How to Create an Ecommerce Website “on the Cheap”

Interested in creating an ecommerce website, but intimidated by the prospect of designing a website storefront with the ability to process payments?

At one time, creating an online store required programming and design knowhow; not to mention a hefty budget.

But today, there are many easy to use and affordable, full-service ecommerce providers perfect for the small or home-based business. These platform providers even empower growing e-stores to scale operations, thus turning fledgling ecommerce sites into mature small businesses.

Here’s how to create an ecommerce website on the cheap.

What to Expect

Not sure what to expect from an ecommerce platform provider? For the most part, providers offer shopping cart solutions for your new or existing website, allowing you to easily build, edit, and maintain your online shop. This allows newbie entrepreneurs to collect orders without any programming or HTML knowledge.

Most providers offer everything you need, including hosting, templates and more. Then again, some folks prefer to integrate these solutions into their existing website. Most of these offer payment gateways and use of their credit card services, as well as allow you to use PayPal. Some charge transaction or set-up fees and others don’t. They all offer a free trial, which gives you the chance to test them all to find the one that best suits your needs.

People looking to get into ecommerce selling often ask, What’s the best way to get an online store up and running without a big budget? To be honest, they are more accurately looking to start and grow from a tiny budget; sometimes even only with a few hundred dollars!

Building an e-store via a platform provider is an excellent strategy for people who have an online store concept they want to test, but don’t want to sink considerable capital into. By using this strategy, you can invest money in your online marketing instead of your site build which has a much higher ROI particularly for brand new websites.

Step-by-Step

The first step to create an ecommerce website is to use Shopify or a similar provider. Shopify is an all-inclusive ecommerce website platform, with a large number of satisfied customers. You pay a monthly fee and get an ecommerce engine and various professional looking website templates to choose from.

It’s very simple to use and definitely the way to go for a DIY-er. It’s wise to start with a 14-day free trial to testing things out and see if this is really the career path for you.

Shopify’s Lite Plan is only $9 per month. This is a wonderful price considering you also receive a domain name and hosting, and you can choose a free theme. This plan doesn’t have an online store, but you receive unlimited products and a Shopify Buy button to start selling.

Even when you start upgrading the prices are pretty reasonable: a basic Shopify plan is $29, the middle of the road Shopify Plan is $79, and an advanced Shopify plan is $299.

Next, you’ll want to work out your branding, product offerings and marketing strategies. Luckily, each of these categories can be done “on the cheap” as well. For example, Hatchful allows users to create stunning logos in mere moments, even for those without a creative bone in their bodies.

Similarly, establishing social media presence across Facebook, Instagram and others is entirely free; and gives you the opportunity to attract new customers and keep existing customers engaged with your brand.

Believe it or not, you can even forego such expenses as manufacturing, storing and shipping goods thanks to drop shipping services. It just goes to show you that creating and sustaining an ecommerce business might be cheaper than you anticipated!

Looking Ahead

Now that you’ve had a chance to check out the cheapest possible ways to launch an ecommerce store, take some time to explore these sites and understand how they help you connect with your customers. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg, but you should be thinking always of your shoppers.

With a small investment either monthly or yearly, you can unlock yourself a whole new horizon of possibilities. Tons of features, handy assets and gorgeous ready-to-use templates are in front of you, ready for you to employ for a very reasonable price. It’s always worth taking your own situation into account.

Do you want the cheapest monthly plan, or can you afford to make the cheapest long-term investment? Knowing your situation is the first step to a great ecommerce website!