So, you want to start your own ecommerce store – that’s great news! Building an online store opens a world of possibilities for people just like you. It’s your chance to earn money either as a side gig or full-time job and build a community of likeminded customers.
Obviously, building any business takes time, dedication and money. So, how much does it actually cost to start your first ecommerce site? This guide will walk you through the process and give you a rough cost estimate for each step along the way.
Building a Website
Growing your ecommerce brand starts with building a sleek and sexy website. The cost of building a website can vary widely depending on your method. Shopify, for example, is one of the best ecommerce website builders around and makes it easy to develop a site with little to no experience, and little to no cost. Conversely, hiring an agency to build your site for you could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
You could also build your site from scratch, but this process is time consuming; and if your main goal is to turn a profit from owning and operating your own e-store, you might as well save yourself the effort.
Picking Your Products
The next step is to pick your products. While you may have ideas in mind, take some time to assess your target audience and determine the merchandise they are most likely to buy.
It’s also recommended that you balance low-priced goods with high-ticket items. Why is this important? Well, it’s hard to turn a profit when you are selling t-shirts at $10 a pop; and it’s equally hard to sell a $3,000 kitchen appliance when you are just starting out.
Finding a balance will not only attract a mix of cost-conscious and deep-pocketed consumers; it will also protect you from overspending on stocked goods.
Of course, you will need a place to put all that merchandise before it is sold, which can be tougher than you’d imagine. Sure, you might be able to store a few dozen boxes at your home or office, but you will likely outgrow that space pretty soon.
Instead, find a clean and secure storage facility to house all your products. These aren’t too pricey – typically between $50 and $150 per month depending on the size.
Will you be flying solo on your ecommerce adventure or will you need to hire staff to keep your operations running smoothly? Common hires for an e-store include a customer service representative, a social media manager and a fulfillment associate.
It’s probably best to start out on your own and hire staff as you go to keep costs low. Not to mention there are plenty of affordable automated tools out there to make your job easier.
This next tip is all about getting your brand out there. Thankfully, online marketing is super cheap and very effective. For example, email subscription marketing has an average return on investment of $45 for each dollar spent!
Building a social media presence is also inexpensive. Start by securing your brand name on several platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Develop a cadence for updates to keep your audience informed and engaged. Again, these techniques are free.
In the end, starting your virtual store can be very cheap or very expensive depending on the platform builder you use, the products you sell and the people you hire. This might seem like a lot to take in at first, so take things one step at a time, just as we have above.
Good luck and have fun!