How does multi-vendor e-commerce make money

Online shop costs - you should pay attention to these points

The most important criteria and online shop costs that arise when entering online trading. We will show you what you have to be aware of!

Selling online, earning money with (digital) products on the Internet - a worthwhile model for more and more people. But an old wisdom also applies to e-commerce: "If you want to make money, you have to invest money". We will show you which cost items you have to consider when planning your online shop. Here you can find the most important online shop costs at a glance. This article serves as an overview of possible costs and should above all provide food for thought about how your shop should look and which customers you want to address. Search engine optimization, social media, marketing, design - there is a lot to do! Let's do it:

Business registration

In order for the entry into online trading to be legally correct from the start, you must register your shop, or more precisely your company. But you won't find an Asterix-esque odyssey looking for an A38 permit here. A trade license with the classification GewA 1 is sufficient. You can get this from your trade office and it is relatively easy to fill out. The costs amount to a maximum of 50 euros. A small investment to start with.

Build a shop: do it yourself vs. agency

There are basically two ways to your own online shop: Either set up the web shop yourself or have it created with the help of a service provider. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. An agency as a supporter can customize the shop in terms of functions and design to the needs of the retailer. Ideal for retailers who either have no time or no prior knowledge or for those who have already geared their business plan very precisely to growth and want to immediately rely on the more scalable solution. But you have to take some money into your hands for that. On the other hand, according to the modular principle, with many systems you can set up a basic shop with relatively manageable effort and prior knowledge. We recommend our market overview of various service providers. There you get a comprehensive view of the functional scope of different systems and you can compare which elements you want are offered there. We also took a close look at the costs of the systems. The good news: if you are just starting out in e-commerce, you can take out a free basic version from many service providers, with which you can take the first step. But a starting budget for other solutions certainly doesn't hurt either. Here is an overview of the cost structure of the providers:

This is an excerpt from our “Shop Systems 2020” market overview. You can download a summary of the market overview directly using this form:

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Template / design

When it comes to the appearance of the shop, you as a retailer are again faced with the choice of whether it should be tailor-made or whether prefabricated designs are sufficient. With the different shop systems, the appearance of a shop can be changed by using templates. Within these templates there are still options for customization. For example, you can change the color, insert your logo and customize the shop in detail. Of course, you can also use the services of a web designer or a web design agency (by the way, many e-commerce agencies offer everything from a single source). This in turn has the advantage that you can make your shop appear really tailored to your needs and your customers. But here, too, the following applies: When starting out, the “Out Of The Box” solution in the form of a ready-made template is initially the simpler and faster solution for many retailers when they take their first steps towards the online shop.


The logistics costs are also one of the important levers in the business case of an online shop. The amount of the costs naturally depends on whether you as a retailer want to set up / maintain your own warehouse, have a fulfillment partner at your side, or whether you are exclusively pursuing a dropshipping approach anyway. The question of whether you want to send your goods internationally also plays a major role in the cost calculation. In addition to the standard logistics service providers such as DHL, DPD etc., a multi-carrier provider (e.g. Parcel.One or Shipcloud) is often worthwhile. Depending on the shipment, they individually select the optimal provider for you and, firstly, save you a large number of contracts and the tariff jungle of providers.

Payment methods

A broad portfolio of different payment methods is one of the decisive factors in online retailing nowadays for whether a prospect really becomes a customer. However, many established retailers still have some catching up to do here. But in this step of the customer journey there are many abandoned purchases. The customer wants to use exactly the payment method he prefers. If this is not available, he cancels the purchase and looks for a dealer who offers it. So make sure to offer digital payment methods in addition to classics such as direct debit, credit cards and invoices. However, you shouldn't just install all of the payment plug-ins that you come across. Here it is important to know the target group and your preferences exactly. In terms of costs, there are different transaction costs or basic fees for each payment method, depending on the provider. A payment service provider that bundles different payment methods can also be worthwhile here - especially when it comes to selling across national borders.

Texts & SEO

E-commerce beginners in particular often make a mistake when creating an online shop: They neglect the texts. Because just the product name is not enough. Product texts also want to be search engine optimized (SEO for short) (read our article on the 5 e-commerce SEO tips). Ready-made texts, for example from manufacturers, are of relatively little use here, as they are considered "duplicate content" and therefore do not generate particularly good results on Google & Co. It is therefore worthwhile to hire a copywriter or even an agency for the SEO measures, especially at the beginning. Because the earlier you start with search engine optimization, the more sustainable the success. Even if the success of the efforts is not always immediately apparent - SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and takes time to be successful. Content marketing is also becoming increasingly important in e-commerce. A good start is to establish and maintain your own social media channels. But it can also be a blog of its own, in which articles present the products and provide additional background information and tips on all aspects of the product world.

Product images

Another often underestimated cost is the product images. Especially when you don't get product photos directly from the manufacturer or offer digital products. A few snapshots taken with the smartphone are not enough. Here it is advisable to use a professional photographer or at least invest in a quality camera. But other photo equipment such as a light box or image processing software are also important for DIY enthusiasts. In addition, you shouldn't forget SEO when it comes to images, we give you a few tips here in the article “5 tips for image SEO”.


Before going live, you should have thought about the marketing measures of your web shop. We don't mean the absolute basics like a catchy name and a good logo. This refers to measures how you want to present the products to your potential customers, especially in the area of ​​social media. You can achieve initial success here even with a relatively small budget by running advertising campaigns in individual channels. Instagram and Facebook in particular are intensifying their efforts in e-commerce and are now also allowing their own shops and shopping on the platforms. In this step, you should also think about your target audience and your customers. With the social media platforms, you can address them very precisely using certain filters such as age, place of residence or hobbies. Discount campaigns and the creation of a customer newsletter are also important elements of marketing that you should consider from the start. You can find a good overview of various mailing tools in our article on the corresponding market overview from


We have listed some of the cost items that are important when launching an online shop. Of course, every shop project is unique and therefore the costs also vary. Hopefully, with the points mentioned above, you have gained a better overview of what it costs to set up an online shop and also discovered one or the other point that you did not have on your screen.