provide 24/7 priority support. Your developers will get more access to the Shopify system for customization (cart scripting, dedicated API etc.). You are covered with two additional clone storefronts for internationalization.
What are Shopify’s transactions fees?
There are two different fees: the one that Shopify charges on your turnover (ranging from 0.5% to 2%, as stated above) and another one, which the payment gateway charges (such as Paypal, Stripe or Authorize.net). Please note that there is no Shopify charge to manual payment methods such as cash on delivery or bank transfers. Read more on these charges on the Shopify Help Center, here.
Using Shopify Payments to avoid the Shopify fees
The good news is that the Shopify fee can be completely avoided by using Shopify Payments (available in the USA, UK, Australia & NZ, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Japan and a few others). For a full list of all supported countries and businesses that are prohibited from using Shopify Payments, please consult this guide.
It’s important to note that using Shopify Payments eliminates the Shopify fee completely, so even if your customers pay via e.g. Paypal (learn more) or Amazon Pay, you won’t be charged any additional fee by Shopify anymore. So if you can, you should always try to use Shopify Payments! There is no monthly cost and setup is free too.
You will receive a bill with a one-time charge for actions like registering a domain, buying a theme, or buying an app. You can view your account history in the Bills section of the Billing page in your Shopify admin.
Common to all Shopify plans is that no domain or email hosting is included. Shopify allows you to buy a domain name for $14 per year, but this still doesn’t include any email hosting. To save a few bucks, we recommend that you compare these prices with a few external domain registrars (Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc.).
So now, to the store itself
You’ve decided onthe Shopify plan that best suits your needs and you’re going to want to start setting up your store.
There are several free themes we’ve covered here, so make sure to read on these details, as well as plenty of paid options.
If this is your first store I’d recommend experimenting with the free themes, as they are receiving full support from Shopify and you can indeed build a great business around them, even if they lack some of the more complex features of some of the paid ones. Check out this article that compares the speed of the free themes – one of the most important factors to take into account in eCommerce.
Theme purchases are non-refundable, but Shopify offers a great preview for all themes so that you can test them thoroughly before buying.
The next crucial decision will be choosing the right apps for your store. Do not rush headlong into this decision, as you may find later that some of them are not compatible or are slowing down your store to a halt. My recommendation – try one single app that packs plenty more, like VITALS – over 40 apps in one.
The big advantages are a low price and high speeds plus at the time of writing this, 30 days free trial. Make sure to check the reviews before installing the apps.
The main focus – driving traffic to your store
The problem you should consider is how to drive traffic to your store. If you do not already have an audience this can be quite challenging and expensive.
If you do not have several hundred dollars to create and A/B test your ads you can always take the hard road and just start growing organically, from scratch. Of course, in this latter case you need to make sure your products are winning ones (check these articles out on finding winning products), make sure you know your audience, their needs and preferences and have a top notch store and services.
My advice would be to test, test and test again before committing thousands of dollars on an idea that, on paper, appears to be great.
The shipping costs are usually rather complex, because they vary from country to country and than regions within those countries. The easiest and most straightforward option would be to select a pickup service like Easy Ship that partners with hundreds of popular courier companies like DHL and FedEx. Check out their shipping plans here.
If you’re into dropshipping, Oberlo is the answer for Shopify. So how much does Oberlo cost?
The answer is quite simple, the Oberlo product importer extension is free to use with Shopify Stores. However, if you require a complete Dashboard like Shopify to manage your eStore with an abundance of additional tools Oberlo is a great option.
Oberlo offers a great line up of feature loaded subscriptions priced as follows:
- Starter – Free to use, 500 Product Limit / 50 Orders per month limit
- Basic – $29.90 per month, 10,000 Product Limit / 500 orders per month limit
- Pro – $79.90 per month, 30000 products / Unlimited orders per month
All of these considered, the monthly cost of your business can start from around $100 or even lower, for the basic plan, several apps, transaction fees. It can get up to +$650 if you take a more expensive pricing plan, apps, invest heavily in advertising and implement plenty of payment options which take hefty fees also.
What are your monthly costs? How are they split? Let us know in the comments below.