Are you business owner or an entrepreneur looking to start your own online eCommerce business? Do you want to get your eCommerce website up and running in just a few days. Here I will explain you how you can start your eCommerce website, up and running for less then $300. Yest you heard it right, in less than $3oo! This step by step guide will help you in understanding what you will need? Where can you get help from? What to look for? And how much it will cost?

There are many types of ready-made eCommerce platforms out there and I will talk about the most popular ones.

1. Enterprise

Enterprise platform is for the big budget firms. Its a ready-made and fully customizable platform. Most of the time you will need a dedicated person to maintain this platform. This platform is for those who need ongoing work, implementing new ideas, trying different selling points, customizing pages and designs. This platform has way more functionalities than any other platform.

Example of an enterprise platform is Magento, which is very powerful and feature rich platform. Magento programmer can cost more the $15/hour average, but you can get things done for a lot cheaper if you just outsource it and find people at a reasonable rate from freelancing websites like: Freelancer, Gicree, Odesk. On this platform you will also need someone to setup your hosting account.

2. Hosted

Hosted platform are ready-to-go platform. You register online and pay monthly on the hosted platform website. Then you select a template, fill out the required fields and then you can be up and running your store in no time. This is the easiest way to setup online shopping portal. You don’t need to know how to set up hosting or how to set up online store. Support is also available if you get stuck. There are many ready-made designs to select from for your store. You can customize the store at certain level. There are different types of ready to use free and paid plugins available to install. For the premium plugins some stores may charge a monthly fee while some may charge a one-time purchase cost upfront. You can also hire outside programmer to customize your store.

Here are some of the hosted eCommerce platform Shopify, Bigcommerce3dcartVolusion and Big Cartel.

Introduction To Shopify
Website Made With Shopify

Website Shopify

3. Opensource

Opensource is a platform where code is available for modification and updating for free. You don’t have to pay anything on Opensource platform. And that is why this is one of my favorite. There are more choices available on open source platform than on any other platform. Customization is not easy though if you are not a programmer, so if you would like to customize your store then you will need to hire professional. There are many ready-made hosting services available where you can setup your eCommerce store easily. You can set up your store for less than $500. Hosting is also cheaper for open source platform. Programmer cost less than any other platform.

Some Opensource platforms you can try are Magento, OSCommerce, OpenCart, WooCommerce and Drupal.

Example of WooCommerce Theme

WooCommerce Theme

4. Addon

Addon are ready made plugins that can help you convert different type of CMS platform into eCommerce platform. Plugins are mostly subscription based. Plugins come in different types, for example shipping plugins, coupon plugins, multiple picture plugins, or import export plugins. Based on your needs you can buy different plugins. Sometimes, this can be costlier than hosted platform. Plugins are not easily customizable and programmers cost more than other online eCommerce platform.  There are limited amount of plugins out there. You can hire a dedicated programmer to create your personal plugin but downside to that is if platform gets updated then you have to update your plugin.

5. Customized

Most complex type and plus it requires big budget. You can customize your platform from the scratch and there is no limit to what you can do with this. You will need dedicated team to develop and customize your eCommerce store. To be more specific you will need a project manager, a software developer, quality assurance, UI/UX designer and an IT administrator to manage this project. Go for this if you consider yourself an expert at this, I would go for other options, personally speaking. You can custom design your ecommerce store in, Java, PHP, Python, and many different web programming language.


All the 5 different types of online shopping portal platform have their own set of pros and cons. You need to understand your requirements, decide how much you want to spend and what kind of resources you have before you make a decision to choose one.

I like sticking to WooCommerce more as it is on WordPress platform and I can find a lot of themes and plugins for free and if I have to get the paid one they are not pricey either. There is a plugin for almost all your needs.

I would love to know which one do you use and why? Leave your answers in comments below.

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