How to Write an E-commerce Business Plan: An Ultimate Guide

September 3, 2019 Business, Marketing, Most popular

Writing your first e-commerce business plan is a big step towards business expansion and long-time growth. Nowadays, there is no way you can avoid e-commerce as an entrepreneur, as statistics prove. According to Hosting Facts, 1.92 billion people will buy something online in 2020, while 72% of e-commerce will take place on mobile devices by 2021, according to another resource, Statista

E-commerce Business Plan

Since e-commerce is clearly a must for your profit-increase, we came up with nine quick tips on how to write your first e-commerce business plan. Check them out and let us know what you think!

1. Write your executive summary

Your business needs an exact description, so make sure you come up with a clear one as soon as possible. This is the first step to consider when writing down your plan. If a potential investor pops up, they’ll want to know what your company stands for and why it is better than other businesses. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What is your business selling?
  • Why is your business different – and better – than your competitors?
  • Is there a need for your e-commerce products on the market? Why and how will you meet it?
  • Who is part of your management team and what are their attributes?
  • How do the sales and financial forecasts look?
  • Will you need funding? What for? 

2. What is your company’s background?

It’s important that you provide an overview of your company and explain how it came to be. Think about these next questions and try to include your answers in this section of the e-commerce business plan.

  • For how long has your business been functioning and what has it carried out until now?
  • Are you the only owner or are your sharing ownership with someone else?
  • How does your product/service stand out from others already on the market?
  • What are your company’s values? Is adaptability to customer’s needs one of them? If so, how?
  • What other external factors could influence your business?

3. Who’s your competition? Target population?

Talking about your competition is crucial – it shows you are aware of your product’s strengths and are able to work on its weaknesses.  If there is something to be challenged, you will be ready to overcome that situation and come up with the best solutions. Always stay prepared, do your market research! 

segment or target audience

You should consider the market segment (the demographic) you will be entering and track its growth over the years. Then, you should ask yourself why you predict a market gap in your area of interest. Next thing you should do is explain your segment or target audience, including customers’ age, sex, preoccupations, and occupations. If you already sold some of your products, write about your selling experience. 

Now make a list of your competitors’ pluses and minuses and explain why long-term, your products will prevail. 

4. Think about sales and marketing for your e-commerce business plan

  • What consumer needs does your product meet?
  • What e-commerce category does it belong to?
  • Talk about the price-quality rapport
  • Where will your products fit in the market?

It’s time to think about advertising to prospective customers. You should include online platforms, such as Google AdWords for example, and details on how you plan on carrying out marketing campaigns. Talk about how you’ll use Search Engine Optimization and social networks to increase your rating and traffic on your webpage. Will you use affiliate marketing and if so, how? This step can be divided into smaller chunks. For instance, you can create a PR sub-plan to discuss advertising and outreach. Have in mind that we are already in AI era.

5. Your management team is important

Your management team is highly important since it will either increase your e-commerce sales or drag your company into the ground. So, make sure you think twice before hiring someone new. Analyze each of your employee’s backgrounds and include them in your plan. How is that relevant to the sales increase? How will they contribute to your business growth? What skills and responsibilities does each person have? How are they putting their skills to use? 

6. The operations should be explained in your e-commerce business plan

It’s important that you explain all of your business operations thoroughly within your text to give a reader a brief explanation of how your company is run. Try to include the following:

  • Whether you need a website or not or how you will run your e-commerce business online
  • The facilities you will make use of 
  • Whether there are any limits to your product availability and if yes, when and how will you overcome those obstacles
  • The stock longevity
  • Your staff and their cost

7. Provide a brief sales and financial forecast

It’s important that you keep your sales forecast realistic and concise. Include details on how and when you will start selling your e-commerce product, how much percentage of customer leads might turn into sales, the average price of your stock and different e-commerce product categories, and the returning potential of each customer. 

Brief sales and financial forecast

Now, let’s cover your financial forecast. Think about your monthly income and provide upper & lower estimates. Consider your cash flow! How will your business survive let alone flourish with the amount of money you currently roll? Can you foresee any problems that you might have to deal with? If so, how will you deal with them? When will your company become cash positive and how do you plan on maintaining that flow? What are your future plans? What do you really want to achieve?

8. How could your business go wrong?

It’s vital to consider the risks that you are taking as an entrepreneur. What could go wrong with your business? Could your company, for instance, grow too quickly and then swiftly lose all of its customers? How about staff, how do you know they’ll stay? What are your emergency solutions in this case? Considering the worst-case scenario is a necessity.

9. Review the e-commerce business plan

Now that you’ve finished writing your e-commerce business plan, it’s time to review it and organize it accordingly. Make sure you stay brief, concise, and objective. Use a spell-checker to check for any grammar mistakes. Include title pages, your logo, headers and footers. Save it as a PDF and send it!


Any successful business owner knows that e-commerce is the present and future of sales growth development – so, if you want to maximize profits and minimize costs, this is what you should be investing your time in. Don’t forget, time is money! Good luck!

About the Author:

Sandra Dufrene is a freelance writer and an editor at ultius reviews. She has a keen interest in photography and dedicates all her free time to it. Sandra has extensive knowledge in different fields such as marketing, education, and blogging. You can contact her on Twitter.