The cost of running a Shopify stores is rarely just the monthly cost of Shopify.
There are more costs that build up: themes, point of sale, credit card processing fees, apps and more.
This article is for the Shopify beginner. By the end of it you’ll have an understanding of all the costs involved with running a Shopify store.
It’s impossible to say which apps your store will need— but it’s very likely that your store will use apps.
Some apps are free— but many cost money.
Examples Of Real Shopify Stores
Here is the monthly app spend for some real-life Shopify stores:
|Shopify Store||Revenue||Income||App Spend|
This table shows what some of the most popular apps cost:
|App name||Cost /month||App description||More info|
|Aftership (Free)||Free||Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page||50 Shipments/month.|
|Aftership (Essentials)||$9.00||Realtime tracking, order lookup, notifications & tracking page||100 shipments per month ($0.08 per extra shipment).|
|Cross-selling||$9.90||Cross-selling app||Fully automated cross-selling app|
|Plug In SEO (Free)||Free||Optimize SEO. Fix Broken Links.||SEO & Speed checks, broken link checker.|
|Plug In SEO (Plus)||$20.00||Optimize SEO. Fix Broken Links. Add JSON-LD Schema & Alt text.||Automatic SEO improvements, Structured Data (JSON-LD).|
|Printful||Free||Top-rated print on demand dropshipping & warehousing service||Printing, warehousing and shipping fees are taken as percentages of each sale.|
|Product Reviews||Free||Product reviews for your store||This helps provide “social proof” for your online store.|
|Recent Sales Pop-Up||Free||Pop-up sales notifications||Improves sales with pop-up notifications.|
|Seguno: Email Marketing (Free)||Free||Email marketing automation, similar to MailChimp||Up to 250 subscribers.|
|Seguno: Email Marketing (Paid)||$10.00||Email marketing automation, similar to MailChimp||Up to 1,000 subscribers, more automation features and free templates.|
|Smile Rewards (Free)||$0.00||Points & referrals. Attract & retain your most loyal customers||Points and referral programs, contains Smile.io branding.|
|Smile Rewards (Starter)||$49.00||Points & referrals. Attract & retain your most loyal customers||Full design customization, integration with 1 Smile app, remove Smile.io branding.|
|Tidio (Basic)||$0.00||Live chat boosted with Chatbots and Marketing Automation||Up to 3 operators, live chat, messenger and email integration.|
|Tidio (Chat Bots)||$18.00||Live chat boosted with Chatbots and Marketing Automation||Basic + 1000 to unlimited chatbot triggers/month.|
|VITALS||$29.99||40+ apps in one||Claims to make pages load faster as lots of apps on a Shopify store can slow the store down.|
|Wishlist Plus (Free)||$0.00||Customers who favorite items spend more||Up to 100 wishlist items/month, up to 5k sessions/month, share wishlist with email.|
|Wishlist Plus (Starter)||$14.99||Customers who favorite items spend more||Up to 1000 wishlist items/month, up to 10k sessions/month.|
POS (Point of Sale)
Choosing a POS Plan
Shopify has two different POS plans:
- POS Lite — Free.
- POS Pro — $89 / Month.
Both plans let you accept credit cards, debit cards and connect with the Shopify back-end.
Here’s what you get when you upgrade to POS Pro:
|POS Lite||POS Pro|
|No staff||Unlimited staff roles and positions|
|1 Store Register||Unlimited Store Registers|
|Sell Online||Sell Online And Offline|
|No In-Store Analytics||Analytics and Reports|
Shopify’s POS Starter Kit
Shopify also offers a range of POS hardware that you can buy:
|Product name||Product description||Notes|
|Tap & Chip Card Reader • $49||Card reader||Supports Interac debit, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. USB-C charging|
|Dock for Tap & Chip Card Reader • $49||Card reader charger + dock|
|Retail stand for iPad • $149||Stand for tablets + charging ports|
|Mini Dock Cable • $9||USB-C cable|
|Mounting Kit • $9||Two bolts and drill bit|
|Tap & Chip Case • $19||Case for Tap & Chip Card Reader||Case keeps iPhone X and card reader together, you can bring both together to customers so that sales can be made anywhere/on the floor|
|Chip & Swipe Reader • $29||Card reader||No contactless, but needed if you want to accept swipe payments|
|Casual kit • $99||Tap & Chip Card Reader, Doick for Tap & Chip Card Reader, Tap & Chip Case||$107 if bought separately|
|Retail kit • $99||Tap & Chip Card Reader, Dock, Retail Stand for iPad, Mounting Kit, Mini Dock Cable||$255 if bought separately, or $237 if you already have some bolts and a USB-C cable|
Third Party POS
You can also use third-party hardware with Shopify POS— with the exception of card readers (you can only use a Shopify card reader with Shopify POS).
(Some users have reported compatibility issues with their third-party POS hardware and Shopify POS and Shopify does not publish a list of compatible brands/types of hardware anywhere.)
There are a lot of other POS systems on the market right now— for example: Square, Lightspeed and Toast. POS systems will vary by region and industry (restaurants have different needs to retailers, for example).
A good way to save money is to buy used POS equipment.
There are two types of fees that can go alongside transactions:
1. Credit Card Processing Fee
Unavoidable. You have to pay credit card processing fees.
You can use Shopify Payments (Shopify’s own credit card processor) or you a 3rd party processor such as Braintree or Paypal.
The fee gets cheaper with more expensive Shopify plans.
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
2. Transaction Fee
Avoidable. If you use Shopify Payments for credit card processing, Shopify will charge no additional transaction fee.
If you decide to use a 3rd party credit card processor, Shopify will add a fee on top of every transaction. The amount changes based on your plan:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
Choosing A Plan
Shopify offers three main plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify. Here are the major differences:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|$29 / month||$79 / month||$299 / month|
|2 staff accounts||5 staff accounts||15 staff accounts|
|4 locations||5 locations||8 locations|
|No reports||Professional reports||Professional reports and advanced report builder|
|2.9% online credit card rate||2.6% online credit card rate||2.4% online credit card rate|
|2% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments||1% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments||0.5% payment fee if not using Shopify Payments|
|Sell in 1 language||Sell in up to 2 languages||Sell in up to 5 languages|
In addition there are two other plans:
- Shopify Lite — $9 / month. Accept payments with the POS app and embed buy buttons on your existing website.
- Shopify Plus — For enterprise. Pricing starts at $2,000 per month
There are three types of Shopify templates:
1. Official Shopify Themes — Free
There are 9 official Shopify themes that are free to use.
Shopify provides official support for them and includes 60 minutes of complimentary design support for modifications.
2. Official Theme Provider — $140 - $180
Official theme providers can sell on the Shopify theme store and are vetted to ensure theme development is their full-time job— that way their themes are kept up to date and they can provide ongoing theme support.
There are about 65 themes from official theme providers.
3. Unofficial Theme Provider - $19 - $79
Unofficial theme providers sell themes on unofficial theme marketplaces. Unofficial theme providers aren’t vetted by Shopify— so you may want to research the companies before you buy their themes— for example, you’ll want to ensure they provide good customer support in case something goes wrong.
Unofficial theme providers such as Theme Forest have 1,200+ Shopify themes available.
Shopify vs Etsy
How does Shopify compare to Etsy in pricing?
- Charges 5% of total transaction (including taxes, packaging and delivery) plus a number of transaction fees, 5% of shipping costs, and an advertising bill for off-site Etsy advertising of 15% or 12% of your total transactions (depending on if you sold less or more than $10,000 worth of stock in the year).
- Fees are in addition to a free plan, or a paid plan costing $10 or $15/month.
- Basic Shopify, Shopify or Advanced Shopify plans charge 2.9%, 2.6%, or 2.4% plus $0.30 (all plans) per transaction if you use Shopify payments, and an additional 2%, 2% or 0.5% per transaction if you do not.
Even if you only count the 5% total transaction fee, Etsy payment fees are at least 2.1 cents more expensive than Shopify’s per dollar spent – the extra fees and advertising bill make this even worse. With large-volume ecommerce stores, especially those working with tight margins, a Shopify plan will be more cost-effective than using Etsy.
Etsy does help bring an audience to craft or hobby producers who don’t need to sell a lot of their product, but if you’re working with large volumes and/or tight margins and lots of suppliers, that 5-8% quickly becomes an unacceptable cost.
What should I know about charging my customers tax?
Shopify provides default tax rates that they update regularily but you are ultimately responsible for ensuring you are charging the correct tax rate.
How much money does the average Shopify store make?
Pretty impossible to say.
According to Shopify’s disclosed financial reporting, the average Shopify store makes about $3500/month sales. But of course this average number is just an average— adjust your expectations accordingly.
Do I need an LLC to start a Shopify store?
Depends on your local regulations and the kind of business you run.
Does Shopify include domain names and email?
No. You can buy a domain name through Shopify for about $14 / year.
Email hosting must be done through a third party provider. For example: Google Workspace costs $5/month per email address.
Does Shopify have non-profit pricing?
Shopify offers a discount to non-profit organisations but you’ll have to contact them to see what the discount is.