When it comes to online shops, this tends to be where the DIY Site Builders make their money from you. E-commerce or business website plans are never free, tend to be more expensive than standard websites, and in some cases take 3% of your turnover as commission as well. That 3% is in addition to whatever your payment merchant will take off you – PayPal can take up to 3.5%, so 6.5% of your income disappears straight away! The cheapest Squarespace business website is currently £15+VAT per month, BUT you have to pay for a year at a time. If you aren’t registered to reclaim the VAT that’s £216 a year plus the 3% commission!
The cheapest Wix plan is currently £187.20 per year (paid upfront). These prices don’t include a lot of the most useful add-ons (for example, customised forms) which can cost anything from £2 to £15, plus VAT, per month. It pays to do a LOT of research before signing up, then, especially if you have to pay for a whole year in advance…
WordPress’s most popular and best-supported e-commerce plugin by far is called WooCommerce and this is free to add into your WordPress installation. The costs can come if you want specialist plugins to go with it. You need these if you have unusual or complicated delivery requirements, if you’d like your customers to be able to download PDF invoices, if you plan to sell membership plans, and so on. To start with, you can set up a simple shop for no cost, though. It can take a little bit of getting used to (although of course if you’re paying a designer, that’s not your problem) but it can be one of the most powerful options for anything up to a medium-sized online shop. The more sophisticated plugins start at £15-20 and can go up to £200 if you want really advanced features. Those are usually one-off costs to buy the software, which can be moved with your site if you wish.
You do still have to pay your payment merchant’s fees, of course (for example, the PayPal fees every time you sell something). Don’t forget to take those into account when setting your prices!