What Is an E-commerce Business Plan and How to Create One?

March 31, 2023

Creating an eCommerce business plan can seem daunting if you are an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start an online business. 

But it doesn't have to be! In fact, an eCommerce business plan is a great tool to help you grow your e-commerce business. 

So, why should you create an eCommerce business plan? After all, just writing down your business idea and hoping for the best won't work in today's fast-changing world.

Creating a comprehensive business plan is the most crucial step in starting an e-commerce business. Without writing a solid business plan first, you'll have no idea where to start or what steps to take next.

In this article, we will explain how to create an eCommerce business plan and its importance.  

Why Does Your E-commerce Company Need an eCommerce business plan?  

You can't just start an e-commerce business and hope it will succeed. You need a plan, which is why e-commerce companies need an eCommerce business plan.

Here are the reasons why your e-commerce company needs an eCommerce business plan:

Saves You A Lot Of Time And Money

A well-crafted eCommerce business plan will help save both time and money for your company as it takes away some of the guesswork involved with making critical decisions during the early stages of your business's life cycle. 

This will allow time for staff members to focus on other tasks so that they can continue growing their businesses without having to worry about day-to-day operations at all times.

Makes You Financially Well-Prepared

The business plan lays out your goals and strategies for achieving them. 

It also lists your financial projections, including the costs of starting up and running the company, as well as any capital investments you'll make in the near future. 

The business plan will also help you determine how much money you'll need to get started and where that money should come from.

A Clear Set of Goals

E-commerce businesses need an eCommerce business plan because it helps them ensure they're on track with their goals and strategies while starting up or growing their business. 

The more detailed your plan is, the better equipped you'll be when you start making decisions about how your company's digital storefront will operate once it's up and running.

How Does an eCommerce business plan Differ From a Business Plan For Other Company Types?

E-commerce has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and it's about to become even more popular. 

E-commerce companies have been able to use technology to streamline their processes and make them more efficient than ever.

Regarding eCommerce business plans, there are some critical differences between a traditional business plan and digital business plans. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Rather than leasing a physical storefront, you create a digital storefront. You can use any web platform to create a storefront for your company, including Shopify and BigCommerce.
  • Rather than hiring house staff members, an eCommerce business plan would emphasize roles in online customer service, fulfillment, and marketing.

Ecommerce Business Plan Template

An eCommerce business plan is an essential document to have in your e-commerce business. It helps you to know the direction of your business and how it can be improved. 

An eCommerce business plan template can help you write the contents of your plan correctly. Here is how you can go about it-

Draft an Executive Summary

Your Executive Summary is a brief overview of the business plan that summarizes your entire business plan. 

It should be written in a way that allows investors to quickly understand what you are trying to accomplish and how you will achieve it. 

What does your business do?

In this part of the business plan, you will have to introduce yourself, your company, and your story. 

You can also include information about your industry and why you choose that niche. 

For example, if you are a fashion designer, you can tell about yourself and why you decided to start a new line of clothes online instead of going into a traditional retail store or brick-and-mortar stores.

What goals does your business want to achieve?

The first section of this section should include a description of your company, its mission, and its goals. 

All e-commerce businesses start with huge goals, but you must set realistic goals and ensure you achieve them.

What products do you sell?

The third section should explain how you plan to achieve your company's goals in the next five years. 

You can break this into two parts: (1) what products or services will be sold, and (2) where the company plans on selling those products or services.

Who is your audience?

Identify your target market and mention your audience. Choose your product wisely so it sells quickly in the target demographic. 

For example, if you want to sell trendy clothes, better to target GenZs, who are always looking to be fashionable. 

Identify Your Company Overview

Brand name

Write the brand name of your company in your business plan. 

This will help you create a memorable brand, one of the most important factors for gaining customers' trust. 

Having a strong brand name is also vital because it will help you get your products on shelves and attract new clients and investors.

Business structure

Include all the details about your company's structure or business model, including its legal status and whether it is a private or a public company. 

You should also mention what kind of business entity has been chosen for your company and how many employees currently work for it.

Domain name

Include the domain name for your website in this section of your business plan and any other vital details about it, like who registered it and where it can be found on the Internet (URL). 

You should also include any other relevant information in this section, such as its geographical location.


Your company's mission statement is an integral part of your business plan. It should describe the company's purpose, what it does, and how it will benefit society. 

It should also include a description of how the company can help customers and clients, as well as its goals for the future.


This is a concise statement of what you want to achieve shortly, such as becoming profitable, expanding into new markets, or creating more products and services that are unique to your company.

Background information and Your team

This section should include information about your management team members, their educational background and experience within their fields, skillsets, past work experience, and any other relevant information that will help readers see them as real people rather than just names on a page.

Conduct Market Research

concept, man, papers

Conducting market analysis and research can help you understand your competition and what it will take to get competitive advantage and succeed in your industry.

Market opportunities

For a business plan to be successful, it must be based on sound assumptions about what will happen when it's launched. Market research allows you to identify potential customers, determine their needs, and determine how to meet them. For example:

  • Who are your customers? 
  • What do they want from you? 
  • What are their problems?
  • How much can you charge for the products or services you provide?
  • What is the demand for your product or service? 
  • What is the supply?
  • How many people are interested in buying it? 
  • How many people can buy it right now? 
  • How many people will buy it in the future?

Competitive analysis

Competition is one of the most critical factors that impact your success as an e-commerce retailer. 

Before launching any new product or service, understanding how other companies compete with yours will help guide pricing and marketing strategy decisions. 

All in all, competitive analysis and market analysis helps identify potential. With this information in hand, you can plan how to better compete against them.

Products and services

Once you've determined all the things people want and need, it's time to figure out how you will provide those things for them through e-commerce sales. 

For anyone to buy anything from an e-commerce store, they have to have information about what they're buying so they know whether or not they should buy something!

Write about your product, how it solves the problem, benefits buyers, and why they should buy it. 

Develop a Marketing Plan

digital marketing, technology, notebook

Marketing channels

It would be best to have a marketing plan when making an eCommerce business plan to build brand awareness, reach your target audience, and boost sales and revenue. 

It should contain your marketing strategies, and acquisition channels, tools, and technology to market your various products and services.

In marketing channels, you can mention all the platforms and ways you are willing to use in your marketing efforts, like:

  • Direct mail campaign: A direct mail campaign is a great way to target your ideal customers and build brand awareness. It is a very low-cost marketing channel allowing you to reach many people simultaneously.
  • Social media: social media can be used to engage with your customers, grow your audiences, and promote your brand.
  • Email marketing: email marketing can be used to send out newsletters, product updates, event invitations, etc. Email marketing is also relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing channels.
  • Website: the website is an excellent way to promote your business and build trust with potential customers. You can use the website as a digital storefront for products or services sold online only (i.e., digital products). 

The website should contain all relevant information about your company, including sales & services information, testimonials from happy customers, contact information for essential people in the organization such as managers & executives, etc. 

Your website should also be search engine optimized (SEO) to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people enter keywords like "company name" into the Google search bar or Bing. 

Acquisition channels

Next, let's talk about customer acquisition channels. These are ways of finding new customers without investing money in advertising or promotions. 

The most common ones are search engine optimization (SEO), paid social media ads like Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, guest posting on blogs relevant to your niche, and other organic search engine optimization (SEO).

Tools and Technology

Finally, let's talk about tools and technologies you can use to develop your marketing strategy. 

Many free tools are available online, but if you're serious about growing your business, it's worth investing in some paid ones, such as Offeo, Hubstaff, Semrush, etc.

Establish a Financial Plan

Your company must set up a financial plan detailing all its revenue streams and expenses. 

Income statement

The income statement is a summary of the company's sources of revenue and expenses. 

The income statement shows how much money the company made in a given period, usually one year. 

You can also use it to calculate the company's EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization) and its Net Profit.

Balance sheet

The balance sheet gives you an overview of the company's assets and liabilities, plus any accumulated earnings or losses since the last time an accountant audited it. 

You can use it to calculate a company's cash flow and net worth.

Sales Forecast

The sales forecast is also included in this plan. It shows how many customers are expected to buy from your store each month or over the next year/quarter and how many of those customers will be repeat buyers. 

This information helps ensure that your business has enough money coming in to continue growing and expanding.

Cash-flow statement

Finally, a cash-flow statement helps you understand how much money comes in and goes out each month. 

Any unexpected expenses or costs that come up during the year (like taxes) should also be included in this statement!

Create a Sales Plan

ecommerce, selling online, online sales

The sales plan is a crucial part of the e-commerce business, as it will determine the company's success. 

The goal of this plan is to show the sales channels you will use, as well as how you define your customers and what they will need to make a purchase. 

You should also include metrics that indicate how well you are doing in terms of making sales.

Here are some things to consider when creating your sales plan:

  • What channels will you use to promote your products? 
  • Do you want to use social media, or is email better?
  • How long do you expect it to take to reach your first customers? If you're going after new customers, how much time do those customers need to take from their lives before they purchase from you?
  • What kind of pricing structure will you use for each channel? Will it be fixed or variable? What about the cost of shipping? 
  • All three questions are important because they can impact whether or not your customers will buy from you.

Outline Legal Notes and Financial Considerations

binding contract, contract, secure

In this section, we'll include any legal notes or financial considerations important to your business. This can include things like trademark concerns, privacy policies, and more.

1. Outline Legal Notes

  • a. Name of entity
  • b. Purpose of entity (to what extent will the entity be used?)
  • c. Ownership structure
  • d. How do you plan to obtain legal counsel?
  • e. Are there any specific laws you are aware of that might affect this project? If so, identify them and explain how they could impact your business plan.

2. Financial Considerations

  • a. How will the money be raised? What is the estimated cost of running each part of the business?
  • b. What are your expenses related to raising capital? For example, do you need to pay for an accountant or lawyer, or does your company have one? How much does it cost for each person involved in this process?  
  • Do you charge for services upfront or based on milestones achieved? Do you consider any other costs associated with starting a new venture?  

For example, if you're hiring someone new, do you need to pay them more than usual during their first few weeks at work because they've been transferred from another department temporarily while this project gets off the ground?  

What other costs might come into play during this phase of development? For example: what would happen if one investor backed out after signing on

FAQs: Ecommerce Business Plans

Who needs an eCommerce business plan?

An eCommerce business plan is a great way to understand the costs of starting an online store. You may not need a formalized business plan if you already have a website or blog. 

But if you don't have any existing clients or customers or have no idea what to expect when launching your e-commerce store, this will help you create a structure that can help guide your decisions along the way.

What are the benefits of creating a business plan?

The benefits include:

  • Helping you make intelligent decisions by laying out all the details of your online store in one place;
  • Creating a roadmap for your company from start to finish;
  • Allowing you to analyze different options for building an online presence; and
  • Providing you with an opportunity to find out what others are doing well and how those ideas might work for you.

How do I start an e-commerce business with no money?

E-commerce businesses are built using the internet, which has two parts: content and commerce. 

You need to create content, be it a blog or a website, and then figure out how to get people to buy your product or service. Content can be videos, images, music, etc. 

Is e-commerce a good business to start?

It is an excellent business to start, but only if you have the right experience and skills. 

What are the 6 major e-commerce business models?

The six major e-commerce business models are 

  • Business to Consumer (B2C)
  • Business to Business (B2B)
  • Business to Government (B2G)
  • Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
  • Consumer to Business (C2B)

Conclusion: Ecommerce Business Plans

Many e-commerce businesses are in the market since the internet has brought the world to one place. 

While some are doing great, most need help with the right eCommerce business plan for success. 

Developing an eCommerce business plan is a tricky task and must be done carefully. This blog is based on creating an eCommerce business plan template. 

You can find an eCommerce business plan template in this thread. It has many necessary sections, like the executive summary, marketing strategy, and sales forecasts. 

The blog has details about various sections to get a good idea of how to start your research, what to include, and important clauses on managing finances and budgets. 

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