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E-commerce: E-commerce, How Much Does it Cost?

Summary : E-commerce is selling via the Internet. It is similar to selling through a physical building's business storefront, with one big difference: the costs for E-commerce are lower.


Making profits with your existing website design, or creating a new online store can be exciting, affordable and most of all; rewarding. Mmmm . . . that's what the last sales guy told me.


Just What is E-commerce

E-commerce is selling via the Internet. It is similar to selling through a physical building's business storefront, with one big difference: the costs for E-commerce are lower. The lower costs alone make it a lot more affordable for someone to start a business, or expand their storefront business onto the Internet.


What Are the Costs of E-commerce?

Overall, the cost to do business online depends upon how much time and effort you are able to put in, and the E-commerce developer you choose to work with. Generally, developers should enable their clients to be as independent as possible in areas such as daily site updates, processing online orders, customer feedback and low or no cost (except time) online marketing.


There will also be expenses to host and operate your web site. Hosting costs are determined by: the amount of 1) server space you require for product photos, e-mail accounts, and 2) bandwidth - the more customers that visit your store, the more bandwidth you will require. Typically an online store setup may cost $15 to $90 per month for hosting.


Other costs include online store, or shopping cart, software, and designing the storefront. There are many shopping cart programs to choose from ranging in cost from free to thousands of dollars. As with anything you buy, you do get what you pay for. Clients like to use online store setups that feature easy product updates and simple design changes. The initial higher cost for these programs is offset by ease of use and low maintenance costs to operate over the long term.


Next, we have graphical design costs that can range from $70 for a pre-designed store template, to a built-from-scratch setup that can cost $500 and up. If you have only a few products, I would suggest starting with the pre-designed store template, as the cost is low, the appearance is quite professional, and only a small amount of time is required to input text and make minor modifications to suit your requirements. If you have quite a few products, and they are quite different from each other, you may incur more cost to develop the graphic design, as each product category will require a unique appearance.


Finally, we need to open the store for business: market the store and bring in customers to buy the products. As mentioned earlier, there is no-cost marketing that can be done. For example, the site can be submitted to the primary search engines. Also, a listing can be added to online directories that are relevant to the product or service, and store links can be exchanged with other sites that are similar, but not in direct competition.


What to Sell In Your E-commerce Business

What are we selling? When your starting out with a new product, try to stay with a unique product that is light in weight, as shipping costs are often overlooked in starting up an online business. If you already have existing products to sell, revisit shipping costs and see where you can find savings.


I find most business owners sell what they are most passionate about. Some of your present hobbies or interests could sell as the end product, as items purchased by other people. Some of the most successful online stores are a result of one's passion and desire to share their dream with others. If done logically and thoughtfully with a good web developer, these can result in financial rewards at a low investment cost through an online store.


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