For years, e-commerce has been disrupting retail and changing how consumers buy everything from clothing to electronics. It’s also created a new business model for small retailers, especially those with a product that fits well with the online shopping trend.
However, launching an e-commerce business requires more than just taking your business online and hoping that customers find you. The competition has never been more fierce, so you have to create a plan of action and follow it closely if you want to succeed and avoid failure.
A strategy that considers all aspects of your online store before committing to the launch date will help you create a solid foundation from which your business can grow with less risk of falling apart later on down the road.
In this article, we will discuss what an eCommerce plan is, including the seven critical aspects to consider when creating your eCommerce business plan.
What Is an eCommerce Business Plan?
An eCommerce business plan is a step-by-step guide that outlines your business’s goals, resources, and marketing strategy. It’s not to be taken lightly because it contains your roadmap to success and how you intend to achieve it.
Writing this business plan will help you make intelligent decisions about what you should do now and what you should do later in the process. It should contain information such as:
- Who you are and your background
- Your motivations for starting your new eCommerce business
- What resources you’ll need, including the capital, people, and technology
- Your marketing plan should include a detailed strategy both online and offline
- Your pricing strategy and an outline of your inventory management system.
The Seven Key Aspects to Consider When Creating Your Ecommerce Business Plan
If you’re thinking about starting an e-commerce business, then you should take some time and consider these seven key aspects:
1. Target Audience
The target audience is anyone who wants to learn more about creating an eCommerce business plan. It could be someone that has just started a new venture or someone looking for additional information on how to create a successful online store.
The target audience would also include those already in operation and looking for some tips on how they can improve their current business model.
It is essential to know what your target audience is looking for when visiting your site. You need to know what type of products or services they would be interested in purchasing from you.
You also need to understand their demographic information such as age, gender, income level, and location. You need to draft a strategy designed to attract these potential customers to your website.
You will need to determine what type of items will sell well online and what items would not be as popular with customers. If you are unsure what kinds of products or services you should sell, then it may be good to do some market research before making any decisions.
Look at other websites that sell similar items and see how they market their products and how much they charge. This information can help you decide if there is a market for your product or service.
Also, keep in mind that shipping costs could impact your profit margin if your product is heavy or bulky.
3. Marketing Strategy
You need to determine how you intend to market your products and services online if you want people to know about your business and buy from you instead of your competition.
One option is to use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to get your site listed at or near the top of search engine results for specific keywords related to your business. Another option is to leverage social media marketing and create pages for your business on the right social media platforms.
Post-high-value content on these platforms, including your products, to drive traffic back to your e-commerce site.
It can be hard to stand out from your competition with so many online retailers. To ensure you get a leg up on your e-Commerce competition, thoroughly research how others in your niche are marketing their business and what features they offer customers.
Take note of all competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and any unique selling points that set them apart from other businesses. This information will come in handy when creating your plan of action for your new venture.
5. Projected Costs and Earning Potential (Financial Analysis)
Today’s internet technologies have created new opportunities for various small businesses. An entrepreneur can set up shop for virtually nothing. In many cases, you can start a profitable business for less than $1,000. However, it is essential that you carefully consider your potential start-up costs and determine whether or not your product is likely to be profitable in a niche market before setting out on an entrepreneurial venture.
The financial analysis should help give you a better idea of what sort of budgeting is involved in starting your own e-Commerce business. It will also help you identify any red flags that may signal a bad investment opportunity. For example, if your projected revenues don’t cover your projected expenses, it may be time to reconsider whether or not you want to take on such a project.
Make sure you figure out your fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses remain relatively constant regardless of how much revenue you generate; these include rent/mortgage payments, utilities (including internet), and insurance premiums. Variable expenses vary with sales volume; they include shipping charges, commissions paid to affiliates, marketing materials, and employee salaries.
A solid brand strategy sets your business apart and serves as a benchmark for success. It’s important to consider how you want your company to be perceived by customers, suppliers, investors, partners, and employees.
Everything from your logo design and website interface to employee uniforms aligns with your brand identity. If you’re unsure of where to start, look at companies whose brands you admire and try to identify what they do well. You can also hire a branding consultant or use an online tool.
Ensure that all aspects of your vision can be translated into concrete actions, tasks, and targets. Having a clearly defined idea will help you stay focused on what’s important. It will also prevent you from getting bogged down in minor details that may prove irrelevant in a few months.
In addition, having a clear vision for your e-commerce business allows you to measure how well you are performing against it over time. The clearer your idea is, the easier it will be for you to assess how far along your company has come towards achieving its goals.
Why You Should Enlist the Help Of The E-Commerce Consulting Firm
A business plan is often your first interaction with a financier when seeking financing for a new business. Without an e-commerce consulting firm on your team, presenting all of your facts in an organized and compelling manner can be hard.
An e-commerce consulting firm can help turn that initial presentation into a sustainable partnership. Here are some of how an e-commerce consulting firm can help.
An e-commerce consulting firm can assist you in creating a digital marketing plan that includes SEO, SEM, email marketing, and other digital strategies for growing your business online. If you’re launching an e-commerce business from scratch, you may not know where to begin with online marketing. A consultant can help with that process.
For example, if you don’t have any experience developing a solid presence on Google, an e-commerce consulting firm will experience organic and paid search advertising.
An e-commerce consulting firm can help you with your legal needs, including contracts and intellectual property issues. It can also help you understand how tax laws apply to your business and assist in managing your taxes.
For example, it may be difficult for a small business owner to manage sales tax on their own; an e-commerce consulting firm will have relationships with a network of accountants who specialize in e-commerce taxation.
To succeed online, you need data; an e-commerce consulting firm can provide insights into what’s working (and what isn’t) for your particular business model to know where to invest time and money.
An e-commerce consulting firm can help you select an e-commerce platform that’s right for your business. For example, some companies specialize in specific verticals or niches; an e-commerce consulting firm will have experience with several platforms and be able to help you find one that fits your needs and budget.
Winding It Up
At its core, business planning is an essential practice that helps businesses grow and develop. Whether you’re working with a business coach or starting your consulting firm, it’s crucial to understand business planning and how it applies to your specific company.
But as you try and figure out your strengths and weaknesses, be transparent with yourself and know when to ask for help from an e-commerce consulting firm.
A professional consultant can help you create a customized plan based on your unique goals and needs. They will also ensure that your plan includes all aspects of running a successful business.
With the constantly growing eCommerce market, it makes perfect sense that you get as much help as possible when launching your eCommerce business.