Understanding Shopify Website Costs: A Comprehensive Guide
Stepping into the world of e-commerce with Shopify is an exciting journey, yet the associated costs can sometimes feel like uncharted territory. This blog post aims to shed some light on those shadows and offer a comprehensive understanding of the ‘Shopify website cost.’ Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to kickstart your online store or an established business aiming to scale, this guide will help you navigate the financial aspects of creating and maintaining a Shopify website.
Investing in your e-commerce store isn’t merely an expense; it’s a crucial part of setting the stage for your business’s growth and success. While Shopify does an excellent job of making the setup process user-friendly, understanding the costs involved can help you plan better, avoid surprises, and ensure a smoother journey.
Join us as we delve into the details of Shopify subscription plans, domain name registration, theme and plugin costs, and much more. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clearer picture of the potential expenses involved in running a successful Shopify store. Let’s embark on this journey together and make your e-commerce dreams a reality!
1- Shopify Subscription Plans
Transitioning into the e-commerce space through Shopify, one of the crucial factors to consider is the subscription plan that best fits your business. Shopify offers three subscription tiers –
Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. Each comes with its own features and costs. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the Shopify website cost for each plan to help you make an informed decision.
Basic Shopify Plan
At USD $39 per month, the Basic Shopify plan provides everything you need to kickstart your online store. It includes shipping products and processing payments at a credit card rate of 1.75% + 30¢ AUD for online transactions and 1.95% + 0¢ AUD for in-person transactions. You get access to basic reports, manage up to 1,000 inventory locations, avail up to a 44.2% shipping discount, and manage your store with 2 staff accounts. This plan is a great starting point for small businesses or start-ups looking to test the waters in the world of e-commerce without a hefty investment.
For businesses ready to take the next step, the Shopify Plan is available at USD $105 per month. This plan offers professional reporting and increases the number of available staff accounts to 5. The credit card rates for transactions are slightly lower at 1.6% + 30¢ AUD online and 1.85% + 0¢ AUD for in-person transactions. You also enjoy the same inventory locations and shipping discounts as the Basic Plan. The Shopify Plan is an excellent fit for businesses experiencing growth, requiring more detailed insights and more hands on deck.
Advanced Shopify Plan
If your business is at a stage where you need the best of Shopify, the Advanced Shopify Plan is your go-to choice. Priced at USD $399 per month, this plan offers a custom report builder and allows for up to 15 staff accounts. The transaction fees are the lowest among the three plans at 1.4% + 30¢ AUD online and 1.75% + 0¢ AUD for in-person transactions. The inventory locations and shipping discounts remain the same as in the previous plans. The Advanced Plan caters to well-established businesses looking for comprehensive reporting and wanting to minimise transaction costs.
It’s important to note that each plan comes with a promotional offer for the first three months, allowing you to avail yourself of the respective plan for just $1 per month. This makes it even more accessible to venture into the e-commerce domain and understands your business’s potential before investing more.
2- Domain Name Registration
Once you’ve selected a subscription plan, the next step in launching your Shopify store is obtaining a domain name. A domain name serves as your online address, and it’s where your customers can find you in the vast world of e-commerce. This unique identifier adds professionalism to your brand and aids in search engine optimisation (SEO).
Regarding domain name registration, you have two primary options – registering a new domain or transferring an existing one to Shopify.
Registering a New Domain
When starting an online store, you’ll need a domain name – this is the web address where customers find your store. Shopify makes it easy to buy and manage your custom domain. A new .com domain purchased through Shopify costs $14 per year. Alternatively, if you already have a domain, you can transfer it to Shopify.
However, it’s important to note that Shopify does not support all domain extensions. If your business is based in Australia and you wish to register a .com.au or .au domain, Shopify currently does not support these extensions. But don’t worry; there’s an easy solution for this. You can register your .com.au or .au domain through a domain registrar such as Crazy Domains or GoDaddy.
Once registered, you can connect it to your Shopify store. It’s an extra step, but it allows you to have the .com.au or .au domain that many Australian businesses prefer.
Remember, the choice of your domain name is an important one. It’s not just an address but an essential part of your brand identity. Whether you choose to register through Shopify or elsewhere, your domain name should be memorable, easy to spell, and representative of what your store is all about.
Transferring an Existing Domain
If you already own a domain name registered through another provider, you can transfer it to Shopify. The process of transferring a domain includes a fee, typically equivalent to one year of domain registration. This fee essentially extends the domain’s registration for another year beyond its current expiration date. The actual cost for the transfer can range from USD $10 to $20, depending on the domain provider.
It’s also worth noting that not all domain names can be transferred to Shopify, particularly those with certain extensions (.ca, .uk, .com.au, .au etc.). In such cases, you can still connect your existing domain to your Shopify store without transferring ownership.
Both options come with their own set of advantages. While registering a new domain through Shopify allows you to manage all aspects of your store from a single platform, transferring an existing domain can help maintain any domain authority your site has built over time.
3- Hosting Costs: Shopify vs WooCommerce/WordPress
Unlike WordPress, when you create a website with Shopify, you won’t need to purchase separate hosting. Shopify operates as a fully-hosted platform, meaning that they provide both the e-commerce software and the hosting for your online store.
In the world of web development, ‘hosting’ refers to the server where your website’s data is stored. When users access your website, they connect to this server to view and interact with your site. When using WooCommerce on a WordPress site, you would typically need to purchase separate hosting through a third-party provider. The cost of this can vary widely depending on the hosting provider and the level of service required, and it also often involves additional setup and ongoing management.
With Shopify, however, this is all taken care of for you. The cost of hosting is included in your monthly subscription, and Shopify takes care of all the technical maintenance, server updates, and security measures. This not only simplifies the process of setting up and running your store but can also reduce your overall costs and leave you more time to focus on running your business.
So when calculating the overall Shopify website cost, it’s important to keep in mind that, while the subscription fee might initially seem higher than other platforms, it also includes hosting – a cost that would typically be additional with platforms like WordPress.
4- Theme Costs
Choosing the right theme for your Shopify website is like setting the stage for a performance. It influences the look and feel of your online store, impacting customer experience and, ultimately, conversions.
When it comes to choosing a theme, Shopify provides two options: free and paid.
Shopify offers a selection of free themes that are beautifully designed and mobile responsive. These are great if you’re just starting out and want to keep your Shopify website costs to a minimum. They provide a solid foundation to build upon, with a good range of customisation options to help you match the theme with your brand identity. However, free themes may not have as many features or design options as their premium counterparts.
Paid or premium themes range in cost from around $180 to $360. The key advantage of these themes is their increased functionality and customisation options. Many premium themes come with additional features such as advanced filtering, better product displays, and more design options. Investing in a premium theme could be a smart move if you want your website to stand out and offer an exceptional user experience.
The decision between a free or premium theme depends on your budget, specific needs, and technical skills. Remember, the cost of a premium theme is a one-time expense. But don’t forget that it’s also important to factor in the potential time and cost of any customisations you may need to make the theme fit perfectly with your brand and business objectives.
Buying a Theme out of the Official Shopify Theme Store
While it is possible to purchase themes outside of Shopify’s official theme store, it’s generally not recommended, especially for those who are not familiar with code. Themes purchased outside of the official store may not adhere to Shopify’s quality standards or receive regular updates, which could lead to potential security risks or compatibility issues with Shopify’s regular platform updates.
A major disadvantage of buying themes outside of the Shopify theme store is the lack of support. Themes purchased from the Shopify theme store come with support from the theme developer. This can be incredibly helpful if you encounter issues or need help customising your theme. If you purchase a theme outside of the official store, there’s no guarantee of this level of support.
In addition, updates can be a significant issue. Shopify regularly updates its platform to ensure it’s offering the best possible service. Themes from the official Shopify theme store will also receive updates to ensure compatibility with the latest version of Shopify. However, themes purchased elsewhere might not receive these regular updates. As a result, your theme may become incompatible with the latest version of Shopify, which could cause issues with your website’s functionality and security.
In the end, while you might find an appealing and unique theme outside of the Shopify store, the potential issues with support, updates, and compatibility usually outweigh the benefits. It’s generally a safer choice to stick with themes from the Shopify theme store, as they have been vetted for quality, is regularly updated, and come with developer support.
5- App and Plugin Costs
Another important aspect to consider when evaluating the overall cost of a Shopify website is the cost associated with apps and plugins. Shopify provides a vast library of apps and plugins that can help you extend the functionality of your store. Whether it’s SEO tools, email marketing integrations, social media plugins, or advanced analytics, there’s an app for nearly everything.
However, while some apps are free, many come with monthly subscription fees that can range from a few dollars to over a hundred, depending on their complexity and functionality. It’s important to carefully consider which apps are necessary for your business to avoid paying for functionality you don’t need. It’s also worth noting that some apps offer free trials or tiered pricing, allowing you to start with basic functionality and upgrade as your business grows.
6- Payment Gateway Costs
When it comes to accepting payments on your Shopify store, there are costs involved. If you use Shopify Payments, the platform’s own payment gateway, you’ll be subject to transaction fees that depend on your subscription plan. For example, on the Basic Plan, the fee is 1.75% + 30¢ AUD for online transactions.
If you choose to use an external payment gateway, you’ll still face transaction fees. These vary from gateway to gateway but are typically in the range of 2-3%. In addition to these fees, you’ll also be charged Shopify’s own transaction fees unless you’re using Shopify Payments. These fees range from 0.5% to 2.0%, depending on your plan.
7- Shipping Costs
Shipping is another area where costs can quickly add up when running an e-commerce store. Shopify offers built-in functionality to handle shipping, allowing you to set flat-rate shipping, free shipping, or calculated rates based on weight or price.
You also have the option to integrate with major shipping carriers to provide real-time shipping quotes. However, remember that while providing free shipping can be a powerful incentive for customers to make a purchase, you’ll need to absorb these costs.
On the plus side, Shopify provides discounts of up to 44.2% on shipping with various carriers, depending on your Shopify plan. But again, it’s crucial to factor these costs into your product pricing to ensure profitability. Remember, while the costs may seem daunting at first, each of these aspects plays a role in creating a successful online store that delivers a seamless user experience.
8- SEO and Marketing Costs
Running an online store is not just about setting up your website and waiting for sales to roll in. It’s also about driving traffic to your site, and this is where SEO and marketing come into play. These are essential elements for any e-commerce site as they help your website get discovered by potential customers.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of improving your website’s visibility on search engines. Basic SEO practices can be implemented for free, such as optimising your website’s content and meta tags. However, to really excel in this area, you may need to invest in professional SEO services or SEO apps. Costs for these services can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the complexity of your website and the competitiveness of your industry.
Similarly, marketing your website can involve a range of costs. From running paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to hiring a professional marketing agency to manage your marketing efforts, the costs can vary greatly. A well-planned marketing budget can range from a few hundred dollars per month for small businesses to several thousand for larger businesses.
9- Website Maintenance Costs
Even after your Shopify store is up and running, there are still ongoing maintenance costs to consider. These can include updates, security checks, troubleshooting, and more. The good news is, compared to other platforms like WordPress, the maintenance costs for a Shopify website can be relatively low.
This is because Shopify is a hosted platform, meaning they take care of the hosting, security, and updates. However, you may still need to budget for occasional costs. For instance, you may need to update your theme or apps to ensure compatibility with the latest version of Shopify, or you may need technical help to resolve a problem.
Also, it’s wise to invest in regular website audits to ensure your store is performing optimally. Depending on the complexity of your store, a professional Shopify audit can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
It’s also worth noting that as your business grows, you may need to upgrade your Shopify plan, add more apps, or expand your marketing efforts, all of which will increase your ongoing costs. As such, it’s always a good idea to regularly review and plan for these ongoing costs in your budget.
10- Web Design and Platform Setup
Sure, it’s possible to set up a Shopify store by yourself, but if you’re serious about your business and want a site that doesn’t just look good but also performs well, you might want to consider bringing in the professionals.
- Knowledge of the Platform: A professional web designer or developer who specialises in Shopify will have in-depth knowledge of the platform. They’ll know exactly how to configure your store for optimal performance and can guide you through intricate setups such as shipping and payment configurations.
- Custom Code: While Shopify provides a lot of functionality out of the box, there may be certain features that require custom code. A professional can help implement these customisations effectively and efficiently.
- SEO and Google Analytics Connection: Ensuring your Shopify store is optimised for search engines is crucial for driving organic traffic. A professional can help set this up correctly, along with Google Analytics tracking. This provides invaluable data about your store’s performance and customer behaviour.
- Meta Connection: Want to tag your products on Instagram? It can be a tricky process, but a pro will make it look easy. They’ll set up the necessary meta connections and make sure everything is functioning smoothly.
- Site and Design Structure: A professionally designed Shopify store won’t just look better – it’ll provide a better user experience. This is crucial for conversion rates. A pro can help with site navigation, product categories, mobile responsiveness, and more, ensuring your site is easy to use and navigate.
So while setting up a Shopify store yourself might seem like the cost-effective option at first, it can end up costing you more in the long run – in terms of time, missed sales opportunities, and potential future fixes. Investing in a professional from the start can save you a lot of headaches and help set your online store up for success.
11- Case Study: Real-World Shopify Website Costs Example
Let’s take a real-world scenario to illustrate the potential costs of setting up and maintaining a Shopify store. Let’s imagine that you are small to medium-sized business selling artisanal goods and want to establish an online presence through a Shopify store.
Let’s imagine you are a small to medium-sized business selling artisanal goods and want to establish an online presence through a Shopify store.
- Shopify Subscription: You opt for the Basic Plan that costs $39/month, providing the essentials needed to start your business.
- Domain Name: A new domain name from Shopify costs $14/year. However, if you prefer a .com.au domain, you’ll need to purchase this from another provider like Crazy Domains or GoDaddy, which can cost around $20/year.
- Theme: You decide to go with a higher-end premium theme to have more design options, better functionality, and support. This theme costs you around $300 (one-time fee).
- Apps and Plugins: To enhance the functionality of your store, you opt for a few essential apps. This includes apps for email marketing, SEO, and customer reviews. On average, each app may cost around $20/month, so for three apps; you’ll be looking at $60/month.
- Payment Gateway: If you use Shopify Payments, there won’t be any additional transaction fees. Otherwise, the fees will depend on the payment gateway provider you choose.
- Shipping Costs: You decide to pass most of the shipping fees onto your customers, keeping your own costs low at around $50/month.
- SEO and Marketing: You decide to invest in an SEO tool and run a modest Google Ads campaign. This may cost you about $150/month.
- Website Maintenance: You set aside $100/month for any potential updates, security patches, or troubleshooting that may arise.
- Web Design and Platform Setup: You decide to hire a professional to design and set up your Shopify store. For a high-quality, professional setup, you may be looking at around $2300 (one-time fee).
So, the initial setup cost is approximately $2653, which includes the Shopify subscription, domain name, theme, and professional setup. The ongoing monthly cost is approximately $399, which includes the Shopify subscription, apps, payment gateway, shipping, SEO and marketing, and website maintenance.
This example illustrates a rough estimate of costs. Keep in mind that the actual costs will depend on various factors, including your specific needs, the size of your business, and your goals.
Taking the time to understand all the costs associated with creating and maintaining a Shopify website is crucial when planning your online business. From subscription plans, domain names, and themes to apps, payment gateways, and professional setup and maintenance fees, all these elements play a part in your business’s financial plan. However, remember that investing in a quality website design and a reliable e-commerce platform like Shopify can bring significant returns in the long run. It’s not just about cost but about creating a user-friendly, attractive, and secure platform for your customers.
Setting up a Shopify website involves various aspects, each with its unique considerations. It can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re not entirely familiar with the platform. If you need assistance in setting up and maintaining your Shopify website, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at B Creative Studio.
As a Shopify Partner, we take the load off your shoulders and help you design a store that fits your brand perfectly while optimising for success.