How much will it really cost you to run an e-commerce store or switch to a new e-commerce system? Of course, there are several variables to keep into account (jump to the calculator):
- The cost of the e-commerce system itself (licensed or hosted)
- The cost of hosting your Web store (often included if you subscribe to a hosted system)
- The cost of securing the store (SSL certificate, McAfee Secure, etc.)
- The cost of processing transactions online (merchant account, transaction fees, etc.)
- The cost of moving data to the new e-commerce system, if you are upgrading or need to transfer information like products or customers from your accounting or ERP system.
- The cost of having somebody help you on a consistent basis tweak and/or update your e-commerce system (if needed). I'm not talking about adding products or managing orders, but rather install new versions or modify existing features.
The biggest decision of all is definitely whether to use a licensed or a hosted e-commerce solution. It remains a tough call and you should analyze benefits and limits of either approach. There's no winner, but there are big differences between the two types of e-commerce solutions (read more).
Choosing a licensed versus a hosted system can have a big impact on the cost of the solution too, and it's sometimes hard to see it at first. You really need to keep a medium term view of the matter to get a good idea of the cost differential.
To help you in this process, if you are looking for start a Web store, upgrade an existing store, or switch to an entirely new e-commerce solution, we've recently updated our "Total E-Commerce Cost Calculator" on our Early Impact Web site. Check it out, see if it can help you, and post back your comments or suggestions to improve it.