How Much Does It Really Cost to Start a Shopify Store

Starting a Shopify store is a low entry barrier business. There are many factors that determine how much it really costs to start a Shopify Store.

Shopify Costing Breakdown

If you are operating on a shoestring budget: the breakdown below gives you a sense of how much it can cost you to start a shopify store. In a nutshell, it can cost you anywhere between $78 to $418 (annually) to start a Shopify store.

Shopify Basic Plan

Shopify Starter Plan

  • Shopify Basic Plan- $19 per month (billed annually)== $228 per year
  • Domain name: $15 per year
  • Premium theme: $160 (one-off fee)
  • Payment processing fees: Will depend on sales volumes
  • Marketing budget: Will depend on your budget and strategy
  • Product costs: Will depend on your niche, product types and suppliers
  • Business tools: $15 per month
  • Shopify Basic Plan- $5 per month ($1 for 3 months) == $48 annually
  • Domain name: $15 per year
  • Premium theme: $160 (one-off fee)
  • Payment processing fees: Will depend on sales volumes
  • Marketing budget: Will depend on your budget and strategy
  • Product costs: Will depend on your niche, product types and suppliers
  • Business tools: $15 per month

Total Cost to Start a Shopify Store:

== $418 (annually)

Includes: Shopify Basic Plan, Domain Name, Premium Theme, Business Tools

Excludes: Payment processing fees, marketing budget, inventory (product costs)

If you go for a free Shopify theme like the top performing Dawn Free theme the figure will come down to::

== $258 (annually)

Total Cost to Start a Shopify Store:

== $238 (annually)

Includes: Shopify Basic Plan, Domain Name, Premium Theme, Business Tools

Excludes: Payment processing fees, marketing budget, inventory (product costs)

If you go for a free Shopify theme like the top performing Dawn Free theme the figure will come down to::

== $78 (annually)

Please do visit the Shopify website for the latest prices.

Take note the figures above are purely based on the basics you need to get going. You will need to work out your marketing budget as well as the budget for your inventory according to your business plan.


Over and above the figures you see above, inventory (products to sell) will be your major cost consideration. You need to do your due diligence to find the best products that resonate with your niche and overall business goals.

How Drop Shipping Works

Alternatively, Drop shipping on Shopify is a great way to start a low cost online store. Drop Shipping is a business model where your online store focuses on marketing and sales. In other words you are selling products for which you do not own an inventory.

Once a purchase is made your suppliers (integrated to your Shopify store) are notified and given all the details to deliver the product to the customer.

To learn more about Drop Shipping Consider the comprehensive guides below:

How to Start an Online Dropship Boutique: Your Guide to Success with Shopify

What Can I Dropship On Shopify: 20 Products and Product Types to Consider

Shopify Subscription Plans

Shopify Basic Plan $25 month

Shopify has a number of plans and packages calculated to accommodate entrepreneurs of diverse needs and budgets.

The Basic plan goes for $19 per month paid annually and $25 per month paid monthly. This plan is suited for individuals and small businesses.

The plan comes with everything you need to create an online store, ship products and process payments online.

With this plan you can also get the first 3 months for $1/mo – giving you ample time to test the waters and pilot your business venture before paying the full monthly fees for this plan.

The plan will furnish you with basic business reports. The plan accommodates up to 1000 inventory locations and 2 staff accounts.

Shopify Plan $45 per month

Shopify has a plan named after the brand: Shopify.

This is the standard plan for a typical Shopify ecommerce store for small businesses. The plan is suited for small businesses that want to leverage professional reporting and add up to 5 staff accounts.

The plan goes for $49 per month paid annually – and $65 per month paid month to month.

The plan also takes up to 1000 inventory locations.

Advanced Plan $299

The advanced plan is a great fit for medium to large businesses that want to get Shopify’s top tier features – including custom reporting and lowest transaction fees.

The plan goes for $299 per month (paid annually) and $399 per month paid month to month.

You can also test the plan for $1 per month for the first 3 months, giving you ample time to assess the premium features and test your business model as well as the commerce platform before you commit to the full monthly fees.

The plan includes a custom report builder, up to 100 inventory locations and can take up to 15 staff accounts.

Shopify Alternative eCommerce Solutions

Shopify also offers alternative solutions for e-commerce within its platform.

The Starter Plan is among the alternative solutions. This plan is suited for selling products at events, on social media and on messaging apps.

The plan goes for $5 per month.

Shopify’s Retail plan is another alternative solution for e-commerce. The is designed for those who want to sell in store with advanced staff, inventory as well as loyalty features.

All these plans come with a $1 monthly pricing for the first three months.

Shopify Plus is a top end Shopify plan suited for business running online stores at an enterprise level. The plan is suited for high volume ecommerce businesses. The plan goes for $2000 per month.

Additional Expenses For Setting Up a Shopify Online Store

Once you have settled for a specific Shopify Plan: there are a few other expenses you need to consider.


1. Domain Name: Running a Shopify store on your custom domain is crucial for asserting a solid brand presence online. You can use Shopify’s own domain registration services or make use of external domain name services like Bluehost domain name.

Prices will vary but the typical range is $10 – $20 per year. Shopify charges $14.95 for yearly domain registration and hosting while external services providers like Bluehost charge $2.95 for the same services monthly.

2. Themes and Apps: Shopify has a vast collection of free and premium themes to choose from. You can save cost with a free professionally designed theme like Dawn – or you can go for a premium theme like the top performing Impulse theme that goes for $360.

The typical range for premium themes is $160 and $400. Also note that Shopify has an expansive app ecosystem. You may need to consider some free or premium apps to extend and custom the features and functionalities of your online store. This may also add to your monthly expenses.

3. Payment Processing Fees: For each sale you make on Shopify, Shopify charges a transaction fee (based on the plan you are on), unless you have settled for Shopify Payments as your payment gateway. Also be mindful of credit card fees that may apply on your transactions depending on your payment gateway options.

4. Inventory or Product Costs: As mentioned earlier, this would be a major cost to consider. Factor in the costs of inventory or drop shipping fees.

5. Marketing and Advertising: You need to set aside a budget for marketing. A good looking online store without a marketing strategy and budget will not gain maximum success. Consider how much you are going to spend on social media marketing, pay per click advertising, and any other traffic generation methods, etc.

6. Business Tools: Consider how much of your start up budget will go into business tools such as email marketing software, social media management tools, loyalty and rewards programs, multi-channel selling apps, etc.

You don’t necessarily need to go for all such tools at one go. Go for the most important ones you can’t do without. You can add other tools as your business grows and scales.

Is A Shopify Online Store Worth It?

Starting an ecommerce venture must be approached as a serious business commitment. Shopify is affordable but comes at some cost – any ecommerce venture will require start-up capital. The question is: Is A Shopify Online Store Worth It?

Answers to this question will vary based on your business goals and resources. However if you are looking for a top of the pack and leading ecommerce platform with affordable plans, generous suite of features and functions, Shopify is a top contender.

The eCommerce platform enables a hassle free set up of an online store. Shopify has an intuitive and user-friendly online store builder which makes it easy for store owners without technical skills in coding and designing to build professional and visually appealing online stores within minutes.

The good part with Shopify is that the platform has flexible pricing packages, allowing store owners to pay for only the features that they need. The platform offers high tier features and functions for businesses that require such. Store owners can afford to start small on the platform and the platform is designed such that it will grow with your business.

Shopify’s Vast App Ecosystem

To unlock the full potential of your online store, you need to consider adding apps from the Shopify’s app marketplace. These apps can extend the functionality of your online store on a number of aspects: from email marketing, inventory management, SEO, rewards and loyalty, email and sms, etc.

The apps enable you to highly customize your online store to suit your specific business needs, enhance customer experience and the overall shopping experience and boost sales.

Considering the cost of using Shopify as an ecommerce platform requires that you weigh the subscription costs against the prospects (as well as cost implications) of growing and scaling your ecommerce business within Shopify.

How Much Do I Need to Start Shopify Drop Shipping?

To start an ecommerce venture at even lower costs you can consider the drop shipping route.

You can start a drop shipping business on Shopify for as low as $200 – this would be the Shopify Basic Subscription plan ($25 per month paid monthly – or $19 per month paid annually) plus $14.95 for a custom domain.

As a drop shipper, the Shopify basic subscription plan gives all the ecommerce features and functions that you need to run a functional online drop shipping store.

You can then factor in the cost of a Shopify premium theme which can range from $160 – $400 – if your budget allows. Otherwise you can settle for top of the pack free Shopify themes such as dawn.

The big advantage with drop shipping is that you won’t incur inventory expenses upfront. With drop shipping, your business focuses on the marketing and sales aspects of ecommerce. Customers place orders on your website, the details of the order are conveyed to the supplier who then delivers the order to the customer.

Marketing is Crucial for eCommerce Success

While drop shipping is indeed a low cost model of getting into ecommerce: you need to keep in mind that your success as a drop shipper is largely hinged on how effectively you can market and promote your products, as well as your capabilities to build a lucrative captive community around your brand and your product offerings.

So, while you need a small amount to set up a drop shipping online store or boutique on Shopify, you need to set aside a budget for an omni-channel marketing strategy.

You also need to set aside a budget for critical business tools such as email marketing, email and sms tools, cart abandonment and cart re-engagement addons, as well as various tools that you need to optimize your ecommerce workflows and to achieve a smooth shopping experience for your customers overall.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot that goes into running a successful ecommerce venture. It takes a solid ecommerce platform with robust features for running a secure, user-friendly and intuitive online store, as well as off-site efforts of marketing the business.

Starting a Shopify store gives you an edge because Shopify as a platform gives the 60% or more – that you need to succeed from an ecommerce technology point of view.

You then need to add your 40% in terms of through market research, niche selection, product and supplier sourcing, inventory management, marketing and customer service. The Shopify Basic Plan offers a reasonable and affordable entry point.

Just remember to factor in and make provisions for other crucial elements such as getting a custom domain, a premium theme and apps (addons) as well as marketing.

If you do your due diligence all round, you are well on your way to launch a successful ecommerce business on Shopify.

Wishing you all the best.

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Gugulethu Nyoni

Gugulethu Nyoni is a seasoned ICT entrepreneur, a full-stack developer with a portfolio of proprietary SaaS solutions under his name. His expertise span conceptualizing and developing digital solutions, including bespoke eCommerce applications. Gugu is also a proficient eCommerce and Whitehat SEO consultant.