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Ecommerce Startup Costs: How Much Cash Do You Need?

ecommerce startup costs

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Today, there are over 2.14 billion online shoppers in the world, and over 268 million of them are in the US. Plus, the online spend per capita is $3,428 a year, which makes ecommerce an extremely attractive industry.

You might think that jumping in feet first and starting an ecommerce business will have you raking in money immediately. And because it’s online, you won’t have that many costs, right?

However, the ecommerce startup costs might be a lot more than you’d think. This means that your online shop might fail quickly if you don’t have the cash to back it up.

So before you get started, here are the online business startup costs you need to consider.


Ecommerce Startup Costs


Website Development and Design

Without a website, you won’t be able to sell your products. This means you need to allocate a large part of your budget to website development and design. 

If you try to pinch some pennies here, it can end up backfiring, as visitors might find your pages messy, unattractive, and unprofessional looking. This doesn’t instill trust in them, so it’s likely they’ll turn to your competitors who have polished sites.

Depending on the developers and designers you work with, the cost of an ecommerce website can be anywhere between $5,000 to $25,000 or more.

Don’t forget that you need to pay for the domain name and hosting services to keep your site up and running too. This can cost between $5 to $50 a month.


Other Professional Services

Depending on how you want to set up your ecommerce website and the existing skill sets you have, you may have to hire other professionals to complete your site. For example, you might need to hire product photographers and copywriters to provide high-quality photos and catchy text. 

Obviously, the prices will range wildly here, as various services have their own industry wages. And more experienced and skilled professionals will charge more. You should request several quotes to explore your options and find the right balance of skill and cost.



Before your website goes live, you’ll need inventory to sell. Again, the range of ecommerce startup costs here will vary drastically; pencils and notebooks will cost a lot less than boots and clothes.

Ecommerce inventory management can be tough to get down, but it’s imperative that you grasp it ASAP. Otherwise, you can either run out of stock or have too much of it lying around. Either way, you’ll waste money.

If you’ve done marketing right (more on this later), then you should expect a larger than normal demand at the beginning. So it might be worth it to order extra stock to avoid disappointing your customers. This can lead to repeat purchases in the future.



In addition to ordering inventory, you’ll also need to store, pack, and ship it. You can cut down on costs by handling all this yourself, but it can be too time-consuming and draining, and it’s not sustainable if you want to scale up in the future. A viable option is dropshipping, as you can sell items in your online store without dealing with inventory and fulfillment.

Otherwise, you’ll need to look into renting out space for these processes. If you live somewhere with a high cost of living, then expect rent to be expensive too.

ecommerce website startup costs
Check the ecommerce website startup costs before building your business

Technology and Tools

To ensure that you’ve crossed all your Ts and dotted all your Is, you’ll need technology and tools to assist you.

There are several free or low-cost choices available, so you won’t need to dedicate large chunks of your budget to this area unless you need specialized tech for your startup. These services typically have monthly subscriptions too, so you can always stop and start yours when needed.



Can’t handle the entire ecommerce business on your own? Then you’ll have to factor in employee salaries, as well as their benefits and other expenses.

Don’t forget about customer support either. Whether you hire your own workers for that or outsource to a third-party provider, these will be extra costs you need to consider.


Legal and Accounting Fees

There are nuances to what you’re legally allowed to sell and how you do it. Chances are, you’re not a lawyer, so don’t leave things up to chance.

Not only can a lawyer help you set up your business, but they can assist in trademark and patent filings too. And most importantly, they can ensure you’re compliant with local laws and regulations.

Legal counsel won’t be cheap; on average, lawyers charge $100 for an hour of their time. However, it’ll be worth it when you have full confidence knowing what you’re doing is above board.


Business Insurance

Even though you don’t have a physical store, you still need to get business insurance with an ecommerce shop.

An online store startup will need to consider the following types of insurance:

  • General liability
  • Product liability
  • Business property
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Transit
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business interruption

These policies can cost as little as $15 a month to as much as $150 a month. You’ll have to weigh up which ones are worth getting coverage for and purchase plans accordingly.


To raise awareness about your ecommerce site, you’ll need to do effective marketing. 

Some channels are more cost-effective than others, depending on your target audience. For instance, if they’re teens and young adults, then social media marketing on Instagram is great, and doesn’t cost that much.

Working with a marketing agency may be more expensive than DIY marketing. However, they’ll know exactly which channels to use and can continually monitor your results.


Think About All Ecommerce Startup Costs Beforehand

The ecommerce startup costs will vary from business to business. One may need only $10,000 for a solid start, while another may need 5 times the cost.

The important thing is that you take a look at the big picture, get estimates for everything, and budget wisely. Also, the bigger the buffer you have, the better, as you’ll be well-prepared for any obstacles along the way. So it can be wise to save up for a longer period and ensure you’ve got some breathing room.

If you need assistance setting up your ecommerce business, then sign up with Business Anywhere today. Our services start at just $37!

About Author

Picture of Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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