Running An Online Store: The Hidden Costs

Running an online store is a lot less costly than running a physical store. In fact, you could save thousands per year by not having to rent out, furnish and maintain a physical building.

That said, there are still costs associated with running an online store. Here are some of those costs so that you can budget effectively.

Web design

You can’t sell online without a website (unless you’re solely selling through a platform like Amazon or Facebook). On top of paying for a website domain, you’ll need to consider your options for building a website. Drag-and-drop website builders are the cheap option for those that don’t have coding knowledge but want to take the DIY route. Alternatively, you can pay a company to build a site for you. The latter is recommended if you want a website that truly stands out, but it could cost you a lot of money to build and maintain.


Your website will need graphics like banners and logos. A web design company may be able to carry out this graphic design for you. However, you may find that it’s cheaper to outsource this task to a separate freelance graphic designer.


A successful ecommerce site needs good quality professional images. Rather than using stock photos or taking your own photos, consider hiring a professional product photographer to do a shoot. Having your own unique stylised product photographs will help your site to be more memorable. You can even take your own videos if you want to offer video demos of certain products.

Digital marketing

Attracting customers to your site will require a bit of marketing. Obviously you can do some free marketing yourself on social media, or you could do the traditional thing and send out cold emails. However, the most effective forms of marketing involve paying a bit of money. This includes tactics such as SEO, PPC and paid social media marketing like using a hashtag generator Instagram and Twitter users looking to spread brand awareness find useful. You may be able to hire a marketing agency to carry out all of these strategies for you. Some web design companies are even able to carry out digital marketing on top of website design and maintenance.


Getting your products to your customers involves hiring a shipping company. By finding the right shipping company, you may save money on LTL freight shipping and other forms of delivery. You could find that certain types of shipping are more expensive than others (for instance, air shipping is often a lot more expensive than ground shipping). Make sure that you’re not charging the customer too much to cover any high shipping costs.


You may also want to consider the cost of packaging. Some companies keep it simple with plain cardboard boxes and basic filler. Others pay for custom printed boxes and specially-moulded inserts to keep products secure and safe from damage. Consider the value of the product, how fragile it is and how you’re delivering it. More valuable products that are fragile and need to be delivered long distances are likely to require more expensive packaging. 

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