how much is it to create a store
Posted May 23, 2016 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team

How Much Money Do You Need to Open an Online Store?

Starting a business is a risky initiative. No one wants to waste their time and money selling online without a return. Some of you may have a friend who had a friend who took a loan, opened a business, went belly up and swore not to touch business plans ever again.

In this article, we will break the stereotype of spending gazillions dollars to start a  business online. This one is for beginners who haven’t opened an online store yet. Experienced entrepreneurs are unlikely to find anything new here. You might want to read how to increase your revenue with newsletter segmentation instead.

So, back to the beginners — let’s begin.

To spend or not to spend?

A bankroll is helpful for opening an online store, but not a must. Start with small things. Creating an online store is much cheaper than opening a boutique in the mall. You don’t pay for the space, decorations, and many other things.

Initially, your apartment or garage can serve as a store. Your cat will enjoy it.

At first, expenses for an online store may be confusing. One would think: “Okay, I need to build an e-commerce website. I need to find a hosting company. I need to buy a domain name, determine taxes, add payment methods, ooooh…”

If you don’t have a lot of money and don’t feel great at the thought of burdening yourself with a big loan, a good thing to do is to open an online store in two stages.

At first, plan to create a free one-page e-commerce websitea Facebook page with a free store, or to test your product at art shows and street markets, to check if the juice is worth the squeeze. And if everything goes well, dare to register a business and create an e-commerce website.

Ecwid Starter Site

Ecwid’s free one-page Starter Site

Build more as your business grows

Let’s imagine it was off to a good start — you sold everything during the first month, and your online store’s following is growing. You’ll eventually need more than just a storefront with a cart. You’ll want more e-commerce tools and automation. At this point, you can create a more professional website and add an online store there.

Machines work, people earn

People invented computers to take on rote work and use their time more efficiently.

E-commerce platforms have the same goal: to make entrepreneurship easier. An online store serves as a storefront, a shop assistant for customers, and a personal manager for its owner.

The bottom line is that you can open an online store for free and add more features when you stand both feet on the ground.

Whether you decided to start selling online for free, or to build a fully featured website with an online store, take into consideration the following expences.

Business registration

I added this part because lawyers asked me. JK.

To make your business legal, it must be registered. Most people start with a sole proprietorship because it has the lowest barrier. An annual business license for the State of California is $35.

If you have bigger plans or need to protect yourself, there are two options: LLC or Corporation. We discussed their differences in the article devoted to registering your e-commerce business. Small businesses generally prefer LLCs.

Domain

The domain is your site’s name or URL. Share it with your friends, print it on business cards and link to it on social media. You can buy a domain on special sites like this one.

The price starts at $1 per month.

Hosting

A website is a set of files that needs to be stored somewhere. This is why you’ll have to  get a hosting account. The companies that sell domain names typically offer hosting. Like Ecwid, you can pay for hosting month-to-month or purchase rights to the domain for the entire year. The latter is cheaper, of course.

Basic hosting on FatCow.com costs $48 per year.

Online store

Ecwid is an e-commerce platform that allows you to create your own online store. Using Ecwid, you can display and sell your products on a website, calculate shipping expenses and taxes, monitor your orders and enable various payment methods.

It is free to create a store using Ecwid. If you have under 10 products, a free plan will be enough to start. When you’re ready to implement advanced tools, premium features in Ecwid’s paid plans come around to grow your business.

For example, Venture Plan (allows 100 products) costs just $15 per month.

The budget

Let’s add everything up to see what it costs to start selling online.

With a websiteWithout a website
Business registration$35$35
Domain name$12$12
Annual hosting$48
Ecwid free plan$0$0
Total$95$47

What does “without a website” mean?

Ecwid creates a free starter site when you sign up. Later you can buy a domain name and connect it to the starter site. It saves money and time.

New businesses have different goals and different budgets, but creating an online store can be cheaper than visiting Starbucks once a week. Whatever your budget, start a small business with an online presence on Ecwid, because it is a much cheaper, less risky alternative to opening a retail or physical location.

Share this article with your friends who are looking to start something new.