How to make an e-commerce business plan?

90% of e-commerce fails after 4 months of its launch. Instead of discouraging you, this statistic reminds you of the need to have a solid business plan before starting your online business.

Before you start choosing a platform to build your e-commerce site, find out if your project will be profitable. Also consider that choosing a CMS can have an impact on the success of your project.

As a reminder, the business plan allows:

  • better understanding of your business
  • Identifying the resources needed for your operations
  • Defining a roadmap for the future
  • Better analysis of the competition
  • Identification of threats and opportunities

What is a business plan?

Business plan is an essential document when building a business, resumption of activity or modification of activity. It is also the preferred tool for successful fundraising.

The objectives of the business plan are:

  • Assures you about the viability of your e-commerce project
  • Help you get a bank loan
  • Convince prospective partners and investors to trust you
  • Be able to forecast your future activity

There are several goals of a business plan:

  • Project leader, who is the main recipient
  • banking institution
  • investors
  • future partner

What are the features of a business plan for an e-commerce site?

Business plan related to building an e-commerce site Will deal much more with the topics of digital and communication than the classic business plan. The primary goal of an e-commerce site is to attract customers to buy on the site.

Through the business plan, you will have to ask yourself many questions related to digital and communication. Do You Need to Hire an SEO Agency? Are you going to build your own site or do you need a web developer? Are you going to give a paid reference to quickly improve visibility? Serious efforts.

Another uniqueness of an e-commerce business plan is that the financial portion will not use the same financial data as a physical company. Here, we will talk about the number of visitors to the site, ecommerce conversion rate, Average basket, cost per click, etc.

The e-commerce business plan also differs from the additional costs generated by the site: online payment solutions, site creation and hosting, email solutions, AdWords advertising campaigns, agency SEO or use of web editors, production of professional photos and videos, shipping packages cost etc.

How to make an e-commerce business plan?

An e-commerce business plan is a written file that is usually several dozen pages long and created in several parts.

1) Presentation of the business project

This first part is also called the executive summary. This section is written on a maximum of two pages and should outline the main lines of the project. The summary should introduce the business, company values, team members, etc.

The executive summary is the first part of an e-commerce business plan, yet it should be written last.

2) Market Research

The purpose of this second part is to describe the market in which the company will grow. The goal is to show how the products or services offered by your company will meet a demand.

First, put as much information as possible on the profiles of future customers (age group, socio-professional categories, purchasing behavior), then establish a marketing persona.

do it again swot matrix To identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your e-commerce site. SWOT is essential, it will help you to diagnose your e-commerce business internally and externally. This will be your basis for the rest of the business plan.

Market study then includes the study of competition. To do this, you need to answer a number of questions about your competitors. What is your competitive environment? What are your competitors selling? Through which channels? at what cost?

Next, write a section on your competitive advantage What sets you apart from the competition. To do this, think about the strengths of your e-commerce business compared to others: innovation, lower prices than competitors, exclusive products, multilingual websites, unique packaging, and more.

3) Defining your strategy

In this part, you will need to outline your long-term strategy and talk about the decisions you need to make to encourage Internet users to buy your products or services.

To get a more clear look at building your strategy, we recommend that you write your marketing mix, also known as the 4P method.

the product

Define your products or services, their added values, their functionalities, their points of differentiation, etc. Ask yourself how your products or services set you apart from the competition and are part of your company’s identity.

price (price)

Think about the prices you want to offer and your pricing strategy: Price below, match or overprice the competition. Ask yourself if you’re going to have discounted, dynamic pricing. You may have already determined the acceptable price of your products through a panel or questionnaire of consumers.

Category (Distribution)

Ask yourself about your distribution channels: website, marketplace, dropshipping, etc. As well as your distribution strategy: intensive, selective or exclusive distribution. Also state whether you are going to stock products in advance or do it “just on time.”

publicity (communication)

In this section, ask yourself about your company’s graphic charter, your business speech, and the packaging of your products. Indicate the means of promotion you are going to establish: social networks, press relations, AdWords ads, YouTube videos, etc.

All elements of the marketing mix, as well as the rest of the business plan, will allow you to develop your strategy in a clear and comprehensive way. Write a text explaining your strategy with graphic and visual elements for a more effective e-commerce business plan.

4) Financial Forecast

For this financial part, you will need to create financial tables to determine the volume of your project.

  • Table of forecast turnover: number of sales, average basket, conversion rate, etc.
  • Table on the cost of creating and operating a company: estimated expenses, estimated balance sheet, cash budget.
  • Table on financial planning: self-financing capability and external financing.

If necessary, the business plan may include other additional financial tables: calculation of working capital, description of personnel costs, description of taxes and duties, table of investments, etc.

Here are 5 tips to help you create the best business plan for your business!

1. Use Google Trends to Determine Market Demand

One of the first steps in a business plan is figuring out what products to market on your online store. Even if you already have your thoughts on the subject, it’s important to determine if consumers are on the same wavelength as you. To find out, use Google Trends! This tool helps you identify trends in your niche.
In addition, it calculates the popularity of the keyphrase during a specific period. Its data can be classified according to your geographic area. Thus, you can determine whether your products are in demand by consumers. It can also help you find a value proposition to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Additionally, Google Trends allows you to compare multiple search phrases. This will allow you to define your SEO strategy for later.

2. Analyze Competition with Google Shopping

google shopping

The easiest and fastest way to analyze the competition is to use Google Shopping. Search for the product you choose and you can discover all the e-commerce sites that sell it.
Check out their stores and map out the competition to get an idea of ​​where you really want to position yourself. Visit their social networks and blogs to identify their marketing strategy. You can also search their suppliers.
After this analysis, you can determine your window of opportunity to enter the market. You are ready to find a supplier or manufacturer for your products, but also to set your own pricing policy.

3. Define Tools to Build and Manage Your Store

The next step in your business plan is to define the tools that will help you convert visitors into consumers and buyers into loyal customers.
For this, you need to list the software to manage:

  • online stores
  • Accountability
  • payment process
  • shopping cart
  • social network
  • customer relations

Fortunately, there are CMS (Content Management System) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools to help you. These tools sometimes provide multiple solutions in one.
So the idea is to visit the market to find the equipment that meets your needs and your budget. Don’t hesitate to call on a freelancer to help you choose a platform that best suits your technical requirements.
Your business plan should include the chosen solution, as well as the underlying costs.Define tools to build and manage your store

4. Assign a Cost to Your Traffic Sources

SEO, SEA, social networks, marketing, blogging, emailing, marketplaces, affiliations, forums… The traffic to your e-commerce (and sales!) will come from a variety of sources. Some are organic, others are paid, but they all require investment!
So you have to set your objectives, know your consumers, to set a digital action plan. Your e-commerce business plan should contain a detailed plan as well as the costs required to develop each traffic channel.

5. Estimate your e-commerce business

In addition to the cost of your marketing strategy, there are many recurring costs involved in running e-commerce.
Of these expenses, we find the cost of receiving your products, your subscription to the equipment, the logistics service (for example, Amazon FBA to store and ship your packages) and fixed costs. You will also need to plan for contingencies related to late deliveries or product returns.
In addition, it is important to calculate the number of potential buyers (based on the size of your market and the campaigns implemented), as well as the average shopping basket.
This will allow you to make a forecast business estimate for your e-commerce and define the viability of your project.


Creating a business plan for your e-commerce is essential to planning your business growth.
Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of an independent ecommerce developer to build your site, best complete this roadmap, and ensure the success of your online store! Post your project for free on to get a quote.

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