How Much Does it Cost to Build a Shopify Website in 2024?

how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-a-Shopify-website

If this was the 1990s we were living in, it could have cost you a few grand to build an eCommerce website. Fortunately, things have changed (for the greater good). Thanks to affordable eCommerce platforms like Shopify, you can launch an online store for as little as $39/month.  

If you’re wondering, ‘How much does it cost to build a Shopify website?’ you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll tackle your question thoroughly so you can have a crystal-clear picture of the cost of building a Shopify store per month.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. The cost of Shopify website at a quick glance

Name
Position
Office
Hosting fee
Around $5 – $250 per month, depending on your hosting plan.
✅ You get to host your website securely on Shopify’s robust server for free.
eCommerce platform licensing fee
$0 (for open-source platforms) to $20,000 per month
❌ Shopify charges a recurring licensing fee to ‘rent’ their tools and infrastructure to you (we’ll discuss this more in-depth below)
Domain name registration 
$10 – $30 per year
SSL certificate
From $0 (might come in as a package with some hosting providers) to $200 per year
✅ Shopify auto-issues an SSL certificate to your website.
Credit card processing fees
Around 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Email marketing
$100 – $1,000 per month, depending on your email marketing platform
✅ Shopify Email enables you to send 10,000 emails/month for free.
Automation tool
$99 – $999 per month, depending on your needs
✅ Shopify Flow is Shopify’s free app that allows you to set up marketing automation flow easily
Technical support
Some platforms provide technical support for around $80/ticket.
✅ Shopify offers 24/7 support for all Shopify-related issues
Third-party app and tool cost
$49 – $2,000+ per month
Agency outsourcing costs (e.g. Shopify website design pricing, SEO, paid ads, etc.)
$80 per hour or $2,000 – $10,000 per month for a project (SEO, paid ads campaign, KOL, etc.)

2. A deep dive into the cost to build a Shopify website

TL;DR: Here are the costs you need to go live with a functional Shopify web store:

Mandatory costs
Optional costs
Hosting and custom domain: $10 – $30 per year
Shopify theme: $0 – $380 per one-time purchase
Licensing fee: $39 to $2,300+ per month
Service cost: $9 – $10,000+ per month
Transaction fee: 2.15% + 30¢ – 5.9% + 30¢ per transaction

➡️ Estimated initial setup cost: At least around $150. 

2.1. Hosting and domain name registration

💰 Estimated: $10 – $30 per year | Type of cost: Mandatory.

If you are concerned about hosting costs, here is the good news: Shopify provides you with free hosting. This means when you subscribe to a Shopify plan (except the Starter plan), you’ll enjoy the following benefits for free:

  • Shopify’s hosting includes unlimited bandwidth, meaning there’s no limit to the amount of web traffic your site can receive.
  • Shopify provides a free SSL certificate for all stores, which is PCI-compliant. This means you don’t have to buy a separate SSL certificate for your Shopify site.
  • You can deliver your content via the robust Shopify Content Delivery Network (CDN). 

Nevertheless, like any other eCommerce platform, you have to purchase your custom domain to connect it with Shopify. From our observation, a custom domain name can cost around $10 – $30 per year. 

Of course, you can use the default .myShopify.com domain for free to save this cost, but this is something we’d advise against because the default domain name won’t be good for your brand image.

2.2. Licensing 

💰 Estimated: $9 – $2,300+ per month | Type of cost: Mandatory.

In order to host your website under Shopify’s roof, you need to pay Shopify the so-called licensing fee. And for that, Shopify has 5 pricing plans:

  1. Starter: $5/month (no eCommerce website)
  2. Basic Shopify: $39/month 
  3. Shopify: $105/month 
  4. Advanced Shopify: $399/month 
  5. Shopify Plus: from $2,300/month
Shopify-pricing-plans-billed-monthly

 

💡 Want to save big on Shopify license fees? If you opt for an annual subscription to Shopify’s 3 main pricing plans– Basic, Shopify, and Advanced, you’ll get a 25% saving compared to the monthly subscription rates.

Monthly
Annual (25% off)
Basic Shopify
$39/month
$29/month
Shopify
$105/month
$79/month
Advanced Shopify
$399/month
$299/month

With the first eCommerce cost structure- Shopify Starter, you won’t have an eCommerce website. Instead, you only have product pages, a contact page, and Shopify’s checkout to sell your products on social media. 

Because the question we’ll address is ‘How much does it cost to build a Shopify website’, we won’t be discussing Shopify Starter in the scope of this article. 

For the remaining pricing plans, Shopify’s pricing structure is quite clear: the higher the plan you’re on, the more and better features you’ll get. Before we dissect each of Shopify’s pricing plans, let’s take a look at the comparison below for your visualization:

Basic Shopify
Shopify
Advanced Shopify
Shopify Plus
Monthly pricing
$39
$105
$399
From $2,300/month on a 3-year term.
Unlimited products 
Free hosting and SSL 
Checkout page capacity
Standard
Standard
10 times faster 
40 times faster
Additional staff accounts
5
15
Unlimited
24/7 live chat support
Priority support
Built-in sales and marketing features
Third-party calculated shipping fees 
Sync products to social channels and marketplaces 
Inventory locations
10
10
10
200
Localize your store for different countries
3 markets
3 markets
3 markets$59/mo per extra market
50 markets included
Analytics
Standard
Standard
Standard + build your custom reports
Standard + build your custom reports

After scanning our pricing summary, have you figured out which one is right for you yet? If you haven’t, let us elaborate a few words:

🔶 Basic Shopify (recommended for you): For $29 a month (annual billing), you get all the essentials to start your online store, including unlimited products and free SSL. This is actually the plan we pick for newbies like you because: 

  • From our experience, Shopify’s lowest pricing plan offers you even more eCommerce features than many other platforms like Wix eCommerce or Squarespace.
  • You can move to a higher plan any time you see fit. So, just start with the lowest plan and upgrade as your store scales.

🔶 Shopify: At $105 a month, this plan upgrades your support to 5 staff accounts, which is crucial as your business grows and you need more hands on deck.

🔶 Advanced Shopify: For $399 monthly, your checkout page speed becomes 10 times faster than the standard. This is literally a game-changer if your store sells like hotcakes.

Plus, with Advanced Shopify, you have 10 extra staff accounts compared to the Shopify plan. Also, you can display third-party calculated shipping rates during checkout instead of flat fees like Shopify.

🔶 Shopify Plus: Starting at $2,300 a month on a 3-year term, this plan is the most premium Shopify plan. As the plan built for enterprises, Shopify Plus offers the fastest checkout experience at 40 times the standard speed, unlimited staff accounts, and priority support.

Plus users also unlock access to various exclusive features like checkout page customization, B2B selling, unlimited API calls, etc.

2.3. Payment processing fees

💰 Estimated: 2.15% + 30¢ – 5.9% + 30¢ per transaction | Type of cost: Mandatory.

If you want to calculate the cost of building a Shopify website as precisely as possible, you must factor in payment processing fees. These are transaction fees that you pay to credit card firms, payment processors, or the financial institution backing your customers’ credit purchases.

And here are the three main payment processing fees Shopify charges merchants of each plan:

Fee types
Basic Shopify
Shopify
Advanced Shopify
Shopify Plus
Online credit card processing 
2.9% + 30¢
2.7% + 30¢
2.5% + 30¢ 
2.15% + 30¢ 
Extra transaction fees for not using Shopify Payments
2%
1%
0.6%
0.2%
Online international credit card fees
+1%
+1%
+1%
+1%

Apparently, the higher your Shopify plan is, the more competitive this fee can get. Simple enough, right? But what about ‘extra transaction fees for not using Shopify Payments’?

Long story short: Shopify Payments is Shopify’s in-house payment gateway. If you choose not to use this gateway, or you’re not living where Shopify Payments is supported, you must pay extra transaction fees. This starts at 2% for Basic Shopify and gets to only 0.2% for Shopify Plus.

And if you take online international credit card fees, Shopify charges you an additional 1% per transaction. 

💡 Now, let’s take an example: You are based in the U.S., have a $100 transaction from a UK customer, and do not use Shopify Payments. 

Here’s how the fees would break down for each Shopify plan:

  • Basic Shopify: $6.20 = ($100 x 2.9% + $0.30) + ($100 x 2% non-Shopify Payments fee) + ($100  x 1% international fee) 
  • Shopify: $5.00 = ($100 x 2.7% + $0.30) + ($100 x 1% non-Shopify Payments fee) + ($100 x 1% international fee)
  • Advanced Shopify: $4.40 = ($100 x 2.5% + $0.30) + ($100 x 0.6% non-Shopify Payments fee) + ($100 x 1% international fee)
  • Shopify Plus: $3.65 = ($100 x 2.15% + $0.30) + ($100 x 0.2% non-Shopify Payments fee) + ($100 x 1% international fee).

2.4. Shopify theme 

💰 Estimated: $0 – $380 per one-time purchase | Type of cost: Optional.

Another cost you might want to consider is the cost of Shopify themes. As of this article, the Shopify Theme Store has over 185 themes, including 12 free themes and 170+ premium options spanning all industries, catalog sizes, etc.

Shopify-theme-cost

 

A paid theme on the Shopify Theme Store costs you from $140 to $380 per one-time purchase. Nevertheless, if you are just getting started, we highly suggest choosing a free Shopify theme.

👀 How to choose the theme that best suits you (and won’t break your bank)?

  • Step 1: List down all the must-have, should-have, and nice-to-have features you want. For instance, if you sell a sophisticated fashion line, an advanced filter is a must. Meanwhile, a color swatch is a should-have feature, and augmented reality (AR) is a nice-to-have functionality.
  • Step 2: Use the filter on the Shopify Theme Store to sort out themes and check out the feature offerings of free and low-priced themes first.
  • Step 3: Check out our well-curated list of 12 Best Free & Premium Shopify Themes.

2.5. Service cost

💰 Estimated: $50 – $20,000+ per month | Type of cost: Optional.

No matter how easy to use Shopify is, you’ll need to install third-party apps or hire experts to help with scaling up your store. 

1. Estimated costs for third-party apps to launch your website: ~$50 – $120+

  • Landing page builder to further customize your theme: $25 – $100 per month
  • Dropshipping app to import products to your store: $10 – $60 per month
  • Product review app to build your store trust: $10 – $60 per month
Shopify-app-cost

 

Please note that the three types of apps above are just the necessary tools to launch your website. As your store grows, app costs can easily get much higher. For instance, if you want to build a mobile app for your Shopify store, the cost is already $300 – $500/month.

Or, if you want to run personalized email marketing campaigns, tools like Klaviyo or Mailchimp might cost you around $200 – $350/month.

2. Estimated Shopify website development cost: $1,000 – $20,000+.

And if you want to up the game to a new level, you’ll also need to factor in website development costs. You can hire developers on Upwork or Fiver at $30-$50 per hour or $1,000 to $20,000 per project for top-tier eCommerce website development agencies like BSS, Litos, etc.

💡 Tips: For more guaranteed quality, our advice is to browse experts and agencies on the Shopify expert directory.

Shopify-development-service-cost

 

3. How much is a Shopify website: Some examples

Now that we’ve walked you through all the major costs of building a Shopify website, let’s take a look at some Shopify cost ownership examples for practice.

Example #1: A new dropshipping store

Total setup costs: $60 (DIY setup)

Ongoing costs (monthly): $80 – $100 per month 

In the first example, we’ll examine the cost to start a Shopify dropshipping website of David– a newbie who wants to build an online store without holding stock.

Cost
Estimation
Optional
Shopify’s license fee
$39/month ($29/month if billed annually) for Basic Shopify
A custom domain 
$10 – $30 per year
Shopify theme
$0 
Transaction fees
Around $15 – $30 per month (based on a 2.9% fee on $500 – $1,000 sales per month)
Dropshipping app
$10 – $15 (for lower plans of dropshipping apps like CJDropshipping or Zopi)
✅ (you can import products under CSV files or add them manually)
Email marketing app
$0 (using free Shopify Email)
Stock
$0
Shipping costs
$0
Development costs
$0 (DIY setup)
Point of sale costs
$0 (online store only)

💡 If you’re just testing out the water or want to open a seasonal store (X-mas, Mother’s Day, etc.) you can launch and manage your Shopify store at $1 for 33 days. Sign up for a Shopify account via this link to grab the deal.

The best part? There’s no need to provide credit card details upfront, so you don’t have to worry about unwanted charges if that’s what you’re concerned about. 

Example #2: A small, offline store now wants to sell online

Total setup costs: $750 – $1,000

Ongoing costs (monthly): $3,000 – $5,000

What about a small business that wants to expand its store to the online world? Here are the estimated costs:

Cost
Estimation
Optional
Shopify’s license fee
$105/month ($79/month if billed annually) for Shopify plan to grant access to their team members & save some bucks on the payment processing fees
A custom domain 
$10 – $30 per year
Shopify theme
$140 per one-time purchase
Transaction fees
Around $154 per month (based on a 2.6% fee on $6,000 sales per month)
Dropshipping app
$0
Email marketing app
$50 – $100
Stock
$2,000. But it depends largely on your chosen niche.
Shipping costs
$1,000 per month (standard domestic shipping)
Development costs
$500 – $1,000 (one-off fee for setting up online store)
POS
$89 per month for Shopify POS Pro
✅ (You can use Shopify POS Lite for free)

Example #3: A high-volume store that needs advanced sales & marketing features

Total setup costs: $1,000

Ongoing costs (monthly): $20,000 – $22,000

And last but not least, let’s examine the possible cost of building a full-fledged online store for a big, well-established store.

Cost
Estimation
Optional
Shopify’s license fee
$399/month ($299/month if billed annually) for Advanced Shopify to access 10 times faster checkout page, third-party calculated shipping rate display, custom report.
Custom domain
$10 – $30 per year
Shopify theme
$360 – $380 per one-time purchase
Transaction fees
$750 per month (based on a 2.4% fee on $30,000 sales per month)
Advanced analytics app
$100 per month
✅ (you can save this cost by using Google Analytics together with Shopify reports)
CRM and marketing automation app (including email app)
$200 – $400 per month
✅ (Shopify has an automation tool called Shopify Flow and an email tool called Shopify Email. Both tools are free and work well with each other)
App to sync products to social commerce platforms (Facebook Shop, TikTok Shop) and marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy, etc.)
$150 – $200 per month
✅ (you can export your products to CSV files and import them to said platforms for free)
Stock purchasing
$10,000 per month (to maintain inventory for both online and in-person sales)
Shipping costs
$3,500 per month (handling higher volume and variety of shipping options)
Development costs
$2,000 per month (for ongoing site optimization and feature development)
Point of sale integration
$89 per month for Shopify POS Pro

4. Battle-tested tips to minimize the cost of building a Shopify store

Here are some proven-effective tips you can take to minimize your cost without compromising your store’s visual appeal or function:

🔶 Test Shopify for $33 days with 1 dollar

🔶 Subscribe to Shopify’s annual plan to save 25% off your monthly license fee if you feel like you’ll be ‘loyal’ to Shopify in the long run.

🔶 Choose Shopify Payments if you are valid for it so you can save up to 2% extra transaction fee (for Basic plan)

🔶 Shopify offers you 12 free options, so pick one to get started instead of paying $380 for a premium theme, especially when it doesn’t have essential features your store must have.

🔶 Learn basic Shopify customization so you can customize your store without paying expert costs

🔶 Use free Shopify apps or apps that offer a free plan

5. Is the Shopify website builder cost worth it?

Yes, it is. When examining Shopify’s pricing next to its various built-in sales & marketing tools, we believe Shopify is the best eCommerce platform for its exceptional value.

Here are some highlights of Shopify that make it the #1 eCommerce platform in the market:

🔶 Affordable and transparent pricing: The affordable, transparent pricing plans of Shopify can hardly be found in open-source platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, etc.

🔶 Ease of use: Shopify is super easy to use. The platform allows you to add products, drag and drop your website layout, manage inventory, handle shipping, etc. – all in one place.

🔶 Robust built-in features: Compared to other hosted solutions, Shopify easily overshadows big names like Wix eCommerce, Squarespace, BigCommerce, etc., thanks to its powerful built-in features.

🔶 Optimized for speed: Shopify’s theme code and robust CDN are beneficial for your page speed– a crucial ranking factor.

🔶 Extensive App Store: The Shopify App Store has over 8,000 apps. This number leaves any eCommerce platform in the dust. For instance, even the BigCommerce App Store has 1,000+ apps or so.

🔶 Free 24/7 support for all plans: Shopify offers 24/7 support for free, even for Basic Shopify or Starter. 

Still wonder whether Shopify is the right fit or not? Well, there’s only one way to find out: 

💡 Interested in embarking on your online selling journey with Shopify? We bet you’d love to dive into these Shopify fundamental articles:
» Shopify Review: Is It Still The #1 eCommerce Platform in 2024?
» Shopify Pricing Plan: Pick the Best Plan for You

6. Conclusion

So, have you figured out “How much does it cost to build a Shopify website” yet? Well, eComStart hopes you do!

Don’t forget to check out eComStart.io to gain the latest tips and tricks to launch and scale up your online store to success.

7. Frequently asked questions

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