Many people decide to create their own ecommerce to sell online, but there are many who find themselves having to close it after a short time of activity. This happens because at its base there is not the realization of a valid business plan for ecommerce that allows you to carefully evaluate every critical aspect of a store for online sales.
Business plan for e-commerce: what it is and what it is for
A business plan allows you to clearly develop all the key processes from which your ecommerce will operate. This important element will put your ecommerce in a position to succeed where others have failed.
The business plan highlights the goals to be achieved and the steps to be taken, as well as estimating the costs to be incurred and quantifying the revenues to be obtained to reach the break-even point.
From this information you can get a concrete estimate of the resources you need for your ecommerce, for example to apply for funding and estimate the solvency of your project.
The business plan can be longer or shorter, depending on the depth of information you need. If you don’t need a meticulous document to apply for external financing, you can focus on a slim document of a few pages to set the points to follow with sufficient clarity.
Let’s see the information to be reported in a business plan for ecommerce really useful.
Surely you should not miss the salient information about your business, such as:
- The objectives to be achieved
- The people involved in the direction and operational management of ecommerce, with their qualifications and experience
- The business model adopted: to sell to final customers (B2C) or to retailers (B2B)
- The characteristics of the public-type to which to address
- The channels of sale practiced
- A projected income statement
- The sources of funding to draw on
- A summary of the marketing strategies to be applied
- A summary of marketing strategies
Market analysis for e-commerce
Market analysis is an important step to collect information necessary to classify the typical user to whom the ecommerce is addressed. It allows you to develop new products, analyze the appropriate prices to reach the break even point and overcome the competition in the sector in which it operates.
The analysis of the market allows to identify
- The message to be transmitted to distinguish itself from competing companies
- The plausible results obtainable from the adoptable web marketing strategies
- The characteristics of the target to which you turn to
- The life of the product or service
The analysis of the life cycle of the product allows to activate the most suitable strategies in relation to the particular moment of life of the product. In this way, it is possible to identify the most appropriate actions to respond to the needs of clients and to the competition to which they are subjected.
This analysis allows, for example, to identify if a product has reached the end of its natural life cycle and is no longer able to meet the needs of consumers, so it must be removed from ecommerce.
Customer research: B2B or B2C
The study of the customer-typical allows to ascertain the characteristics and the requirements of the public to which it is addressed (that in many cases is different from that of the traditional store).
The customer Business to business is a company, therefore interested in products necessary to its activities and that can increase its turnover.
The Business to consumer customer is the final user, therefore the communication of the ecommerce must be imprinted on the resolution of the effective problems that interest the persons.
Pre sale and post sale
Thanks to SEO optimization and the writing of effective content, ecommerce pages can appear among the first results of searches of those who are interested in that kind of products and services.
This authority can support user appreciation and increase revenue, even before resorting to paid advertisements.
Post-sale is an important phase of the sale, even if it comes after it. It is important to be able to manage feedback and complaints in order to build customer loyalty and encourage customers to buy again.
The brand must be able to manage unpleasant eventualities (requests for refunds, complaints for non-delivery of goods, requests for withdrawal …) to preserve its authority and not risk running into legal disputes.
Buyer personas are useful tools to increase sales of an ecommerce store. They are models conceived to represent in a realistic way the characteristics of the user-types to which you address. These are not real people but an abstraction that collects the average characteristics of the target, in order to summarize the main behavioral traits, aspirations and preferences.
Thanks to tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console we can find out what keywords our audience uses to identify products that meet their needs. Google Trends, on the other hand, allows us to analyze the peaks of interest that arise online in relation to a given topic.
Competitive analysis of e-commerce
Competitive analysis is used to ascertain the kind of competitors to be faced and to identify the main competitors in the industry.
The analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, particularly those aspects that can realistically be overcome with the resources available.
The marketing strategy needs to be based on a unique proposition of value, a kind of offering or quality not easily found elsewhere, that enables the firm to outperform its competitors.
This can be a kind of niche product not easily found, or innovative and above-average qualities.
How to deal with ecommerce competition
Competitor analysis consists of identifying the actual competitors, analyzing their sales strategies and marketing tools adopted. It allows you to identify competitors’ weaknesses that you are able to overcome and potential threats before they become too established.
A winning ecommerce project must be based on one or more features that can set it apart from the competition. The brand must rely on a particular value that is able to offer its customers unlike competitors such as: the availability of niche items more sought after; production in the territory to km zero; a social cause cultivated through the business, etc..
Ecommerce users may not know all the products available in the store that can meet their needs. For this reason it is worthwhile to develop a section dedicated to similar products, which presents items similar to those displayed, or with a higher price because they have additional features, to suggest to users.
The analysis of the main trends of the sector allows to ascertain which kind of products are more appreciated on the net in a given period of time, and to intercept peaks of interest initially not foreseen. Google Trends is an excellent tool to identify which topics are the most popular in the period of interest.
The communication of the ecommerce should be marked in bringing out the salient features of the brand, able to make it an authoritative reference point in the minds of consumers.
Experience in the field, references from satisfied customers, a distinctive mission, are all elements that can strengthen the esteem of the brand towards its audience.
A performing ecommerce must be based on a series of elements that can ensure satisfactory performance, first of all:
- A hosting with good performance.
- An integrated ERP to make commercial transactions easier.
- An advanced CMS suitable for the specific needs of ecommerce.
- The most appropriate plugins to meet the needs of sales.
- An effective management of the flow of sales linked to the related orders and warehouse.
- An adequate SEO optimization activity to make ecommerce content relevant to search engines.
- Direct marketing tools to reinforce the attachment to the brand in the long run, through emails to be sent to interested contacts.
- On the front-end communication side – that is, what appears to users – we need to take care of a number of functional and visual details to maximize ecommerce performance, such as:
Adopt a tone of voice and a visual identity in line with the target and with the communication adopted in the other business channels. Adopt a satisfactory graphic quality and in line with the corporate brand. Maintain a satisfactory navigability and user experience by industry standards. Improve the ability to manage user requests through marketing automation software.
The professionalism required by ecommerce
The success of an ecommerce is given by the skills of the people who work there. A company can choose to make use of internal salaried figures or external professionals to whom outsource the management of the online store.
The choice between internal and external figures depends on many factors: the volume of turnover, the complexity of products to be managed, the number of products sold, the growth prospects that are cultivated, etc..
In general, depending on the complexity of the project, we can have these roles covered by multiple people or by the same individuals:
- The project manager is in charge of planning all phases related to online sales.
- The SEO is responsible for improving the positioning of the products by making the site more easily navigable and more authoritative for search engines, and to analyze the performance of the site thanks to the information provided by the Analytics systems.
- The programmer is responsible for developing specific features to better meet the needs of customers.
Why your e-commerce need a blog
The blog is an important tool in the service of ecommerce, to get traffic from people who want to find answers to their information needs. The blog allows to intercept visits from those who are in the zero moment of truth, the phase of information gathering functional to decide whether to buy or not a product.
Blog articles can be designed to meet the information needs around products and clarify their qualities and advantages, in order to entice the purchase.
Seo and Ads promotion for e-commerce
Ecommerce SEO optimization is a practice aimed at making ecommerce content easier to understand by search engines, and more relevant. SEO consultants work on improving the performance of online stores to make users more satisfied. This increases the chances of ecommerce pages appearing in the top search engine results. Don’t forget also to spend time on your local seo !