Cheapest Way to Start an eCommerce Website

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Shark Tank has featured many entrepreneurs. Half of the entrepreneurs talk to the sharks about how much they’ve spent on their startup. Only half of them end up in a position where they need to borrow more money from billionaires to keep their dreams alive.

You may feel a sinking feeling in your stomach knowing that you will never be able gather that amount of money or have collateral to back that kind of loan from an investor.

Do you really need all that to start your own business?

It is possible to start a profitable online business, such as an eCommerce store. An eCommerce store without much (or any) capital.

While your expenses will increase with increased sales, I remind you that many entrepreneurs started out with a simple eCommerce website. They then spent small amounts to expand their business and to make more money.

You need to find the best way to launch your eCommerce website. We know that you don’t have enough money or the ability to sell. So we are going to show you some ways to save money and invest in other aspects of your business. Continue reading to save!

Method 1 WordPress

WordPress.org is the preferred solution for 27% all webmasters. WordPress.org is used by more than one-fourth of all websites.

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Fortunately for us all, WordPress can also be used to run an eCommerce website. WordPress is used by more than 42% (according to the latest 2016 data).

There are many benefits to going this route and launching your store via WordPress.

WordPress is an open-source platform that can be used for free. You can get WordPress for free and even customize its internal workings to meet your needs 100%.

WooCommerce is the best eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It’s also open-source and free.

For as low as $4/month, you can get a reliable and WordPress-optimized hosting plan. You might consider upgrading to a higher-tier plan for $12/month as your site grows.

Let’s not forget the last point – hosting. Yes, WordPress is the core of your eCommerce site. To use it you will need to create a hosting account. Although it sounds complicated, it is actually quite simple. You just need to sign up for one of the most popular hosting providers, and provide basic information about your business.

SiteGround is the best-rated and most optimized WordPress hosting provider that we can recommend. Multiple customer reviews and results from hosting surveys have confirmed their high quality.

The best news is, as I said above, that you can get a WordPress-ready plan starting at $4 per month. Click here.

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SiteGround will create a new WordPress website for your account. SiteGround will create a blank WordPress website for you, and they’ll take care of the technical setup.

WooCommerce is another element to your eCommerce setup. This free WordPress plugin will allow you to create all of the functionality you need for an online store. It is easy to install and comes with no additional costs.

Your WordPress theme is the last piece of the WordPress+eCommerce puzzle – your website design you will present to your customers.

There are many options online. The themes featured on this page were selected for their optimization for eCommerce websites, and WooCommerce specifically.

Let me emphasize the importance of using a WordPress theme optimized for eCommerce websites. You risk your products not showing properly and therefore losing sales.

Although it may seem overwhelming at first, all of what I am saying is actually quite easy. You’ll soon realize that each step can be completed in less than an hour, and that you can easily grasp everything as you go.

This is the beauty of WordPress: you can create any kind of website (eCommerce or otherwise) with it, and all of this at a very low cost and small investment.

It will cost you to set up an eCommerce store on WordPress.

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Web hosting at $4 per month

WordPress: $0

A WordPress ecommerce theme costs $0 (potentially more for premium themes).

WooCommerce – The eCommerce plugin – $0

Method 2: Square Online

Square Online is an online solution that many companies overlook. Most people believe Square is only for offline sales. Square stores can be used to sell online as well as offline.

An online store is free for beginners who don’t have a lot to offer. It’s easy to launch your online business. Although the free service is great for creating a store, it comes with advertisements and a square subdomain.

The free plan allows you to sell unlimited products and is open to selling digital, physical, and service products. Square integrates with Instagram to allow curbside pickup and delivery as well as shipping to customers.

Square’s free package can help you increase sales by using coupon codes and gift cards. You can also send customers order updates via text and allow clients to personalize their orders.

Square offers plans for those willing to pay more.

The professional plan costs $12 per month and includes no ads and a professional domain

The Performance plan is $26 per Month with additional features such as abandoned cart recovery

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The Premium plan: $72 per Month with greater shipping discounts

Square has transaction fees. You’ll be charged 2.9% plus 30c on any plan. You should also be aware of some additional costs. Domain names purchased from Square start at $12 per year. However, you might pay a bit more for in-demand domains. You should also consider the processing fees associated with your chosen payment system.

Access to Square’s marketing suite costs an additional $15 per month. However, you can try it for free.

You can use the point-of-sale app free if you have an offline store in addition to your online store. There are processing fees of 2.6% and 10 cents for each in-person payment. Additional hardware for your store starts from $10 for the magstripe reader and goes up to $799 per Square register.

Square offers a variety of options that are tailored to specific companies. Square can be used for restaurants, appointments, and retail. These plans come with no cost, but you can upgrade to premium products to get more features.

Method 3: Ecwid

Ecwid, a plugin that adds sales functionality to existing websites is designed to work with your existing online assets. Ecwid’s free package, which is user-friendly and full of useful features makes it a great option to get started selling online and discover your lucrative niches. A user-friendly backend and multi-channel selling via social media are some of the features you can expect.

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Ecwid is a popular choice because it is so flexible. Ecwid doesn’t require you to create a brand new website. You can use existing WordPress, Wix and Weebly sites for most of your functionality. Ecwid is a great option if you have invested in other tools for your store.

Pricing: There is an Ecwid plan that you can use for free. However, this will limit your product sales and give you access to more advanced features. Even if you choose to upgrade, prices start at about PS15 per month.

Although the free plan allows you to open an online store, you cannot access social media sales or mobile points of sale. You can sell everything through the Business package, which is the most expensive premium plan. There are many advertising options available, as well as support for digital goods.

Ecwid is perfect for companies looking to turn an existing asset (such as their websites) into a store solution. There are no limitations on the number of product options and you don’t have to create anything new. For multilingual selling, you can choose from many languages and download a mobile application to manage store functionality.

Although Ecwid may not offer as many customization options as other solutions it is great for those who are looking for something quick and easy to set-up. You can sell via multiple channels like social media and you can stick with the website-building platform that you are most comfortable with.

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Method 4: Shopify

Shopify is the last option for creating a store. This is the easiest and fastest method of all three and I highly recommend it to beginner developers.

The Shopify Lite Plan costs $9 per month and comes with a 14-day free trial. This is a great deal considering that you get a domain name, hosting, and a choice of a theme.

Although this plan does not include an online store, you will receive unlimited products and a Shopify Buy button so that you can start selling.

Even if you upgrade, the prices remain reasonable.

Shopify Lite – $9 per month

Basic Shopify Plan – $29 per Month

Shopify Plan – $79 Per Month

Advanced Shopify Plan – $299 per Month

Method 5: Squarespace

Squarespace is an established way to create an online store. It has tons of exposure on social media, and even in the advertising industry. Squarespace is a great option for those who don’t want to use BigCommerce or other tools. It offers a lot of functionality that will allow you to take credit card payments online.

Squarespace is best for creating regular websites. However, there are also eCommerce plans that cost $26 per month. These plans include tons of support for SEO, customization, linking your site to external environments such as Amazon and eBay, and many other features like customizing.

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Squarespace offers amazing templates that will make your website stand out. This is great for small businesses looking to make an impression.

Squarespace prices start at $12 per month for the personal plan and $18 per monthly for the business plan. However, neither plan will include an eCommerce site nor checkout. For the eCommerce solution, you will need to spend at minimum $26 per month. An Advanced version is available for $40.

A yearly plan can save you significant cash. It’s usually around 45%. You might also consider moving your small business email accounts to another provider. This will help keep costs down. You do get a partnership from Squarespace with Google Workspace, which will help you keep your email costs down.

Squarespace charges $20 annually for email domains. It is worth considering other options.

Method 6: Wix

Wix is a well-known ecommerce website building platform. Wix is well-known for its combination of drag-and drop simplicity and advanced features. Although Wix started as a simple website builder, it has evolved to offer everything, from unlimited bandwidth and AI.

Wix is an excellent choice for almost any niche. Wix’s templates and shopping carts will all work on every device. Volusion, Weebly and ecwid offer more options than Wix.

Wix is the best ecommerce platform to use for selling, email marketing and blogging. Wix allows you to migrate an existing website to the platform with great customer support. There are many pricing plans available to fit any budget. Wix plans start from $13 per month. However, you cannot build a store using the cheapest product.

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To ensure you get selling features for all devices, you will need to upgrade at least $23 per monthly. Wix is able to scale with your business. This is something many ecommerce platforms cannot do.

Wix allows you to monitor sales and protect your online storefront with an SSL certificate. Wix allows you to choose from many payment options to connect with customers, including Apple Pay and PayPal. There are also a number of tutorials that will help you get started.

Wix also offers API access to developers who wish to collaborate on their eCommerce business. Without any prior knowledge, you can create product pages and access inventory management tools. You can even offer gift certificates.

Wix is a great choice if you are looking for something simple, yet comprehensive. However, you may not like the fact that once you have chosen your template for your website, you cannot change it. This can make it more difficult to update over time.

Method 7: Magento

Magento is similar to WordPress in that it offers an open-source solution for building your online shop. Magento is designed for experienced developers. Magento is a complex platform that requires a lot of learning. You will need to either have extensive development experience or hire someone to help you. If you don’t have the time or desire to develop Magento, it is worth looking at hosted e-commerce platforms and even WordPress.

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Magento is not a dead platform, but that shouldn’t be ruled out. It is the most widely used e-commerce platform worldwide. Magento is the e-commerce platform that most brands use to grow their businesses.

How much does it cost?

Magento is free to download and you can create your online store. This is a great option for startups with smaller budgets.

Technically, you could build a Magento store for free. You will need to hire a host in order for your website to be visible online. Hosting costs can range from $3 per monthly to $100 per month. It all depends on the speed at which your website grows and the performance you require from your hosting company.

Extensions and themes

You may also want to purchase themes or extensions. Magento has all the features that you need to run a powerful online store. There are some themes that are better than others, so it is worth searching online. While you could pay $1 for a theme in the end, it’s probably better to spend around $100 for one.

The most costly part about Magento is hiring a developer. Magento is not the best option for making an online store if this is the case. If you have a partner or have experience in developing websites, it may be possible to hire a freelancer or full-time employee to manage the website. Magento is a great choice for building an online shop.

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Method 8: Easy Digital Downloads

This won’t be applicable to all who wish to sell online. However, the Easy Digital Downloads platform makes it easy to sell digital products. These could include audio, video, and ebooks. Digital sales are plentiful, especially since they don’t require much capital upfront. This makes it even more affordable.

If you want to create an online course on WordPress and how to set up WooCommerce, then all that is required is your time. Screen capture software and editing tools can be expensive, but there are free options.

Return to Digital Downloads

It integrates seamlessly with WordPress and is completely free to use. You can simply go to the website to download the plugin free of charge. It transforms your frontend almost immediately into an online shop once you have installed it. It allows you to post digital products and collect payments. You can also send automated emails with the files for your customers.

Is there any cost?

Easy Digital Downloads plugin can be downloaded for free and integrates with WordPress. WordPress is an open-source solution. You will need to find your own hosting. It could cost anywhere from $3 to $50 per month. Although I doubt that many digital product websites will grow beyond this, you never know. Hosting is expensive for huge digital marketplaces.

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Another option is to purchase a WordPress theme, or one of the many addons available from Easy Digital Downloads.

These are some of the most requested add-ons:

Recurring payments

Stripe Gateway

PayPal Gateway

Software licensing

Frontend submissions

Mailchimp

More

Prices for these add-ons vary. The recurring payments add on costs $199 for a single license. Unlimited sites can get it for $419. The Stripe Payment Gateway costs $89 for a single site and $209 for unlimited sites.

You are not under any obligation to buy any of these add-ons. You could create a website that offers full digital product sales support. Easy Digital Downloads plugin provides all the features that you need. The only expense is for hosting.