How to Make an Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Startup

' src=

Darren DeMatas

January 30, 2024


In addition to receiving commissions generated through affiliate marketing, we are able to fund our independent research and reviews at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more.

So you’ve decided that you want to quit your day job and start your very own ecommerce empire. That’s great!

But before you become the next Jeff Bezos  (and definitely before you quit your job!), it’s worth spending some time thinking about a business plan. In this article, we’ll dive into the key elements of an ecommerce business plan, which is very different than writing traditional business plans.

Ecommerce Business Plan 2020

Why You Should Create a Business Plan

We know that starting an ecommerce business is exciting, and it can be tempting to jump right in without constructing a business plan. READ: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.

If you haven’t put your ideas, questions and concerns on paper, then you haven’t given your business model enough thought .

Taking the time to write a business plan might seem like a lot of work, but it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by better preparing you for potential challenges and opportunities that you’ll face as a first-time entrepreneur. Think of it as a roadmap for your new business venture.

It’s exciting to start your own ecommerce business. However, you want to be well prepared and not jump into anything without having a solid, foolproof ecommerce business plan in place.

After all, you wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, so why start a business without a safety device in place? That safety device is your business plan.

Quote 5 Jeff Bezos Retail Is Details

The business plan is the brainstorming process that ensures your concept and goals are realistic.

This is more than just mental notes. True business plans take your ideas , questions, and concerns and put those in writing.

As you start creating your business plan, you’ll soon understand that it’s more than a single piece of paper with handwritten details on it. It’s a clearly constructed format of how your business will be created, how it will operate, and what you hope the future holds in terms of a successful ecommerce business.

When you write your business plan, be sure to have a target audience in mind. Are you going to look for investors or put a Kickstarter campaign into motion and use this as your descriptive platform? If so, make sure that your business plan contains everything the audience would want to know about your business (and more!). Many traditional funding solutions require a business plan in order to give you capital. However, there are alternative solutions, such as  Payability  that specialize in ecommerce and don’t require credit checks, a business plan, or any complicated paperwork. They can also get you approved in as little as 24 hours.

When your business plan is completed, you should have achieved the following goals:

  • Knowledge:  A greater sense of knowledge of the business aspects.
  • Resources:  The resources you’re going to need to make your business successful, such as partners, money, employees, etc.
  • Road Map: Have clear set goals to take you from the very beginning of your business and onward.
  • Viability: In other words, is your business possible? Will you have enough profit margins to keep the doors open long-term?

Now that you know why you should create a business plan, it’s time to move on to how you can create your business plan and get started putting your ecommerce business into motion.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business Plan

At the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s a good idea to develop a framework for your business model. This business model will continue to evolve as you create each section of your ecommerce business plan, so don’t strive for a perfect completed plan on the first try. You will be making tweaks to the plan of certain steps along the way.

There are many ways to sell products online and different business models  to pursue. Research and learn from successful ecommerce business examples in the market. The exact business model you follow will be one that makes the most sense with your resources, skills, and interests.

In order to create the best online business plan with your product in mind, you need to figure out the following things:

What are you selling?

The first step to creating an online business is to learn the absolute basics of what you can sell.

  • Physical products: Clothing , shoes, home goods
  • Digital products: Software as a Service products, ecourses, ebooks
  • Services: Consulting services, home cleaning

Who are you selling to?

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): You are selling to organizations, corporations, and non-profits rather than individual customers
  • Business to Consumer (B2C): This means you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses
  • Marketplace: You are acting as a middleman by bringing businesses and (B2B or B2C) customers to one website.

How are you sourcing your product?

  • Manufacture in-house: You make your product or service in-house
  • Third-party manufacturer: You outsource the manufacturing of your product or service to a third-party manufacturer
  • Dropship: You partner with a dropship manufacturer. Basically, this means that they make your product, package it and ship it directly to your customer while your company handles the entire customer relationship.
  • Wholesale : You buy goods or services from other companies in bulk and re-sell those products on your online store

Additional References

  • Entrepreneurship: Business & Marketing Plans
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship Resources
  • Business Plan Resources

Executive Summary

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Executive Summary

The executive summary will be written according to your goals, and it’s recommended that this is done at the very end of your business plan completion. This will ensure that you include all of the important factors about your business and present your ideas in a concise and complete way.

Some of the features you’ll include in the executive summary include information showing that you’ve done your research, you have concrete sales forecasts, and the main details about your brand.

Business Model

When you’re figuring out your business model, you have to consider four different areas:

  • Monetization strategy
  • Product/industry
  • Target market
  • Sales channel

Monetization Strategy

The monetization strategy delves into the methods you are going to use to sell your products.

This strategy will look at different product monetization methods, including white label, private label , affiliate marketing, wholesale, dropshipping, and even selling ads.


The product industry section is where you summarize your main niche.

For example, “Vegan Skincare Products.”

Target Market

In the target market section, you will write a sentence or so on who your target market, or ideal customer, is in the community.

If you’re selling vegan skincare products, your target customers might be women who embrace the vegan lifestyle and use natural skincare products in their daily beauty regimen.

Sales Channel

The sales channel refers to where you’re going to sell your products.

For example, you might be selling your products on your own website, and this should be entered in this section.

Business Overview

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Company Overview

This next section covers your company overview.

This section of your business plan will cover various features of your company, including the following:

  • Company type
  • Domain name
  • Value proposition
  • Brand traits

The brand name section lists your business name or brand name.

This is an extremely important aspect of your business plan as it’s what will set the tone for everything that follows.

Pick a brand name that’s simple yet unique and is something that can be used in a wordplay manner, if desired, but not pun-worthy.

Company Type

The company is how your business operates. For example, you might label your business as an LLC, S-corporation, sole proprietor, or some other type of business organization.

The best way to determine how you should categorize your company is to speak to your accountant. There are various tax and legal aspects to forming your business in a certain way.

Speak with the professionals in the company and corporation formation field to determine how to label your company and which company type best benefits your business in a variety of ways.

Domain Name

This section is where you list your domain name.

Choose a domain name that is memorable and embraces the overall traits and features of your business.

And, when choosing a domain name, be sure to think of SEO aspects when doing so. You’ll find out just how much all of these things tie together and ensure a frequently-visited website is the end result.

Keep in mind that with ecommerce, the domain name is just as important as the brand name. Maybe even more so!

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a short, crisp statement that will gauge how clear your idea is. Write this section as if you had one minute to explain your business to a potential investor or customer and then practice it over and over again.

The value proposition can be used on your ecommerce store as your company description.

Here’s a good example: Say you’re looking to start a hiking company called Atlas Hiking Co. which sells premium performance hiking shirts. A possible company description could be the following:

Atlas Hiking Co. is a lifestyle hiking company that produces high-performance hiking shirts for outdoor lovers. Our proprietary SPF40 fabric is one of the lightest fabrics on the market, providing mountain lovers with maximum comfort, both from a breathability and sun-protection standpoint. Our product is made in the U.S.A. and a portion of our profits are donated to preserve national parks around the country.

Pay special attention to all the sensory words !

The mission statement in your business plan is the “why” of it all.

For example, why you started the business, why you are selling the products you are selling, etc., can all be added to this section of your business plan.

You can make this portion as simple or detailed as you like. Just make sure to properly and clearly explain your business mission.

The vision part of the business plan is your “how” in the grand scheme of things. It is the dream you have for your company and the path you’re going to take to realize that dream.

When you write the vision portion of the business plan, think long-term. What are you hoping to achieve, not just in the near future but for the long haul of the life of your business?

Look into the future and plan out where you see your business in 5, 10, even 20 years from now.

This will help you construct the rest of your business plan if you know where you want your business to head, now and in the future.

Brand Traits

The brand traits section is a short section in your company overview.

Basically, in the brand traits section you’re going to want to list three to five words that describe your brand.

Think of your brand personality and describe it using a few separate powerful words.

The personnel section lists all individuals, including yourself, who will be involved in the daily operations of your business. You can create a separate section for a full operations plan or add that later.

Some business owners choose to handle all duties on their own or with a partner, while others will hire individuals to fill the following roles:

  • CEO (usually the business owner)
  • Management team
  • Customer service/logistics
  • PR/Social media specialist
  • SEO manager
  • Advertising manager

Competitive Market Analysis

Competitive Market Analysis

Here’s a fact you can bank on: there has never been a successful e-commerce entrepreneur that didn’t understand his/her target market cold.

That’s why this section is one of the most important in the entire business plan. It will force you to understand the industry in which you operate, the overall industry analysis and outlook, the existing competition, and your target customer demographic.

Market Segment

The market segment portion of the business plan will help you to put your ideas down on paper, make them more focused, and get your team together.

This area will include your niche selection, target market, and competitive analysis.

Niche Selection

The niche section  provides an overview of your niche, why you selected it, whether there’s a micro niche included, and the type of niche you’ve chosen.

The purpose of this section is to crystalize the ideas that you have and make sure they are understandable and viable.

The target market section covers an overview of your target market plus describes your market segments.

Ask yourself who your  target customer  is (population size, age, geography, education, ethnicity, income level) and consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your product category online.

When listing the target market information, make sure to mention your target audience size as this is important for ensuring that your audience will be adequately covered.

Facebook Audience Size

Competitive Analysis

With the competitive analysis portion of your market analysis, you want to list your market leader and direct and indirect competitors.

After you mention who these entities are, you need to list the characteristics of each one, such as domain name, business model, monthly traffic, and pricing range.

However, before you even get started in writing this section, you need to spend several hours researching your target market.

Here are some of the most efficient ways to research a particular market:

Industry reports

Google is your best friend. Look for any recent industry reports on your market of choice. This will give you a good sense of how much growth the industry is experiencing, why this growth is happening, and what are the largest customer segments. In our example of Atlas Hiking Co., we should research the outdoor apparel market.

Outdoor apparel kids hiking hiking gear Google search Trends worldwide 2004-present

Let’s say that through our research of the outdoor apparel industry, we discovered that there was a huge boom in youth hiking apparel. Perhaps parents were increasingly concerned about their kids’ exposure to UV rays while hiking, so they began to spend more money on their kids. We could use this valuable information to guide our business strategy.

There’s only so much you can read online. Go to a nearby store that sells similar products to yours and interview the store representative. The store rep has interacted with hundreds of interested customers, which can lead to thousands of valuable insights! It’s amazing how these insights can translate into a meaningful business opportunity.

Here’s an example:

If I were going into Billy’s Outdoor Store to research the outdoor apparel market, I would probably ask Billy the following:

  • What are your best-selling products?
  • What are your worst-selling products?
  • Find products similar to yours and ask the representative his/her favorite features on products similar to yours.
  • How much are customers generally willing to spend on these types of products?
  • Do customers make repeat orders of any of these products?
  • Do you get a lot of customers that are looking to buy last-minute hiking gear before they go on a hike?


Create an Excel spreadsheet of all of your competitors. In your spreadsheet, you should have the following columns:

  • Competitor Name
  • Price point
  • Product Description
  • Key Features (e.g., fabric, waterproof, slim fit, etc.)

What is the competition missing? Is there a gap in the offering? Where you can add some additional value?

After conducting the competitor analysis, Atlas Hiking Co. might find that the competition’s hiking shirts offer very few features at a low price point, but no one offers a luxury hiking shirt with additional features at a higher price point.

This is just an example of the types of insights one can gain from market research which can drastically alter your business model.

Keyword Research

By using Google’s keyword planner  and trends pages, you can get a good sense of how in demand your product is and whether it’s trending upward or downward. Google is great for a general idea, just don’t bank on it.

Some other keyword tools you can use for keyword research include Ahrefs, JungleScout, and Viral Launch. Check out this list  for more ideas.

Trade shows

Are there nearby trade shows that you can go to? Again, creating connections with other people in your industry is a surefire shortcut to countless hours of reading on the internet. Trade shows are also a great opportunity to talk to competitors, meet manufacturers, and better understand where things are heading in your industry.

Once you finish researching the relevant industry, you should summarize your findings by answering the following questions:

General Industry

  • How big is the overall industry?
  • How big is the specific sub-industry in which you intend to operate?
  • Where has most of the historic growth in the market come from?
  • Why is this the right time to enter this market?
  • What are the sub-segments that are poised for future growth (e.g., youth apparel)?
  • How crowded is the product category with competition?
  • How is your competition distributing its product (online, retail, wholesale, etc.)?
  • What’s missing from the competition’s product offering?

Products and Offers

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Products and Offers

So we know we want to sell hiking shirts, but how do you research specific products?

But for some of us, we’re not quite sure what we should sell. To succeed in online retail, you need a product that is trending upwards in a growing niche.

Different types of products

Some of the different types of products include the following:

  • Convenience products: Frequent purchase products, little effort on buying
  • Shopping products: Less frequently purchased in between purchases, little more effort and planning, shop around
  • Specialty products: Strong brand preference and loyalty, will buy no matter what the price

The various types of niches include the following:

  • Hobby niches
  • Lifestyle niches
  • Problem niches
  • Weird/embarrassing niches

Existing products

Come up with detailed specifications for each product or service you intend to sell. If it’s a hiking shirt we’re selling, we would want to have:

  • Detailed sketches of the shirt
  • Fabric weight, materials, type
  • Key features (e.g., pre-shrunk, water-proof, SPF 40)

Future product pipeline

What are other products that you have in the pipeline? Perhaps once you’ve successfully sold hiking shirts, you’re able to leverage your manufacturing relationships to provide hiking socks and shorts. Include that information in this section.

The products and services section will cover the various selling categories of items.

These product offerings will include the following:

  • Core product

Each product group will have its own purpose in your sales catalog. For example, tripwire is the product that brings customers to your ecommerce store or online marketplaces  while the core product is your main seller.

Knowing what products you’ll include within each section allows you to have a firm grasp on what your main product will be and how the other types of products will work alongside your main product.

This section will also cover the search volume and Amazon pricing range.

You’ll need to calculate your true costs. You have to make sure you don’t overestimate your margins.

To tabulate your total true costs, you need to write down the costs in the following areas:

  • Target price
  • Supplier cost of the product
  • Total cost per unit
  • Net profit per unit
  • Profit margin per unit

Once you complete the pricing portion, you’ll have everything on one sheet and readily accessible whenever you need it.

Marketing Plan and Operations

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Marketing

So, now you’ve concluded that you have a great business idea, and it’s in a growing market. That’s fantastic – but how are you going to drive traffic to your ecommerce website and get customers to buy it ? And how much can you afford to spend on your product?

Marketing  is everything. It’s important that your marketing efforts match your business model.

If you have a website and no marketing, your site won’t have any visitors. With no visitors, you will make no sales. Then how do you grow and sell your ecommerce business (if that’s your long-term goal)? Even with the best possible products, nobody will buy them if they aren’t directed to them in some way.

In order to come up with a marketing strategy, you need to first know your customer inside out. You should be able to answer such questions as:

  • How old is your customer?
  • Where does your customer live?
  • What is the population of your customer base?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their income level?
  • What are your customer’s pain points?

With so many channels to reach your customer, which one is best for you?

Once we know pretty much everything there is to know about our target customer, we can shift focus to our marketing strategy. You want to choose marketing strategies that equal positive conversion rates. What channels should you use to grab the attention of your customer demographic? Some of the key marketing channels include:

Paid Marketing

  • Pay-per-click – this online marketing typically involves using Google Shopping campaigns  and managing a product data feed.
  • Affiliate sales networks – Allowing other blogs and websites to sell your product for a cut of the revenue. List the different affiliate sale networks that you plan to promote through.
  • Facebook ads ⎯ Ads posted on Facebook to draw in buyers through social media means.
  • Influencer marketing ⎯ Hiring industry influencers to get the word out about your product through their social media platforms and contacts.

Organic Marketing

  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram , Pinterest, etc.): What is your strategy for social media, and where will you dedicate your attention?
  • Search Engine Optimization : Create and promote awesome content so people find your product organically through search.
  • Content marketing: Figure out how you’ll use content marketing in your business. Consider various article topics that will persuade your target audience to buy your products.
  • Blogger networks: could be organic or paid through affiliate sale programs.
  • Key bloggers: Develop a list of the key bloggers in your product category. For Atlas Hiking Co., this might be an influencer that blogs about the best hiking trails in America.

Finding the optimal mix of these advertising tools depends 100% on your customer segment as well as your product type. For example, a SaaS product targeting millennials will require an entirely different marketing strategy than an e-commerce physical product targeting baby boomers. Perhaps that should be a post on its own for another day!

How much should you spend to acquire a customer?

In order to understand this, we need first to discuss a concept known as customer lifetime value or LTV. In essence, this is a formula that helps you better understand how much an average customer will spend over time.

Here’s  a good read on how to calculate LTV.

It’s important to remember that for new businesses, you don’t have a lot of data on customer purchase habits so it’s a good idea to be more conservative with your assumptions in calculating LTV.

Let’s say, for Atlas Hiking Co., I determine that the average LTV per customer is $300. This means that over time, the average customer will spend $300. Let’s say, on average, if I receive $300 in revenue, $100 of that will translate to gross profit before I factor in my marketing costs (basically, I’m just subtracting the cost of making the shirts).

Knowing that my gross profit is $100 per shirt is a critical piece of information because it tells me that I can spend up to $100 in marketing to acquire a customer and still be profitable!

Some of the marketing options include social media marketing and content marketing.

Think about your business model and then line up your marketing budget. Your marketing budget may include the following items:

  • Sales/branded content
  • SEO/blog content
  • Facebook/Instagram ads
  • Influencer marketing
  • Marketing tools
  • Niche advertising

Choosing The Right Technology

With so much technology and SaaS products out there, it’s important to understand the various moving parts and diagram how they all integrate with one another.

Some of the different elements include:

  • Shopping Cart Platforms  – e.g., Shopify , BigCommerce , WooCommerce , or any open-source platform
  • Hosting – Nexcess , BigScoots , Kinsta , WPX
  • Payment Processo r – e.g., Stripe, Paypal
  • Fulfillment Center – e.g., Amazon, ShipBob
  • Apps – e.g., Zipify, BuildWooFunnels, Gelato
  • Accounting & Taxes  – e.g., Quicken, Xero
  • Marketing Automation – e.g., Klaviyo , Mailchimp
  • Marketing Tools – e.g.  Buzzstream, Ahrefs
  • Customer Loyalty Programs  – e.g., Antavo, Smile

Come up with a detailed list of the different products and services you need to run your business as well as the monthly and per-transaction cost of each of them. This will be important in understanding the impact of these services on your margins.

Matching your business model to your technology is essential, too. Certain website platforms are better suited for specific sales models.

Email marketing is another type of technology that should be carefully considered and matched up correctly with your business model.

Keep in mind that it takes, on average, 6-7 interactions with a brand before someone makes a purchase, so you need to keep using technology to get them back to your website.

As you explore the technology options and find out ways to draw potential customers in and keep them happy while they’re there, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • What you say about yourself and your products with your website content
  • How you respond to questions on live chat and email support
  • How to make use of chatbots
  • How you connect on social media
  • The information you send through email marketing
  • What bloggers and influencers say about your brand
  • How existing customers review your company
  • How you advertise
  • How you establish loyalty beyond sales

After you figure out your technology methods, you have to come up with a technology budget.

The business plan must also include the operations side of things. Determine who will be your manufacturer, secondary manufacturer, and shipping and fulfillment  provider.

When looking at supply chain costs and options, ShipBob  is an ecommerce fulfillment provider you can consider.

Financial Plan

Ecommerce Business Plan Template - Financial Plan

When figuring out your financial plan, evaluating and pinpointing your startup costs  is essential.

The focus of the financial plan is how long it will take for you to make your money back. You also need to figure out if you need a business loan .

Traffic and conversion rates will help you determine how long it will be until you start making money back.

You’ll also want to use an income statement to detail financial information.

This section is used for financial projections, such as forecasting sales, expenses, and net income of the business. Ideally, you’ll want to create a monthly Excel balance sheet showing the following:

  • Projected revenue:  First, come up with your projected number of units sold and then come up with your projected revenue (Projected Revenue = # of Units Sold * Average Sales Price).
  • Fixed expenses:   these are expenses that are fixed no matter how much you sell. Typically, these relate to monthly SaaS subscriptions, employee salaries, or rent.
  • Variable expenses  – these expenses change in direct proportion to how much you sell. Common examples include the cost of goods sold and credit card payment processing fees.

This helps business owners better understand what they need to achieve to hit their profit goals. In reality, projections are usually always off the mark, but it’s good to give yourself some measurable goals to strive for.

This section should aim to answer the following questions about your product offering:

  • How much product do you need to sell per year to meet your income goals for the business?
  • What are the margins on your product? If you sell one hiking shirt for $50, how much do you make after paying your supplier, employees, and marketing costs?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?
  • How much can you spend to acquire customers? If you conservatively project that the average customer will spend $300 over time on your shirts, then you can afford to spend an amount less than $300 to acquire that customer using the paid marketing channels described previously.
  • Do you have any big capital expenditures early on that would require you to need to bring in investors?
  • Can you improve gross margins by making bigger orders from your suppliers?

There are various acquisition channels that will help your traffic to convert including:

Your revenue plan will contain a 12-month revenue forecast plan to help you map out each month of earnings.

There are different business earning models you can go through to determine how much you can make with your business.

You want to calculate how much traffic costs. This all depends on the methods you use to gain traffic to your site.

As you determine what your profit might be with your ecommerce business  or ecommerce businesses, there are certain math formulas to use:

  • The profit equation
  • Break-even analysis
  • Units needed to achieve the profit target

You should also consider how you will use fintech companies in your ecommerce business.

What are the key elements of an ecommerce business plan?

The main components of an eCommerce business plan include the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management structure, product line or service, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and funding request, if applicable.

How do I create a budget for my ecommerce business?

Start by estimating your initial startup costs and ongoing expenses. Consider costs like website development, inventory, marketing, shipping, taxes, and any necessary licenses or permits. It’s also important to factor in a contingency plan for unexpected costs.

How do I find the right product to sell?

Research is fundamental. Look at market trends, customer needs, and competitor products. Use tools like Google Trends or social media platforms to understand what customers are currently interested in. Always consider your passion and knowledge about the product too, as this can drive your business forward.

How can I differentiate my product from competitors?

Differentiation can come from unique product features, superior customer service, better pricing, or a compelling brand story. Understand what your competitors offer and how you can do it differently or better.

Wrapping Up Your Business Plan

Careful planning is crucial to get your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase and to ensure its successful future.

Going through the exercise of writing a business plan will cement your own understanding of your business and your market. It will also position you to take advantage of lucrative opportunities while mitigating harmful threats to your business down the line.

Your turn! Have you written a business plan for your online store? Do you have anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!

About the author

Photo of author

Leave a Comment

Featured on.


Join 30K+ entrepreneurs already learning ecommerce.

Ecommerce ceo.

Partner With Us

Editorial Policy

Review Guidelines

Terms Of Use

Affiliate Disclosure

Privacy Policy

[email protected]

Guides & Resources

Ecommerce Learning Center

How To Start An Ecommerce Business

How To Make Money Online

What To Sell Online

How To Sell On Amazon

Online Business Ideas

Best Ecommerce Tools

Ecommerce Platforms

Fulfillment Services

Shipping Software

Inventory Management

Print On Demand

Dropshipping Companies

Amazon Research

Online Course Platforms

POS Systems

3PL Companies


Shopify vs BigCommerce

2800 N 6th Street #5156 St. Augustine, FL 32084 United States

‪(904) 458-7077 ‬

Copyright © 2024 - Mission Demand LLC . All rights reserved.

Exclusive Member of Mediavine Finance

  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • View all small business
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

How to Start an E-Commerce Business in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

1. Define your e-commerce business idea

2. set up your business, 3. source or develop your products, 4. set up your e-commerce website, 5. figure out order fulfillment, 6. market your e-commerce business, how much does it cost to start an e-commerce business, tips for starting an e-commerce business .

An e-commerce business sells goods, services and funds over the internet. Starting an e-commerce business is a lot like starting any company: You’ll need to create a business plan, get licenses and permits and set up dedicated finances. You’ll also need to choose an e-commerce website builder , source your products and market to online customers.

Follow these six steps to get your e-commerce business up and running.


The first step in starting any business is to hone your idea. Online business ideas can include selling physical or digital products as well as professional services. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to define your e-commerce business model and write a business plan that outlines your niche.

During this process, you’ll start to ask a lot of questions: How will you get your products or services to your customers? What sort of licenses or permits do you need? How much will it cost to get your business up and running — and how will you foot that bill? Your business plan should answer these questions and provide a road map for the coming months.

More resources to help shape your idea:

What is e-commerce? Understanding how it works  

Our picks for the best business plan software

Can your business idea actually make money?

Once you've solidified your e-commerce business idea, the next step is to set your company up for success.


This includes back-office steps like:

Choosing a business structure . There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these entity types, so talking to an attorney may be helpful as you choose the one that’s right for you.

Naming your business. Consult your local secretary of state's website as well as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that you're not choosing a name that belongs to another company. Check to see if your potential business domain name is available as well.

Applying for an employer identification number (EIN) . You can get an EIN from the IRS for free online or by mail, fax or phone. Not all businesses need an EIN, but having one can help you separate your personal and business finances.

Opening a business checking account . NerdWallet recommends all business owners have a dedicated bank account for their business.

Getting licenses and permits your city or state requires. This probably includes a business license, and if you perform services, you may also need an occupational license. Check your state or local government website for requirements for your area.

Answers as you set up your business:

Do you need a business license to sell online?

What’s the difference between an LLC and a sole proprietorship?

Our picks for the best free business checking accounts

Next, you'll need to source the products you're going to sell. If you’re selling physical products, you may need to make them yourself or work with a manufacturer.

A key decision at this point: Are you going to order products in bulk and keep inventory in stock? If so, you’ll need to think about storage space and raising capital to order goods upfront. However, you’ll have the power to ship items yourself.

Other businesses choose to rely on dropshipping , in which products are manufactured or sourced at the time the order is placed. In general, dropshipping may keep your overhead costs lower, but it can be more difficult to manage since inventory levels and shipping will be out of your hands.

Other options for sourcing e-commerce products include:

White-labeling, or ordering items in bulk from a manufacturer and then branding them with your company’s identity.

Print-on-demand, or paying a third party to print your company’s designs on merchandise like T-shirts, mugs and posters. Print-on-demand normally functions like dropshipping, in that a customer places their order, then the manufacturer creates the product and ships it directly to the customer.

Retail arbitrage, or buying discounted items from retail sellers and listing them in your own store at a markup. 

If you're selling professional services, you might just have to describe and list what you offer on your business website. Still, you’ll need to figure out how much to charge and decide how many clients you can see each day or week.

More to help you develop products:

16 e-commerce business ideas

How to find products to sell on Amazon

How to make money on Shopify

Your e-commerce website will be your storefront. It’s where your customers will learn about you and your business, browse your products and make purchases.

The easiest way to set up a website is to use an online store builder . These platforms can walk you through the process of launching your website, from buying a domain name to managing your inventory to taking credit card payments.

Popular e-commerce website builders include Shopify , Squarespace , Square Online and BigCommerce .

If you’re a very small business or just experimenting with online sales, a free e-commerce website builder may be a good place to start. But to list unlimited products and access more robust suites of tools — which can help with things like shipping label printing, order management and sales analytics — you’ll typically need to spring for a subscription.

In general, many online store builders should be simple enough for someone without web development experience to navigate. But most offer the option to pay a professional designer or developer if you don’t want to build the website on your own.

The best e-commerce platform for you fits into your budget and is appropriate for your skill level.

Choosing the right website builder:

Our picks for the best e-commerce website builders

Wix vs. Squarespace: Head-to-head comparison

Shopify vs. Square Online: Head-to-head comparison

Order fulfillment is the process of getting customers’ purchases in their hands.

Most e-commerce website builders offer shipping label printing, which is the first step in the fulfillment process. Some also offer the ability to add shipping costs onto customers’ orders at checkout.

If you choose to handle order fulfillment yourself, research shipping rates so you have a sense of how much it’ll cost. Look for an online store builder that can help make the shipping process easier or research shipping software providers like Shippo .

Note, too, that e-commerce may connect you to customers across the world. If there are places you’re not willing to ship to, make that clear on your website.

If you don’t want to manage order fulfillment, you can outsource it to an e-commerce fulfillment center or use a service like Fulfillment by Amazon. Fees for fulfillment services vary depending on the size of your products, how far they’re traveling and how much you’re shipping.

More to help you manage orders and inventory:

Our picks for the best inventory management software

What is just-in-time inventory?

Shipping services that integrate with WooCommerce

Now that you've started your online store , you're ready to start serving customers — as long as they can find your products.

Your small-business marketing strategy might include:

Omnichannel commerce , in which you list your products on third-party marketplaces like Amazon and Instagram. Some e-commerce website builders can help facilitate this.

Influencer marketing, in which you pay popular social media creators to plug your products. 

Social media content or paid social media ads.

Optimizing your business website for search engines.

Sending email campaigns to past and future customers.

Many e-commerce website builders include some marketing features, which can help you do things like create social media ads or send emails to customers when they’ve abandoned their carts.

But if you want to develop more sophisticated campaigns, consider investing in marketing software . These tools can help you create email templates and campaigns, text customers, keep track of how individual customers are responding to your emails and more.

More help with marketing:

20 free marketing ideas for small businesses

Online marketing strategies and tips

Content marketing for small businesses

The cost of starting an e-commerce business can vary widely depending on what you’re planning to sell and in what volume. Your expenses may include:

Your e-commerce website. Subscription plans for online store builders generally start around $25 to $30 per month when billed annually. You may also need to spring for a domain name if your e-commerce website builder doesn’t include one — and make note of annual fees to keep your URL registered. 

Payment processing fees. In general, the company that provides your payment processing will take a cut of around 3% from each online sale. 

Stocking up. If you plan to order inventory in bulk, be prepared for significant upfront costs — even before you’ve started generating revenue. Inventory financing may be able to help you bridge the gap.

Order fulfillment. In general, you’ll pay a third-party service to fulfill each order, with rates varying depending on item size and weight. The more customers buy at once, the less you’ll have to pay per item. Order fulfillment services may also include warehousing, for which you’ll pay a per-item storage cost. 

Warehousing. If you’re buying more inventory than you can keep in your home or garage but not using an order fulfillment service that provides storage, you may need to spring for warehouse space of your own.

General costs of running a business. These could include monthly or annual fees for accounting software , business insurance , any employees or contractors you plan to hire and more. You may also need to set aside money for small-business taxes .

As with launching any business, starting an e-commerce business can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips for managing the transition.

1. Start simple

If you’re not certain e-commerce is the right path for you, set up an online store with low overhead first. This may mean starting with the free version of an e-commerce website builder, ordering a small amount of inventory or selling only one or two types of products. 

Starting small can limit how much startup funding you need and make it easier to pivot if your first idea doesn’t land. As your business starts to get traction, you can trade up to a more robust e-commerce platform and expand your product line.

2. Cultivate a loyal customer base

Your e-commerce business needs customers who appreciate your products enough to buy them more than once and, ideally, customers who will promote them to their networks.

Establishing a strong brand presence on social media can help you build a following. But the more information you can gather from your customers, the more you can market directly to them, whether that means creating an email marketing campaign, sending discount codes through text message or letting them know where your booth will be at an event in their region.

3. Invest in multichannel selling

Loyal customers may be willing to visit your website frequently. But to reach new ones, you might have to meet them where they are — which might be on Amazon, Instagram, TikTok or elsewhere. Start with the platforms where your customers are most likely to be, launch those integrations and then see how they perform. You can add platforms later if they fit into your business strategy. 

Keep in mind that selling in person is a channel, too. Craft fairs, local shops and industry or trade events may help you connect with new customers while generating some revenue.

A version of this article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

How to Write an eCommerce Business Plan + Template

Two female and two male entrepreneurs working in a small office on taking and fulfilling online orders. One is reviewing their business plan to see if their eCommerce site is on track.

Noah Parsons

10 min. read

Updated November 13, 2023

Free Download:  Sample eCommerce Business Plan Templates

If you’re starting an online eCommerce business , it’s tempting to dive right in and set up your digital shop. After all, eCommerce businesses are often less expensive to start than physical businesses and the risk may seem lower. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There’s still risk involved and money you may lose if you don’t start your business the right way.

So if you want your business to be successful you’ll want to start with a business plan first. Not having a business plan is one of the primary reasons businesses fail and it’s an easy first step that you can start for free.

Businesses that do take the time to plan are actually proven to be significantly more successful than those that don’t.

  • Why write an eCommerce business plan?

If you’re looking for funding from investors for your eCommerce business, you’ll definitely need a business plan. But, business plans aren’t just for entrepreneurs who are looking to raise money for their business. There are many other reasons why you should consider writing a plan.

  • Strategy. Writing your plan down will help you clarify your business strategy and figure out key aspects of how your business will run. You’ll think about your marketing plan, fulfillment, sales strategies, and more.
  • Test ideas. Business plans can help you figure out if an idea will work. A plan will help you figure out which ideas will be profitable and which will struggle to make money.
  • Know your numbers. Developing your financial plan as part of your business plan will help you understand what it’s really going to take to start an online business. Running the numbers will help you determine profitability and what it will take to get your business up and running.
  • Market research. Your business plan will help you answer questions about who your customers are and how you can best get your product in front of them.
  • Marketing and advertising. Getting your eCommerce business running online is just the first step. Now you need to bring customers to your website . Having a plan and knowing how much it will cost you before your start will improve your chances of success.
  • Business plan competitions. An often overlooked way of getting money for your eCommerce business is business plan competitions. There are thousands of them every year that include cash prizes. With a solid business plan, it’s usually free to enter.

A business plan can help you develop your strategy, test your idea , figure out how much money you’ll need to get up and running and identify potential roadblocks. It’s a critical step that will ensure that you don’t waste time or money as you get your business off the ground.

  • How to write an eCommerce business plan

Every business plan follows a fairly standard format, but for eCommerce you will need some extra detail in the marketing and fulfillment sections. Here’s an outline of what you should include. 

If you’re ready to get started you can also download a free template for your eCommerce business plan .

Brought to you by

LivePlan Logo

Create a professional business plan

Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Executive Summary

Every business plan needs an executive summary . Usually, you write the summary last, after you’ve fleshed out all the details of your plan. The executive summary isn’t a repeat of the full plan—it’s really just a brief outline that should be 1-2 pages at the most. 

When you’re getting introductions to investors, you’ll probably just share your executive summary to start, and then share the full plan if an investor is interested. 

Your executive summary should summarize your vision for your online business, the products you’ll be selling, a short description of your target market , and highlights of your management team and financials. If you did a market analysis, don’t get into tons of detail, but cover enough that a casual reader will understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

Opportunity: Problem and Solution

The first chapter of your eCommerce business plan describes your opportunity. That’s a description of the business you are building and the problem you are solving for customers. 

Every business needs to solve a problem for customers. For your business to stand out and be successful, you’ll ideally fill a gap that other companies haven’t filled yet. 

Even if you’re selling the same types of products as other companies, your eCommerce business could offer a better shopping experience, lower prices, or better customer service. The problem you are solving then is that customers can’t get good customer service or low prices from other companies in your industry. They will come to you, instead, because you do offer those things.

You can also solve problems for customers by offering a product they’ve never seen before. Perhaps you’ve developed a new line of kitchen utensils that are designed for older hands and wrists. Or maybe you’ve invented a new line of soap that is more sustainable than traditional hand soap.

Target Market

Arguably, the target market section of your eCommerce business plan is one of the most important components. Your target market describes the types of customers you hope to attract. Trying to please everyone is bound to be a failure—instead, focus on a specific group of people or type of person and build from there.

For example, maybe you’re trying to sell to young professionals who value good design. Or, maybe you’re targeting new families who are looking for sustainably made, affordable kids toys.

When you’re writing the target market section of your business you’ll describe exactly who your ideal customer is, what their demographics are, and how large your target market is.

There are a lot of details that you can include in your target market section of your eCommerce business plan, and we’ve got a great article that covers everything you might want to include .

Marketing and Advertising

For an eCommerce business, getting the word out about your business is critical. Unlike a physical storefront that potential customers might walk or drive by, an online store needs to figure out how to get customers to its virtual doors.

In the marketing and advertising chapter of your business plan, you’ll want to detail your marketing plan for your business – how are you going to get customers’ attention? How will they know you exist?

Here are a few tactics you may want to consider:

  • Content marketing. Start writing blog posts that your potential customers may find interesting so that you can attract prospects to your business. Also, consider guest posting on other blogs that your potential customers might read.
  • Social media. These days, most consumers expect that the companies they shop at will have some form of social media presence. Pick the networks that you plan to be active on and determine a strategy that will engage your potential customers.
  • Traditional PR. Traditional PR isn’t dead. If you can get popular publications to cover your company launch and your products, you’ll be able to drive new customers to your door.
  • Advertising. Online advertising will almost certainly be in your plans. The good thing about online advertising is that you can measure its effectiveness and fine-tune things as you go. Depending on your business and how much cash you have on hand, you may consider traditional off-line advertising as well.
  • Email marketing. For many eCommerce businesses, email is a core strategy for driving sales. If you have a content marketing plan, you can use that content to drive email subscriptions. You can also offer deals to build your email list, such as free shipping or discounts on orders.

Successful eCommerce businesses are all about ensuring that their operations are running smoothly and efficiently. Use your business plan as your chance to figure out what your operations plans are ahead of time before you jump in and get started. This is where many businesses can get tripped up, so taking the time to get your operations set up properly is worth the up-front investment of time.

Areas you’ll want to cover include:

  • Locations. Even though your business may be online, you’ll still need to run the business from somewhere. Perhaps you can run the business entirely remotely, but potentially you may need some office space for employees or warehouse space for product storage. Think about where these locations are located and what it will cost to keep them running.
  • Suppliers. You’ll need suppliers for raw materials if you’re making products and you will also need suppliers if you are reselling products. Use your plan to figure out who you’re going to work with, what their purchase terms are, and what kind of delivery timeframes they can provide for you.
  • Production. If you’re assembling raw materials into products, you’ll need to know how and where you will be producing your products.
  • Storage & fulfillment. If you’re not drop-shipping from products from a supplier, you’ll need to store and ship your own products. Your business plan should detail where and how storage and fulfillment will take place and what the costs will be. Don’t forget to think through how you’ll handle returns and exchanges.
  • Technology & payment processors. All eCommerce businesses need technology to function. You’ll want to think about the platform you’ll use for your online store, what functionality you need, and how you’ll accept payments. 

Company & Management

This chapter of your eCommerce business plan describes the structure of your business and who is running it. If you’re going into business with other people, you should establish a partnership agreement. Your plan will need to explain how your business is structured and who owns what portions of the business. 

You’ll also want to include a company description that includes details on the management team and the highlights from their resumes. Potential investors will be looking for experienced owners and managers to get an eCommerce business up and running, so this section of the plan should explain why your team is qualified to build the business into a success.

If you aren’t looking for outside investment, this section of your eCommerce business plan is still important. You should think about the different positions you’ll need to fill and who is going to do each job in the business. Even if you don’t plan on hiring employees right away, having a plan for who you’re going to hire and when will be enormously helpful when the time comes.

Financial Plan

Finally, your eCommerce business plan will need to include a financial plan . Investors will want to see a sales forecast , income statement (also called profit and loss statement), cash flow statement , and a balance sheet. If you use a tool like LivePlan , you’ll be able to build out your financial forecasts relatively quickly, even if you don’t have experience with business numbers.

Even if you’re not working with investors or getting a bank loan, you should run your numbers. This is arguably the most important part of your business plan. You need to know if the numbers work for your business based on your forecasted sales and planned expenses . 

It’s much better to find out if you need to make changes to your business model while it’s all just an idea on paper rather than a business that you’ve already invested money in.

If you need additional help, we’ve created a guide to creating the financial statements you need to include in your business plan .

  • Ecommerce business plan templates and examples

If you want to see how other eCommerce businesses have created their plans, check out our free library of eCommerce business plans . You can download all of them in Word format so you can jump-start your own business plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Check out LivePlan

Table of Contents

Related Articles

business plan for an ecommerce

8 Min. Read

Franchise business plan

business plan for an ecommerce

5 Min. Read

Agritourism business plan

business plan for an ecommerce

Trucking business plan

business plan for an ecommerce

Personal shopper business plan

The LivePlan Newsletter

Become a smarter, more strategic entrepreneur.

Your first monthly newsetter will be delivered soon..

Unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy .

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

business plan for an ecommerce

  • Jul 26, 2023

How to create a defensible eCommerce business plan

how to create an eCommerce business plan

Most eCommerce websites are built on a dream, a passion, or a noble goal of fixing something that lacks a proper solution.

But unfortunately, many businesses don’t last more than a few months. A discouraging truth about eCommerce is that 90% of startups fail in the first 120 days.

Suffice to say that in order for your business to survive its first precarious years—and to thrive beyond them—you need a solid business plan.

After all, some of the most common reasons why businesses fail include lack of capital, inadequate management, and a faulty business model. Much of this is a symptom of poor planning. Here’s how you can better plan for your brand’s future and create a strong eCommerce business plan.

What is an eCommerce business plan?

A business plan is a roadmap for how to structure, operate, and manage your business. It includes the important elements that define your company—such as your name, description, capital needs, product categories, target market characteristics, and business goals.

A thoughtful business plan can prepare your store for a successful launch and/or help it to scale in the right ways. In the latter case, an annual business plan review and revision can help you adapt to industry changes and anticipate new trends or consumer behaviors.

Black text on a light blue background that says "Launch your online store" with a clickable link button that says "Get Started"

In a nutshell, a business plan helps you to:

Secure funding. By having a business plan that details the who, what, where, when, and hows of your business—you’ll enjoy an easier time building trust with investors and piquing their interest.

Filter distractions. New trends and distractions crop up all the time in eCommerce, making it especially important to have a plan that holds your business accountable to (read: focused on) particular goals.

Do your due diligence. When you’re first figuring out how to start a business , it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and act on gut feelings. But building a business plan requires you to slow down and perform more thorough research on your target market, product(s), financial plan, and more.

Plan for the long term. Your business plan will help you to better gauge where your business should be in both the short and long terms. It can also act as a compass, estimating the steps you need to take to get from where you are today to where you want to go.

Grow your team. A business plan not only gives you a sense of who to hire and when, but serves as the glue binding your team to one, clearly defined vision.

Grow your operations. Between your tech stack, staff, supply chain, website, and more—there’s a lot that needs to be put into motion before your eCommerce business can take off. Your business plan should outline all of these moving parts, helping you strategically build out your operations.

How to create an eCommerce business plan

An eCommerce business plan is structured similarly to a traditional business plan. However, it will detail things like your website builder, sales channels, fulfillment process, and goals that are distinct to running an online store.

Here’s a breakdown of what you should include in your plan and how to create it:

Write your executive summary

Include your company name, description, and domain

Perform eCommerce market analysis

List the products you’re selling and why

Plot your operations plan

Set out your marketing and advertising plan

Lay out your financial plan

checklist of items to include in eCommerce business plan

01. Write your executive summary

Though this is published at the beginning of your business plan, your executive summary should be written last.

This summary is exactly as it sounds. It connects and introduces all the components of your document for readers who want a brief overview of what your business is all about. It’s similar to a hook or an elevator pitch that compels readers to continue scrolling.

Keep this summary short. Do not exceed one page, and include a brief description of your product or service, growth opportunities, and why your business is set up for success. What do investors or teammates need to know right off the bat?

02. Include your company name and description

In this section, you’ll want to outline the who, what, and why of your business. Rather than going into details about the products you plan to sell (this comes later), talk about your vision for the company. Share your motivations, values, and problems that you plan to solve.

Your description can include things like:

Brand name - Selecting a meaningful name is particularly important for eCommerce businesses since your website domain will be closely associated with your brand. Jeff Bezos famously named Amazon after the world’s largest river because his goal was to create the world’s largest bookstore, but also didn’t want to be tied to books. Similarly, you’ll want to pick a name that you won’t outgrow. If you need some inspiration, give Wix’s store name generator a whirl or check out this guide to eCommerce business names .

Domain name - At this point, you’ll want to have registered a domain name. Use Wix’s domain name search to check if your preferred domain is available. If the domain is taken, you can take one of several steps: contact the site owner directly, tweak your domain (e.g., add a verb like “get” to the front of your name), use a different TLD than .com, or use an abbreviated form of your name.

Background - Your description is a great place to share why you started your business in the first place. What inspired you to create your brand? Who do you plan to serve? What do you plan to accomplish? While you want to avoid waxing poetic here, it’s worth giving your readers an inside look into the history of your company.

Vision - Your vision statement should capture the ideal state of your business. In other words, what is the future that you’re building towards—not just now, but five or 10 years from now?

Mission - Your mission statement , on the other hand, should express what you’re striving and able to achieve now. While your vision statement provides the 30,000 foot view of your company, your mission statement acts as a compass for your team and keeps them motivated to do their best.

google mission vs. vision statements

Business structure - Be clear about whether your company is a sole proprietorship, an LLC , s-corporation, c-corporation , or partnership . If you’re not sure which applies to you or which one to pursue, consult a lawyer or accountant.

Key personnel - Name key team members like your cofounders, CEO, partners, and upper management. There should be no question about who owns the company, and who is responsible for managing what. This is not something just meant for appearances—your team should be well-structured to ensure efficiency and growth.

Core values - Your values should represent how you plan to run your business. Investors and employees will want to know that they’re backing the right horse, not just from a financial perspective but from a human perspective. Your values will naturally make an appearance in your vision, mission, and background, but make sure that your values are clearly stated for readers to refer back to.

03. Perform eCommerce market analysis

Your business plan should include extensive information about your industry and the people you plan to serve. The last thing you want to do is enter the ring blindly or operate based on assumptions alone.

This section should describe everything from the barriers to entry, to how your business fits into the existing landscape, to how much opportunity exists. Remember that you’re the expert here. Not everyone who gets their hands on this doc will have as much insight into the industry—nor the time to research it on their own—so you’ll want to provide all the essential information up front.

Target market - Estimate the number of consumers who need your product (based on real independent research) and how often they may make a purchase. Revisit your buyer personas and describe who you’re planning to target. Is the need for your product growing, based on the climate of your industry? What consumer behaviors have you observed? Are there any doubts or questions that you should address?

Competitive analysis - Identify your top competitors and perform a deep dive into their strengths, weaknesses, top products, pricing strategies, and more. You should know how your business stacks up against these players. For example, many companies manufacture and sell hair and body care products, but Lush built its reputation by taking a stand against animal testing, over packaging, and harsh synthetic ingredients. The company has a clear niche within the cosmetics and bath products industry. They create unique, memorable products that are easy to differentiate from competitors (and fuel brand loyalty). The most important thing at this stage is to be honest in your assessment. Don’t turn a blind eye to areas where your company needs to improve or any risks that you run. At the same time, zero in on any product gaps or niches that your company can effectively target to get ahead of competitors.

Special considerations - As an eCommerce business, you may not simply sell D2C from your branded site. You may also choose to sell on third-party marketplaces like Amazon, sell wholesale, or open brick-and-mortar locations. Each of these may involve a different set of competitors and buyers. Take the time to look into each of these channels separately. Understand how you plan to compete on all of these different fronts (or perhaps now is a good time to define which is most important to start off with).

04. List the products you’re selling and why you’re selling them

By now, you’ve likely mentioned your product several times within your business plan. Still, you’ll want to have a section that clearly lists out your products.

In this section, describe your pricing, product positioning , margins, product life cycle , and key differentiators. You can include pictures and product reviews if you’ve already tested your items in the market. Or, if you’re still in the research and development phase, describe your timeline and progress in detail.

It should be clear whether your products are private label or sourced elsewhere. If you only sell a few items, provide a more detailed description of each. Alternatively, if your catalog is too large to list out, give a more general overview of each product type, plus the strategy behind them.

05. Plot your operations plan

If your business plan is meant to serve as an internal doc for your team to use (or even if you want investors to see where your capital is going), include a section that describes how you plan on tackling logistics and operations. There are tons of things to keep track of on this front, from the suppliers you’ll need to work with to the storage space you’ll require.

Here’s a breakdown of information you can include.

Suppliers - List out your suppliers for raw and/or finished goods. Where are they located? How do you plan on connecting with and managing them?

Production - Are you dropshipping , manufacturing, hand-crafting, or buying your products wholesale? Include details like lead time, contingency plans (for when demand spikes), and other essential details about your supply chain.

Equipment - What hardware and software will you need to conduct business? Include your website builder and other subscription-based tools that you’ll need.

Warehousing - Explain where you plan on storing your products—whether that be your own warehouse or a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.

Facilities - Do you plan on opening a brick-and-mortar location, or will you have a designated office space? Include where your team members will be operating out of and how that might change as you grow.

Personnel - You’ll want to be clear about the chain of command and which roles are filled or need to be filled. Don’t forget to think about any legal or accounting needs, in addition to board members, consultants, and employees.

Inventory - How do you plan on handling inventory management ? This is an area where lots of businesses stumble, so you’ll want to have a clear strategy (and the necessary technology) to keep this in check across all of your sales channels.

Shipping and fulfillment - Do you plan on fulfilling orders on your own or will you outsource this responsibility? Moreover, how will you handle international shipping if your brand plans on selling overseas?

06. Set out your marketing and advertising plan

It’s no secret that you need a good marketing and advertising plan to grow your eCommerce business .

But you may be surprised to know that a staggering 37% of surveyed startup owners said that poor online marketing caused their businesses to fail. Of this cohort, 35% said that a lack of online search visibility was the top reason.

That’s why you don’t want to haphazardly build your eCommerce marketing strategy . Think of—and document—the various components of your strategy:

Social media ads

Content marketing/SEO

Organic social media

Email marketing

Influencer marketing


Affiliate marketing

Loyalty programs

Events/pop-ups/trade shows

Radio or TV

Brand partnerships

A strong marketing plan doesn’t necessarily require a big advertising budget. But you’ll want to name your top channels upfront and specify whether these things will be handled in-house or with an agency’s help.

07. Lay out your financial plan

So you’ve got big plans for your business. How will you fund them?

This is where you reassure readers that your head isn’t just in the clouds. While this is probably the least fun to write, the viability of your business (and your reader’s confidence in you) relies on having a firm grasp of the numbers.

If you plan to seek financing, then investors and lenders will want a sales forecast along with your list of expenses (this includes both fixed costs and variable costs) to ultimately ensure that they’re making a sound investment.

Or, if you don’t plan on seeking third-party funding, a financial plan still tells you how much money you’ll need to run your business and helps to protect you from unwelcome surprises. The last thing you want is to run out of money before you can establish yourself—which is one of the top five reasons that eCommerce startups failed in the same survey mentioned above.

Consider including theses elements within your financial plan:

Startup cost

Income and expenses

Balance sheet

Cash flow statement

Break even point

Customer acquisition cost

Key assumptions

Financial projects for next five years

Get cracking on your business plan today

Whether you’ve just dipped your foot in eCommerce or have been in business for years now, you’ll need an up-to-date business plan to run a tight ship. Download our free business plan template today and build a solid foundation for your brand.

eCommerce business plan FAQ

Why do i need an ecommerce business plan.

Having an eCommerce business plan is essential for several reasons. It serves as a roadmap that outlines your business goals, strategies, and tactics, helping you navigate the complexities of starting and running an online store.

What are the main steps included in an eCommerce business plan?

business plan for an ecommerce

Allison Lee

Editor, Wix eCommerce

Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

  • Sell Online

Related Posts

The ultimate guide to eCommerce branding (with examples)

How to start an online store in 10 steps (2024 guide)

19 high-profit eCommerce business ideas

Wix eCommerce Expand your eCommerce reach

Creating a Stellar Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Online Store

Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform

For years, you’ve purchased items from online businesses or marketplaces like Etsy, eBay and Amazon and thought to yourself, “I could do something like this, too.”

Starting your own ecommerce business may seem intimidating — writing a business plan, even more so.

However, a business plan allows you to validate your business idea, assess your financial position and create a concrete action plan for how you’ll deliver a product from the original source to the end consumer.

In other words, while the business plan might seem like it’s ultimately meant for other people’s benefit — potential investors, business partners or well-meaning family members who keep pestering you to write one — in reality, the business plan benefits you, the business owner, the most.

You’ll shape the vision and mission for your business and map out how you’ll get there. One study by Harvard Business Review found that entrepreneurs who write a formal business plan are 16% more likely to achieve viability than those who don’t.

An ecommerce business plan is a document that outlines your business purpose and goals, analyzes your industry and competitors and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan.

For example, which suppliers will you work with? What types of products will you stock? Who is your ideal buyer? How will you advertise your business? Can you afford to provide free shipping and still make a profit?

Here’s a step-by-step primer on how to write a business plan for your ecommerce store, what elements to include and how to use your own business plan to increase your chance of success.

How to Create An Ecommerce Business Plan

Business plans help entrepreneurs maintain focus on their goals and shape the day-to-day running of a new business. The key elements of an ecommerce business plan template describe blueprints for growth, projected timelines and financial goals — clarifying topics like cash flow, expenses, marketing tools and distribution channels.

Draft an executive summary.

An executive summary provides a concise rundown of the key points in your business plan. In short, it should summarize your chosen industry, business purpose, competitors, business goals and financial position. Executive summaries average 1-3 pages and are ideally under two pages.

What does your business do?

Explain the raison d’être for your startup. What problem will you solve for your customers? Who is the target audience? Where do you want your business to be in one, five, or 10 years?

Here are the main elements of an executive summary:

The problem statement or business opportunity : Describe a pain point or gap in the market that you are uniquely qualified to fill. (“As someone who used to own a convenience store, I heard many of my customers complain about the lack of healthy food options while traveling domestically.”)

Your business idea : State how you plan to approach the problem (“XYZ is a ready-to-eat meal company that lets travelers order and pack healthy meals ahead of trips so they can avoid eating fast food.”)

Company history : Describe what milestones you have achieved. Are you already working with suppliers? What is your current revenue? (“In 2021, XYZ fulfilled over 10,000 orders, generating $150,000 in revenue.”)

Industry and market analysis : Outline the trends in the market that affect your business, market size, and demand for your product. (“In 2022, the global health and wellness food market was valued at $841 billion and is projected to increase to one trillion by 2026.”)

Competition : Explain who your competitors are, outline their strengths and weaknesses, and make it clear how you will differentiate.

Timeline for key milestones : Project when you plan to achieve goals like breaking even, launching an IPO, or other key milestones.

Financial plan (if you are seeking funding from investors or banks).

What goals does your business want to achieve?

Set short- and long-term goals for your business, such as achieving a certain amount of revenue or testing a new product idea. Business goals can be general and high-level or they can focus on specific, measurable actions (SMART goals).

The most realistic goal-setting approach is to set short-term goals as stepping stones to your long-term goals. For example, your short-term goal to decrease website bounce rate by 25% within 12 weeks might help you reach the long-term goal of growing conversions by 50% within one year.

Timeframes for short-term goals can range from a few hours to a year, while long-term goals generally take 1-5 years to achieve.

What products do you sell?

Outline your product offerings and specify where you’ll source each item. Some ecommerce businesses manufacture products in-house. Others work with wholesalers, manufacturers or print-on-demand businesses to resell their products.

Curate a tight product line that demonstrates your value proposition. Why should someone buy from your online store rather than another brand? Why would someone choose your products over a substitute if you don't produce goods in-house?

Ecommerce companies sell three types of products: goods, services and digital products. Tell your readers what you intend to sell and why. List each item and its purpose. For each, you want to answer the question “why?” Why are you choosing to offer these specific products and services? How do you plan on fulfilling orders?

If you’re offering a service, explain what you do and where. Are you local? Do you travel to your customers? Will you partner with similar service providers in other areas?

How will customers access the item if you're offering a digital product? Will they download software or education videos from your site? Will they pay a subscription or usage-based fee? What about licensing requirements? Mention intellectual property ownership (if applicable) including trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Who is your audience?

Describe your ideal customer. Define your product or service from their point of view. What problems does your product solve for them? What benefits or features do customers look for when shopping for that product type?

Create customer profiles that summarize your target audience in terms of demographics (age, location, gender, etc) and psychographics (pain points, interests, buying patterns). Consider creating customer segments based on shared characteristics if you cater to a wide audience.

Demographic data should include the following points:

Education level.

Relationship status.


Meanwhile, discover your target customer’s motivations, needs and wants as much as possible. Psychographic data should include the following points:

Where are you going to sell your products?

Outline your sales channels, both future and existing. For example, your main point-of-sale might be your ecommerce site. Be sure to include stats on site traffic and conversions so readers know how your site is performing.

Still, you might also offer your products online on marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Etsy. Explain how each of these channels is performing and how you’re optimizing them for product discoverability and conversions (eg: following SEO best practices, using high-quality images, highlighting user-generated content).

Identify your company overview.

Tell your brand's story , its purpose, and how the company was founded. In addition to the company description, provide details on how you currently run the business. List your business partners and employees and describe the business's legal structure.

The best brand names are memorable and communicate the essence of your business. Brand names gain icon status because they represent an excellent product or service, so don’t obsess over it.

That said, the right brand name can be your brand’s most valuable asset, driving differentiation and speeding acceptance. In fact, 71% of consumers prefer to buy from brands they recognize.

If you’re struggling to come up with a name, try using an online brand name generator as a jumping-off point. Remember, you’re not locked into a single brand name forever.

Business structure

Describe the legal structure of your business. Is it a sole proprietorship, LLC, an S-Corp or a partnership? Consider speaking to an accountant if you’re not sure. Who is in charge of the business? List founders and officers and their contributions (both capital and expertise) to the company. Who works for the company? Include an org chart that illustrates who currently works for the business and the roles you plan to hire for . List their responsibilities, salaries and terms of employment (freelance, full-time, part-time).[

Your business structure]( ) affects how much you pay in taxes, your ability to raise money, the paperwork you must file and your personal liability in the event of business bankruptcy, so this information is important to lenders. Also mention if you have filed or plan to file for any applicable licenses or permits.

Domain name

Register a unique domain name for your business. A catchy brand name is essential because the domain is less likely to have been claimed by another business. Keep your domain name as short as possible and ensure it includes your brand name for SEO purposes.

Your mission describes the fundamental purpose of your business. It should tell people why the business exists and how it benefits its customers. For example, LinkedIn’s mission statement is “connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.”

However, be careful not to exaggerate. An overly aspirational mission statement is disingenuous and wishy-washy — no single corporation or small business will single-handedly “change the world.”

A vision statement is a declaration of what you want your business to achieve in the future by fulfilling its purpose. It describes your company’s “why,” while the mission statement describes the “who” and “what” of the business.

Your vision statement should define your values as a business (eg: reducing waste generated by single-use toiletries) and future goals (achieving a zero-waste world by implementing a circular economy).

Background information

Tell the story of how you conceived your business idea. Say you’re a former school teacher who discovered your artistic flair from making handmade pottery in your garage on weekends. Describe how your business has grown and changed since you first started it.

Your team and key people

List the key personnel in your company. Aside from the founders and executive team, who keeps the business running each day? Here are a few examples:

Company owner — that’s probably you.

CEO — that’s probably also you.

Management team.

Customer service manager.

Logistics manager.

PR and social media specialist.

Advertising manager.

SEO manager.


Conduct market research.

Ecommerce businesses face intense competition and are liable to market disruptions because they rely on third parties (suppliers, shipping companies, wholesalers) to deliver a product or service. Knowing the market in and out will help you build a more resilient business.

A market analysis considers your ideal customer (their purchase habits and behaviors), competitors (their strengths and weaknesses), market conditions (industry trends and long-term outlook), and how your business fits into this landscape.

The point of a target market analysis is to:

Identify the most and least valuable markets.

Develop buyer personas.

Find gaps in the market to fill.

Assess the viability of a product or service.

Improve business strategy .

Market opportunities

The first step to identifying your target market is determining your total addressable market (TAM) — the maximum market size for your product or service. Who are your customers? What are their demographic and psychographic traits? When and how often will they buy your product?

The best way to obtain a high-level overview of your customer base is to consult your social media and web analytics. These dashboards show where your customers live, their age, gender, general interests and more. You can also use U.S. Census Bureau data to pad up this information.

Competitive analysis

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors. First, find out who your direct and indirect competitors are. You can perform a Google search of businesses that sell similar products or scope out rivals in your local area.

Here’s what you need to know about your competitors:

What markets and segments they serve.

What benefits they offer.

Why their customers buy from them.

Details of products and services, including pricing and promotional strategies.

Search for publicly available information about your competitors. Aside from that, do some of your own primary research. Visit their website and complete an order or visit their physical outlet.

Next, analyze the information. Is there a segment of the market your competition has overlooked? Is there a product they don’t supply? Did you have a bad customer experience when you walked into the store?

Detail your competitive advantage in your business plan. Don’t just list things that your competitors do — that’s not analysis. The competitive analysis section aims to persuade the reader that you are knowledgeable about the competition and that your business idea has a significant advantage over the competition.

Products and services

List the products and services you provide and how customers will access them. If you’re selling digital products, will customers have to stream or download the content? Do they pay a subscription fee to access a content platform or do they pay for each individual content piece? If you’re providing a service, will you provide it on physical premises or will you travel to customers’ homes? Will you sell physical products in a physical store or online? What is your website like? List each product, including a short product description and pricing information.

Develop a marketing plan.

You need a go-to-market strategy if you haven’t already launched your business. How will you spread the word about your business? How and where will you advertise and what is your budget? If you run social media ads, for example, what platforms will you use and who is your target audience? Will you do content marketing and SEO? A thorough marketing plan answers all of these important questions.

Marketing channels

Define which channels match your consumer demographic. Do your potential customers spend time on Facebook or do they prefer YouTube? First, figure out where your potential customers are. Next, create attention-grabbing marketing strategies and use them to reach your customer base.

Paid marketing channels

PPC advertising : Advertise on Google’s search engine and pay only once someone clicks on your ad. You can bid for ad placement in the search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches a keyword related to your business offering.

Affiliate marketing : Embed links to another business’s products in your content and receive a commission when someone makes a purchase using your unique affiliate link.

Social media ads : Run paid ads on social media apps and platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to reach targeted audiences. Ads can use different creatives such as images, videos and GIFs.

Influencer marketing : Work with a popular influencer who will promote your products to their followers. Influencers are paid based on conversions or reach.

Organic marketing channels

Brands must use an organic marketing strategy to build brand awareness and engagement and drive website traffic.

Examples include:

Search engine optimization (SEO) : Optimize your website, web pages and blog posts for maximum discoverability on search engines. This involves doing keyword research for your industry, creating high-quality content that attracts and converts and using keywords in the right places.

Social media posts : Organic social media posts build brand awareness and humanize the brand by providing a behind-the-scenes look at the company and allowing you to share engaging visual content to inspire, educate and entertain.

Blogger networks : Collaborating with trusted bloggers on link exchanges can help you build website backlinks, improving your search engine ranking.

Content marketing : Organic content includes blog posts, white papers, SEO pages, and more. This gives you content to post on social media and improves the discoverability of your website. Websites that publish high-quality content consistently rank higher in search results.

Email marketing : Create email templates for new and potential customers, cart abandonment, promotions and announcements and more.

Logistics and Operations plan

This portion of the business plan covers what you physically need to run your ecommerce company. Basically, it outlines how you’ll manage the flow of goods from the supplier (you or a third party) to the consumer. You cannot start a business without an established supply chain.

Your logistics and operations plan should cover the following:

Suppliers : Where do your raw materials or products come from? Do you work with a manufacturer who produces your product idea or are you reselling products from a supplier, wholesaler or distributor? What is the minimum order value? Do they require payment upfront or after the sale? Do you have a backup supplier in case demand spikes or there is a problem with fulfillment?

Production : Will you create your own products or use a third-party manufacturer or dropshipping company? If you’re creating your own products, where will this be done? What assets and equipment do you need? What are your operating costs?

Shipping and fulfillment : Outline how the product will reach the end consumer. How long will it take you to pack and ship products to customers? Will you use a third-party shipper? Will you ship internationally?

Inventory : How much inventory will you keep on hand and where will you put it? How will you track incoming and outgoing inventory? Do you need warehouse storage space?

Establish a financial plan.

The financial section of your business plan is where you prove the feasibility of your business idea and calculate your startup costs. It includes financial projections and statements that show your business’s current financial position and project where you hope to be in the future. This is one of the essential components of the business plan, particularly if you are seeking investment funding, a bank loan or a business partner.

Income statement

In this document, you’ll forecast the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period. Total revenue is the sum of both operating and non-operating revenues while total expenses include those incurred by primary and secondary activities.

If you subtract your expenses from your revenue sources, you’ll come up with your bottom line (profit or loss).

Balance sheet

A balance sheet helps you calculate how much equity you have in your business. It summarizes your company’s assets (what you own), your liabilities (what you owe) and equity (money invested into the business plus profits).

A balance sheet enables you to calculate your net worth. All of your assets (machinery, inventory, business premises, etc.) go in a column on the left and your liabilities (accounts and wages payable, business loan repayments, business credit card payments, taxes) go in a column on the right. If you subtract your liabilities from your assets, you get your business’ shareholder equity.

Cash-flow statement

This document shows how much cash is generated and spent over a time period. Cash flow determines whether your business is primarily gaining or losing money. Positive cash flow and profit margins are important because it enables your business to repay bank loans, purchase commodities and keep the lights on.

How to Increase Ecommerce Sales

Explore our collection of free resources designed to help you scale smarter and accelerate your online growth from $1 million to $100 million.

The Final Word

Writing a comprehensive business plan is crucial not only for staying on track in the first year or so after launching your business but also for securing funding, finding a business partner and evaluating the viability of your business idea.

FAQs About Ecommerce Business Plans

Who needs an ecommerce business plan, what are the benefits of creating a business plan, how do i start an ecommerce business with no money, browse additional resources.

Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How


Business Planning

  • Financial Forecasting

AI Assistance

See how upmetrics works  →, strategic planning, entrepreneurs & small business, accelerators & incubators, business consultants & advisors, educators & business schools, students & scholars.

  • Sample Plans

Business Plan Course

Small business tools.

  • Strategic Canvas Templates

E-books, Guides & More


Customers Success Stories

  • Business Plan Builder
  • Canvas Modeling
  • Product Tour
  • Business Consultants and Advisors
  • Entrepreneurs And Small Businesses
  • Accelerators & Incubators
  • Educators & Business Schools
  • Students & Scholars
  • Sample Business Plans
  • business plan course
  • E-Books, Guides & More
  • Success Stories
  • Retail, Consumers & E-commerce

Ecommerce Business Plan

trustpilot reviews

So apparently everyone is jumping in to start an ecommerce business. Considering you already have your star product or service ready, you must be very thrilled to launch your business and make your first sale.

However, wait. Is your business plan ready? If you haven’t marked writing a business plan as the most important task on your checklist, you need to do that right away.

We know writing an ecommerce business plan is challenging. As a business owner of this new challenging enterprise, you don’t have much time. But this detailed guide with step-by-step procedures is likely to make the entire process of writing easier for you.

Don’t waste a minute further. Let’s dive right into the topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Elements like executive summary, product or service, operations, marketing and sales plan, management team, and financial plan come together to make a compelling business plan.
  • Determine marketing strategies for your ecommerce business and lay a clear action plan for building a solid brand image.
  • Clearly establish your value propositions, business goals, and objectives to form relevant strategies for your ecommerce company.
  • Make financial projections and consider various progressive and aggressive scenarios to establish the feasibility of your business idea.
  • Identify the gaps and loopholes in your planning and make changes to your business idea accordingly.

Why do you need an Ecommerce business plan?

A business plan has many more advantages apart from helping you get approved for a business loan. Here are a few potential benefits of having one for your ecommerce company:

  • Goals fulfillment: You will have to juggle multiple roles while running your ecommerce store. A well-crafted business plan will offer a roadmap to your business while helping you realize your business goals.
  • Business strategies: A  business plan simplifies your business strategy and helps put the strategies for sales, marketing, and operations in perspective.
  • Market analysis: A business plan strengthens your stand in the market by compelling you to conduct a detailed market analysis of the industry, competitors, and potential customers.
  • Test ideas: An ecommerce plan will help you realize the gaps and errors in your planning. This allows you the luxury to make changes in the business model before investing your money in it.
  • Simplifies the finance: A well-structured business plan lays a clear financial plan for your ecommerce business. The figures will help you understand the profitability, costs, and expenses of the company and its viability in monetary terms.

There’s much more to it. A business plan is like a beam of bright light that will make walking through the woods easier. It’s a living document that will evolve as the business grows.

Key components of an ecommerce business plan

Wondering what goes into making a perfect ecommerce business plan? Well, these are the key components you shouldn’t be missing.

  • Executive summary: The executive summary will highlight the key details of your entire business plan.
  • Business overview: This section will include a brief business overview along with its value proposition, objectives, mission, and vision statement.
  • Market analysis: This section will define your potential customers and competition. A detailed industry analysis and competitors analysis will lay a foundation for important business strategies.
  • Products and services: Define the products and services you will sell to your ideal customer. Also, offer a brief description of each product.
  • Sales and marketing strategy: Highlight your sales and marketing plan to attract your potential customers. From content marketing to social media- include every detail of your strategies here.
  • Operations plan: A well-defined plan that will help you run a smooth online business. Clearly defined process for inventory, order fulfillment, sales, storage, etc.
  • Management team: A brief introduction of your company’s management team and their expertise in the field.
  • Financial plan: Includes detailed financial forecasts and key reports like balance sheet, cash flow, P&L, and investment plan.

There is no definite format for business plans. However, a comprehensive plan accounts for all these components and makes it effective.

How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan: A Complete Guide

From undertaking thorough market research to creating a marketing plan- uncover every detail on writing an effective plan for your online business with this guide.

1. Get an Ecommerce business plan template

Crafting a stellar business plan is a challenge. However, it can be the most precious reward for your business if you manage to write it comprehensively.

The process of translating your business idea into a business plan is lengthy and time-consuming. One is likely to leave behind an important detail or two without any definite format.

This is why you need an Ecommerce business plan template to write your plan in a structurally organized format. A template will help streamline your thoughts, organize the vision, and bring your ideas to life effortlessly.

Let’s not look elsewhere for a perfect template. Upmetrics business plan template is intuitive and is enriched with relevant examples that can be easily used as a reference while writing your plan.

business plan for an ecommerce

Need Assistance Writing a Ecommerce Business Plan?

Get Upmetrics’ business plan template, import data directly into the editor, and start editing using Upmetrics AI Assistant.

Upmetrics AI assistance

Start Planning Now

2. Write an executive summary

Executive summary is a concise rundown of key points that summarizes your business plan. Though presented at first, it should be written in the end after you have walked through all the other aspects of planning.

Consider it as a document that will offer a brief insight into your overall business. Investors will read this part and gauge the viability of your business idea. If they find it fascinating and intriguing enough they will read it further in detail.

Add brief details of your ecommerce business, target market, problem, solution, service model, business goals, and financial figures in this section.

Adapt a narrative tone to make it interesting and keep it highly informative. And, most importantly keep it within a limit of 1-2 pages.

Say goodbye to boring templates

Build your business plan faster and easier with AI

Plans starting from $7/month

business plan for an ecommerce

3. Create a company overview section

As the title suggests, this section offers a brief company description of your ecommerce business. You must also include brief details about the company’s history in this section if it’s not a new venture.

So what does this section include?

  • Name and location of the business , i.e. location of your warehouse, back end office.
  • Type of your Ecommerce business , i.e. B2B, B2C, D2C, C2C, etc.
  • Business structure of your e-commerce brand , i.e. sole proprietorship, Partnership, LLC, limited partnership, etc.
  • Business goals : Highlight milestones such as sales or revenue goals.
  • Mission statement : Describe the fundamental purpose of your business explaining why the business exists. For instance, the mission of First Cry is to offer eco-friendly baby care and maternity items to conscious buyers through its website and listings on a third-party platform.
  • Vision statement : It is a declaration of what you want to achieve with your ecommerce business. For instance, First Cry wants to become the preferred brand for baby care products in the markets of North America, Asia, and Europe.

4. Conduct a competitive and market analysis

In this section of competitive and market analysis, you will dive deep into the study of the target market, industry trends, and your competition. Only a thorough understanding of these key elements will help you build a resilient business.

Target market and market opportunities

Begin by determining the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for your products and services. This part of the market analysis will offer a realistic idea of your market size.

Further, strengthen the understanding of your target market by identifying your target audience. Create a buyer persona by considering the psychographic and demographic details of your ideal customer.

Collect data from US census boards, government websites, and industrial publications for solid and foundational market research.

Lastly, identify the market trends and highlight your business strategy to fill the gaps in the existing market.

Competitive analysis

Ecommerce companies operate in a severely competitive marketplace. Understanding your competition will help you safeguard the business against potential threats and risks from your direct and indirect competitors.

Collect the data and analyze your competitors on the grounds of prices, services, quality, product offering, target market, and market size to make conclusive points. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses using methods like SWOT analysis.

Now, detail the competitive advantage of your products and service offerings. This analysis should reflect that your business idea has a solid advantage over competitors’ offerings.

Focus on quality research. The study of the target market and competition will lay a foundation for crafting efficient business strategies.

5. Detail your products and services

After completing your market analysis, you will create a detailed section for your products and services.

Highlight all the product lines that your online business will offer. Also, mention the products within each product line and the product source.

If you are amongst the ecommerce businesses that sell digital products or services, mention those and explain how the customers will access them.

For instance, an OTT platform offers streaming services to its clients through an application.

Keep this section detailed by adding a brief description of each product and its pricing.

Consider this as a checklist of questions you must answer within this section:

  • What are the products of your online store?
  • Will you manufacture the products or source them from vendors?
  • How will your customers buy the product- Website, application, shopping platforms, etc.
  • What will be the pricing of your product offerings?

ecommerce business plan products and services

6. Develop a sales and marketing plan

By now, the readers are aware of the products and services that your online business will offer. It’s now time to tell them your sales and marketing plan.

Millions of ecommerce businesses start every year. But very few manage to crack their desired sales.

In this section, you will make sales strategies to ensure that your desired sales become achievable.

Try answering the following to form an efficient sales plan:

  • Sales channels: website, application, ecommerce platforms, subscription box platforms, flash sale sites, etc.
  • Sales method: Inbound methods or outbound methods
  • Sales personnel: Who will be responsible for product/service sales
  • Sales tools: CRM

The decisions you make here will influence the marketing strategy of your online store.

Marketing strategy

Now you need a well-rounded marketing plan to market your online store. After all, marketing is crucial to developing a brand, reaching your target customers, and acquiring sales.

In this section of a business plan, you will highlight the marketing plan for your ecommerce business. Identify the marketing channels that will be most effective for your target customers and design your strategies accordingly.

Here are a few prevalent marketing methods that can help you grow your online store:

  • Content marketing: Start writing informative and useful blog posts for your target audience. Focus on principles of SEO and keyword research to grow your reach organically. Also, post guest blogs on websites to increase your chances of reaching a wider audience.
  • Social media marketing: Identify the social media platforms that are used the most by your target audience and dedicate your marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is the most rewarding marketing channel for thousands of ecommerce businesses out there. Explain how you will build your Email list and draw conversions through them.
  • PPC: Design strategies for running paid ads on Google, Facebook, and other platforms and determine your budget for the same.
  • Traditional PR: Traditional methods of publications can also help you market your product effectively. If you will be using such methods, highlight the details regarding the same.
  • Influencer marketing: Will you hire or barter with influencers to promote your product? If so, define your strategy for the same.

All in all, the marketing plan should clearly define a roadmap to reach your target audience. Also, highlight different marketing tools you will use for your online business.

marketing strategy for ecommercre business

7. Introduce your management team

Having the right team will help you build a successful ecommerce business. So take your time and figure out the manpower needs for your business.

In this section of your business plan, you will introduce the key management members at your ecommerce store. Define their role, responsibility, experience, expertise, and achievements to prove their suitability in your organization.

Outline the organizational structure of your online store and explain how these people will be responsible for the smooth functioning of your business.

8. Outline your operational plan

Running an ecommerce store is not an easy task. From managing the backend to offering timely deliveries- a lot goes into ensuring smooth business operations.

A solid business plan cannot be complete without a detailed section of operations in it. So take your time and set your operations in line before you start with the store.

Here are a few things that most ecommerce business plans have in common. Consider adding them to your operations plan as well.

  • Order fulfillment process: Everything from getting an order to delivery, managing returns, shipment, packaging, exchange, and tracking is defined at this step. Explain how the order will be fulfilled at your online store.
  • Manufacturing and quality control: If the products will be manufactured in-house, what will be the manufacturing process? How will you ensure quality? Where will the goods be manufactured? What machinery will you use?
  • Suppliers: Who will be your supplier for products and services? What will be the purchase terms? Will there be an agreement or contract? What would be the contingency plan in case of casualty?
  • Storage: Will you dropship the products or store them in a warehouse? Where will be the storage located? How will you manage stock? What methods will you use?
  • Technology and payment processors: How will the customers pay for online shopping? What payment methods are available for them? What technologies will you use to facilitate payments? How will you secure their personal information?
  • Customer service: How can the customers reach you? What will be your order policies? Will there be any customer service team?

The logistics and operations plan will serve as a policy book for your organization. It will answer every query and doubt regarding the process.

9. Prepare financial projections

Now comes the most taxing part of creating a business plan- preparing a financial plan.

A financial plan is crucial because it will help you determine the feasibility of a business idea. Moreover, if you plan to seek funding for your online business, the projections in this plan will compel potential investor’s interest in your business.

Here are a few things to include in your financial plan:

  • Startup costs: Estimate the startup costs for your ecommerce business . From website development to inventory costs, licensing fees, security, and software charges- include every cost that will go into establishing your online business.
  • Funding source: Determine your funding requirements and what sources will you use to acquire the funds, i.e. business loans, angel investors, friends and family, etc.
  • Pricing strategy: Include your pricing plan for the products and services. Consider various overhead and operational costs to determine the final pricing.
  • Sales projections: Include your monthly, quarterly, and annual sales projections through different sales channels and also estimate your revenue.
  • Income statement: Also known as profit and loss statement, in this key report you will forecast the company’s profit and loss for the next 3-5 years. The difference between a company’s revenue and expenses will give you gross profits and net profits.
  • Cash Flow Statement:   A clear documentation of cash that is generated and spent in a business. This will help potential investors understand whether your business will make or lose money.
  • Balance sheet: A key summary of your business assets and liabilities that indicates your net worth. Calculate your equity in the business by deducting all the liabilities from your assets.
  • Break-even analysis: Break-even will help you evaluate how long before the business will start making money.

Too much of calculations right? Not with the financial forecasting tool from Upmetrics. Simply enter your numbers in the tab and the tool will do all the detailed calculations for you. Import the data from Excel sheets and before you know your projections will be done.

financial highlights for ecommerce business plan

Ecommerce Industry Highlights 2023

Ecommerce is a trillion-dollar industry. It’s indeed a rewarding market for anyone who wants to start an ecommerce business. But before that, you must check out these latest industry highlights of 2023.

  • Global market size: The global Ecommerce market size is expected to reach 6.3 trillion dollars in 2023. There is ample room for new businesses to venture into this market.
  • Online marketplace : According to Forbes , 24% of total retail purchases will be made online by 2026.
  • Market leader: Amazon accounts for 37.8% of Ecommerce sales , which is far more than other ecommerce businesses.
  • Cart abandonment: 48% of online shoppers abandon their carts because of extra costs on shipping and taxes. You are likely to lose your potential customers if you fail to consider these aspects.
  • Frequency to shop: 79% of online shoppers will shop for something or the other at least once a month. Considering the customer segments, nearly 96% of Gen Z shop at least once a month online.
  • Social media commerce: If you think websites and platforms are the only way to reach your potential customers, you are wrong. 96.9 million people in the USA are reported to shop on social media.

The US online marketplace is expected to reach 940.9 billion by 2023 end. There is enough scope for new businesses to emerge and grow in this competitive market space.

Related Ecommerce Resources

  • Creating a Successful E-commerce Marketing Plan
  • E-commerce Industry Statistics
  • Calculating Your Online Store Startup Budget
  • How To Open n E-commerce Business

Download a sample ecommerce business plan

Looking for help to write your business plan? Well, we have something absolutely perfect for you. Download our ecommerce business plan sample pdf and get a detailed guide to write a plan along with relevant examples.

Upmetrics business plan templates are designed specifically for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to write their own business plans. Our templates are modern, intuitive, and easily available to kickstart your plan writing.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Write your business plan with Upmetrics

All set to start your own ecommerce business? Let’s simplify the entire business planning process for you with Upmetrics. We have more than 400+ customizable sample business plans suited for varying different businesses. With features like AI assistance and financial forecasting, you can bring together an actionable business plan in easy steps.

So whether you are aiming to start a business-to-business or business-to-customer or any other type of ecommerce business, you are well equipped to write the most stellar plan with our business planning app .

Get started now.

Related Posts

Etsy Business Plan

Etsy Business Plan

Online Shopping Store Business Plan

Online Shopping Store Business Plan

Steps to Write a Business Plan

Steps to Write a Business Plan

List of Business Problem Statement

List of Business Problem Statement

How to Conduct Competitive Analysis

How to Conduct Competitive Analysis

ChatGPT Prompts for Business Plan

ChatGPT Prompts for Business Plan

Frequently asked questions, can i get expert help to draft my ecommerce business plan.

Of course, you can. Writing a business plan is not an easy task. You may lose context or can leave behind an important detail while writing. A plan writer can translate your business idea into a plan efficiently with his compelling skills. If not, you can take the help of online tools and search for relevant templates to write your own business plan.

Can I customize my ecommerce business plan as per my business needs?

Absolutely yes. No two ecommerce businesses are the same. The very purpose of a business plan is to address the unique concerns, ideas, and questions relating to your ecommerce business. From executive summary to a financial plan, customize every aspect of your plan with Upmetrics business plan builder.

What are the common mistakes to avoid while crafting an ecommerce business plan?

Here are a few mistakes to avoid while drafting a business plan for your new business:

  • Lack of market research
  • Inadequate financial planning
  • Overlooking the competition
  • Not having a clear value proposition
  • Undermining the technology needs
  • Not considering casualties and emergencies
  • Using complex language

Can I create an e-commerce business plan on my own, or should I hire a professional?

Ideally, you should be the one drafting your business plan. This is because no one knows your business better than you yourself and your business partners. So instead of hiring a professional, take the assistance of plan builders and step-by-step guides and create a compelling plan. Upmetrics AI assistant will simplify the writing process by helping you put together a cohesive write-up.

What are some emerging payment technologies to consider in your e-commerce business plan?

If you are planning to start a competitive ecommerce brand, you need to offer a bunch of payment solutions preferred by your target audience. Here are a few payment technologies you must definitely have in your business:

  • QR code payments
  • Mobile wallet
  • Contactless payment
  • Real-time payments
  • Buy now pay later solutions

About the Author

business plan for an ecommerce

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

Upmetrics logo

Plan your business in the shortest time possible

No Risk – Cancel at Any Time – 15 Day Money Back Guarantee

trustpilot reviews

Popular Templates

bpb AI Feature Image

Create a great Business Plan with great price.

  • 400+ Business plan templates & examples
  • AI Assistance & step by step guidance
  • 4.8 Star rating on Trustpilot

Streamline your business planning process with Upmetrics .

Download Ecommerce Business Plan logo

How To Make an E-commerce Business Plan

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported, which means we earn commissions from links on Digital. Commissions do not affect our editorial evaluations or opinions.

Every e-commerce business needs a plan. As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” The rise in easy-to-use and affordable  e-commerce platforms  has facilitated a huge increase in the number of successful online businesses. But that’s not all your business needs to thrive.

A profitable and long-lasting online store requires forward planning, and an e-commerce business plan is essential in helping you lay the foundations for your business’s future growth and success. In this article, we’ll go through:

  • What an e-commerce business plan looks like
  • Who needs one
  • Why you need one
  • Everything you need to include in your own plan

What Is an E-commerce Business Plan?

Man leaned back looking up at various graphics.

An e-commerce business plan is a written document that details and outlines your business, your business goals, and how to achieve them. It also describes how you plan to maintain and scale your business, financial plans, customer base, and many other details that help you manage the direction of your e-commerce business.

Why Is an E-commerce Business Plan Important?

Far from just another task on your to-do list, an e-commerce business plan plays a crucial strategic role in the success of your venture. Below are just a few ways an e-commerce business plan helps you achieve your business goals, highlights your pain points, and helps you to plan for the future.

Helps You Develop Your Value Proposition and USP

A common problem for e-commerce business owners is how to differentiate their stores from the hordes of others that exist. However, even if you don’t have an e-commerce niche, it’s still possible to distinguish your store from the rest by developing a solid value proposition and unique selling proposition (USP).

When you start to put pen to paper about what makes your business unique, you’ll begin thinking about factors you haven’t thought of before. Much like a mind map, you’ll start small, and expand on your original ideas and goals. You’ll be surprised how much an e-commerce business plan can help you evaluate, clarify, and refine your value proposition and USP and, in turn, understand the scope of your business.

Helps You Establish Business Goals

Making a profit is a priority when it comes to business goals, but an e-commerce business plan helps you outline exactly how you’ll achieve that. Getting a plan down on paper helps you create realistic goals, separate your short-term goals from the long-term ones, and specify exactly what you can do to achieve them.

Helps You Avoid Making Mistakes

E-commerce business plans not only help you realize what you need to do to achieve your goals but also what you should avoid doing. Your business plan will help you identify common mistakes that you may be at risk of making before it’s too late. For example, targeting the wrong customer base, choosing the wrong e-commerce tools, or not doing enough research into  dropshipping  options.

Helps You Identify Opportunities

Usually, when you embark on your e-commerce venture, your product is front and center of your mind. However, an e-commerce business plan helps you identify opportunities to promote your product, expand and differentiate your business, and build any relevant partnerships.

Helps You Evaluate Your Competitors

Once you get stuck into your e-commerce business plan, you also get immersed in what your competitors are doing well, what they’re not doing well, and any opportunities you have to plug gaps you may not have explored.

Who Needs an E-commerce Business Plan?

Illustration of a person pushing a shopping cart across a laptop.

No matter where you are in your e-commerce journey ― whether you’re just started out, are looking for investors, or have been running your online store for a while ― everyone needs an e-commerce business plan. Every stage of your online business needs a plan to be successful.

At the beginning of your e-commerce venture, an e-commerce business plan helps you put your goals into action and estimate how much time and money you’ll need to make these goals a reality.

When you want to attract investors, an e-commerce business plan helps you outline why your business is worth their investment. When you want to grow your business, you need a plan to help you work out how exactly to take your business to the next level.

What To Include in Your E-commerce Business Plan

Your e-commerce business plan is the cornerstone of your business. It lays out clearly the how, why, what, when, and where of all of your business goals, which can sound quite complex.

This level of information can feel overwhelming. To make writing your e-commerce business plan simpler, we’ve broken down the main sections you’ll need to address into digestible sections.

Business plan outline example.

Executive Summary

Like the synopsis of a book, an executive summary gives anyone who reads your business plan a high-level understanding of what your business does, what your goals are, and how you’re going to achieve them.

Even if you’re creating a business plan for your eyes only, an executive summary helps you reaffirm your business concept and ideas. An executive summary should be a one-page document that outlines:

  • The business concept
  • Your products and services
  • Vision and goals
  • Current and future financial state
  • Your expected growth trajectory
  • Your marketing strategy

Your Product and Services Plan

In this section, you’ll highlight exactly what products and/or services you will sell. This is your chance to think about how your products serve customers, what makes them unique, and why they’re worth a certain price point.

You’ll also expand upon how your products are sourced, manufactured, and stored, how much they cost to produce, and what the life cycle of your product or service is. If you sell multiple products or services, highlight the key, high-level features of each.

Ecommerce graphic with various symbols including a credit card, shopping cart, coins, purse, and a globe.

Market Analysis

Any successful e-commerce venture starts with knowing your specific market inside and out, which requires an in-depth market analysis. This section will outline:

  • Industry trends and growth:  Think about where there are opportunities in the industry, where the market is saturated, and how you can exploit any gaps in the market.
  • Competitor analysis:  Who are your main competitors and how can you compete with them realistically? What will you do differently? What will you do better?
  • Buyer personas:  Who will buy your product or services and why? What key demographics will you serve and how will you make your product or service attractive to them?

Customer Profile

Building on your buyer personas, this section helps you delve into the personality, habits, and lifestyle of your target customers. This benefits you when creating your marketing plan since you’ll know who to target and how. Include information like:

  • Where they live
  • Their age bracket
  • Their job title
  • Their income level
  • Their lifestyle choices
  • Their shopping patterns

Marketing Plan

Customer profiles are the bedrock of every marketing plan. They’ll inform how, where, why, to who, and when to market your products or services.

Your marketing plan section should be as detailed as possible since it will form the basis of how you’ll get the eyes of potential customers on your product. At the very least, your marketing plan should include:

  • Information on pricing points:  How much does your product or service cost? Why does it cost this much?
  • The product or service:  Again, how does your product or service stand out from the crowd, and how can you showcase its originality?
  • Where you’ll market your product or service:  Which sales and marketing channels do you use to promote your products? Why are these channels a priority?
  • Financial information:  How much will you spend on your marketing efforts?

Financial Plan and Projections

Of course, the success of your e-commerce store hinges on how well you manage and plan your finances. Most financial plans include:

  • An income statement
  • A balance sheet
  • A cash-flow statement

If you haven’t yet launched your store, it’s best to focus on your financial projections for the first six months of your business. Your projections will take into account your proposed customer base, marketing plans, expected expenses, and potential profit.

Prioritize Your E-commerce Business Plan and Set Your Store Up for Success

Every successful business venture starts with a solid foundation and creating an e-commerce business plan gives you the chance to:

  • Identify opportunities
  • Assess any potential risks
  • Gauge how viable your e-commerce business is
  • Overcome future hurdles
  • Learn about the aspects of the business you’re unfamiliar with

An e-commerce business plan isn’t just another pile of paperwork, but a vital step in securing the success of your business.

What Should You Do Next?

A thorough and well-researched business plan is paramount to bringing your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase. Choose the  best e-commerce platform  that allows you to manage your e-commerce website, products, sales, marketing, and inventory, all in a single location.  

Evaluate your KPIs  (key performance indicators) as often as possible. It assesses your e-commerce business’ growth if it’s still on track in reaching the goals you set out in your business plan. The best KPIs provide meaningful and actionable insights to grow your e-commerce business. Use the insights to optimize your customer experience across the buyer’s journey. 

A good e-commerce business plan is driven by research and data. To keep it smart and realistic, update your forecast by identifying what works and what doesn’t. Seek opportunities to sustain the financial growth of your e-commerce business, and your growth as an e-entrepreneur. Good habits help you grow faster, keep on learning, and expand your knowledge on how to thrive as an e-entrepreneur.

Rhiân Davies Avatar

Ecommerce Business Plan Guide + Sample

business plan for an ecommerce

July 6, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

Welcome to the ever-evolving world of ecommerce—a space where countless businesses are launching every day. If you've landed here, we're guessing you too are gearing up to start your own ecom business. Yet, entering ecommerce is not just about setting up a website and listing products—it involves a robust plan that encompasses every aspect from customer acquisition to cash flow forecasting. That's why we've crafted this comprehensive guide. This Ecommerce Business Plan Guide, complete with a sample business plan, should help you check this project off the list. 

Although we focus on ecommerce financial models , we know that some of our clients also need a full business plan, so I decided to take a deep dive into the topic.  I plan to cover:

  • Why write a business plan for an ecommerce business?
  • What to include in an ecommerce business plan?
  • Ecommerce business plan outline

How to Analyze the Market for an Ecommerce Product?

How to analyze the competition in ecommerce, how to estimate customer acquisition costs in ecommerce.

  • How to Create Financial Projections for an Ecommerce Brand?
  • Example Ecommerce Business Plan?

Ecommerce Business Plan FAQs

With that as our guide, let’s dive in!

Why write a business plan for an ecommerce business? 

It might feel like writing a business plan is a waste of time, and honestly, writing a 40 page plan probably is a waste of time.  So why write a business plan?  I like to say that you write a business plan primarily because the people with the money (the lenders and investors) are asking for your business plan and projections.  

Although I think a business plan could be a good exercise for any ecommerce startup, I know the real impetus for writing a business plan is likely the fact that your potential investors or lenders are asking for one.  

What to include in an ecommerce business plan? 

I don’t think your business plan needs to be a 100 page dissertation, our ecommerce business plan example is roughly 10 pages.  We include the following sections:

Ecommerce Business Plan Outline

We suggest the following business plan sections for your ecommerce business plan:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Product and Service Offerings
  • Marketing Plan & Customer Acquisition
  • Operating Plan
  • Financial Plan

Analyzing the market for an ecommerce product is a vital step in any business plan. It gives you a better understanding of your potential customers, competitors, and overall market dynamics. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you do this effectively:

  • Identify Your Target Audience: Understanding who will buy your product is crucial. Segment your audience based on demographic and psychographic factors. This might include age, gender, location, lifestyle, interests, income, and more. Analyzing these factors will give you a clear picture of who your customers are and what they need.
  • Market Size Estimation: Determine the size of your potential market. This involves looking at the number of potential customers who might be interested in your product. Market size can be categorized into three segments: total available market (TAM), serviceable available market (SAM), and serviceable obtainable market (SOM).

I like to use Google Keyword Planner Tool to see how many people are searching for keywords related to the product I plan to sell as a quick and free way to estimate the market size.  For example, let’s assume that we are selling a yoga mat.  According to Google Keyword Planner Tool there are roughly 90,000 monthly searches for that keyword. 

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated

To put some additional rough math to the opportunity, the first organic search result will often get roughly 40% of the clicks, and a solid ecommerce site will have a 3% conversion rate of visit to purchase.  So if you ranked first and received roughly 36,000 clicks with a 3% conversion rate you could sell 1,080 mats per month. 

  • Competitor Analysis: Understanding your competitors is as important as understanding your customers. Identify your direct and indirect competitors, analyze their products, pricing, marketing strategies, customer reviews, and their market share. This will help you identify gaps in the market that you can exploit.

Read More: How to Write a Business Plan Competitor Analysis

  • Trend Analysis: Investigate current market trends related to your product. Look at the growth of the market, customer preferences and behavior, and the impact of technology and environmental factors.

I like to suggest using Google Trends to see trends in popularity in your market.  If we stick with our yoga mat example we can see the following seasonal trends and trend over the last 5 years for the search term yoga mat. 

A graph showing a lineDescription automatically generated

  • SWOT Analysis: Carry out a SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to your ecommerce product. This analysis will help you understand your product's position in the market.
  • Pricing Analysis: Understand the pricing strategies of your competitors and the pricing willingness of your potential customers. It will help you to set a competitive and profitable price for your product.
  • Regulatory Environment: Check the regulatory environment related to your product. It includes legal regulations, trade policies, and standards that might impact your ecommerce business.
  • Customer Behavior and Preferences: With the help of analytics and customer feedback, understand what drives customer behavior. Consider their shopping habits, their product preferences, and what influences their buying decisions.

Each of these steps will provide valuable insights that can shape your ecommerce product's marketing strategy, positioning, pricing, and much more. Remember, market analysis is an ongoing process—it needs to be repeated periodically as markets evolve over time.

There are a couple of tools that I like to use when analyzing the competition in ecommerce.  

  • Google’s Ads Transparency Tool – with this tool you can simply enter in the domain name of a competitor and Google will show you all of the ads that they are running.  This is a nifty way to get an idea of ads that might be working well and areas you might be able to compete. 
  • Ahrefs – Ahrefs will allow you to look up a competitor’s website and you can see how much organic traffic they are getting and exactly what keywords are sending that traffic. For example, REI ranks 3 rd organically for the keyword “yoga mats” so we looked up their Yoga Mats page on Ahrefs and found that they receive roughly 2,200 organic visits per month to that page:

A graph on a screenDescription automatically generated

We can also see what keywords are sending the most traffic to that page below where I have highlighted the monthly organic traffic estimate for each keyword. 

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated

I like to use Google Keyword Planner Tool to estimate customer acquisition costs as well.  As we saw with the Yoga Mat example below the average cost per click to advertise for that keyword was between $0.39 cents and $3.13.   

Again if we stick with a 3% conversion rate and assume 50 cents per click that means you are likely to spend roughly $16 to acquire one customer.  Not a whole lot of room for margin in this business right?  In this case you would need to hope that you can sell multiple products to the same customer over time.  

Your customer acquisition costs will be a fundamental assumption in your financial model.  Let’s dive into that next. 

How to Create Financial Projections for a Bar Business Plan

Just like in any industry, the ecommerce business has its own unique factors that impact financial projections, such as online traffic, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs. Utilizing an ecommerce financial projection template can simplify the process and increase your confidence. Creating accurate financial projections goes beyond showcasing your ecommerce venture's ability to generate sales; it's about illustrating the financial roadmap to profitability and the realization of your online business goals. To develop precise projections, consider the following key steps:

  • Estimate startup costs for your ecommerce business, including website development or platform setup, inventory acquisition, branding and marketing expenses, and initial fulfillment and shipping costs.
  • Forecast revenue based on projected online traffic, conversion rates, average order value, and potential growth in customer base.
  • Project costs related to product sourcing or manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and fulfillment services.
  • Estimate operating expenses like website maintenance, hosting fees, digital marketing expenses, customer support, and administrative costs.
  • Calculate the capital needed to launch and sustain your ecommerce business, covering initial expenses and providing working capital for continued growth.

While financial projections are a critical component of your ecommerce business plan, seek guidance from experienced professionals in the ecommerce industry. Adapt your projections based on real-world insights, leverage industry resources, and stay informed about digital marketing trends and evolving consumer behavior to ensure your financial plan aligns with your goals and positions your ecommerce venture for long-term success.

Example Ecommerce Business Plan

Explore our E-commerce Business Plan, presented below. If you prefer, you can access a downloadable Google Doc version of this bar business plan template, allowing you to personalize and tailor it to your specific needs. Additionally, a helpful video walkthrough is available, guiding you through the process of customizing the business plan to perfectly align with your unique Ecommerce business.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary:

  • Business Description
  • SWOT Analysis

Marketing and Sales Strategy

  • Branding and Identity
  • Website, menu, and social media platforms
  • Marketing materials and promotional items
  • Marketing mix

Operations Plan

  • Organizational Structure:
  • Location and Facility:
  • SOP (Standard Operating Procedures):
  • Health and safety protocols:

Financial Projections

  • Startup Costs and Use of Funds
  • Annual Sales, Gross Profit and Net Profit
  • Key Financial Ratios
  • Income Statement at a Glance
  • Income Statement Annual Summary
  • Cash Flow Statement Annual Summary
  • Balance Sheet Annual Summary

I. Executive Summary

Our ecommerce store, "Eco-Friendly Fashion," aims to provide consumers with stylish and environmentally-friendly clothing options. 

Our target customer is the eco-conscious, fashion-forward individual who is looking for sustainable alternatives to fast fashion.

The ecommerce market is growing rapidly, and there is a growing demand for sustainable fashion products. We believe there is a gap in the market for an ecommerce store that offers a wide range of eco-friendly clothing options at affordable prices. Our unique selling proposition is to offer high-quality, stylish clothing that is also environmentally friendly, at a price that is accessible to our target customer.

We plan to launch with a product line of 50 items, including t-shirts, hoodies, and dresses, made from organic cotton and recycled materials. Our products will be manufactured in fair trade factories, ensuring ethical labor practices. Our initial funding will come from personal investments and a small business loan. Our financial projections show that we will break even in the third year of operation and achieve a profit by the fourth year.

II. Company Description

Eco-Friendly Fashion is a newly established ecommerce store that will offer a wide range of eco-friendly clothing options for both men and women. The company was founded by two friends, Jane Doe and John Doe, who share a passion for sustainability and fashion. Jane has a background in fashion design and John has experience in ecommerce and marketing.

Eco-Friendly Fashion is a limited liability company (LLC) registered in the state of California. Our team also includes a product sourcing specialist and a freelance graphic designer. Our office and warehouse are located in Los Angeles, CA.

III. Market Analysis

The global ecommerce market is expected to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021, with a significant portion of this growth coming from the fashion industry. Consumers are increasingly turning to ecommerce for their fashion purchases, and there is a growing demand for sustainable fashion products.

Our target customer is the eco-conscious, fashion-forward individual, aged 18-35, with a moderate to high income. This demographic is highly concerned about the environmental impact of their clothing choices and is willing to pay a premium for sustainable fashion options.

Competitors in the eco-friendly fashion market include established brands like Patagonia and smaller, niche brands like Tentree. However, these brands tend to focus on outdoor and athletic wear, rather than everyday fashion, and their products can be expensive. Our competitors in the sustainable everyday fashion market include companies like Reformation and Everlane, but these brands have limited product offerings and their products can also be expensive.

Our marketing and sales strategies will focus on leveraging social media, influencer marketing, and targeted online advertising to reach our target customer. We will also attend sustainable fashion trade shows and events to network and showcase our brand.

IV. Product and Service Offerings

Eco-Friendly Fashion will launch with a product line of 50 items, including t-shirts, hoodies, and dresses, made from organic cotton and recycled materials. Our products will be manufactured in fair trade factories, ensuring ethical labor practices. Our products will be designed in-house, with a focus on creating stylish, on-trend pieces that are also environmentally friendly.

Our pricing strategy will be to offer high-quality, stylish clothing at a price that is accessible to our target customer. Our products will be priced slightly higher than fast fashion options, but lower than sustainable fashion competitors like Reformation and Everlane.

We will continuously expand our product line and source new materials and manufacturing partners to ensure we are always offering the latest in sustainable fashion. In addition to our clothing line, we will also offer a recycling program for customers to trade in their old clothing for store credit. This will further demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and encourage customers to make more sustainable fashion choices.

V. Marketing Plan & Customer Acquisition

Our plan to grow our ecommerce business and reach our financial targets will follow a 5 pronged marketing approach in order to acquire customers. 

Brand Awareness:

  • Partner with influencers and bloggers in the sustainable fashion and lifestyle space to feature your products and increase brand exposure.
  • Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase your products and educate your audience on the importance of environmentally responsible and ethically sourced apparel.
  • Participate in local events and festivals that align with your values to increase visibility and connect with potential customers in person.

Content Marketing:

  • Create a blog that features articles on sustainable fashion and how your products are made in an environmentally responsible and ethical manner.
  • Offer styling tips and suggestions for incorporating eco-friendly fashion into everyday outfits to engage and educate your audience.
  • Share customer testimonials and reviews on your website and social media channels to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Email Marketing:

  • Build an email list by offering an incentive such as a discount code to customers who sign up.
  • Send newsletters that include information on new product launches, sales, and events.
  • Use email automation to send abandoned cart reminders and follow-up emails to potential customers who have shown interest in your products.

Paid Advertising:

  • Utilize targeted Facebook and Instagram ads to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your website.
  • Partner with eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle websites to run display ads and reach potential customers who are already interested in these topics.
  • Consider using Google Ads to target customers who are actively searching for environmentally responsible and ethically sourced apparel.

Referral Program:

  • Encourage satisfied customers to refer friends and family by offering a discount code or other incentive for each successful referral.

VI. Operating Plan

Eco-Friendly Fashion will operate as an online ecommerce store, with all sales taking place through our website. Our website will feature a user-friendly interface, detailed product descriptions, and multiple payment options. We will also offer free shipping on all orders within the United States, with the option for international shipping at an additional cost.

Our fulfillment and delivery strategies will include partnerships with established logistics companies to ensure efficient and cost-effective shipping. We will also implement a comprehensive returns and exchanges policy to ensure customer satisfaction.

Our ecommerce platform will be powered by Shopify, which offers a range of tools and integrations to manage our website, inventory, and customer data. We will also use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track customer interactions and improve our marketing and sales strategies.

VII. Financial Plan

Our start-up costs will include the cost of product development and manufacturing, website development, marketing, and rent for our office and warehouse. Our initial funding will come from personal investments and a small business loan.

Our financial projections show that we will achieve $75,000 in sales in the first year, increasing to $500,000 in the second year and $1 million in the third year. Our expenses will include product manufacturing, marketing, salaries, and other operating costs. Our projections show that we will break even in the third year of operation and achieve a profit by the fourth year.

To minimize risk, we will continuously monitor our financial performance and adjust our strategies as needed. We will also implement a thorough risk management plan, including carrying appropriate insurance coverage and implementing strong data security measures to protect our customer information.

All of the unique financial projections you see below were generated using ProjectionHub’s Ecommerce financial projection template . Use PH20BP to enjoy a 20% discount on the template. 

Startup Costs:

business plan for an ecommerce

Projected Financial Summary:

business plan for an ecommerce

Annual Sales, Gross Profit and Net Profit:

business plan for an ecommerce

Key Financial Ratios:

business plan for an ecommerce

Watch how to create financial projections for your very own ecommerce business:

business plan for an ecommerce

Income Statement:

business plan for an ecommerce

Balance Sheet:

business plan for an ecommerce

Cash Flow Statement:

business plan for an ecommerce

VIII. Conclusion

Eco-Friendly Fashion is poised to fill a gap in the sustainable fashion market, offering a wide range of stylish and environmentally friendly clothing options at affordable prices. With a growing demand for sustainable fashion and our commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices, we are confident in our ability to succeed in the competitive ecommerce market.

Our team is dedicated to offering the highest quality products and customer service, and we are excited to bring our vision of sustainable fashion to life. Our next steps include finalizing our product line and manufacturing partnerships, launching our website, and beginning our marketing and sales efforts.

How do I start an ecommerce business?

To start an ecommerce business, you'll need to identify your target market and products, create a business plan, set up an online store or website, source or create products, establish secure payment and shipping methods, and implement marketing strategies to drive traffic and sales.

Which ecommerce platform should I use for my online store?

Popular ecommerce platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce. Consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, scalability, pricing, and integration with other tools or marketplaces when choosing the right platform for your business.

How can I drive traffic to my ecommerce website?

You can drive traffic to your ecommerce website through various strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, influencer partnerships, email marketing, paid advertising, and utilizing marketplace platforms such as Amazon or Etsy.

What are the essential elements to include in product descriptions for ecommerce?

Essential elements for product descriptions in ecommerce include clear and concise product titles, detailed descriptions highlighting key features and benefits, high-quality product images, pricing information, sizing or specifications, and customer reviews or testimonials, if available.

How can I optimize the checkout process to increase conversions?

To optimize the checkout process, streamline the steps involved, offer guest checkout options, provide multiple payment methods, ensure security and trust indicators, display shipping options and costs upfront, minimize form fields, and offer incentives such as discounts or free shipping for completing a purchase.

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

Other Stories to Check out

Quality of earnings service providers for smb acquisitions.

Considering an SMB acquisition? Start with our "Sniff Test" for a quick and cost-effective evaluation of financial health before proceeding further.

Quality of Earnings Report: Ultimate Guide for SMBs

Dive into Quality of Earnings (QoE)reports for small business acquisitions. Understand its significance, components, and when to leverage it. Your ultimate guide awaits

How to Buy a Business with No Money Down

Learn the rare scenarios enabling the purchase of a business with no money down and delve into the complexities of selling via seller notes, highlighting the balance of expanded opportunities and inherent risks in these unique financial transactions.

Have some questions? Let us know and we'll be in touch.

Growthink logo white

Sample Ecommerce Business Plan

Growthink Ecommerce Business Plan Template

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting an ecommerce business. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring ecommerce owners, having access to a sample ecommerce business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own ecommerce business plan.

Download our Ultimate Ecommerce Business Plan Template

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful ecommerce venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. An ecommerce business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The ecommerce business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your ecommerce business as Growthink’s Ultimate Ecommerce Business Plan Template , but it can help you write an ecommerce business plan of your own.

Example – ClickCart Emporium

Table of contents, executive summary, company overview, industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.

Welcome to ClickCart Emporium, your new go-to ecommerce destination based in the vibrant city of Oklahoma City, OK. Our mission is to revolutionize the local ecommerce landscape by providing an unparalleled online shopping experience. With our comprehensive suite of services, we cater to a wide range of customer needs, ensuring secure payment processing, timely delivery, and a user-friendly online retail platform. Our dedication to excellence and our commitment to the Oklahoma City community drive us to serve you better, making online shopping convenient, secure, and enjoyable.

Our confidence in becoming the leading ecommerce platform in Oklahoma City is anchored in our founder’s previous success in the ecommerce industry, combined with our unwavering commitment to superior service. Since our launch on January 4, 2024, ClickCart Emporium has achieved significant milestones, including the development of a distinctive brand identity, securing an ideal operational base, and laying a strong foundation for our future growth. These accomplishments reflect our dedication to excellence and our strategic approach to becoming your preferred online shopping destination.

The Ecommerce industry in the United States, currently valued at over $600 billion, is on an exponential growth trajectory, with projections estimating its value to reach $1 trillion by 2025. This growth is driven by increased internet access, rising disposable incomes, and the proliferation of digital devices, alongside consumer preferences shifting towards online shopping for its convenience and variety. ClickCart Emporium is poised to leverage these trends, offering exceptional customer service and a diverse product range, positioning us to carve out a successful niche within this competitive and rapidly expanding market, especially in Oklahoma City, OK.

ClickCart Emporium targets a diverse customer base in Oklahoma City, focusing on busy professionals, parents, elderly shoppers, tech-savvy millennials, Gen Z, and small business owners. Our platform caters to their varying needs with a wide range of products, convenient and reliable delivery options, and an easy-to-navigate interface. By tailoring our marketing strategies, especially through social media and influencer partnerships, we aim to engage these segments effectively, ensuring a seamless and efficient online shopping experience that meets their everyday needs and preferences.

Our main competitors include Liquidfish, 1stPride, and Plenty of Pixels, each offering unique digital solutions targeting different customer segments in Oklahoma City, OK. Despite their strengths, ClickCart Emporium differentiates itself through superior customer service, an intuitive shopping platform, and leveraging cutting-edge technology to offer an expansive product range. Our focus on competitive pricing, exclusive deals, and personalized support ensures a seamless shopping experience, setting us apart as a leader in the ecommerce market.

At ClickCart Emporium, we offer an integrated suite of ecommerce services, including a user-friendly online retail platform, secure payment processing, and efficient logistics and fulfillment services, all designed to empower businesses and delight consumers. Our competitive pricing strategy and comprehensive service offerings are tailored to meet the diverse needs of our customers in Oklahoma City, OK. Our promotional strategy is multifaceted, encompassing SEO, PPC, social media marketing, email marketing, community engagement, and influencer partnerships. These efforts aim to enhance our visibility, drive traffic, and foster a strong community around our brand, ensuring ClickCart Emporium becomes a household name in the local ecommerce scene.

To ensure ClickCart Emporium’s success, our operations focus on maintaining a user-friendly website, real-time inventory management, efficient order processing, and seamless coordination with shipping partners. We prioritize customer support across multiple channels and implement secure payment systems to enhance the shopping experience. Our operational strategy includes regular analysis of customer data and market trends, enabling us to refine our product offerings and marketing strategies continually. By focusing on these key operational processes and milestones, we aim to achieve operational excellence and sustain our growth trajectory.

Our management team combines expertise in ecommerce, digital marketing, logistics, and customer service, driving ClickCart Emporium towards achieving its mission. With a solid track record in the industry and a shared vision for innovation and excellence, our team is committed to providing the best online shopping experience in Oklahoma City, ensuring that ClickCart Emporium stands out in the competitive ecommerce landscape.

Welcome to ClickCart Emporium, a new Ecommerce venture based right here in Oklahoma City, OK. As a local ecommerce business, we noticed a gap in the market for high-quality online shopping experiences tailored to our community’s needs. Recognizing this, we set out to create an ecommerce platform that not only serves Oklahoma City but also sets the standard for what local online shopping should look like.

At ClickCart Emporium, we offer a comprehensive suite of ecommerce solutions. Our primary offering is an online retail platform designed to bring the convenience of shopping online to our local customers, providing them with a wide range of products at their fingertips. To complement this, we offer payment processing services, ensuring a seamless transaction experience. Recognizing the importance of timely delivery, we also specialize in ecommerce logistics and fulfillment. These services work in tandem to provide a smooth and enjoyable shopping experience from browsing to delivery.

Our operations are deeply rooted in Oklahoma City, OK. This strategic location allows us to stay closely connected with our community and understand the unique needs of our customers better. Serving the Oklahoma City area is not just a business decision; it’s a commitment to enriching our local economy and providing value to our neighbors.

ClickCart Emporium is poised for success for several reasons. Our founder brings valuable experience from previously running a successful ecommerce business, imparting a wealth of knowledge and industry insights that are instrumental to our operations. Moreover, our commitment to delivering superior ecommerce services positions us ahead of the competition, ensuring that we meet and exceed the expectations of our customers.

Since our inception on January 4, 2024, ClickCart Emporium has made significant strides as a Limited Liability Company. We’ve developed a unique and recognizable brand, starting with the design of our logo and the creative development of our company name. Additionally, we secured a great location that supports our logistics and fulfillment operations, laying a solid foundation for our business. These accomplishments, though early, are indicative of our dedication to building a successful and sustainable ecommerce platform for Oklahoma City.

The Ecommerce industry in the United States is currently valued at over $600 billion, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the country. With the rise of online shopping and the convenience it offers consumers, Ecommerce sales have been steadily increasing year over year. Experts predict that the market will continue to grow at a rapid pace, reaching over $1 trillion by 2025.

One of the key trends in the Ecommerce industry is the shift towards mobile shopping. With more and more consumers using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases online, businesses that provide a seamless mobile shopping experience are poised for success. ClickCart Emporium, being a new Ecommerce platform, can take advantage of this trend by ensuring their website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate on all devices.

Another trend in the Ecommerce industry is the increasing demand for personalized shopping experiences. Consumers are looking for tailored product recommendations, exclusive deals, and customized shopping features. ClickCart Emporium can set itself apart from competitors by offering personalized recommendations based on customer preferences and purchase history, creating a unique and engaging shopping experience for its customers in Oklahoma City, OK.

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

ClickCart Emporium will primarily target local residents seeking a convenient and efficient online shopping experience. This segment includes busy professionals, parents needing to juggle work and family commitments, and elderly individuals who prefer the safety and comfort of home shopping. The focus will be on offering a wide range of products tailored to their everyday needs, from groceries to household essentials.

The business will also cater to tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z consumers who are always on the lookout for the latest trends and unique products. These younger customers value fast, reliable delivery and an easy-to-navigate website or app interface. ClickCart Emporium will tailor its marketing strategies to engage this demographic through social media channels and influencer partnerships.

In addition to the above, ClickCart Emporium will target small business owners in Oklahoma City who require bulk purchases for their operations. This segment is in need of a reliable partner that can provide a variety of products at competitive prices with the convenience of scheduled deliveries. The platform will offer business accounts with features such as order tracking, purchase history, and volume discounts.

Customer Needs

ClickCart Emporium steps into the market to fulfill the growing demand for high-quality eCommerce services among residents who seek the convenience of online shopping. Customers expect a seamless shopping experience that combines ease of use with a wide selection of products. By focusing on user experience and inventory diversity, ClickCart Emporium meets these expectations head-on, ensuring that every visit to the site is both enjoyable and fruitful.

In addition to providing an extensive range of products, ClickCart Emporium understands the importance of reliable customer service and fast, accurate delivery. Shoppers value quick responses to inquiries and appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing their purchases will arrive on time and in perfect condition. This level of service builds trust and loyalty, encouraging repeat visits and long-term relationships with customers.

Moreover, ClickCart Emporium recognizes the significance of offering competitive prices without compromising on quality. Consumers are always on the lookout for the best deals online, and by ensuring that prices are attractive, ClickCart Emporium positions itself as a go-to destination for savvy shoppers. This approach not only satisfies the need for affordability but also reinforces the value proposition of shopping with ClickCart Emporium.

ClickCart Emporium’s competitors include the following companies:

Liquidfish specializes in offering comprehensive digital solutions including website development, digital marketing, and custom software development. Their services are tailored towards businesses looking to establish or enhance their online presence. Price points for their services vary depending on the complexity and scope of the project, making them accessible to a wide range of businesses.

While specific revenue figures are not publicly available, Liquidfish is recognized for its robust client portfolio across various sectors, indicating a healthy financial standing. The company operates primarily from its headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK, but serves clients across the United States. This broad geographic coverage is a key strength, as it allows Liquidfish to cater to a diverse client base.

Key strengths of Liquidfish include its comprehensive service offering and its ability to deliver customized digital solutions. However, its primary weakness lies in the highly competitive market of digital services, where differentiation can be challenging.

1stPride offers a range of ecommerce services, focusing on website design, online marketing, and SEO optimization. Their services are designed to help businesses improve their online sales and visibility. The company adopts a competitive pricing strategy, which makes it an attractive option for small to medium-sized businesses.

1stPride operates mainly within the Oklahoma City area, targeting local businesses aiming to expand their online footprint. Although they have a strong local presence, their geographical reach is more limited compared to other competitors. This focus on a local customer base both serves as a strength, providing personalized services, and a weakness, limiting potential market expansion.

Their key strength lies in their local market knowledge and personalized customer service. However, their limited geographical reach and the challenge of scaling their services can be seen as weaknesses.

Plenty of Pixels specializes in website design and development, offering customizable packages to meet the needs of various businesses. Their pricing model is transparent, with clear tiers based on the complexity and features of the website, catering to both startups and established businesses. The company prides itself on its efficient project delivery and post-launch support.

Although primarily based in Oklahoma City, OK, Plenty of Pixels serves clients nationwide, leveraging digital communication tools to manage projects remotely. This allows them to tap into a larger market, despite their physical location. Their ability to serve clients across the country is a significant strength, broadening their potential customer base.

The key strengths of Plenty of Pixels include their flexible pricing model and nationwide service coverage. However, their focus on website services means they might not offer as comprehensive a digital solution set as some competitors, which could be seen as a weakness in a market that favors full-service agencies.

Competitive Advantages

At ClickCart Emporium, we pride ourselves on providing unparalleled ecommerce services that set us apart from our competition. Our secret lies in our commitment to understanding the unique needs of our customers in Oklahoma City, ensuring that we offer personalized shopping experiences tailored to their preferences. We leverage advanced technology to streamline the shopping process, making it faster, more intuitive, and user-friendly. This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters loyalty, as shoppers know they can expect a seamless experience every time they visit our platform.

Beyond merely offering a wide range of products, we differentiate ourselves by integrating cutting-edge features such as AI-powered recommendations and real-time inventory updates, which significantly improve the shopping experience. Our customer service is second to none, providing round-the-clock support to address any queries or concerns promptly. Additionally, our logistics and delivery system is optimized for efficiency, ensuring that orders are processed and delivered faster than any other service in the area. This comprehensive approach to ecommerce positions us not just as a shopping platform, but as a reliable partner for our customers, making their online shopping journey enjoyable and hassle-free.

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

ClickCart Emporium emerges as a comprehensive solution for both businesses and consumers, offering a suite of services designed to streamline the online shopping experience. At the heart of its offerings is an online retail platform that serves as a marketplace for a wide range of products. This platform connects sellers with buyers, facilitating easy access to an array of items from the comfort of one’s home. The average selling price for products on this platform varies widely depending on the category and value of the items, but ClickCart Emporium ensures competitive pricing to attract a broad customer base.

In addition to facilitating sales through its online retail platform, ClickCart Emporium offers payment processing services. This crucial service ensures secure and efficient transactions between buyers and sellers, employing state-of-the-art encryption and security measures to protect all parties involved. The company charges a nominal fee for these services, typically a percentage of the transaction value. This fee averages around 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction, aligning with industry standards and ensuring that sellers can affordably access secure payment processing capabilities.

Understanding the importance of logistics in e-commerce, ClickCart Emporium also provides e-commerce logistics and fulfillment services. This comprehensive service covers everything from warehousing and inventory management to order fulfillment and shipping. By handling these logistical aspects, ClickCart Emporium enables sellers to focus on their products and sales, rather than the complexities of distribution. Pricing for these services is tailored to the specific needs of each seller, but businesses can expect competitive rates that reflect the efficiency and value of the logistics solutions provided.

Overall, ClickCart Emporium positions itself as a key player in the e-commerce sector by offering an integrated platform that not only connects buyers and sellers but also provides essential services like payment processing and logistics. Through competitive pricing and a commitment to quality, ClickCart Emporium aims to foster a vibrant online marketplace that meets the needs of a diverse customer base.

Promotions Plan

ClickCart Emporium embarks on an ambitious journey to captivate the hearts and wallets of customers in Oklahoma City, OK, with a blend of innovative and traditional promotional methods tailored to the digital age. Recognizing the power of online presence, the emporium will leverage online marketing as its spearhead strategy. Through this approach, ClickCart Emporium expects to build a robust digital footprint that resonates with its target audience, driving both traffic and sales.

Diving deeper into online marketing, the company will utilize social media platforms extensively. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will become arenas where ClickCart Emporium engages with its audience. Regular posts, interactive stories, and targeted ads will serve to inform, entertain, and persuade potential customers. Moreover, the emporium will harness the power of influencer marketing, partnering with local influencers in Oklahoma City to tap into their followers and gain credibility quickly.

Email marketing will also play a crucial role in ClickCart Emporium’s promotional strategy. By collecting emails from potential customers through sign-ups and promotions, the emporium will send out newsletters, exclusive offers, and updates about new products or services. This personalized approach expects to not only drive sales but also foster a sense of community among its customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will ensure that ClickCart Emporium appears at the top of search results when potential customers look for related products or services online. By optimizing its website content with relevant keywords, the emporium expects to attract more organic traffic, thereby reducing its reliance on paid advertising in the long run.

ClickCart Emporium will not limit itself to online methods alone. Local events and sponsorships will serve as an excellent opportunity to increase brand visibility and engagement within the community. Participating in or sponsoring local events, fairs, and festivals will allow the emporium to showcase its brand and products in a more personal and interactive setting.

Loyalty programs will be introduced to reward returning customers, encouraging repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. These programs will offer discounts, special offers, and early access to new products, cultivating a loyal customer base that feels valued and appreciated.

In conclusion, ClickCart Emporium will employ a multifaceted promotional strategy that combines the reach and efficiency of online marketing with the personal touch of local engagement and customer loyalty programs. Through these efforts, the emporium expects to attract and retain customers, setting a strong foundation for growth in Oklahoma City, OK.

Our Operations Plan details:

  • The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  • The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of ClickCart Emporium, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Maintain a user-friendly and up-to-date website interface to ensure customers can easily browse, search for products, and complete purchases.
  • Monitor inventory levels in real-time to ensure stock availability aligns with website listings and restock products as needed to meet customer demand.
  • Process orders efficiently, from confirmation to packaging, ensuring accuracy in order fulfillment to minimize errors and returns.
  • Coordinate with shipping partners for timely delivery of products, offering customers tracking information to ensure transparency and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Offer customer support through multiple channels (e.g., chat, email, phone) to address inquiries, resolve issues, and provide assistance throughout the buying process.
  • Implement and maintain secure payment processing systems to protect customer data and ensure a smooth checkout experience.
  • Analyze website traffic and customer purchase data to understand customer preferences, improve product offerings, and tailor marketing strategies.
  • Engage in digital marketing efforts, including SEO, social media marketing, and email campaigns, to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
  • Collect and act on customer feedback to continually improve the shopping experience and address any shortcomings in products or services.
  • Conduct regular financial reviews to monitor profitability, manage expenses, and adjust pricing strategies as necessary to remain competitive.

ClickCart Emporium expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Secure a reliable supply chain: Establish agreements with suppliers and distributors to ensure a steady supply of products. This not only assures product availability but also helps in negotiating better terms and prices, reducing the cost of goods sold.
  • Develop and launch the ecommerce platform: This involves finalizing the website design, ensuring user-friendly navigation, and implementing secure payment gateways. A smooth, secure, and convenient shopping experience is crucial for customer retention and acquisition.
  • Implement an initial marketing strategy: This should include a mix of digital marketing tactics such as SEO, social media marketing, and email campaigns to build brand awareness and drive traffic to the new ecommerce platform.
  • Establish customer service protocols: Develop a robust customer service framework that includes clear return policies, a responsive support team, and a feedback system. Excellent customer service not only enhances customer satisfaction but also builds trust and loyalty.
  • Launch our ecommerce business: Officially open the online store for business. This involves ensuring all operational, logistical, and marketing systems are in place and functioning correctly to handle orders and customer inquiries.
  • Monitor and optimize operations: After launch, closely monitor all aspects of the business from website performance, order fulfillment efficiency, to customer feedback. Use this data to make informed decisions on operational improvements and optimizations.
  • Expand product offerings: Based on initial customer feedback and sales data, gradually introduce new products or variations to meet demand and attract a wider audience. This helps in keeping the product catalog fresh and engaging for return customers.
  • Get to $15,000/month in revenue: Achieve this financial milestone through a combination of increasing traffic to the website, improving conversion rates, and expanding the customer base. It signifies a stable demand for the products and a growing business.
  • Build partnerships and collaborations: Establish partnerships with complementary brands or platforms to expand reach and tap into new customer segments. Collaborations can also open up opportunities for exclusive products or marketing campaigns.
  • Implement a customer loyalty program: To encourage repeat business and foster a loyal customer base, introduce a loyalty program that rewards customers for their purchases, referrals, or engagement with the brand.

ClickCart Emporium management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Lily Young, CEO

Lily Young brings a wealth of experience to ClickCart Emporium, having previously led an ecommerce business to notable success. Her entrepreneurial spirit and deep understanding of digital marketplaces equip her with the unique insights needed to navigate the complex landscape of online retail. Lily’s leadership style is characterized by a focus on innovation, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Her track record of building cohesive teams and fostering a culture of excellence makes her an invaluable asset to ClickCart Emporium. Under Lily’s guidance, the company is poised to achieve its goals and make a lasting impact in the ecommerce arena.

ClickCart Emporium’s financial strategy is designed to support our growth objectives, ensuring we have the necessary resources to expand our operations, enhance our service offerings, and achieve our goal of becoming the leading ecommerce platform in Oklahoma City. Our plan outlines the investment needed to fuel our strategic initiatives, focusing on technology upgrades, marketing efforts, and operational efficiencies to drive revenue growth and profitability.

Financial Statements

Balance sheet.

[insert balance sheet]

Income Statement

[insert income statement]

Cash Flow Statement

[insert cash flow statement]

Ecommerce Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Ecommerce Business Plan PDF here. This is a free ecommerce business plan example to help you get started on your own ecommerce plan.  

How to Finish Your Ecommerce Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your ecommerce business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Growthink logo white

Business Plan Template for Ecommerce

  • Great for beginners
  • Ready-to-use, fully customizable Subcategory
  • Get started in seconds

slide 1

Starting an e-commerce business can be an exhilarating yet challenging journey. To set yourself up for success, you need a solid business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Ecommerce is the ultimate toolkit for entrepreneurs and business owners in the online retail industry. With this template, you can:

  • Clearly define your business objectives and target market
  • Develop effective marketing and sales strategies to drive growth and revenue
  • Create detailed financial projections to attract investors and secure funding
  • Track and measure your progress against set goals and milestones

Don't leave the success of your e-commerce business to chance. Use ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Ecommerce and take the first step towards building a thriving online retail empire.

Business Plan Template for Ecommerce Benefits

When using ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Ecommerce, you'll enjoy a range of benefits that will help you build a successful online retail business:

  • Streamline your business planning process by using a pre-designed template specifically tailored for the e-commerce industry
  • Clearly define your objectives, strategies, and financial projections to attract potential investors and secure funding
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of your target market, competition, and marketing strategies to optimize your online presence
  • Effectively manage your inventory, pricing, and shipping logistics to ensure smooth operations and customer satisfaction
  • Track your progress, measure your success, and make data-driven decisions to drive the growth of your e-commerce business.

Main Elements of Ecommerce Business Plan Template

ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Ecommerce is the perfect tool to help entrepreneurs and business owners in the e-commerce industry outline their objectives, strategies, and financial projections to guide the growth of their online retail business. Here are the main elements of this template:

  • Custom Statuses: Track the progress of each section of your business plan with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do.
  • Custom Fields: Add important details to your business plan, such as Reference, Approved, and Section, to ensure all necessary information is included.
  • Custom Views: Utilize different views, such as the Topics List View, Status Board View, Timeline Gantt Chart, Business Plan Table View, and Getting Started Guide, to easily navigate and manage your business plan.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with your team in real-time, assign tasks, set due dates, and leave comments to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Integrations: Connect your business plan with other tools and apps you use, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Slack, to streamline your workflow and access all your important documents in one place.

How To Use Business Plan Template for Ecommerce

If you're starting an ecommerce business and need a business plan, don't worry - we've got you covered! Follow these 4 steps to make the most of our Business Plan Template for Ecommerce:

1. Define your business concept

Start by clearly defining your business concept for your ecommerce venture. What products or services will you offer? Who is your target audience? What sets your ecommerce business apart from the competition? Answering these questions will help you lay a solid foundation for your business plan.

Use the Docs feature in ClickUp to outline your business concept and gather your thoughts in one place.

2. Conduct market research

Next, it's time to dive into market research. Identify your target market, analyze your competitors, and assess market trends and opportunities. By understanding your market, you'll be able to position your ecommerce business for success and make informed decisions.

Utilize the Table view in ClickUp to organize and analyze your market research data, such as competitor analysis, customer demographics, and industry trends.

3. Develop your marketing and sales strategy

A strong marketing and sales strategy is crucial for the success of your ecommerce business. Define your unique selling proposition, outline your marketing channels, and plan your customer acquisition and retention strategies. Determine how you will reach and engage your target audience, and how you will convert them into loyal customers.

Use the Gantt chart feature in ClickUp to create a timeline for your marketing and sales activities, ensuring that you're staying on track and meeting your goals.

4. Outline your financial projections

Last but not least, you'll need to outline your financial projections for your ecommerce business. Estimate your startup costs, revenue streams, and expenses. Create a sales forecast and cash flow projection to understand your financial health and plan for growth. This will not only help you attract investors, but also guide your decision-making process.

Utilize the custom fields feature in ClickUp to track and calculate your financial projections, such as revenue, expenses, and profit margins.

By following these 4 steps and using our Business Plan Template for Ecommerce in ClickUp, you'll be well-equipped to launch and grow a successful ecommerce business. Good luck!

Get Started with ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Ecommerce

Entrepreneurs and business owners in the e-commerce industry can use the Business Plan Template for Ecommerce to outline their objectives, strategies, and financial projections to guide the growth and operations of their online retail business.

First, hit “Add Template” to sign up for ClickUp and add the template to your Workspace. Make sure you designate which Space or location in your Workspace you’d like this template applied.

Next, invite relevant members or guests to your Workspace to start collaborating.

Now you can take advantage of the full potential of this template to create a comprehensive business plan for your e-commerce venture:

  • Use the Topics View to organize your plan into different sections such as Executive Summary, Market Analysis, Marketing Strategy, Financial Projections, etc.
  • The Status View will help you keep track of the progress of each section, with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do.
  • Utilize the Timeline View to set deadlines and milestones for each section of your business plan.
  • The Business Plan View provides an overview of your entire plan, allowing you to easily navigate between different sections.
  • Create a Getting Started Guide View to provide instructions and guidelines for team members involved in the business plan creation process.
  • Customize the template by adding custom fields like Reference, Approved, and Section to provide additional information and track important details.
  • Update statuses, custom fields, and progress as you work on each section to keep everyone informed of the plan's development.
  • Regularly review and analyze your business plan to ensure it aligns with your goals and objectives.
  • Business Plan Template for Public Health Programs
  • Business Plan Template for Auto Mechanics
  • Business Plan Template for Buyers
  • Business Plan Template for Political Activists
  • Business Plan Template for Renewable Energy Technicians

Template details

Free forever with 100mb storage.

Free training & 24-hours support

Serious about security & privacy

Highest levels of uptime the last 12 months

  • Product Roadmap
  • Affiliate & Referrals
  • On-Demand Demo
  • Integrations
  • Consultants
  • Gantt Chart
  • Native Time Tracking
  • Automations
  • Kanban Board
  • vs Airtable
  • vs Basecamp
  • vs MS Project
  • vs Smartsheet
  • Software Team Hub
  • PM Software Guide

Google Play Store

Try Sumo For Free

By clicking Sign Up, you agree to our Terms of Service .

sumo logo

  • Google Tag Manager

6-Part Ecommerce Business Plan (Template Included)

business plan for an ecommerce

Shayla Mars

Last Updated Apr 23, 2019

Your ecommerce business plan is a living document. As your company develops, so will your document.

However, there are six basic sections your business plan should include:

1 Problem And Solution 2 Market Research 3 Business Model 4 Business Costs vs. Potential Revenue 5 Proof Of Concept And Beta Testing 6 Market Your Product

Problem And Solution

While there are simple ecommerce businesses that rely on gimmicks, like Ship Your Enemies Glitter (which sold for $85,000 in 2015), the real opportunity for revenue is in solving other people’s problems or your own.

Lindsay McCormick, founder of BITE Toothpaste Bits, wanted to solve a problem that directly affected her. As a traveling TV Producer for HGTV, she used too much travel-size toothpaste for her liking and was tired of the tubes exploding in her luggage. She did her research and found that one billion toothpaste tubes ended up in landfills. When she was unable to find a viable alternative, she decided to start BITE , and create her own toothpaste.

Screenshot of a webpage about a product about toothpaste bites

Here’s how you can start brainstorming your own product idea:

#1 Create a list of products or services that could potentially solve a problem. Speak with others about your ideas.

What’s something that’s bothering you or something you believe could make life easier? Hold a solo brainstorming session where you write out your ideas. If you already have an idea (or several!) skip to #2.

Don’t worry right now if you have the skills to bring your idea to life. Lindsay wasn’t a chemist, but that didn’t stop her from following through on her idea.

#2 Once you have a list, get together with your friends (or even start a Facebook thread) to discuss your ideas.

Ask them the following questions:

Is this something that can improve your life?

Does something like this already exist?

If yes, what do you think is lacking?

If no, why do you think that is?

This line of questioning will help you figure out what hurdles may come up in bringing your idea to fruition (and if your idea meets the initial criteria stated of being needed and useful). Take notes and listen with an open mind. After speaking with your friends, select the idea you feel most passionate about.

Passion will help keep you motivated to succeed when the hurdles pop up. Just like Lindsay, there’s nothing you can’t learn.

Use This Ecommerce Business Plan Template To Define Your Problem And Solution

Market Research

#1 understand your tam, sam, and som.

You don’t want to build a company that doesn’t have a market, or the market size is too small to generate any meaningful revenue. Knowing your market size is key to understanding other aspects of your business, such as costs (how much you would have to spend to reach your market, how much you would have to produce to penetrate the market, etc.). Correctly estimating your market size and how much market share you can corner is a key element in any ecommerce business plan.

There are three important elements in assessing market size: [ * ]

Your total addressable market (TAM)

Your serviceable available market (SAM)

Your serviceable obtainable market (SOM)

A picture showing multiple circles in another bigger circle

The  total addressable market is the total revenue opportunity for your product or service. The serviceable available market is the market size that is geographically and/or politically available for you. The serviceable obtainable market is the market size that your product can realistically capture.

When thinking about internet and mobile penetration, to get an idea of how many people could access your ecommerce store, remember:

54% of the world’s population has internet access [ * ]

96% of the U.S. has internet access [ * ]

73% of U.S. mobile phone users accessed the internet with their mobile device [ * ]

#2 Calculate your TAM using Industry Reports

When Christine Souffrant Ntim, founder of Vendedy, wanted to launch a business that connected travelers to global street vendors, she needed to know how many people and how much money existed in this industry. [ * ]

A simple Google search using industry-specific keywords can yield big results. Her search words were: Street markets, street vending, street market industry. Her searching led her to this piece from

Screenshot of a news article

Christine started traveling the world in 2008 and knew that street vendors were referred to as working within a black market economy. When she took her business live in 2014, this article gave her data points to pull from. She gained insight about the tourism industry from World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Neilson, and Deloitte. She concluded that there were, on average, 1 billion global tourists traveling annually. She used this figure for a rough guess at her TAM.

#3 Calculate Your SAM using Your TAM

Continuing our example with Christine, she used her TAM (1 billion tourists) to calculate her SAM. One billion represented tourists from around the world. She first wanted to focus on the U.S. market. Using a report from the National Travel & Tourism Office, she found an estimate of how many Americans were traveling abroad and their destinations. At the time of her research in 2013, there were between 12 and 16 million Americans traveling around the world.

#4 Calculate Your SOM by Comparing Competitors Market Size

No company has 100% market share in any industry. Your SOM is a realistic guess of how much market share you can acquire. This guess is based off trend predictions for your industry. By making a list of all your competitors (direct and indirect) and their trend predictions you can deduce what needs are being met and where your company can make a profit. [ * ]

Your product or service does not have to have a direct competitor, but can be an addition to a product/service that already exists.

Cameras on cell phones have gotten fairly advanced, but the video capabilities are lacking. There’s a viable market for detachable mobile phone camera lenses. Moment, a cell phone lens company, raised over $1.5 million and was featured in several digital publications.

Screenshot of a pre-order landing page for a filmmaking device

This kind of success is one outcome of understanding the market and standing out from your competitors. Moment and it’s direct competitors (Olloclip, Ztylus and Easy-Macro) are private companies, so finding their exact market share and revenue is tricky. 

To find your SOM, use industry websites to find estimates of revenues and market share for businesses in your industry. Some websites you can use to find different industry data include:

Industry specific sites such as: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for example

Use This Ecommerce Business Plan Template To Enter Your TAM, SAM, And SOM

Business Model

An effective business model is paramount to profit creation. Your business model is the framework of how you plan to capture a share of the market. It outlines how you plan on selling your product or service to buyers. There are several models:

A picture of boxes stemming from a bigger box

Business-to-Business (B2B) means you sell your product to other businesses instead of individual customers. A B2B company can be a service provider, but it can also sell a physical good such as an office furniture supplier.

A picture of boxes stemming from a bigger box

Customer-to-Customer (C2C) means you provide a platform for customers to trade or sell with each other. You generate revenue by charging a fee, such as eBay.

A bunch of boxes stemming out from another box

Customer-to-Business (C2B) is similar to the C2C model. You are still providing a platform for customers to trade and sell, but they are trading and selling to businesses.

A picture of boxes stemming from a bigger box

Last is B2C, which is common among ecommerce businesses. You as the business sell directly to an individual consumer. If you are selling a physical product, outline your product acquisition and delivery process. Amazon is an example of a C2C model and a B2C model because they sell their own proprietary products under the name “Amazon Basics”.

If you choose a B2C or B2B model, some follow-up questions to consider:

How does someone place an order?

How is the order received?

How is the order fulfilled?

How is the order shipped to the customer?

How do you ensure this process is repeated with all orders?

Be sure to state where and how you are storing inventory, as well as how long order completion takes. If your product is custom-made, note how long custom jobs are expected to take and how you will space out orders.

Use This Ecommerce Business Plan Template To Enter Your Business Model

Business Costs vs. Potential Revenue

Your potential revenue is derived from your SOM. Knowing you won’t take 100% or even 10% of a market will help you estimate a realistic financial overview for your industry choice. Even if you've got something that could be huge, it won't start out that way. While Airbnb is known as a disrupter, according to an STR Report (“STR is the source for premium global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights”) from July 2016 (8 years since being in business), it’s share of market demand and revenues was still below 4% of the total accommodations market share for 13 regional markets. [ * ]

Screenshot of graphs that show airbnb

#1: Determine Your Startup Costs

Your startup costs are the sum of the expenses your business incurs before launch.

Costs can be broken down into three categories: one-time, fixed, and variable.

Detail your costs in a list

In column one, list one-time costs. This may include hiring a consultant, incorporating your business, or buying a laptop.

In column two, list fixed (constant) monthly costs associated with selling your product. While this includes rent, it also includes the cost of your internet, website hosting, ecommerce software, etc. 

In column three, list all variable costs. Credit card processing costs will vary based on the amount you sell each month, utilities will change based on usage and the season, raw materials can fluctuate based on the market, and labor costs can change based on production needs. One method is to try to estimate the costs for a year and divide the result by 12 for a monthly cost.

Pro Tip: Set up an emergency fund for unknown costs. This can be an extension of your “runway fund.” “Runway” is a startup term that reflects how long your company can remain afloat if income and expenses are steady. A “runway fund” is the money you have to ensure your business remains operational pre-profit.

Screenshot of a spreadsheet showing startup costs

Use This Startup Costs Spreadsheet

#2 Set Your Price

How much you sell your product or service for depends on a number of factors. The value of anything is what people are willing to pay for it. Using your market research, you can apply a value that makes sense for your market. Here are two pricing strategies you can use:

Pricing Strategy 1: Market-Oriented Pricing

If you are selling machine-made diamonds, you have to consider the cost of creating the diamonds and how much customers are willing to pay for machine-made diamonds. Given that diamonds are in a luxury market, whether they are man-made or natural, you have several ways to price your product. 

You can use a higher price point than average, copy the market average, or undercut your competition by pricing lower than the average. This is called market-oriented pricing. It compares your product or service to the competition in your market.

Create a spreadsheet that identifies your direct competitors’ pricing of products you intend to sell. Using your market research and factoring in your costs, you can make an informed pricing decision.

Screenshot showing two different methods of pricing

Pricing Strategy 2: Keystone Pricing

Keystone pricing is when an item is priced twice as much as it costs you to make or buy. Keystone pricing has been associated with the retail industry specifically, but it’s not a standard by any means.

The pro of keystone pricing is that you can test your market and see if they’re willing to pay that price for your product. Sticking with our diamond example, if it cost you $500 to make a diamond ring, will someone be willing to pay $1000 for it? On the upside, you’ll have a gross margin of 100%.

The con of keystone pricing is that your price will be uncompetitive if your competitors have all decided to accept a lower margin — marking up a computer by 100% would not get you any sales or much interest in your business plan. 

To read more about market-oriented pricing, keystone pricing, and other pricing strategies, click here .

Remember: The price you set now can be changed later; however, you don’t want to price your item too low where you don’t make a profit, nor too high where no one wants to buy it.

Use This Ecommerce Business Plan Template To Enter Your Pricing Model

#3 Create Your Sales Forecast

As a new ecommerce business, your sales forecast is a prediction of your sales and revenue based on educated guesswork about your product or service, and the market. You will compare your forecast to actual numbers when you have them.

Calculating Revenue Projections

You want to create a five-year projection. First, create a spreadsheet that outlines your projected sales for each month of year one. Then add years two through five to the spreadsheet to demonstrate annual projections.

Create a spreadsheet that outlines the following:

Price Per Unit

Sales Revenue (Units Sold ✕ Price Per Unit)

Unit Cost (Sum of material, labor, fixed and variable costs, and overhead to create one unit) *Note: Overhead generally refers to non-labor costs for running your business 

Cost of Sales (Units Sold ✕ Unit Cost)

Profit (Sales Revenue minus Cost of Sales)

Screenshot of an empty spreadsheet, with the title

#4 Calculating a realistic sales forecast

There are two approaches startups and small businesses can take when creating a sales forecast.

A picture showing two boxes with different captions

The Top-Down Approach

This approach uses your knowledge of the market to make an assumption that you can capture a certain percentage of the market within your first year of business, and increase that percentage each year. This may give you an optimistic forecast that may be unrealistic to investors. The forecast could also hinder your business decisions when actual numbers come in.

Hypothetically, if you make candles, then your market research will tell you candles are used in seven out of 10 households in the U.S. There are 126.22 million households in the U.S. according to the 2017 Census, so that's 88 million households that buy candles. [ * ]

Let’s say each household buys at least one candle a year. Since you are a new business, your conservative guess is that you can capture 1% of that market, giving you 880,000 customers.

At first glance, this seems optimistic. Why? You have not factored in your business model — how many salespeople do you have? Can you sell to the entire US or should you maximize a specific region? Can you make 880,000 candles in a year?

The Bottom-Up Approach

This approach will give you a smaller forecast, but more realistic figures as it takes into consideration actual numbers and your own output capacity.

Pro tip: Check public company annual reports and filings to help determine financial and product information about potential competitors. Comparing competitor information against your own business model will give you more insight.

Back to our candle example: You know you can produce 100 candles a month. You know the average mass-produced candle sells for $1.99, but handmade candles retail between $8 and $15. You decide to price your candles at $10 each. You set a modest goal to sell 25 candles a month, increasing to 50 candles a month during the holiday season (October through December).

Spreadsheet showing the sales forecast for a product for the 1st year

With this model, $3,000 is the profit from one year of business, using modest projections. You can then increase your units sold, and price in the following 2-5 years at an incremental rate. So in year two, you sell 50 candles off-season and 75 during the holiday season. By year three, your ability to produce could increase by bringing on a second maker or dedicating more time to candle creation.

You will outline this in your sales forecast section to show why you believe your output, sales, and pricing will increase over time.

Use This Spreadsheet To Forecast Your Sales

Proof Of Concept And Beta Testing

Before writing your business plan, you want to develop a proof of concept. You want to have these steps completed so you can write up your findings and how your business is going to succeed.

Proof of concept, also written as POC, precedes your prototype and beta testing. It answers the question: Is your idea feasible? Two questions to ask yourself is:

Has this idea been done before/ Does your imagined product already exist? (Which you’ve already answered)

Who are your competitors? (Which you’ve already identified) 

Back to our diamond example. Creating manufactured diamonds has been done before, you can get access to the machinery that can create the diamonds, you can gauge for quality and so on. Your POC is sound; however the challenge is finding what will make your product stand-out from your competition.

A detailed graph showing how you can ask questions to get to the proof of concept

For an idea or product that hasn’t been done before, you will need to collect significant data to prove feasibility. Some ideas are ahead of their time, such as Charles Babbage’s first stab at a machine that could be programmable (the computer). He was able to produce a POC based on the knowledge of computing that existed at the time, and marrying that without engineering capabilities. [ * ]

Then we enter the prototype phase. Once all aspects of feasibility have been addressed, you can then design an internal version of your idea for you and your team to test (known as alpha testing). When it is ready for the public (doesn’t have to be perfect), then you enter your beta testing phase. 

NOTE: If your product has a unique mechanism that you created, you may want to patent it — you can start your patent application online. Once you get the “patent pending” green light, you are free to share your product via beta testing without risk of it being legally copied. [ * ]

Patenting a product before you’ve pre-sold or sold it to anyone can be risky. We recommend validating you can sell your product before worrying about the patent process. Focus on your velocity to $1 like AppSumo did when they started. 

Screenshot showing how a product is going to progress to its final version

#1 Be Creative — Offer Incentives for Beta Testing

Whether your product is an app or a tangible item, you want to test it on a subsection of your target demographic. Some beta tests are used to gain feedback on usability, errors, or malfunctions. Decide what you are using beta testers for before you go looking for them.

You want your beta testers to give you accurate and actionable feedback, so you have to give them clear and detailed instructions. Maintaining ongoing communication is key to success.

Incentives help prompt that feedback. Incentives can be a free item, a discount on the product, raffle prizes, or gift cards. If you have the funds, you can hold a launch party and reward beta testers with invites.

FitStation Tribe is offering one year of free access for beta testers.

Screenshot showing an instagram post by fitstationtribe

EarBuds, a social music app, is running an Instagram social media campaign where they shout out their beta testers.

Screenshot of an instagram post by earbudsmusic

NOTE: Beta testing is not for prototypes. 

#2 Get Influencers to Beta Test Your Product

The best part about beta testing is that you are marketing your product at the same time. The rise of influencer marketing allows a potential customer to test your product and amplify your message. Whether you have to pay an influencer depends on their personal brand; some influencers may test your item because they think it’s cool, while others may charge. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

In 2016, a custom jewelry startup, Jevelo, worked with influencer company, Activate, to hire 12 influencers to beta test their app. Each influencer used the Jevelo app to make their necklaces and showcased the final product in photos on social media. Some of them wrote blog review talking up the product.

Screenshot of an instagram post by oliamajd

According to Activate’s case study on the campaign, the influencers generated 14,594 organic engagements on Instagram. Using a mixture of social media posts and blog reviews, Jevelo’s 12 beta testers had a combined reach of 3.6 million. [ * ]

#3 (Gently) Plug Your Product in Blogs, Forums, and Other Online Spaces

Using your market research, you can find your target demographic online. If your product is food related, you can drop some savvy copy in blog comments, Facebook groups, and Instagram comments. You can email food bloggers directly as well. The sky’s the limit on how to find your potential customers and pique their interest.

List the tactics you are going to use in your business plan.

Use This Ecommerce Business Plan Template To List Your Beta Testing Tactics

Market Your Product

While we discussed combining finding beta testers with marketing, you still need to create a stand-alone marketing strategy. You need to detail where your potential customers live on the internet — after all, you are an ecommerce business. Be detailed when it comes to your marketing strategy. If you plan on launching a social media campaign, write it out. If you plan on hosting a booth at a conference, write it out. If you’ve already implemented marketing campaigns, be sure to include results in your business plan as well.

#1 Create Customer Profiles via Beta Testing and Earlier Market Research

Your product or service will not be for everyone, and that’s OK. You want to target a specific demographic. As you get more feedback from your beta group, you’ll learn which groups enjoy your product the most. Honing in on buyer personas and using your earlier market research will allow you to craft specific campaign ads and messages.

#2 Create a Robust Email List and a Landing Page

As an ecommerce business, you will be selling your goods via a website. Instead of stressing over coding a landing page to get email signups, use Sumo’s new Grow Email List Shortcut to display a perfectly timed offer to your website visitors. You can try it free by clicking the button below.

Not on Shopify? Sign Up Here

Hemper used a Swag Bundle offer and 10% discount to grow their email list: 

Screenshot of a promotional popup aimed to collect emails

The average Sumo email list building popup converts website visitors into email leads at 2.3%, but Hemper was able to generate an 11.8% conversion rate, and 29,062 new email subscribers. To see a detailed breakdown on how they achieved a conversion rate 5x the average, click here .

6 Key Sections You Need In Your Ecommerce Business Plan

Including these six key sections in your business plan will create a starting road map for your business.

While there are other components to a business plan such as your executive summary and team bio, this has everything you need to hit the ground running.

Download our Ecommerce Business Plan Template today to start planning your next business idea.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter, It's Free

How to write a persuasive email that will increase your revenue, the 5 biggest mistakes you’re making with infographics, how to tweak your email campaigns for the new normal.

business plan for an ecommerce

Conversion Rate Optimization Blog


How to Write a Business Plan for Ecommerce Success

business plan for an ecommerce

No doubt about it, the Internet has made it a lot easier to start a business .

Sites like Etsy and eCommerce platforms like Shopify have made it easy for anyone with a product and a dream to set up shop. And some of them do quite well; Etsy posted gross merchandise sales of $3.25 billion in 2017 with $1 billion of that coming from the 4th quarter alone.

etsy gross merchandise sales

Are you thinking about taking the plunge into the eCommerce life? Or maybe you’re already selling, but you want to take it from “side hustle” to full-time . Either way, if you want to do serious eCommerce business, you need a business plan.

“Why Do I Need a Business Plan?”

It can take a lot of work to put together a comprehensive business plan, but it’s such an important step for 4 basic reasons:

  • It helps you establish a clear roadmap for your business from the outset.
  • You have a clear sense of the viability of your opportunity.
  • You know what resources are needed to make your business successful.
  • It gives you a better idea of what you know and don’t know.

Taken together, these 4 reasons will save you tons of time, money, and heartache in the long run. So, let’s stop putting it off and get this business plan started.

Get Started: 1-Page eCommerce Business Plan

To start out, we’re going to use the business model canvas. It’s a strategic planning tool developed by a Swiss business theorist by the name of Alexander Osterwalder, and it’s basically a 1-page business plan.

business model canvas 1 page business plan

Pretty cool, right?

Don’t get too excited; you still need a full business plan. The business model canvas is just a really good place to start.

Business Model Canvas Structure

Here is a breakdown of the different sections of the business model canvas:

  • Key Partners: Who is necessary for your business to be successful?
  • Key Activities: What does your business need to do or achieve to be successful?
  • Key Resources: What can you use to benefit your business?
  • Value Proposition: What is your unique selling point?
  • Customer Relationship: What is important in your customer relationships?
  • Channels: How do people hear about your business?
  • Customer Segments: How do you differentiate between customers?
  • Cost Structure: Where will the money go?
  • Revenue Streams: Where does the money come from?

Here’s a fun example of what a completed business model canvas could look like:


If you’re not quite this artistically inclined, don’t worry. Here’s another example of a business model canvas that is just as functional:


How to Use the Business Model Canvas

As you can see, there’s quite a bit to fill out, but whether you’re planning for your business as a whole or a single product launch, fill out the value proposition first. You’ll want to answer these questions:

  • What do you plan to do?
  • What needs are you satisfying?
  • What is your unique selling point?

Next, add keywords to the other areas. You can be as creative or as concrete as you want.

Finally, be adaptive and flexible as you fill out the model. A business plan is meant to be a living document and not one written in stone.

Once you have your business model canvas filled out, you can use it as a guide to help you complete your full business plan. Let’s talk more about those now.

create a business plan

The Traditional Business Plan

Do the words “traditional business plan” sound scary and formal to you too?

Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty painless. And, even though it may feel like it goes against the entrepreneurial spirit to create a business plan, you’re going to find yourself in a much better position than your counterparts without one. Not to mention that you’ll need one anyway should you ever seek out loans or funding.

In the rest of this post, we’ll walk you through the 6 sections you should include in your business plan. If you’ve already completed the business model canvas this will go pretty smoothly for you.

Let’s get to it.

Section 1. About Your Company

The first section of your business plan will include everything anyone would ever need to know about your company, from lofty ideals like writing a mission statement and vision statement to boring details like business structure and the date you were established.

about your company

Start out this section with your value proposition, or what sets you apart from the competition and why consumers should choose you. Check out our post for examples of great value propositions and to learn how to write your own.

After your value proposition, lay out your mission and vision statements.

You may be thinking that all three of these things sound the same, and you’re right, they are very similar. Here’s a quick way to tell them apart:

Value Proposition: why the customer should choose you.

Mission Statement: why your business exists right now.

Vision Statement:  what your business hopes to become in the future.

After the value proposition , mission statement, and vision statement, you will include information about your business structure and the boring business details. Here are some ideas to include:

  • Is your company a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation?
  • What date was your business established?
  • What do you sell?
  • What is your industry?
  • What is your businesses history?
  • What are your objectives – short and long-term?
  • Who is your team?

Section 2. The Market and Your Competition

In section 2 of your business plan, you’ll want to talk about your niche and get into things like market size and identifying your competitors.

There are a couple of analytic tools that can be helpful for this section: PEST and SWOT.

A PEST analysis is useful for understanding market growth or decline based on political, economic, social, and technological factors. When done prior to a SWOT analysis it can help you identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that may be present to both your company and your competitors.’

The table below includes examples of the types of things that could impact your business for each area.

pest detail

Here’s a PEST analysis template that you can use:

PEST analysis

You’re probably already familiar with a SWOT analysis, but did you know that you can benefit from doing them for both yourself  and your strongest competitors?

Think about it. How would it benefit you to know about your competitor’s:

  • strengths – what is working for them?
  • weaknesses – what isn’t working for them?
  • opportunities – what are they ready to take advantage of?
  • threats – what are they worried about?

The more you know about your competitors, the better equipped you are to beat them at their own game, right?

At the very least you should take the time to do both a PEST and SWOT analysis for your own business. Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis template:

SWOT analysis template

Section 3. Your Marketing Plan

Now that we’ve covered your company and your competitors, it’s time to talk about your customers and how you’re going to reach them.

The fastest and easiest way to build your marketing plan is by starting with buyer personas. After all, if you don’t know who your ideal customers are, you’re never going to create the right plan to reach them.

Buyer personas, sometimes called customer avatars, are basically fictional characters you make up to represent each of your ideal customers. Here’s an example from Mallory Haack design:


You want the personas to be as realistic as possible so you can create a marketing plan around them. You can learn how to create concrete buyer personas and see some more great examples in this post.

Once you have your personas created, you’re ready to start building your marketing plan.

We’re going to let you in on a pretty cool secret that will make building your marketing plan a breeze: use a sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Stages

Take each of your buyer personas and ask yourself how these buyers fit into each step of the sales funnel. We even have a post with proven ways to increase conversions throughout your sales funnel that you can use to help you out along the way.

Let’s take a quick look at a marketing plan example for a new fashion brand using the awareness stage of the sales funnel.

Awareness Stage

1st Quarter Goal:  Gain 100 new Instagram followers.

Action Steps:

  • Post 3 new photos each week
  • Respond to user comments on photos every day
  • Comment on photos by similar accounts every day
  • Research and use industry hashtags to encourage organic traffic
  • Host 1 Instagram contest for followers

You can go through each stage of the sales funnel and create a robust marketing plan with as much or as little content and detail as you’d like.

When you’re ready to create content for each stage, we’ve got you covered there, too. Have a look at our beginner’s guide to content marketing , these awesome blog post ideas , and don’t forget how to run a successful email marketing campaign .

Section 4. Your Business Operations

This section will be all about the day-to-day operations of your business and should answer the question of how you plan to create and deliver your product or service.

In this section, you’ll need to go into detail about your production process to prove that you have the necessary plans in place to run the business, as well as contingency plans in place for surprises that come along due to marketplace uncertainty.

business operations

To make sure that you have the production process covered, you’ll want to include information covering:

  • How long it will take to produce a specified number of units of product.
  • What has been done to integrate customer feedback into the production of your product or service?
  • What procedures do you have in place to handle a major increase in demand for your product or service?

You’ll also want to include detail about the supply chain, or the string of events that needs to happen in order to take your product or service from an idea to a reality. That supply chain will include things like:

  • Suppliers: the people or businesses who will be providing the materials you won’t be making yourself.
  • Facilities:  where you’ll house your inventory or offices.
  • Personnel: your staff and their duties.
  • Equipment: the tools and technology you require to run your business.
  • Fulfillment:  the delivery method you’ll be using to get orders fulfilled.
  • Inventory:  how much inventory you’ll keep on hand or stored with a third-party and how you’ll track it.
  • Customer Support:  how will customer support requests and complaints and refunds be tracked and integrated?

Once you have your supply chain and production process outlined, you’re ready to move on to your business finances.

Section 5. Business Finances

Your business plan finances section is all about creating a budget. You’re looking for a best, educated guess budget that will show that you’ve really researched the financial feasibility of your great business idea. You want your great idea for a business to be profitable, right?

business finances

There are three key financial statements you’ll want to include in this section:

Income Statement

Balance Sheet

Cash Flow Statement

Let’s take a close look at each of these statements to see what they’re all about.

The income statement is sometimes called a Profit and Loss or P&L. It shows your income and expenses over a specific period of time to get to your net profit (or loss). Here’s what a standard income statement looks like:

income statement

The balance sheet shows your net worth. On one side of the equation you have your assets less your liabilities and on the other is your equity. Here’s what the balance sheet looks like:

balance sheet

The cash flow statement is similar to the income statement with one key difference: it takes into account the  actual date that money comes in and goes out, allowing you to identify when cash might be low so you can adjust. Here’s an example of a cash flow statement:

cash flow statement

You’re doing an awesome job at this business plan stuff; it’s really hard work! You only have one more section to create. Let’s move on to section 6, shall we?

Section 6. Measuring Your Success

Last but certainly not least, you must set up a schedule with realistic milestones and deadlines. The purpose of this is twofold:

  • You will stay on target and be able to celebrate your smaller victories.
  • You will be able to respond quickly when you fall behind schedule.

measuring your success

Create a timeline that’s going to be challenging and keep you on your toes, but that isn’t going to be impossible to achieve. And, remember that this isn’t written in stone. If you’re continually finding yourself falling behind, it’s entirely possible that it’s not a failing on your part, but that something in your process needs to be adjusted. You have to be willing to reevaluate your process as you move through it.

That’s it! You have a complete business plan for your eCommerce business. Both scary and exciting, isn’t it? Welcome to the life of a business owner. You’re going to be just fine. For good measure, check out these common eCommerce business problems and ways to solve them to get ahead of those problems before they even start!

If you’re looking for a complete eCommerce launch checklist, read  A 14-Point eCommerce Launch Checklist for New Store Owners .

Ready to build your site? Check out our top picks for WordPress eCommerce plugins to build your best business.

Now that your business plan is done it’s time to start getting leads and growing your email list . One of the best ways to do that is with popups. OptinMonster is the best at popups for lead generation, so let us teach you how to do popups the right way with these popup best practices.  Then,  get started with OptinMonster today!

Jacinda Santora

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

Add a Comment Cancel reply

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our privacy policy , and all links are nofollow. Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Get More Subscribers & Customers NOW

Unleash the power of OptinMonster on your website today!

How to Make an Ecommerce Website with WordPress

Sam Lauron

Published: February 12, 2024

As a writer, I’ve spent a lot of time digging into different industries, from social media to sales to ecommerce.

woman makes an online purchase via an ecommerce website on wordpress

Being equipped with all of this information and surrounded by inspiring examples of successful ecommerce businesses, I’ve played around with the idea of launching my own ecommerce website someday.

Download Now: How to Launch a WordPress Website  [Free Guide + Checklist]

If I ever decide to launch an ecommerce website, I want to make sure I’m choosing the best platform to set it up for success from the start. WordPress is one the first platforms that comes to mind, so I set out to learn more about how to make an ecommerce website with WordPress.

What Makes WordPress Great for Ecommerce

I’ve used WordPress throughout my near-decade-long marketing career, so I’m familiar with its powerful capabilities as an open-source platform and website builder. However, my experience has primarily involved using its CMS to manage and publish blogs.

As I set out to create an online shop, I want to stick with a platform I’m familiar with. However, I also want to make sure WordPress is a good platform for an ecommerce business. So, I asked a couple of experts about their experience.

Here’s what makes WordPress a great platform for ecommerce businesses, according to people who have used it.

Ease of Use

For those without technical experience, navigating the website-building aspect of an ecommerce shop can be a challenge. Not only do you have to make your website visually appealing, but your ecommerce site must also function as a store. This includes having an inventory and operating a checkout, among other complex features.

With WordPress drag-and-drop themes , you can design a fully functional ecommerce website without creating a single line of code.

This approachable UI appeals to non-coders like Adam Young, the CEO of Event Tickets Center , an online ticket marketplace.

“As someone who has struggled with other website-building programs, WordPress's drag-and-drop feature is revolutionary,” says Young. “This simple solution streamlines product management and empowers users like me to easily customize the store's design.”

Customizable Themes

Choosing the right theme for your ecommerce website sets the tone for the rest of your experience. A theme is like a pre-built template that you can install and customize. Fortunately, there are over 20,000 WordPress themes to choose from, and nearly half of them are free.

As long as you choose a theme that’s designed for ecommerce, you’re off to a great start.

There are a few elements that make for a successful ecommerce theme. First, your theme should make it easy to visually display your store’s products.

Another element to look out for is a seamless checkout process. The last thing you want is for a customer to add to their cart but not complete the purchase because the process was confusing or unclear.

“I've noticed through personal experience that choosing an ecommerce-focused WordPress theme is like building a digital storefront,” states Young. “These themes are built to smoothly combine online transaction elements like user-friendly product lists, shopping carts, and checkout processes.”

He continues, “A WordPress ecommerce theme quietly guides customers to the ‘Add to Cart’ button and ‘Checkout’ page beyond aesthetics. It helps convert casual visitors into delighted consumers.”

business plan for an ecommerce

How to Launch a WordPress Website

Learn how to launch a website on WordPress with this step-by-step guide and checklist. Learn how to...

  • Set up your domain name.
  • Install an SSL certificate.
  • Analyze your content.
  • Back up your site.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Plugins that Scale

Another unique feature of WordPress is its plugins.

Plugins are like apps. Instead of learning to code when you want to add a new feature or function to your website, you can choose from one of the thousands of plugins WordPress offers. Plugins make it easy to scale your business.

“WordPress's scalability has helped me build and expand an online business,” according to Michael Wall, founder of Codefixer , a software development and growth agency. “As a tiny firm with a few products, the platform easily supported my product inventory growth.”

He adds, “Plugins were crucial to the success of my WordPress ecommerce website.”

When it comes to ecommerce plugins, specifically, Wall recommends WooCommerce (we’ll get into more details about WooCommerce later in this article).

“WooCommerce changed the game by centralizing product management, order processing, payments, and shipping operations,” says Wall. “This ecommerce plugin integrated effortlessly with my WordPress site, making daily operations easy.”

Large Community and Expert Network

WordPress was founded 20 years ago, making it one of the most established website platforms out there. And because WordPress is used by 43.1% of all websites , it’s safe to assume that you or someone you know has experience using the platform.

Whether you’re looking to outsource website development or connect with other website owners for advice, you won’t have to look far. The WordPress community is vast and knowledgeable. You can check out a freelance marketplace like Upwork to hire WordPress developers or join an online group to chat with WordPress experts.

To help walk through the steps when making an ecommerce website on WordPress , I’m going to set up my own sample website as an example.

For this example, I’m going to use to set up a basic ecommerce site. You can sign up for a free plan to get started or a paid one if you want access to more features right away.

How to make an ecommerce website with WordPress: WordPress offers six plans ranging from free to enterprise-level.

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

How to Add Google Forms to WordPress (2024 Guide)

How to Add Google Forms to WordPress (2024 Guide)

How to Create a Custom Error 404 WordPress Page

How to Create a Custom Error 404 WordPress Page

WordPress vs. Unbounce: What’s Best for Your Website?

WordPress vs. Unbounce: What’s Best for Your Website?

How to Add and Use WordPress Widgets: A Complete Guide

How to Add and Use WordPress Widgets: A Complete Guide

What is WordPress Multisite? (& Should You Use It?)

What is WordPress Multisite? (& Should You Use It?)

WordPress Tracker Plugin: 10 Best Options for Tracking User Activity

WordPress Tracker Plugin: 10 Best Options for Tracking User Activity

How to Make a WordPress Site Look Professional (In Just 7 Steps)

How to Make a WordPress Site Look Professional (In Just 7 Steps)

WordPress GitHub Integration: A Beginners' Guide

WordPress GitHub Integration: A Beginners' Guide

How to Fix Core Web Vitals on WordPress Sites

How to Fix Core Web Vitals on WordPress Sites

How to Migrate Your WordPress Site With WordPress Duplicator

How to Migrate Your WordPress Site With WordPress Duplicator

Launch your WordPress website with the help of this free guide and checklist.

CMS Hub is flexible for marketers, powerful for developers, and gives customers a personalized, secure experience

  • Business Plan for Investors
  • Bank/SBA Business Plan
  • Operational/Strategic Planning Services
  • L1 Visa Business Plan
  • E1 Treaty Trader Visa Business Plan
  • E2 Treaty Investor Visa Business Plan
  • EB-1 Business Plan
  • EB-2 NIW Business Plan
  • EB-5 Business Plan
  • Innovator Founder Visa Business Plan
  • Start-Up Visa Business Plan
  • Expansion Worker Visa Business Plan
  • Manitoba MPNP Visa Business Plan
  • Nova Scotia NSNP Visa Business Plan
  • British Columbia BC PNP Visa Business Plan
  • Self-Employed Visa Business Plan
  • OINP Entrepreneur Stream Business Plan
  • LMIA Owner Operator Business Plan
  • ICT Work Permit Business Plan
  • LMIA Mobility Program – C11 Entrepreneur Business Plan
  • USMCA (ex-NAFTA) Business Plan
  • Franchise Business Plan
  • Landlord business plan
  • Nonprofit Start-Up Business Plan
  • USDA Business Plan
  • Cannabis business plan
  • Ecommerce business plan
  • Online boutique business plan
  • Mobile application business plan
  • Daycare business plan
  • Restaurant business plan
  • Food delivery business plan
  • Real estate business plan
  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Buy Side Due Diligence Services
  • ICO whitepaper
  • ICO consulting services
  • Confidential Information Memorandum
  • Private Placement Memorandum
  • Feasibility study
  • Fractional CFO
  • How it works
  • Business Plan Examples

Ecommerce Business Plan Sample

OCT.12, 2016

Ecommerce Business Plan

Ecommerce Business Plan for starting your own online store

Are you looking for startup ideas that can easily be initiated and run from home? Well, you must then consider ecommerce business as after the prevalence of coronavirus pandemic internet sales have really shot up.

E-commerce business is based on selling things through the Internet. The line of products may vary from electronic possessions such as e-books or audio/videos to actual physical entities including clothes, furniture, toys, vehicles, etc.

To guide you about each and every aspect of this business, we are providing here a sample business plan for ecommerce of a recent startup ‘TradeE’.

Executive Summary

2.1 the business.

TradeE will be a licensed B2C ecommerce startup that will be run through its ecommerce website. The online enterprise will be owned by Diana Blunt.

The business will sell downloadable products throughout the world, however, delivery services for physical items will be provided in just three cities, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.

2.2 Management of Online Retail Store

Management is an important aspect of business as it ensures that everybody clearly knows what they have to do and there is a check on every employee to ensure a perfect workflow.

Starting an online business usually seems easy since you don’t have to personally interact with customers and employees. However, this too can end up in a mess if you are failed at managing it.

Online management is a challenge because your ecommerce site and online transactions are always prone to hackers, frauds, and copycats. To make sure that your and your customer’s data is protected and everything goes like you intended, you must write a detailed business plan.

If you are looking for how to write a business plan for online store you can take help from here.

Diana will govern the business herself. To manage the online store , the company will be hiring social media manager, digital marketing director, virtual assistants, IT specialists, and delivery personnel.

2.3 Customers of Online Retail Store

The groups that are expected to be our major customers will mostly comprise of young, adults, and senior citizens. We believe that college students, working moms and dads, and senior members of households will surely find many things to buy from us.

2.4 Business Target

Our target is to become a renowned online store in our service areas. We believe in generating profits by serving our customers with our best.

Ecommerce Business Plan - 3 Years Profit Forecast

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

Diana Blunt is the owner of TradeE. She has recently completed her MBA from the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

During the years of her graduation, she was constantly involved in learning emerging disciplines and skills such as graphic editing and ecommerce management.

Besides being tech-savvy she is also a great communicator, leader, and tourist.

3.2 Why the online store is being started

Diana had always wished to start a business that can be expanded or contained whenever she wants. Viewing her digital skills and interests she decided to go for an online shop.

Another factor that helped her in this decision was her extreme love for traveling. She wanted to start a business that she can govern without being actually present there.

From this sample business plan ecommerce you can see how the online business TradeE was planned and executed.

3.3 How the online store will be started

Before starting the business, the company owner will do research on which product line should be chosen to get the most recognition. The company will also collaborate with other online businesses to buy their products and sell them on the company’s platform.

Since the business will mainly sell toys, clothes, bags, and accessories, a storage room will be taken on rent to keep the things.

Following the making of business plan ecommerce template, the company will hire the required personnel. TradeE will seek the services of a web developer and IT specialist to create a website that fulfills the criteria of secure transactions, foolproof client database, and copy-protected access. It will be ensured that the web design is user-friendly and descriptive.

The business owner aims at hiring the digital marketing team and director two weeks before the launch so that ecommerce business marketing plan could be executed.

Ecommerce Business Plan - Startup Cost

Products and Offers

Deciding your line of products is the most important part of your startup as it depends on your surroundings, budget, and target customers as well. Rather than being just fashion ecommerce or specifically jewelry ecommerce TradeE has decided to introduce itself as a multiple product line company.

The large range of products offerings by TradeE includes:

Clothes: We will provide all departments of garments for men, women, and children ranging from casual dresses, suits, daily wears to sports & swimming outfits. All the dresses, shirts, T-shirts and suits offered by us will be branded and designer-made.

Bags & Accessories : We will offer branded bags and clutches and a range of accessories including wristwatches, jewelry items, hats, sunglasses, keyrings, mobile covers, socks, gloves, umbrellas, hair accessories, and stationery.

Household Items : We will offer small household items such as home linens, baking dishes, baby items, and kitchen essentials.

Gifts: We will also provide packed as well as un-packed gifts to be given to people of all age groups.

Downloadable Products: We will also be selling e-books, audio and video files, games, movies, stock images, etc.

Marketing Analysis of Online Retail Store

If you are planning e commerce business you must not ignore the fact that market analysis is equally important like all other aspects of a business. Before setting out for a new ecommerce venture, you must analyze where and how you can find the most people to turn into your customers.

Especially if your online business is based on physical products you must figure out which areas for delivery services will be suitable and which cities can help you in getting a maximum number of customers.

Analyzing and discovering your target people is also essential in the case when you are making decisions about social media campaigns. Your approach to promote your startup can only be effective if you know the age groups and the mindset of your target customers.

5.1 Market Trends

Ecommerce businesses are flourishing day by day because people found it convenient to have their favorite thing in their hands by a mere click. Another reason for increased sales is that many people avoid visiting shops personally after the pandemic has hit the earth.

The figures reported by IBISWorld supports the fact that one can’t be at a loss if they devise a comprehensive and workable ecommerce project plan before starting. According to the market research company, 234,699 online businesses are successfully running in the United States. A 10.2% growth rate in the ecommerce businesses has been observed in the past five years and a 6.9% growth rate has been predicted for this year that is 2020.

5.2 Marketing Segmentation

TradeE has categorized its target customers into three groups so that their corresponding choices, preferences, and needs could be thoroughly studied. It is advisable to also classify your intended clientele when you are writing a business plan for ecommerce startup.

Ecommerce Business Plan - Marketing Segmentation

The detailed marketing segmentation of our target audience is as follows:

5.2.1 Young & Adults: Our major target group will comprise of young people. They are expected to avail most of our downloadable products such as e-books, music, games. Moreover, we also believe them to be the biggest buyers of our clothes, bags, and accessories.

In addition, moms, the homemakers are also included in this category. Thus, we are confident that the major customer of our home items such as house linens and eating utensils will also be catered for in this category.

5.2.2 Senior Citizens: Our second target group comprises of senior citizens. They are expected to avail all of our services. The elderly persons will also purchase household items as they usually are devoted to homemaking.

Moreover, we expect this respectable category of our customers to be the biggest purchaser of our gifts, as grandpas and grandmas are the ones who want to make kids and grandkids feel special on various events.

5.2.3 Teens & Kids: Our third target group is comprised of children and teens. They are expected to purchase accessories such as wristwatches, mobile covers, stationery, and jewelry items. We also think that they could be the major consumers of our audio and video files and games.

5.3 Business Target

Business targets as specified by TradeE to be achieved over a certain period of time are given here:

  • To maintain an average rating above 4.65 throughout the year
  • To increase our marketing qualified lead by 30% every four months
  • To improve our lead conversion rate by 10% every month
  • To reduce the time we take for delivering items by 15% by the first six months
  • To earn a net profit margin of $10k per month by the end of the first six months
  • To achieve customer repeat rate of 40% by the end of the first year

5.4 Product Pricing

Our prices are in similar ranges as those of our competitors. However, we will keep on providing several discounts to our repeat customers.

Marketing Strategy

If you are going to start any ecommerce company such as an online boutique you must focus on your marketing plan because that’s what makes an ecommerce site successful.

Without a detailed and perfect marketing strategy, it would be very difficult for you to reach out to people who are most likely to purchase your products.

Considering its importance, TradeE will start executing its sales strategy plan two weeks before the launch.

6.1 Competitive Analysis

Our biggest competitive advantage is that we are providing a very vast product line so to increase the niches of our target groups. All our products will be authentic, and replaceable within 2 days. Moreover, we’ll be offering several discounts in the startup phase to attract more and more customers.

And finally, another thing that will be in our favor is that we will be able to deliver items fast as we are offering delivery services in the three cities that are really close to each other.

6.2 Sales Strategy

  • We’ll run a campaign through social media & ensure a strong web and social media presence
  • We’ll advertise our startup through local newspapers
  • We’ll send gifts to our first 200 customers
  • We’ll offer a 15% discount on every shopping above $60 for the first three months

6.3 Sales Monthly

Ecommerce Business Plan - Sales Monthly

6.4 Sales Yearly

Ecommerce Business Plan - Sales Yearly

6.5 Sales Forecast

Ecommerce Business Plan - Unit Sales

Personnel plan

Your planning for electronic commerce couldn’t be justified as ideal unless you include in it the ways you will adopt to hire the most competent persons.

Since most of the employees of TradeE will be freelance workers, the company will conduct rigorous online interviews to find the most suitable employee.

7.1 Company Staff

The company’s owner will perform the duties of CEO and HR Manager. The list of company’s required staff, as well as their jobs descriptions, is given below:

  • 1 Co-Manager to manage company’s store and delivery operations
  • 1 Digital Marketing Officer to manage company’s graphic team
  • 1 Social Media Manager to run company’s web pages and social media pages
  • 2 IT specialists/Web Developers to maintain and update company’s website
  • 1 Graphic Designer to create graphic for company’s site
  • 1 Content Writer to write products description and general content for website
  • 10 Drivers to ensure quick delivery
  • 1 Customer Care Representative to manage client’s requests

7.2 Average Salary of Employees

Financial plan.

One of the biggest advantages of online businesses is that even if you starting an ecommerce business from scratch you won’t need a huge amount to invest. Your major spending will be the salaries of your employees and rent of your storeroom.

So in order to analyze expected profits or future investments and identify the resources that are available or could be needed in the coming days, you must prepare a financial plan.

Your financial plan should also include the details of at what financial status you would prefer to contain or expand your product line or service area.

The financial plan for TradeE is given as follows:

8.1 Important Assumptions

8.2 brake-even analysis.

Ecommerce Business Plan - Brake-even Analysis

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

8.3.1 profit monthly.

Ecommerce Business Plan - Profit Monthly

8.3.2 Profit Yearly

Ecommerce Business Plan - Profit Yearly

8.3.3 Gross Margin Monthly

Ecommerce Business Plan - Gross Margin Monthly

8.3.4 Gross Margin Yearly

Ecommerce Business Plan - Gross Margin Yearly

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

8.5 projected balance sheet, 8.6 business ratios.

Download Ecommerce Business Plan Sample in pdf

OGS capital professional writers specialized also in themes such as quality retail business plan, stationery business ideas , corner store business plan , unique retail business plans , pharmacy business plans , underwear line business plan and many others.

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

business plan for an ecommerce

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another .

You entered an incorrect username or password

Comments (0)

mentioned in the press:

Search the site:

business plan for an ecommerce

OGScapital website is not supported for your current browser. Please use:

business plan for an ecommerce


  1. How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

    An e-commerce business plan is a document that outlines your business and its goals, analyzes your industry and competitors, and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan. It also lists the e-commerce retailers you'll use to distribute your products and the marketing strategies you'll use to drive sales.

  2. Ecommerce Business Plan (FREE How To Guide + PDF Sample Template)

    The business plan is the brainstorming process that ensures your concept and goals are realistic. This is more than just mental notes. True business plans take your ideas, questions, and concerns and put those in writing.

  3. How to Start an E-Commerce Business in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Starting an e-commerce business is a lot like starting any company: You'll need to create a business plan, get licenses and permits and set up dedicated finances. You'll also need to choose...

  4. How to Write the Ultimate eCommerce Business Plan

    An eCommerce business plan can help you steer your online shop in the right direction. Fortunately, you don't need a business degree to create one. Read on to: Learn what a business plan is and why your eCommerce company needs one Discover how an eCommerce business plan is different from business plans for other business types

  5. How To Start an Ecommerce Business: Guide for 2024

    1:43 Learn More Start an ecommerce business in 5 steps Find product opportunities and choose what to sell Thoroughly research your competition and write a business plan Choose a logo and name and set up your online store Choose your shipping strategy and set sales and marketing goals Launch your business 1.

  6. A Better-Selling Ecommerce Business Plan (Template, Guide ...

    Every ecommerce company can benefit from a solid business plan. Here are the main benefits of creating a business plan: If You're Just Starting Out: A business plan will help you set clear goals and create an action plan to achieve them. It will also help you realistically estimate and budget for the costs of your new business.

  7. How To Create an E-Commerce Business Plan in 8 Steps

    A typical business plan for an e-commerce company includes the following sections: Business opportunity foresight and how you plan to capitalize on it

  8. How to Write an eCommerce Business Plan + Template

    Updated November 13, 2023 Free Download: Sample eCommerce Business Plan Templates If you're starting an online eCommerce business, it's tempting to dive right in and set up your digital shop. After all, eCommerce businesses are often less expensive to start than physical businesses and the risk may seem lower. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

  9. How to create a defensible eCommerce business plan

    Secure funding. By having a business plan that details the who, what, where, when, and hows of your business—you'll enjoy an easier time building trust with investors and piquing their interest. Filter distractions.

  10. Ecommerce Business Plan: How to Write + Strategies for Success

    The key elements of an ecommerce business plan template describe blueprints for growth, projected timelines and financial goals — clarifying topics like cash flow, expenses, marketing tools and distribution channels. An executive summary provides a concise rundown of the key points in your business plan.

  11. Ecommerce Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

    An ecommerce business plan is a detailed and comprehensive document that outlines the strategies, objectives, and operational blueprint of an online business. It serves as a roadmap guiding the company's operations and growth within the dynamic and competitive digital marketplace.

  12. Ecommerce Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

    Key Takeaways Elements like executive summary, product or service, operations, marketing and sales plan, management team, and financial plan come together to make a compelling business plan. Determine marketing strategies for your ecommerce business and lay a clear action plan for building a solid brand image.

  13. How to Start an E-commerce Business: A 2024 Guide

    Step 3: Choose a business name and start building your brand. Next, your business needs a name and brand identity. For those starting white label e-commerce businesses, the brand is especially crucial to the success of your business. Choosing a business name can be fun, but it requires a bit of strategic thinking.

  14. How To Make an E-commerce Business Plan

    A good e-commerce business plan is driven by research and data. To keep it smart and realistic, update your forecast by identifying what works and what doesn't. Seek opportunities to sustain the financial growth of your e-commerce business, and your growth as an e-entrepreneur. Good habits help you grow faster, keep on learning, and expand ...

  15. Ecommerce Business Plan Guide + Sample

    Example Ecommerce Business Plan. Explore our E-commerce Business Plan, presented below. If you prefer, you can access a downloadable Google Doc version of this bar business plan template, allowing you to personalize and tailor it to your specific needs. Additionally, a helpful video walkthrough is available, guiding you through the process of ...

  16. Sample Ecommerce Business Plan

    For aspiring ecommerce owners, having access to a sample ecommerce business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own ecommerce business plan. Download our Ultimate Ecommerce Business Plan Template. Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful ecommerce venture.

  17. How to Create an Ecommerce Business Plan in 2023

    26 min Updated: Nov 11, 2023 Do you need to launch an ultra practical online business? It all starts with a pre-meditated ecommerce business plan. At first glance, this feels like a superficial blueprint for most starters. But here's the deal.

  18. E-commerce Business Plan Template

    This e-commerce business plan template is tailored specifically to e-commerce businesses, and all you need to do is add the details of your company. Business Overview. If the business has legally been in existence for a little while, add some context for what's been accomplished since the business was founded and where it's at now e.g ...

  19. Business Plan Template for Ecommerce

    Starting an e-commerce business can be an exhilarating yet challenging journey. To set yourself up for success, you need a solid business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Ecommerce is the ultimate toolkit for entrepreneurs and business owners in the online retail industry.

  20. How to Start an Ecommerce Business: A Simple 7-Step Guide

    5. Write a Business Plan. Your ecommerce business plan should outline your company's goals, the strategies to achieve these goals, plus your target market, financial projections, and operational structure. This document should act as a reference point and a roadmap for your business. And answer some important business-focused questions.

  21. Ecommerce Business Plan: Create a Business Plan for Your ecommerce Business

    An ecommerce business plan gives you a roadmap, clarity of goals, target audience, and strategies. This helps stay focused and organized, guiding efforts in the right direction. The plan also aids in budgeting, ensuring wise resource allocation and avoiding unnecessary expenses.

  22. 6-Part Ecommerce Business Plan (Template Included)

    Correctly estimating your market size and how much market share you can corner is a key element in any ecommerce business plan. There are three important elements in assessing market size: [ *] Your total addressable market (TAM) Your serviceable available market (SAM) Your serviceable obtainable market (SOM) The total addressable market is the ...

  23. How to Write a Business Plan for Ecommerce Success

    Here's an example of a SWOT analysis template: Section 3. Your Marketing Plan. Now that we've covered your company and your competitors, it's time to talk about your customers and how you're going to reach them. The fastest and easiest way to build your marketing plan is by starting with buyer personas.

  24. How to Make an Ecommerce Website with WordPress

    Step 2. Choose a web hosting provider. I briefly mentioned this in the previous step, but the next step is to choose a web hosting provider. A web host differs from a domain name in that the web host is the platform where your website will live; the domain name acts as the address.

  25. Ecommerce Business Plan Sample [2024 Updated]

    2.1 The Business. TradeE will be a licensed B2C ecommerce startup that will be run through its ecommerce website. The online enterprise will be owned by Diana Blunt. The business will sell downloadable products throughout the world, however, delivery services for physical items will be provided in just three cities, San Jose, San Francisco, and ...

  26. Best Enterprise E-Commerce Platforms Of 2024

    The Best Enterprise E-Commerce Platforms of 2024. Wix: Best for Ease of Use. Shopify: Best for Integrations. Shift4Shop: Best for Free Plan. Square Online: Best for Hybrid Online Stores ...

  27. Best free website builders 2024

    In terms of e-commerce features, the free plan is generous; Weebly allows you to upload unlimited items and provides you with a shopping cart, built-in inventory management and an automatic tax ...