If you’re looking at starting an online store in South Africa, Shopify is an incredible platform to do it on. (You can sign up for a free trial on Shopify here)
Due to the fact that Shopify is an American based company they charge in US Dollars and as a South African it can be difficult to figure out what Shopify costs if you are running an online store from South Africa.
So by now you’re probably wondering what the price is for a Shopify in South Africa…
The price of a Shopify store in South Africa starts at R430 per month ( for their Basic Shopify plan, the middle tier Shopify plan will cost you R1200 per month while the price for the Advanced Shopify plan is R4500 per month. These are the fixed costs and exclude the Shopify transaction fees.
Let me explain what that actually means…
Shopify has 3 tiers to its pricing plans, the Basic Shopify, The Shopify plan and the advanced Shopify plan. These costs will not vary from month to month but on top of that, Shopify charges a transaction fee for using their platform.
You will notice on the pricing table below that there are two types of transaction fees.
The first is if you use Shopify Payments and the second is for all other payment processors or payment gateways:
I will deal with Shopify Payments in a moment, but it’s important to note that they are not applicable to South African e-commerce store owners.
Shopify Transaction Fees In South Africa (And How they actually work)
You will notice that Shopify charges between 0.5% and 2% transaction fees for other payment Providers other than Shopify Payments.
What that means is that when you integrate a different payment processor depending on which pricing tier you are on Shopify charges a percentage of that transaction for integrating that payment processor into Shopify.
If you are on the Shopify Basic plan you will pay a 2% transaction fee. if you are on the regular Shopify plan you will pay a 1% transaction fee and if you are on the Advanced Shopify plan you will only pay point 5% of each transaction.
These transaction fees can obviously rack up as your online store grows so it is important to factor these fees in your product pricing calculations. (I’ve included a few different scenarios below to help you calculate them)
Let’s talk about Shopify Payments now…
Is Shopify Payments available in South Africa?
Shopify Payments is a payment gateway that is native to Shopify that allows for a seamless checkout process. I am often asked if it is possible to use Shopify Payments in South Africa…
Shopify Payments is not available to use as a South African online store owner. What that means is if you build an online shop on Shopify as a South African, you will need to integrate a different payment processor in order to accept payments on your Shopify store.
It may actually look like it is cheaper to use a different payment processor on Shopify as a South African but that is where one of the hidden costs comes in when running a Shopify store.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of using Shopify to build your online store but you do need to go into this process knowing all the facts. (If you would like to try Shopify for free, you can here)
These hidden costs are not exclusive to Shopify. You will need to pay these regardless of what platform you build your online store on so it is important to know upfront what they are…
Hidden costs that are NOT included in your Shopify plan
The first cost that is not included in your Shopify plan that many people miss is the credit card processing fee.
it doesn’t matter what payment processor you use they all charge a processing fee to use their service.
This can vary from just below 3% to well over 5% depending on which payment gateway you use.
This is important to know when using Shopify because depending on which plan you’re on, Shopify will take their transaction fee AND your payment gateway will take theirs.
To give you a practical example of how this works, I’m going to use the Payfast as the payment gateway to show you how this works. Payfast charges 3.5% plus R2 (ex VAT) for every credit card transaction they process.
Here are a few scenarios and what the total transaction cost will be on the Shopify Basic Plan
|Shopify Basic Fee (2%)||R2.00||R10.00||R20.00||R200|
|Payfast Fee (3.5% + R2)||R5.50||R19.50||R37.00||R352|
|Total Transaction Fee:||R7.50||R29.50||R57.00||R552.00|
On the Regular Shopify plan this is how it would play out:
|Shopify Fee (1%)||R1.50||R5.00||R10.00||R100.00|
|Payfast Fee (3.5% + R2)||R5.50||R19.50||R37.00||R352.00|
|Total Transaction Fee:||R7.00||R24.50||R47.00||R452.00|
And on the Shopify Advanced Plan this is what you will be paying in transaction fees:
|Shopify Advanced Fee (0.5%)||R0.50||R2.50||R5.00||R50.00|
|Payfast Fee (3.5% + R2)||R5.50||R19.50||R37.00||R352.00|
|Total Transaction Fee:||R6.00||R22.00||R42.00||R402.00|
The second hidden cost when running your online store is your domain registration fee. This, again, is not a cost that is exclusive to Shopify. You will need to pay this regardless of what platform you choose to build your online store on.
The domain is your web address that you will send people to to visit your online store
It is possible to build a Shopify store without a domain but from a credibility perspective, it makes a lot more sense to register a domain that is linked to your business name.
For example your potential customers are much more likely to buy from a store whose web address is www.yourstore.com than something like www.532unicorn672.shopify.com.
When you first get started you would need to purchase the domain and then every year thereafter you would need to renew it.
The cost to register a new .co.za domain is approximately R200 while a.com will cost you R250. The cost to renew is about the same on an annual basis.
I ALWAYS recommend using the .com (But that is a discussion for another time)
The third hidden cost of running a Shopify store
The 3rd see that a lot of people don’t take into account when building their online store on shopify is the cost of having an email address that is linked to their business.
Much like having a registered domain will give your business credibility so will having your email address linked to the same domain.
I am very hesitant to buy from an online store with the owner uses an email address that is linked to Gmail Yahoo Hotmail etc.
Depending on which host you use the cost to get email account setup will differ but you looking in the region of 30 per month to get those email account setup.
I hope you found this guide helpful. I you have any questions about building an online business in South Africa then be sure to join the South African Online Business Lab and connect with other South Africans (Just like you) that are building their online business in South Africa.
If you would like to access my free training on the 7 ways to make money online in South Africa, you can do so here or download the list of tools are used to make money online in South Africa right now.