What is the cost of an Online Store?

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WooCommerce Costs: Find out what You’ll Need to Pay

Setting up an online store is easier than ever. With WordPress and WooCommerce, you can be up and running in a matter of days. However, when it comes to WooCommerce pricing, there are a lot of hidden costs and fees to running a store, which you might not realize until you’ve already sunk a lot of time into the project.

Knowing exactly how much you need to budget to launch your store will save you a lot of problems in the long run. Adding all the features you want might not be as cheap as you expected. However, if if you’re aware of the costs, you can prepare accordingly.

In this article, we’ll discuss how much it costs to set up a barebones WooCommerce store. Then we’ll go over some ‘hidden’ WooCommerce costs.

Let’s dig in!

Why setting up an online store might not be as expensive as you think

Setting up a website, in general, is much easier and cheaper than ever. You have access to plenty of advanced page builder tools and platforms, as well as incredibly cheap hosting.

The trend towards lower prices at the entry-level applies to eCommerce platforms too. The past few years have seen the rise of beginner-friendly eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify and Squarespace.

We know it’s possible to set up an online store on a budget, but the question is whether the same applies to WordPress websites.

Is WooCommerce free to use?

WooCommerce is the most popular tool to create an eCommerce store with WordPress, and the core WooCommerce plugin is 100% free.

In theory, this means adding eCommerce features to your website shouldn’t bring any additional costs. However, this isn’t always the case, as we’ll break down in a minute.

What are the basic WooCommerce costs for an online store?

We’re focusing on WooCommerce because it’s by far the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. More importantly, it has the broadest collection of features and add-ons.

This means it gives us an accurate representation of how much it costs to set up an online store using the CMS in general. First off, let’s discuss the costs that no WordPress website can avoid in general.

Domain name

Every website needs a domain name. Although you can sometimes find domain names for very cheap during sales, usually a .com URL will set you back around $10 per year:

Some examples of domain prices.

Hosting

Hosting is where things get tricky for new sites. You have hundreds of options when it comes to providers, ranging from the very cheap to the bespoke.

In our collection of the best WooCommerce hosting, the cheapest hosts start at around $5-10 per month, while the more premium offerings go for $30-40 per month.

An example of WordPress hosting prices.

Some web hosts will also offer you free SSL certificates. You can also set up your own for free, but for an eCommerce website, a validated certificate is usually a better bet. Those types of certificates can be found for as cheap as $20, which is another cost to consider.

Website software

Using WordPress and WooCommerce together is free. This makes the combination attractive at first glance, particularly when you compare it with options such as BigCommerce or Magento. However, there are many WooCommerce costs that aren’t evident on first inspection.

Theme

Every WordPress site needs a theme.

If you’re building a WooCommerce store, you’ll want to look for a dedicated WooCommerce theme.

While you can definitely find quality free WooCommerce themes, there’s a good chance you might want to pay for a premium theme, which will usually set you back about $60. Here are some of the best.

Three hidden WooCommerce costs you need to consider

Admittedly, you can set up a WooCommerce store without the need for any of the extras we’ll discuss in this section. However, if you intend to scale your store or gain access to an international customer base, these are costs you largely won’t be able to avoid.

1. Integration with additional payment gateways

One of the biggest challenges for an up-and-coming online store is how to handle online payments. By default, WooCommerce enables you to receive payments via check, bank transfers, cash, and PayPal.

Out of those four options, PayPal is the only viable one. It’s the most popular payment processor in the western hemisphere, so it makes for a solid base.

Ideally, you’ll want to offer more than one payment gateway to give users more than one option. With WooCommerce, you can also integrate Stripe, Square, and Amazon Pay using free extensions:

Payment gateways can be one of the biggest WooCommerce costs

Those options are more than enough for a US-based customer base. However, if you want to sell products abroad, you’ll want to offer local payment gateways for the regions you want to target.

To give you an idea of how much this can cost, the UK-based payment processor Sage Pay charges $79 for a single-site WooCommerce extension. Adding Sofort transfers as an option costs the same: $79:

A single-site license for a payment-processing extension can quickly add to your WooCommerce costs

Pretty much every single premium WooCommerce payment gateway extension will set you back $79 for one website, for one year. The more gateways you need, the more those WooCommerce costs add up.

2. Advanced shipping features

With WooCommerce, you can configure multiple shipping zones and set up different methods for each of them. Even so, you don’t get access to advanced functionality such as tracking, dynamic shipping rates, managing returns, and more.

We use the term “advanced functionality,” but in reality, these are features most online shoppers now expect. Overall, if you give the customer less information during the checkout and shipping processes, it impacts the intuitiveness of the entire experience.

In other words, you’ll probably need to use a few extensions to improve the experience for your online store. At a minimum, you should consider adding shipment tracking, which can cost you $49 for a single-site license:

A shipment tracking extension.

Combine this with an automatic UPS shipping rates calculator and you’re looking at an extra $79 per year. That’s over $100 in additional expenses right off the bat.

Once more, where your customers are located plays a huge role in the features you’ll need. International shipments tend to be more expensive, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you intend to cover multiple regions, you’ll need to set up several extensions to provide automatic shipping rate calculations.

3. Email marketing integration

Email is a powerful channel for marketing, regardless of what type of website you’re running. When it comes to eCommerce, it’s essential. With the right tools, you can send abandoned cart reminders, order confirmations, sales brochures, and all sorts of messages that can help you drive more conversions.

The first thing you’ll need is an email marketing service provider. Some of the most popular free options include Sendinblue, Mailchimp, and Omnisend.

These options all offer free plugins to let you integrate your mailing list with WooCommerce. However, not all email marketing providers offer free services or integration. Additionally, you might exceed the limits of the free plan as your store grows, which would mean you’d need to upgrade to a paid plan.

With other providers, you’ll pay depending on how many subscribers you have and to connect the platform with your online store.

For example, AWeber charges $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers and unlimited emails. To integrate the platform with WooCommerce, you’ll need an additional extension, costing $49 per year.

Costs of the AWeber WooCommerce extension.

If you’re playing along at home, that’s an extra $277. As such, if you’re trying to set up a store on a budget, we recommend you stick with a free email marketing service provider (at least in the beginning.)

Conclusion

In theory, you can set up a WooCommerce store for under $100 for an entire year. However, the setup would be a very bare-bones one.

In most cases, you’ll need access to functionality with a cost attached. Most WooCommerce costs tend to come from premium extensions, which can quickly add up.

When it comes to hidden WooCommerce costs, here are three elements you want to keep in mind:

  1. Integration with additional payment gateways.
  2. Advanced shipping features.
  3. Email marketing integration.

Do you have any questions about WooCommerce costs? Ask away in the comments section below!

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