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Ecommerce Business Plans: Examples, Templates, & A Detailed Walkthrough

Ecommerce Business Plans: Examples, Templates, & A Detailed Walkthrough

So you have an idea, a product to sell and the drive to get started. You might be tempted to jump right in and start building your business without a formal business plan. Don't.

We've been in the ecommerce business for 20 years, and we've seen thousands of online stores come and go. The number one mistake new merchants make is failing to create a business plan before getting started. If you’re serious about starting an online business – or if you're currently running a business without a plan – you will benefit from a business plan.

The number one mistake new merchants make is failing to create a business plan. Businesses without a business plan are more likely to fail.

At their core, ecommerce business plans compel you to think critically about every major component of your online store, allowing you to identify and avoid major problems before getting started. Your business plan will become the cornerstone of how you budget, how you spend, what products you sell and who you sell them to, how you talk about your business, and much more. To put it bluntly, businesses without a business plan are more likely to fail.

Does My Online Store Need A Business Plan?

Yes. Every ecommerce company can benefit from a solid business plan. Here are the main benefits of creating a business plan:

If You’re Just Starting Out: A business plan will help you set clear goals and create an action plan to achieve them. It will also help you realistically estimate and budget for the costs of your new business. If You’re Seeking Outside Funding: A business plan is a standard way to show potential investors why it’s worth betting on your business. Most financing options require a business plan before moving forward. If You’re Considering Going All In: If you’re considering making your ecommerce business a full-time job, a business plan can help you determine if its a viable option.

If you already have a business plan, great! Use the info below to verify that you’re on the right track, and revise your strategy if needed. If you don’t yet have one, here is where you can learn everything you need to know to lay down a strong foundation for your online store. Here's an example of a business plan we made up for an ecommerce store, to give you a sense of what you're working toward:

Ecommerce Business Plan Example

Ecommerce Business Plan template & example

How long and thorough should my business plan be?

For the most part, a business plan for your online store will look quite similar to the business plans you’d see for a brick-and-mortar shop, a restaurant or even a large company. The level of detail you provide for each main point may vary, and that’s just fine; for some people, business plans are 100-page books that cover every possible detail or circumstance, and for others, ten pages is enough to get the creative juices flowing and to establish a basic rubric or guide to follow.

Business plans should feel manageable, helpful and creative, so don’t turn them into a daunting project if you don’t have to!

If you’re applying for a business loan or seeking funding from an investor, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends a 30-50 page plan. If you’re not looking for outside funding, we suggest starting small, with a goal of a few paragraphs per bullet point. You can always expand as you see fit. Business plans should feel manageable, helpful and creative, so don’t turn them into a daunting project if you don’t have to!

As you move through our suggested outline, remember that unless otherwise specified, you can start with any section you like. While it does make sense to move linearly, if you’re most passionate about the marketing part of your business or you’re an accounting whiz and you want to start with what you know best, go for it! Beginning with the part that excites you the most will give you the confidence and momentum to complete the rest of the business plan.

In most cases, your ecommerce business plan should contain the following elements at a minimum.

Creating Your Own Ecommerce Business Plan

Now that you have an idea of the scope and content of a business plan, here's how to write one for your own ecommerce store. We'll start with the broadest aspects of your business, and then focus in on the important details.

1. Company Description

Start with the basics. Your company description is an overview of your business, providing high-level goals and diving into the details about what makes your company tick. Your company description may include:

Business Ownership

The business ownership section of your business plan will help you sort out who is doing what and why they're qualified to do it.

2. Products

Now it’s time for the fun part: Describe what you’re actually selling! Start with a high-level look at the products you currently sell along with products you plan on selling in the future, focusing on their specifications and benefits.

Person conducting business plan research

3. Operations

This pertains to the logistics and 'moving parts' of your business - how you're getting your products from the manufacturer to your customers. Don't worry about costs yet - we'll cover that later.

4. Market Analysis

Market analysis will tell you whether or not people will buy what you're selling. It's broken down into three main sections:

5. Marketing Strategy

Before you launch your store, it's important to spend time thinking through your marketing strategy. This will cover how you acquire, convert, and retain customers through a variety of different channels and platforms (like organic search or social ads), and is one of the most critical parts of your business plan. After all, all of your other planning is useless if you can't attract any customers to your store.

All of your other planning is useless if you can't attract any customers.

The Marketing Strategy is a crucial part of your ecommerce business plan. Your marketing strategy will discuss the following:

People conducting business plan research at picnic table

6. Financial Plan

Ah, the dreaded Financial Plan. For many people, this is the most difficult part of the business plan, and frankly, the least fun. However, it’s extremely important. In fact, if you don’t want to write a business plan at all, you’ll still need to do this part. If you’re seeking outside funding, this is the part that should contain the highest degree of detail – investors care about where their money is going and need to be reassured of an eventual return on their investment (or that you won’t default on your loan).

Planning your finances can make the difference between a successful, scalable business and getting caught completely off-guard by unexpected expenses or unsustainable profit margins.

If you’re not seeking outside funding, this section is still critical, and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Planning your finances can make the difference between a successful, scalable business and getting caught completely off-guard by unexpected expenses or unsustainable profit margins. At a minimum, your financial plan should examine:

Many people separate this section into “Fixed Expenses” and “Variable Expenses.” Fixed expenses include things like rent, employee salaries, hosting fees and other things that won’t change monthly. Variable expenses include payment fees, shipping fees and other things that will fluctuate.

Bust out the ol’ Excel sheet and enter the amount of money you’ll lose with each product, including raw product cost, shipping and payment processing.

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7. Milestones

Now that we’re done with our finances section, we can get back to the fun stuff: milestones! Milestones are important metrics by which to measure your progress and make changes if something isn’t working out. They are also hugely motivating and worth celebrating upon reaching. Set as many milestones as you want, from making your first sale to breaking even. Consider adding things like:

List your milestones out and put them in a place where you can see them every day. Get creative if you want, making a “game board” or another visual image and visibly crossing off or moving past each milestone. Keep your larger goals in mind, but don’t be afraid to celebrate even the smallest accomplishments along the way. This is hard work, and you deserve to acknowledge and appreciate every success.

8. Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is the last part you’ll write, but it frames your entire business plan. Think of it as the “book jacket” for your business, introducing key elements and sharing your passion for what you do. Even if you think you have a good understanding of your business at the outset, it’s still a good practice to write this last; it will likely feel more organized and pull in more information once you have the rest of your business plan nailed down. There might also be a particularly salient point or poignant benefit that emerges in the process of writing the plan, and you’ll get to include it here!

The more objectives you establish, the better direction you’ll have, but do keep all objectives funneled toward the singular goal outlined in your mission statement.

Consider adding the following to your Executive Summary:

Outside of the mission statement and objectives, the rest of your Executive Summary is covered in more depth in other parts of your business plan.

Sticky notes being used to help conduct an ecommerce business plan

Optional: Writing a Funding Request

If you’re writing your ecommerce business plan to receive outside funding, this final part is where you make the ask. Be as specific as you can about what your financial needs are, what you will use the money for and when you will pay it back. Include a timeline if you can. If you’re looking at investors, stipulate the terms of the investment. Finally, make sure the plan is well-presented and visually attractive. This includes formatting it correctly, checking for spelling and grammar, including a title page and a table of contents and saving it as a pdf for proper printing across computers.

Complete your own business plan

If you made it this far, congratulations. Creating your own business plan won't be easy - but success comes to those willing to put in the work. Creating your business plan will let you identify and avoid common problems, and give you a quick and easy source to review the most important information about what your business is and how it operates. You should refer to it often as you create your website, social profiles, and set up your marketing campaign - it's a living document, so don't hesitate to make changes as your store evolves. Or, if you're feeling like you're in over your head, don't feel like you have to do everything yourself - there are experts who can help you plan your business . The most important thing is that you keep moving forward and working to improve your business - success will come with time.

Have any questions about writing a business plan, or have you already written one that worked for your store? Let us know in the comments!

Meg Nanson is a former content strategist at Grow With Studio, a digital marketing agency. With almost a decade of experience, Meg helps businesses find their voice and scale their organic strategies.

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Creating a business plan for your online store

Setting up an online store: tips for creating your business

Building a business is not something that simply happens over night; behind the scenes, there’s always a considerable amount of planning required in advance. A business plan acts as a guide for this process as it gathers, organizes and summarizes all the key information about the business concept and future projects. When writing a business plan, you should be sure to include hard facts and important information, as well as financial projections and predictions of potential opportunities and obstacles down the road. Providing a vision for the development of the business is just as integral to the plan as information about finance and structure. But how do business plans for e-commerce differ? And are there specific guidelines for entrepreneurs? Read on to discover the most important elements to include in the business plan for your web store.

Why write a business plan?

Business ideas/abstract, business profile, target group, analyzing the market/competition, marketing strategy, organization/structure, prospects and risk assessment, conclusion: it’s worth the effort.

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Many see creating a business plan as a kind of compulsory exercise, often questioned by entrepreneurs who are already quite far through the planning stage. However, all business owners benefit from visualizing the important factors for planning, strategy, and finances in the form of a detailed plan. When it comes down to it, it can be highly advantageous to have a comprehensive and structured business plan, in which a full collection of ideas and proposals are available at a glance. This proves valuable both in terms of budget planning and scheduling as well as searching for investors and business partners . For the latter, the business plan is often the deciding factor in the decision-making process.

How to write a business plan

A good business plan is a guideline for founding a company , and that goes for online companies too. While your online store is still on the starting blocks, it makes sense to use your house bank or get your personal accountant on board. This way, your flourishing business has a better chance of success; if your founding team lacks a competent and experienced professional from the financial sector, it’ll be difficult to accurately handle your finances . While the bulk of the planning still rests on the shoulders of the founders, accounting is a mammoth task that is practically impossible without professional support. 

Business plans generally follow the same basic structure: usually opening with a summary , which briefly outlines the forthcoming points, the first paragraph should work to inform the reader of the most important aspects of the business in order to pique their interest. The key data surrounding the proposed projects are important of course, especially a project’s legal status. It’s important to outline the following information at the beginning of your business plan:

Only once these have been stated should the business plan address further aspects. Here are the most important features at a glance :

The business concept is the key to every business and the cornerstone of any business plan . The biggest challenge here is summarizing your goals and intentions for your web store in a few key points. The language should be clear and concise with no unnecessary, technical terms. It’s a good idea to follow the elevator pitch model. This is the concept of pitching your business model to a group of bystanders during a 30-second elevator ride. In this short amount of time, you must be able to outline all the key information including your objectives, personal aims and business strategy.

A brief section about the founder or founding team usually follows the abstract. This generally includes a list of relevant skills , career history, and experience in the sector. Even if you use the business plan for external issues such as financial matters or promotional purposes, you should still record the founding team’s significant soft skills , as well as their capabilities and experience. Highly regarded abilities in the e-commerce realm include:

Other relevant abilities include financial skills (bookkeeping, accounting, controlling), management experience (staff management, acquisition of goods), service skills, and legal experience .

Defining a target group is essential when writing a business plan. This target group is integral for later steps such as marketing strategies and publicity. Only by determining the target group in this early stage can the size of the market be ascertained, thus providing the basis for further calculations. In online trade , presentation is key to drawing in potential customers.

Most business owners can identify who might use their web store in the conceptual phase. This usually requires an understanding of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing strategies. To define the web store’s target market, you must go one step further and try to specify: what are the customer benefits? What are the characteristics of potential customers? Are there any corresponding figures or studies to back this up? These are the questions to answer when determining an accurate target group.

So-called personas or  Sinus-Milieus are great tools to help define your target group(s).

This part of the business plan should record the target sector’s current market situation. Here, it’s worth including valuable information such as market size , existing market structures , and influencing factors . It’s crucial that this data is measured accurately, so it’s useful to use trade association websites to gain a glimpse into the status of other online stores in your sector. Check out the Planning Shop list of all the major US trade associations here .

Businesses should also contrast the market situation with the prevailing competition . It is essential to gather information on facts such as the level of competition for your products; for many entrepreneurs, this can provide the keystone of their entire business model. Committing this to paper often reveals potential weaknesses. For example, if you are attempting to enter a competitive market with high price sensitivity, you should consider adjusting your web store’s concept or product line. It’s not worth trying to break into a saturated market unless you have an especially unique strategy or innovative idea.

Achieving success in e-commerce relies on gaining a good reputation and transforming your online store’s browsers into buyers. The latter is known as ‘ generating conversions ’ in marketing jargon. With the rise of e-commerce, business owners now benefit from the immense range of online and offline marketing strategies at their disposal; including newsletters, SEM, SEO, billboard advertising and flyers. The marketing techniques that best suit your online store depend on a variety of factors. This is where the founders’ skillsets play just as crucial a role as knowledge of the target market. On the whole, the marketing strategy stands in direct correlation with the budget plan.

The following aspects should be included in this part of the marketing plan :

In the world of e-commerce, USPs (i.e. quick delivery and free returns) can be the decisive factor in a customer’s decision to use your web store over another. And when it comes to acquiring new customers and managing existing ones, traditional marketing techniques should be considered just as important as innovative distribution platforms. As well as an overview of market activity, the business plan should incorporate controlling tools and key figures to measure success.

This section of the business plan is about the general organization of the business , and should go into detail about the relevant aspects of the existing structure and management system. The overview should start with an outline of the organizational structure , from the management level down to individual employees. The founders’ qualifications and skills come into play once more here, as you break down the company’s hierarchy and management roles. The staff structure should also include wages .

This part of the business plan should also contain development plans for the marketing and sales strategies. Sales are of particularly great significance for web stores, as this area includes procurement, product management, and returns. It’s also important to document administrative issues (i.e. book-balancing, taxes, legal matters) and technical elements (i.e. e-commerce software, page design).

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Creating a plan for your finances is by far the most complex part of the business planning process; we recommended that you enlist the help of financial experts . Key aspects to consider are:

Don’t forget these three important areas:

Capital requirement plan

This is where you specify what financial resources you need at various stages. Not only does this involve the initial cost of starting up a company, but also the ongoing operating expenses. When considering your capital requirement plan, consider the following question: what resources does the company need, in both the start-up and growth phase? If you do not have sufficient personal resources, you should document any loans or external capital.

Finance plan

The finance plan determines the ratio of personal investment to external funds. The capital requirement calculation serves as the basis for this figure. Naturally, a high proportion of personal investment is desirable, however, when starting up a business—particularly a web store—gathering extra funds is compulsory. This can help to cover initial costs such as the acquisition of stock.

Turnover forecast

The turnover forecast should predict your company’s development in the next 3-5 years. Providing a realistic glimpse into the development of your company is just as important for investors as it is for you. Among other things, it is useful to compare your predicted revenue and costs.


Having gathered all the information above, it’s time to delve into the obligatory analysis of prospects and risks . The business plan is fundamentally there to highlight the project’s strengths and opportunities, but a detailed analysis of possible risks and critical factors increases your credibility.

Here it’s a good idea to create different versions of the business plan for different recipients. This part should be an especially high priority for all internal contacts. For example, you can address technical difficulties, and the unexpected costs that come along with them, and predict the likelihood of such a risk. Never oversell the project and concept to employees. It’s crucial for the work environment to be built on a foundation of trust with an honest projection of the company’s development.

It’s important to outline these potential risks when presenting the business plan to investors and sponsors. This will enhance your credibility and paint you as a serious entrepreneur, as these donors know no business is without its risks. Attempting to hide any flaws or uncertainties will only come back to damage your web store. In any case, donors often carry out their own risk assessments before investing. A good analysis of potential risks (from the perspective of the founders) shows honesty, without making the project look bad. To convince investors of your competence, for every risk you predict, you should also present an avoidance strategy or defense plan. Typically, risk analyses list potential financial and growth risks, as well as potential liquidity shortfalls, which could emerge from a deviation in sales.

Creating a business plan takes a lot of time and work. However, anyone who has completed this task will tell you that it is certainly worth the effort. In gathering and organizing this information, a full business concept is formed, which often helps entrepreneurs to identify their weak points and potential problems. In some instances, this can even prevent the collapse of a business. The business plan is fundamentally a final draft of the business concept to analyze its feasibility and potential. It also puts the founders’ entrepreneurial skills to the tests and is critical when applying for subsidies.

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Home » Building Online Stores » Ecommerce Business Plan Template: How to Make a Business Plan

Ecommerce Business Plan Template: How to Make a Business Plan

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business plans for online stores

Written and researched by:

As the Benjamin Franklin quote goes, “by failing to plan, you’re planning to fail” – and it’s a sentiment that’s just as relevant today, in 2022, as it was in the 1700s.

Particularly if you’re an ecommerce business.

After all, one research project (a collaboration between Forbes, Huffington Post, and Marketing Signals) suggests that a whopping 90% of ecommerce businesses fail in the first 120 days of their existence. So how can yours avoid being part of that short-lived majority?

With an ecommerce business plan, that’s how.

So read on – we’re walking you through what ecommerce business plans are, and why you need one. You’ll find a complete ecommerce business plan template below, too – so you can start planning for your own online enterprise’s future, today.

What is an Ecommerce Business Plan?

An ecommerce business plan is a document that outlines your online business’s objectives and strategy. That’s a summary of both your goals and how you plan to achieve them.

A good ecommerce business plan should identify all the potential challenges your online enterprise will face as you chase profitability, scalability, or simply sustainability. They’ll lay out the groundwork, too: including an analysis of the market you’re planning to enter, and the customers you’re intending to target.

And, of course, an ecommerce business plan should get specific. How will you source your products? Which tactics will you use to market them? How will you fund your fledgling business, and maintain cash flow when times get tough?

Though they’re also useful for keeping you on track with your goals, ecommerce business plans are vital for attracting and securing outside investment, too – so it’s important you get yours right.

Food products are an excellent option for selling online, and you find a list of examples here . But remember, you need to factor regulations and food safety requirements into your business plan.

Why Create an Ecommerce Business Plan?

There are plenty of benefits to creating a comprehensive business plan for your online store:

Ecommerce Business Plan Template

Ready to start penning your plan?

Read on – the ecommerce business plan template below offers a handy framework to get you started.

Executive Summary

Like a blurb on the back of a book or an abstract at the start of an academic article, an executive summary is designed to give time-poor readers a concise, compelling overview of your ecommerce business plan’s contents.

While your executive summary should take pride of place at the top of your business plan, you shouldn’t write it until the end. That’s because you’ll figure out more about your ecommerce store’s plans, ambitions, audience, and strategies as you flesh out your plan – and you’ll want these to be reflected in that punchy, persuasive first statement.

So what should an executive summary include for an ecommerce business, exactly?

Here’s a quick (non-executive) summary:

Remember, an executive summary needs to be crisp, clear, and to the point. Don’t waffle on with overlong or unnecessary analysis – you’ll lose your reader’s interest!

Company Overview

With your reader now hooked, it’s time to explain exactly who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

A company overview should include:

Market Analysis

Next up in your ecommerce business plan, you’ll need to provide a detailed analysis of the market you’re entering into. This is crucial – after all, if there aren’t any existing market gaps for your business to service, it’ll struggle to make an impact.

Your market analysis should include an exploration of:

To do all this, a SWOT analysis is a pretty good place to start. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It’s a form of situational analysis that can help you understand the nature of your business vis a vis the competition.

Customer Research

Who are you planning to sell to? It’s a key question you’ll need to know – and that any potential investors will demand to know – before your ecommerce business gets off the ground.

So, your ecommerce business plan needs to get specific about that sweet slice of the pie you’re targeting. That includes a deep dive into the demographics – specifically, your prospective customers’:

To gain this info, you can conduct market research into the portion of the market most interested in – or most likely to buy – your products or services. That could involve running focus groups, or sending out incentivized surveys.

Advice from the Experts

Top tip: for an even more granular way of conceptualizing your potential customers, create buyer personas . these are fictional depictions or real consumers, with pain points, goals, likes, dislikes, and demographic info all fleshed out. by tailoring all your messaging to one or more of these personas, you can increase the effectiveness of your comms., marketing plan.

Next up? Details about how you plan to spread the word of your business.

This will include which communication channels you intend to prioritize, which marketing strategies you’ll implement, and which milestones and metrics you’ll use to measure it all.

Your marketing plan should make clear:

Need some digital marketing tips to add clarity and clout to your marketing plan? Our comprehensive guide has you covered.

Logistics Plan

You know how you’re going to entice your customers to buy from you – but how will you actually get your products to their doorstep once they do?

This is what your ecommerce business plan’s logistics section aims to explain. It’ll include:

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Financial Plan

As it so often does in the world of commerce, your business plan all boils down to this –  the money .

Your financial plan describes how you’ll first fund your business, then keep it afloat. Here, you’ll set out your fiscal stall with a series of projections around cash flow and income. The goal? To convince investors (and, on some level, yourself!) that your business has legs.

Your ecommerce business plan’s financial chapter should include:

Do I Need a Business Plan?

Yes. Yes, you do.

It can be easy, as a business that only exists online, to get complacent – to assume that you don’t need a business plan.

‘Business plans are a traditional document,’ you think. ‘They don’t have a place in the world of modern ecommerce businesses.’

Well, guess what? They do – regardless of what you call, or how you classify, your business. But there are certain types of ventures where a comprehensive business plan will be especially useful. Among these are:

Even if your ecommerce store falls into none of these categories, a business plan is always a good idea. It’ll clarify and crystallize your professional goals, hold you accountable to your ambitions, and keep you on track to making your dreams a reality.

In this article, you’ve learned exactly what a business plan is, and why it’s vital for commercial success – particularly for brands of the ecommerce persuasion.

You’re also well-versed in the structure and contents of an ecommerce business plan:

What now? Well, it’s time to get researching and writing. So remember – keep it simple, keep it tight, and make sure it reflects the heart and soul of your business (and all that passion you feel for it, too!).

Putting together a business plan is exciting. It’s that tangible, real expression of your goals and vision for your ecommerce store – so it shouldn’t be a chore. Go enjoy it!

How can I write an ecommerce business plan?

Can i hire someone to write my ecommerce business plan for me, written by:.

I’m Website Builder Expert’s Content Manager, which means I cast my eye over everything that goes up onto the site, as well as penning my own posts, too. I built my first website in 2016 with Wix, in a last-ditch attempt to get a friend’s ailing rock band some gigs. Since then, I’ve experimented with Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Shopify, and dabbled in hosting and email marketing tools, too – with far greater levels of success! I trust you’ll find the wide range of articles on our site helpful, and please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message with anything else you’d like to see on Website Builder Expert.

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How to Make an Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Startup

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Darren DeMatas

October 21, 2022

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So you’ve decided that you want to quit your day job and start your very own ecommerce empire. That’s great!

But before you become the next Jeff Bezos  (and definitely before you quit your job!), it’s worth spending some time to think about a business plan. In this article, we’ll dive into the key elements of an ecommerce business plan, which is very different than writing traditional business plans.

Ecommerce Business Plan 2020

Why You Should Create a Business Plan

We know that starting an e-commerce business is exciting and it can be tempting to jump right in, without constructing a business plan. READ: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.

If you haven’t put your ideas, questions and concerns on paper, then you haven’t given your business model enough thought .

Taking the time to write a business plan might seem like a lot of work but it can save you a lot of time and  money in the long-run by better preparing you for potential challenges and opportunities that you’ll face as a first-time entrepreneur.

It’s exciting to start your own ecommerce business. However, you want to be well prepared and not jump into anything without having a solid, foolproof ecommerce business plan in place.

After all, you wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, so why start a business without a safety device in place. That safety device is your business plan.

Quote 5 Jeff Bezos Retail Is Details

The business plan is the brainstorming process that ensures your concept and goals are realistic.

This is more than just mental notes. True business plans take your ideas , questions, and concerns and put those in writing.

As you start creating your business plan, you’ll soon understand that it’s more than a single piece of paper with handwritten details on it. It’s a clearly constructed format of how your business will be created, how it will operate, and what you hope the future holds in terms of a successful ecommerce business.

When you write your business plan, be sure to have a target audience in mind. Are you going to look for investors or put a kickstarter campaign into motion and use this as your descriptive platform? If so, make sure that your business plan contains everything the audience would want to know about your business (and more!). Many traditional funding solutions  require a business plan in order to give you capital. However, there are alternative solutions such as  Payability  that specialize in eCommerce and don’t require credit checks, a business plan, or any complicated paperwork. They can also get you approved in as little as 24 hours.

When your business plan is completed, you should have achieved the following goals:

Now that you know why you should create a business plan, it’s time to move onto how you can create your business plan and get started putting your ecommerce business into motion.

How to Start an Ecommerce Business Plan

In the very beginning of the planning stages, it’s a good idea to develop a framework for your business model. This business model will continue to evolve as you create each section, so don’t strive for a perfect completed plan on the first try. You will be making tweaks to the plan of certain steps along the way.

There are many ways to sell products online and different business models  to pursue. Research and learn from successful eCommerce business examples in the market. The exact business model you follow will be one that makes the most sense with your resources, skills, and interests.

In order to create the best online business plan with your product in mind, you need to figure out the following things:

What are you selling?

Who are you selling to?

How are you sourcing your product?

Additional References

Executive Summary

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Executive Summary

The executive summary will be written according to your goals and it’s recommended that this is done at the very end of your business plan completion. This will ensure that you include all of the important factors about your business and present your ideas in a concise and complete way.

Some of the features you’ll include in the executive summary include information showing that you’ve done your research, you have concrete sales forecasts, and the main details about your brand.

Business Model

When you’re figuring out your business model, you have to consider four different areas:

Monetization Strategy

The monetization strategy delves into the methods you are going to use to sell your products.

This strategy will look at different product monetization methods including white label, private label , affiliate marketing, wholesale, dropshipping, and even selling ads.


The product industry section is where you summarize your main niche.

For example, “Vegan Skincare Products.”

Target Market

In the target market section you will write a sentence or so on who your target market is in the community.

If you’re selling vegan skincare products, your target market might be women who embrace the vegan lifestyle and use natural skincare products in their daily beauty regimen.

Sales Channel

The sales channel refers to where you’re going to sell your products.

For example, you might be selling your products on your own website and this should be entered in this section.

Business Overview

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Company Overview

This next section covers your company overview.

This section of your business plan will cover various features of your company, including the following:

The brand name section lists your business name or brand name.

This is an extremely important aspect of your business plan as it’s what will set the tone for everything that follows.

Pick a brand name that’s simple yet unique and is something that can be used in a wordplay manner, if desired, but not pun-worthy.

Company Type

The company is how your business operates. For example, you might label your business as an LLC, S-corporation, sole proprietor, or some other type of business organization.

The best way to determine how you should categorize your company is to speak to your accountant. There are various tax and legal aspects to forming your business in a certain way.

Speak with the professionals in the company and corporation formation field to determine how to label your company and which company type best benefits your business in a variety of ways.

Domain Name

This section is where you list your domain name.

Choose a domain name that is memorable and embraces the overall traits and features of your business.

And, when choosing a domain name, be sure to think of SEO aspects when doing so. You’ll find out just how much all of these things tie together and ensure a frequently-visited website is the end result.

Keep in mind that with ecommerce the domain name is just as important as the brand name. Maybe even more so!

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a short, crisp statement that will gauge how clear your idea is. Write this section as if you had one minute to explain your business to a potential investor or customer and then practice it over and over again.

The value proposition can be used on your ecommerce store as your company description.

Here’s a good example: Say you’re looking to start a hiking company called Atlas Hiking Co. which sells premium performance hiking shirts. A possible company description could be the following:

Atlas Hiking Co. is a lifestyle hiking company that produces high performance hiking shirts for outdoor lovers. Our proprietary SPF40 fabric is one of the lightest fabrics on the market, providing mountain lovers with maximum comfort, both from a breathability and sun-protection standpoint. Our product is made in the U.S.A. and a portion of our profits are donated to preserve national parks around the country.

Pay special attention to all the sensory words !

The mission statement in your business plan is the “why” of it all.

For example, why you started the business, why you are selling the products you are selling, etc. can all be added to this section of your business plan.

You can make this portion as simple or detailed as you like. Just make sure to properly and clearly explain your business mission.

The vision part of the business plan is your “how” in the grand scheme of things. It is the dream you have for your company and the path you’re going to take to realize that dream.

When you write the vision portion of the business plan, think long-term. What are you hoping to achieve, not just in the near future but for the long haul of the life of your business?

Look into the future and plan out where you see your business in 5, 10, even 20 years from now.

This will help you construct the rest of your business plan if you know where you want your business to head, now and in the future.

Brand Traits

The brand traits section is a short section in your company overview.

Basically, in the brand traits section you’re going to want to list three to five words that describe your brand.

Think of your brand personality and describe it using a few separate powerful words.

The personnel section lists all individuals, including yourself, who will be involved in the daily operations of your business.

Some business owners choose to handle all duties on their own or with a partner, while others will hire individuals to fill the following roles:

Competitive Market Analysis

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Competitve Market Analysis

Here’s a fact you can bank on: there has never been a successful e-commerce entrepreneur that didn’t understand his/her target market, cold.

That’s why this section is one of the most important in the entire business plan. It will force you to understand the industry in which you operate, the overall industry outlook, the existing competition, and your target customer demographic.

Market Segment

The market segment portion of the business plan will help you to put your ideas down on paper, make them more focused, and get your team together.

This area will include your niche selection, target market, and competitive analysis.

Niche Selection

The niche section  provides an overview on your niche, why you selected it, whether there’s a micro niche included, and the type of niche you’ve chosen.

The purpose of this section is to crystalize the ideas that you have and make sure they are understandable and viable.

The target market section covers an overview of your target market plus describe your market segments.

Ask yourself who your  target customer  is (population size, age, geography, education, ethnicity, income level) and consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your product category online.

When listing the target market information, make sure to mention your target audience size as this is important for ensuring that your audience will be adequately covered.

Facebook Audience Size Example

Competitive Analysis

With the competitive analysis portion of your market analysis, you want to list your market leader and direct and indirect competitors.

After you mention who these entities are, you need to list the characteristics of each one, such as domain name, business model, monthly traffic, and pricing range.

However, before you even get started in writing this section, you need to spend several hours researching your target market.

Here are some of the most efficient ways to research a particular market:

Industry reports

Google is your best friend. Look for any recent industry reports on your market of choice. This will give you a good sense of how much growth the industry is experiencing, why this growth is happening and what are the largest customer segments. In our example of Atlas Hiking Co., we should research the outdoor apparel market.

Google Trends Web Search interest outdoor apparel kids hiking hiking gear Worldwide 2004 present

Let’s say that through our research of the outdoor apparel industry, we discovered that there was a huge boom in youth hiking apparel. Perhaps parents were increasingly concerned about their kids’ exposure to UV rays while hiking so began to spend more money on their kids. We could use this valuable information to guide our business strategy.

There’s only so much you can read online. Go to a nearby store that sells similar products to yours and interview the store representative. The store rep has interacted with hundreds of interested customers which can lead to thousands of valuable insights! It’s amazing how these insights can translate into a meaningful business opportunity.

Here’s an example:

If I was going into a Billy’s Outdoor Store to research the outdoor apparel market, I would probably ask Billy the following:


Create an excel spreadsheet of all of your competitors. In your excel spreadsheet, you should have the following columns:

What is the competition missing? Is there a gap in the offering? Where you can add some additional value?

After conducting the competitor analysis, Atlas Hiking Co. might find that the competition’s hiking shirts offer very few features at a low price point, but no one offers a luxury hiking shirt with additional features at a higher price point.

This is just an example of the types of insights one can gain from market research which can drastically alter your business model

Keyword Research

By using Google’s keyword planner  and trends pages, you can get a good sense of how in demand your product is and whether it’s trending upward, or downward. Google is great for a general idea, just don’t bank on it.

Some other keyword tools you can use for keyword research include Ahrefs, JungleScout , and Viral Launch. Check out this list  for more ideas.

Trade shows

Are there nearby trade shows that you can go to? Again, creating connections with other people in your industry is a sure-fire short-cut to countless hours of reading on the internet. Trade shows are also a great opportunity to talk to competitors, meet manufacturers, and better understand where things are heading in your industry.

Once you finish researching the relevant industry, you should summarize your findings by answering the following questions:

General Industry

Products and Offers

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Products And Offers

So we know we want to sell hiking shirts, but how do your research specific products?

But for some of us, we’re not quite sure as to what we should sell. To succeed in online retail, you need a product that is trending upwards in a growing niche.

Different types of products

Some of the different types of products include the following:

The various types of niches include the following:

Existing products

Come up with detailed specifications for each product or service you intend to sell. If it’s a hiking shirt we’re selling, we would want to have:

Future product pipeline

What are other products that you have in the pipeline? Perhaps once you’ve successfully sold hiking shirts, you’re able to leverage your manufacturing relationships to provide hiking socks and shorts. Include that information in this section.

The products and services section will cover the various selling categories of items.

These product offerings will include the following:

Each product group will have its own purpose in your sales catalog. For example, tripwire is the product that brings customers to your ecommerce store or online marketplaces  while the core product is your main seller.

Knowing what products you’ll include within each section allows you to have a firm grasp on what your main product will be and how the other types of products will work alongside your main product.

This section will also cover the search volume and Amazon pricing range.

You’ll need to calculate your true costs. You have to make sure you don’t overestimate your margins.

To tabulate your total true costs, you need to write down the costs in the following areas:

Once you complete the pricing portion, you’ll have everything on one sheet and readily accessible whenever you need it.

Marketing Plan and Operations

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Marketing

So, now you’ve concluded that you have a great business idea and it’s in a growing market. That’s fantastic – but how are you going to drive traffic to your ecommerce website and get customers buy it ? And how much can you afford to spend on your product?

Marketing  is everything. It’s important that your marketing efforts match your business model.

If you have a website and no marketing, your site won’t have any visitors. With no visitors, you will make no sales. Then how do you grow and sell your ecommerce business (if that’s your long-term goal)? Even with the best possible products, nobody will buy them if they aren’t directed to them in some way.

In order to come up with a marketing strategy, you need to first know your customer inside out. You should be able to answer such questions as:

With so many channels to reach your customer, which one is best for you?

Once we know pretty much everything there is to know about our target customer, we can shift focus to our marketing strategy. You want to choose marketing strategies that equal positive conversion rates. What channels should you use to grab the attention of your customer demographic? Some of the key marketing channels include:

Paid Marketing

Organic Marketing

Finding the optimal mix of these advertising tools depends 100% on your customer segment as well as your product type. For example, a SaaS product targeting millennials will require an entirely different marketing strategy than an e-commerce physical product targeting baby boomers. Perhaps that should be a post on its own for another day!

How much should you spend to acquire a customer?

In order to understand this, we need to first discuss a concept known as Lifetime Value of Customer or LTV. In essence, this is a formula that helps you better understand how much an average customer will spend over time.

Here’s  a good read on how to calculate LTV.

It’s important to remember that for new businesses, you don’t have a lot of data on customer purchase habits so it’s a good idea to be more conservative with your assumptions in calculating LTV.

Let’s say, for Atlas Hiking Co., I determine that the average LTV per customer is $300. This means that over time, the average customer will spend $300. Let’s say on average, if I receive $300 in revenue, $100 of that will translate to gross profit before I factor in my marketing costs (basically I’m just subtracting out the cost making the shirts).

Knowing that my gross profit is $100 per shirt is a critical piece of information because it tells me that I can spend up to $100 in marketing to acquire a customer and still be profitable!

Some of the marketing options include social media marketing and content marketing.

Think about your business model and then line up your marketing budget. Your marketing budget may include the following items:

Choosing The Right Technology

With so much technology and SaaS products out there, it’s important to understand the various moving parts and diagram how they all integrate with one another.

Some of the different elements include:

Come up with a detailed list of the different products and services you need to run your business as well as the monthly and per-transaction cost of each of them. This will be important in understanding the impact of these services to your margins.

Matching your business model to your technology is essential, too. Certain website platforms are better suited for specific sales models.

Email marketing is another type of technology that should be carefully considered and matched up correctly with your business model.

Keep in mind that it takes on average 6-7 interactions with a brand before someone makes a purchase so you need to keep using technology to get them back to your website.

As you explore the technology options and find out ways to draw potential customers in and keep them happy while they’re there, here are some key points to keep in mind:

After you figure out your technology methods, you have to come up with a technology budget.

The business plan must also include the operations side of things. Determine who will be your manufacturer, secondary manufacturer, and shipping and fulfillment  provider.

When looking at supply chain costs and options, ShipBob  is an ecommerce fulfillment provider you can consider.

Financial Plan

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Financial Plan

When figuring out your financial plan, evaluating and pinpointing your startup costs  is essential.

The focus of the financial plan is how long it will take for you to make your money back. You also need to figure out if you need a business loan.

Traffic and conversion rates will help you determine how long it will be until you start making money back.

You’ll also want to use an income statement to detail financial information.

The financial section is used to forecast sales, expenses and net income of the business. Ideally, you’ll want to create a monthly Excel balance sheet showing the following:

This helps business owners better understand what they need to achieve to hit their profit goals. In reality, projections are usually always off the mark, but it’s good to give yourself some measurable goals to strive for.

This section should aim to answer the following questions about your product offering:

There are various acquisition channels that will help your traffic to convert including:

Your revenue plan will contain a 12-month revenue forecast plan to help you map out each month of earnings.

There are different business earning models you can go through to determine how much you can make with your business.

You want to calculate how much traffic costs. This all depends on the methods you use to gain traffic to your site.

As you determine what your profit might be with your ecommerce business  or ecommerce businesses, there are certain math formulas to use:

You should also consider how you will use fintech companies in your ecommerce business.

Wrapping Up Your Business Plan

Careful planning is crucial to get your e-commerce business from the planning phase to the launch phase, and to ensure its successful future.

Going through the exercise of writing a business plan will cement your own understanding of your business and your market. It will also position you to take advantage of lucrative opportunities while mitigating harmful threats to your business down the line.

Your turn! Have you written a business plan for your online store? Do you have anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments below!

And, be sure to sign up for my ecommerce business course where I’ll walk you through each step and help you create a business plan you’ve only dreamed about!

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The Ultimate List of The Most Popular Online Business Ideas

It seems that there’s no shortage of good online business ideas. The truth is, the internet has made it easy to create a business. With just a website, you can reach anyone in any location in the world. Target the right people with the right offering, and you would be making your own money in no time. Other benefits of running an online business include cost savings, increased flexibility, and less paper waste.

Ready to start a business ? Buy unique, high-quality products to sell online with Handshake, a wholesale marketplace built by Shopify.

So if you’re quietly contemplating the idea of starting something of your own , here’s a list of the best small online business ideas that are within the reach of almost anyone who’s willing to take the plunge. From social media manager, to public speaking coach, to interior design consultant, the options are endless.

business plans for online stores

Start selling online now with Shopify

business plans for online stores

36 Best Online Business Ideas for 2022

Here is the list of the top online business ideas to get you started instantly. The best part is that all of these ideas have money-making potential, meaning you don’t need to validate them before you start. If you are looking for the best online business to start, this is the only list you will need.

Most Popular Online Business Ideas

1. Open a T-Shirt Online Shop

Platforms like Printful and Shopify have made it insanely simple to start an online t-shirt business for anyone with a speck of imagination and an eye for design. But it doesn’t need to be an online t-shirt shop; you can set up an ecommerce shop selling anything. The key here is to learn about print on demand, which forms the base for such businesses.

open t-shirt business

2. Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping is the easiest option to start an ecommerce business without having to buy any products in advance. Use dropshipping apps to find thousands of products from suppliers to sell online. Then sell to customers across the world while building and promoting your own brand, all without needing to invest in warehousing or manufacturing costs. You don’t need to pay for inventory until it’s sold to an actual customer. From online boutique to jewelry store to women’s clothing store to one-product store, dropshipping works for most online store ideas.Check out our guide to starting a dropshipping business to learn more about this great opportunity.

3. Kickstarter/Indiegogo Advisor

Grabbing the attention of curious browsers on the most popular crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a tough job. If you’re inventive and know how to tap into human emotion, then this is a niche worth exploring. Many aspiring entrepreneurs look for personalized advice to carry their campaigns to the finish line, so try offering action-oriented eBooks or online courses targeted at this particular audience.

4. SEO Expert

One of the online world’s hottest professions at the moment, this business is a gold mine for the tech-savvy entrepreneurs. While everyone’s slightly obsessed with getting their sites SEO optimized, not many people can actually wrap their heads around this topic. If you decide to go into this field, you can think about offering link building, content creation, ecommerce SEO optimization , and similar one-off packages.

5. Selling Online Courses

Derek Halpern has built a really strong personal brand. He’s the founder of a software and business training company called Social Triggers and makes a LOT of money teaching people how to sell what they know best. And what he knows best is how to sell. If you’ve got some serious expertise, start making money out of it by selling online courses or simply teaching online.

online business opportunities

6. Bug Testing

Bug testing is a service that no software company can ignore. If you can build a platform to crowdsource expert skills and resources to tackle this area, then you have solid chances of turning a profit. One of the most unique online business ideas, providing bug testing resources can be a lucrative way to boost your income. To learn more about this model, look into BugFinders and CrowdSourceTesting .

7. Video Producer

YouTube is the second largest site in the world , so there’s no surprise that video is becoming one of the main communication mediums for businesses of all types and sizes. If you have video filming or editing knowledge, it won’t take you long to build your clientele. Everything from video production workshops and video editing services to soundtrack libraries and DIY tutorials can appeal to the business world. Producing a video might be one of the most attractive online business ideas with lots of creativity and challenges.

8. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are always in demand from small businesses to large multinationals. Starting a graphic design business can allow you to tap into this great opportunity. Showcasing your experience with your past portfolio can help you gain customers without aggressive outreach.

9. Website Developer

In the same vein as graphic design, website development is in constant demand as businesses are always trying to upgrade and improve their websites to get more sales. This means that you can work on new and existing websites concurrently, and get to try new things all the time. If being constantly challenged is what you are looking for, website development could be the best online business for you.

Website Design - Shopify Experts

10. App Development

Apps are an amazing lucrative market, so it is not surprising that more and more companies are investing in them. This means that there is a growing need for app developers to create their applications. Offering app development  is a great opportunity as you can work on vastly different applications on a daily basis.

11. Theme Designer

Just like a website developer, a theme designer is working with websites but in a different way. Choosing theme designer as your side hustle idea means building new website themes for business to use for their website. This could mean researching popular themes, identifying their shortcomings, and creating a theme that solves these pain points while remaining true to the popularity of the previous theme. If you are an expert in a certain industry, creating themes for this industry could see you reap much success.

12. Translator

If you are gifted with more than one language but have no interest in teaching others, try translating. Many companies need their website and collateral translated when they move into a different market. You can help them achieve it, while also keeping active in more than one language. Keep in mind the most common way of billing is cost per word, so price wisely to make smart money from this great online business idea.

13. Social Media Manager

Social media is an integral part of any business but it’s time-consuming and ever-changing – so really quite difficult to keep up with and, more importantly, capitalize on. Many business owners are willing to outsource this time-intensive task, so it’s a great opportunity for social media fanatics. Bundle together a few interesting offers, such as “Startup social media kit” or “Small Business Social Media Starter Kit” that encompass everything from social media graphics to analytics reports and the seamless experience will bring you more clients than you expect.

14. Remote Customer Service Agent

If you enjoy helping people but don’t want to be stuck in a call center or office all day, become a remote customer service agent and help people from the comfort of your own home. Choose between helping people via chat, email, phone, video, or other ways and save the day for people every day. This may not make you your first million, but it feels great to help people.

15. Virtual Assistant

This is one of the best online business ideas to pursue from home . As a virtual assistant, you would be answering emails, writing content, and doing other tasks on behalf of businesses   The role can mean anything from a data entry person to a researcher, so, be open to trying new things and uncover new skills while getting paid.

16.  Remote Sales Team

As more and more companies take on the lean, mean approach to business, outsourcing cold calling and telesales functions becomes a sort of standard in the startup and small business environment. Whether you want to sell highly-targeted sales pitches or customer data, such as phone numbers and email addresses, the potential is vast.

17. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is where a person promotes a product that another merchant sells. Using advertising, social media, blogging, and more, an affiliate marketer can attract customers to their landing page. When customers click a link to buy the product they will then be brought to the merchant’s store to buy the product. As an internet business idea, this is great for anyone no matter their previous experience. Check out our guide, Affiliate Marketing: Everything You Need to Know , to learn more about this business model. 

18. Lead Generation Service Provider

Most businesses are chasing customers and looking for ways to increase conversion rates . This means investing in activities like lead generation that could be time-consuming. Because of this, many companies outsource the task to a lead generation service provider. If you are good on the phone and enjoy researching and doing outreach to strangers, then this is your calling!

19. Become an Influencer

An influencer is someone with a large follower base on social media who is seen as an expert in a particular area, like makeup or fitness. These people keep busy by posting regularly about their lives and promote products which they feel are good to possess. What is great about this internet business idea is that you can get paid to promote a business to your following, similar to affiliate marketing. Influencer marketing is a huge online business trend right now that you can capitalize on. Try your hand at Vlogging and starting a Podcast , which are under-utilized channels of communication for influencers right now.

20. Handmade Goods Shop

It can take you less than a day to build a storefront to showcase your work and connect with customers on platforms like Amazon and Etsy . If you’re into crafts and DIY, it’s definitely a viable business option to consider. You can make the goods yourself or source them from suppliers in Hong Kong and China.  If you’re in a country that has ePacket shipping , sourcing products is likely to be a better and more cost-effective option.

21. Become a Private Chef

If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture . You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes.

22. Nutritionist

The trend of healthy eating is here to say. Yet with so much contradictory advice online about what is good for us and what is not, more and more people turn to professional nutritionists for specialist tips and guidance. You can easily find free online courses to learn the fundamentals of this profession and start offering personalized nutrition plans online.

23. Get Baking!

From freshly baked butter croissants to colorful macaroons and pillow-soft morning bagels – the world of the great bake-off is a rich and ever-growing place. The beautiful thing about the online world is that a great passion can be turned into a great business almost overnight. You can start an online bakery or move your existing bakeshop online. Platforms like Shopify make it easy to sell baked goods online .

business plans for online stores

24. Natural & Organic Beauty Shop

Online shoppers are getting more and more conscientious about their choices, and especially so when it comes to beauty products. Running a beauty shop that’s built on strong ethos and values that resonate with nature and animal lovers is one of the hottest online business ideas right now. Tropic Skin Care seems to be doing a great job connecting with these shoppers.

25. Women’s Sportswear

With LuluLemon spearheading the way, online sportswear shops for women are quickly climbing to the top of the most popular idea amongst ecommerce entrepreneurs. Since yoga pants are clearly here to stay, it’s safe to say that the athleisure trend is one of the best and, perhaps, the least explored niches in ecommerce right now.

26. 3D-Printed Products

One of the biggest technological breakthroughs of this age, 3D printing is dictating a new strategy in the ecommerce world. Some of the best selling 3D-printed products include jewelry, home accessories, bicycle parts, tech accessories and more. For some beautiful examples check out 3DigitalCooks , and DanitPeleg .

27. Ethical Fashion Brand

One thing is clear – clothes and accessories will always be one of the super-profitable online business ideas for an ecommerce site. However, with so many boutiques and fashion online stores in existence, rising above the noise is extremely difficult. Yet, one promising idea that savvy entrepreneurs have probably already noticed is the booming trend of “ethical fashion”. Brands, such as Pachacuti , People Tree , Sea Salt, and Matt & Nat have successfully crafted their brands around the concept of organic, ethical production of fashion items and are riding the trend to the top of the strongest brands list.

28. Mystery Objects Shop

If you have an eye for quirky stuff, maybe running a mystery object shop could help you combine the desire for unusual business ideas with a steady source of income.

Muddy Creatures are nailing the concept of a surprise purchase that taps into the explorer instinct many of us possess. There’s no exact science or skill fueling this business idea – let your imagination go wild…

Easy-to-Start Online Business Ideas for 2020

29. Online Researcher

Although it sounds like a too-good-to-be-true idea, some people are successfully earning a living off their skill to find information online. From data research for infographics to market research for budding startups, talented researchers know that you can put a price tag on knowledge.

30. Proofreader

If you love reading, becoming a proofreader could be your calling. Have other people send you their manuscripts for books, research papers, or whatever else you are interested in reading about, and give them honest feedback before they publish their works of art. This job requires attention to detail and expertise in the area to ensure that everything is ready to print.

31. CV Writing

Banging out a winning CV is a mission impossible for many. If you’re good with words and know how to highlight people’s best qualities, CV writing could be a pretty sweet place to start a business. Additionally, you can sell slick CV templates that will help job hunters to get noticed faster and yield better results.

32. Speechwriting

Giving speeches is a terrifying experience. Giving bad speeches… Well, no one wants to be in that situation. Wordsmiths have a hugely valuable skill to win people over using nothing else but the power of well-strung sentences. If you can write, cash in on this skill by crafting speeches that make birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, or political debates a more memorable experience.

33. Self-Published Author

If you have the next Harry Potter manuscript sitting in your drawer and the publishing industry hasn’t been kind to you, try self-publishing. Using tools like Amazon’s direct publishing or working with dedicated consultants like I_Am . You not only get the satisfaction of pushing your work out there, but also an opportunity to earn residual income .Don’t think you can write a good novel? Then stick to what you know – self-help is a money-making genre!

34. Ghostwriter

If writing is your thing but you are lacking a topic to write about, become a ghostwriter for someone else. If normally requires you to write about someone or something in a lot of detail. It can take time and much research to finish this type of project so be sure to have a few months free to give to it.

35. Content Curation

The German Economist Schumpeter once said that there are “no original ideas”, only new combinations of old ones. Curation of curiosity-fueling content is an intriguing and little-known business model. One of the best success stories out there is Brainpickings – a platform that describes itself as “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more”. The subscription-based model and successful utilization of affiliate links have turned the blog into a self-sustaining business.

popular online business ideas

36. Foreign Language Teacher

Everyone knows that the quickest way to learn a new language is to mingle with native speakers. If you were lucky enough to be born in an English, French, Spanish (insert any of the world’s main languages) speaking country, then missing out on the opportunity to cash in on the skills you take for granted is exactly that – missing out! Use online communication tools, such as Skype or Google Hangouts, to connect with learners and leverage your privileges. Time is money, so package your hours into teaching sessions and you’re good to go.

How to Start an Online Business

Starting an online business, no matter how small you aim to have it can take time and money. It can also involve legal research and some accounting knowledge so you may find there is some upskilling involved in many different areas. Have no fear though because once you get the wheels moving on your adventure, starting an online venture will be fun and motivating. As a great source of income , side hustle opportunities are abundant as you don’t need to be located next to a customer in order to provide the goods or services to them.

The most important first step in how to start an online business is to:

1. Decide Your Business

This is the most important step as without it you don’t have a business. Check out our above list of the most popular online business ideas and choose which one suits you best.

2. Research Your Industry

Get to know what your industry is like. Maybe there is a pricing structure most of your competitor follow that will be good for you. Or maybe once you discover your competitors you will decide that your industry is over-saturated and you need to change your business idea slightly to compete.

3. Create Your Brand

With every good business comes a good brand and if you figure this out at the start you can become a more successful online business in the beginning. This includes having an amazing website, and social media (if your customers are there), killer logo creation , engaging in some PR, and some more outreach and marketing activities.

external branding

4. Begin Getting Customers

The final step to getting started is actually getting your first customer. Having great customers behind you means success for your business. To find these customers you should discover how to get in front of your audience, sending out the right message to entice customers, and devising a pricing structure that works for the majority of customers to effectively give customers what they need.

Online Business Ideas FAQs

You can search for the best small business ideas on entrepreneurial blogs like Oberlo, Shopify, or 99designs.com. Alternatively, you can use Google to provide insight by searching around topics that you are interested in.

You can sell almost anything as your online business idea. If you want to sell clothing, you could consider dropshipping or print-on-demand. If you are an expert in a particular field you could sell your knowledge through consulting or courses. The sky's the limit when it comes to online business ideas.

Online business ideas are endless and all-inclusive. Most office-based jobs can now be done online through freelancing or remote working. The beauty of technology means that profitable online businesses will keep growing and growing, making the world a truly global marketplace. If you are considering moving away from the traditional career path and want to start your own business, read through our list of business ideas a few times and contemplate the many ways you can start a successful online business today.

Summary: Best Online Business Ideas for 2022

Which of these online business ideas are you going to try first? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to Learn More?

Is there anything else you’d like to know more about and wish was included in this article? Let us know in the comments below!

business plans for online stores

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The Best Sample of Business Plans for Online Clothing Stores

Having a great idea for a business? Having a solid business plan is essential if you want to transform your idea into a profitable venture. A well-crafted business strategy, on the other hand, takes time and effort to put it. For starters, you’ll need to develop your concept, make educated assumptions, and have a thorough knowledge of the various parts of running a business before you start one.

It’s difficult enough to figure out how to do things correctly, but there are a number of tools available to ease the burden on aspiring entrepreneurs. We’ve put together a list of resources to help you get your firm off the ground with a solid business plan instead of beginning from scratch.

Related: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Businesses

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What is a Business Plan?

business plans for online stores

A business plan is a written document that discusses in detail how a firm—typically a startup—defines its objectives and how it intends to go about attaining those objectives. A business plan is typically written in the third person. Business plans outline the marketing, financial, and operational strategies that will guide a company’s future growth and development.

The development of a business plan is critical in attracting funding before a company has established a track record of success and profitability. They are also an effective tool for businesses to stay on track in the future.

Despite the fact that business plans are particularly important for start-up companies, every company should have one. Ideally, the plan is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to determine whether or not goals have been fulfilled, or if they have changed and evolved. Occasionally, a new business plan is developed for an existing company that has decided to take a different course.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

business plans for online stores

Small company owners are inundated with information on how to get their venture off the ground, including how to register a business name, obtain a Tax ID, choose a business structure, and apply for various licenses and permissions. A business plan, however, is critical to the success of your startup, growth, and development.

See also: Business Model Canvas Explained with Online Business Examples

It Helps You Grow

A business plan serves as a road map to help you get your venture off the ground. When beginning and running a firm, a solid business plan may help you through the many stages. Your business plan will serve as a road map for structuring, operating, and growing your new venture. As a result, you’ll be more prepared to execute your company plan.

It’s Really Easy

A business plan is a document that defines your company’s goals for the next three to five years, as well as how you aim to make money and increase your revenue along the way. Consider it an ongoing business initiative rather than a one-time paper. Partition the plan — one part is for sales and marketing; the other is pricing; the last part is operations.

Business Milestones

A well-thought-out business plan aids you in taking a step back and considering your company’s most important aspects objectively, which helps you make better decisions going forward. In order to get a business loan, this is a must-have. Don’t forget that your strategy doesn’t have to be comprehensive like a dictionary or contain all of the answers.

Helps with Financial Support

You can seek money or new business partners with the help of business plans. The presence of such a plan gives investors peace of mind that their money will be well spent. With your business strategy, you can persuade others that working with you (or investing in your company) is a wise move.

You Can Write it the Way You Want

When it comes to writing a business strategy, there are no right or wrong ways. You have the option of selecting the plan format that best suits your needs. Ensure that your business plan addresses your specific requirements. Traditional business plans and lean startup plans are the most prevalent types of business plans.

Tools to Help You Make a Business Plan

business plans for online stores

Here are 3 tools that help when writing your business plan.

Related: How to do SWOT Analysis for Online Business?

Business Plan Templates

Business plan templates demonstrate exactly how a business plan should be laid out and what information should be included in each part. You can find them as downloaded example business plans that you can copy and edit to match your company’s needs, as fill-in-the-blank or question-and-answer forms, or as fill-in-the-blank or question-and-answer forms on the internet. 

Moreover, there are other sorts of business plans, including simple business plans that cover the essentials, comprehensive business plans that cover every area of a company, and business plans that are tailored to a specific objective, such as raising money or locating potential partners. Here are some sample business plan templates that you might find useful.

Business Plan Apps

Apps for creating business plans: It is not necessary to be glued to your workstation in order to develop a company plan. There are various business plan mobile apps that will allow you to construct a business plan on your smartphone or tablet at any time and from any location. Here are two that are well worth your time.

Business Plan Services

You don’t want to use any of the options listed above? Consider using an online business plan service that will take you through the entire process of drafting a business plan. 

Unlike business plan software, these services provide tools that are similar to business plan software, such as document collections and chart generators, with the difference being that they typically provide business and legal specialists who can assist you in better understanding complex aspects of your business and business plan.

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Samples of Things You Need for Business Plan

business plans for online stores

Here are 6 samples you will need for your business plan writing process.

Financial Proposal

Impress bankers and investors with a financial model that has been tested and proven to work time and time again.

Graphs for Finance

To support your Online Clothing Store business plan, you will be provided with the following financial tables in the form of graphs for two and five years: revenue breakdown, cash balance, operating cash flow, EBITDA, and EBIT.

Amortization Schedule for a Loan

This information may be found under the “Capital” page, where you can view the internal calculations of the loans, interest, and equity that have been performed.

Accounts Payable and Receivable

It clearly demonstrates to the owner and investors where the funds have been invested, what property the firm has, what responsibilities the business has, and the overall value of the business.

Financial Statements 

It reveals how much money a company makes, how much money it makes and spends, and how much money it has the potential to make.

Cash Flow Statement

Cash Flow Statement is a financial statement that shows how much money is coming in and going out. Because the primary purpose of every organization is to generate cash flow, it is one of the most critical reports to produce. It demonstrates how much money you have consolidated and how much money you have left over should you need to raise extra finance.

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All you need to do is search for small business ideas in the Philippines or take a more significant step forward with business investment in the Philippines. It is all up to you. Ginee can help you take the initial step in your business by registering for a free trial . Without trying it, you’ll have no idea what you’ve been missing out on.

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500+ Free business plan examples

500+ Free Sample Business Plans

Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 500 free real-world business plan examples from a wide variety of industries to guide you through writing your own plan. If you're looking for an intuitive tool that walks you through the plan writing process, we recommend LivePlan . It includes many of these same SBA-approved business plan examples and is especially useful when applying for a bank loan or outside investment.

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Business plan template: There's an easier way to get your business plan done.

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Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and how your product or service fits into the existing competitive landscape.

Describe the problem you're solving, how your offering solves the problem, and who your potential competitors are. You'll want to outline your competitive advantages and the milestones you have in mind to successfully start and grow your business.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

Organization & management

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure, location, and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or our-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan, you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27-minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a full plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of Lean Planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the Lean Planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2022.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

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How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition ), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, this guide on how to write a business plan is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.

With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea.

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Clothing Store Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Growthink.com Clothing Store Business Plan Template

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 15,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their clothing stores. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a clothing store business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today. It can be used to create a women’s clothing boutique business plan, or business plans for a men’s clothing store, family clothing store, children’s clothing store and more.

Download our Clothing Store Business Plan Template here

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your clothing store as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a clothing store business or grow your existing clothing store you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your clothing store in order to improve your chances of success. Your clothing store business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Clothing Store Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a clothing store are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a clothing store is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. 

Venture capitalists will not fund a clothing store business. They might consider funding a chain, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual location could rarely achieve such results.

    Finish Your Business Plan Today!

Clothing store business plan template.

Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of clothing store you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a clothing store business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of clothing stores.

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the clothing store industry. Discuss the type of clothing store store you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of clothing store business you are operating.

For example, you might operate a clothing store focused on:

In addition to explaining the type of clothing store business you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the clothing store business. While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the clothing store industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating. 

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards local clothing store businesses with online counterparts, it would be helpful to ensure your plan calls for a significant online presence.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your clothing store business plan:

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your clothing store business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: college students, sports enthusiasts, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of clothing store business you operate. Clearly baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, pricing and product options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than teens.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most clothing store businesses primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other clothing store businesses. They are most likely local businesses who sell similar items to you.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t direct competitors. You most likely will have online competitors; companies that sell the same or similar items to you, but which operate online.

For each direct competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. Look at review websites to gain this information.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a clothing store business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : in the product section you should reiterate the type of clothing store you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering.

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the items you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your clothing store business. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your clothing store business located next to a heavily populated office building, or gym, etc. Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers. Also, if you operate or plan to operate kiosks, detail the locations where the kiosks will be placed.

Promotions : the final part of your clothing store business marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your clothing store business such as serving customers, procuring inventory, keeping the clothing store clean, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 1,000th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.

Management Team

To demonstrate your clothing store business’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company. 

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in the clothing store business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in clothing store businesses and/or successfully running clothing store and small businesses.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 25 customers per day or 100? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $200,000 on building out your clothing store business, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. For example, you may need to purchase inventories now that you can’t sell (and get paid for) for several months. During those months, you could run out of money.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a clothing store business:

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your clothing store’s design blueprint or location lease.

Clothing Store Business Plan Summary

Putting together a business plan for your clothing store business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the clothing store business, your competition and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful clothing store store.

Download Our Clothing Store Business Plan PDF

You can download our clothing store business plan PDF here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

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Clothing Store Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my clothing store business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Clothing Store Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Clothing Store Business Plan.

Where Can I Download a Free Clothing Store Business Plan PDF?

You can download our clothing store business plan PDF template here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

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business plans for online stores

[Tutorial] How to easily create your online shop’s business plan step by step

business plans for online stores

Ecommerce Consultant at Doofinder


Are you thinking about creating an online shop? If you think it is as simple as setting it up and starting to wait for clients to come, you are quite wrong.  You need a business plan for you online shop.  Even if you are not a startup and you don’t need to get people to invest thousands of euros in your project, the business plan is still essential to put your best foot forward. Having a business plan will save you a lot of headaches,  such as finding out that your online shop doesn’t sell as you expected. In today’s article we will show you the main points your business plan must include so you can start working on it today. Are you ready to jumpstart your online shop?

Table of Contents

Why do you need a business plan for your e-commerce?

1. executive summary, 2. description of the company, 3. environment analysis, a. competition, b. legislation, 4. products and services, 5. marketing plan, 6. operational planning, 7. financial projections, 8. funding application, how to present the business plan of an e-commerce.

There are two types of actions in life:

When we have an idea, what we want is to get it off the ground as quickly as possible. We can picture ourselves killing it with our e-commerce shop and what we don’t feel like is wasting time on writing down a business plan.

“Everything is in my head!” you’ll hear.

Creating a good business plan is one of those actions that bring pain first, but that leads to huge rewards afterwards.

A business plan can help you earn lots of money, or save it, if while creating it you realize that your project wasn’t as perfect as you thought.

Another reason to do it is that you may need to show it to someone: investors, banks, or even friends.

In any case, let’s take a look at the key points that it has to cover.

It is the first thing your supposed investors would read if you were looking for funding since  it is the synopsis of your business plan.  This summary creates a first impression for your project and this is why many entrepreneurs make the mistake of making it too long or overwriting it with extravagant words. Experts actually recommend consolidating it. Just  one sheet of paper summarizing every section of the business plan  should be enough. Although it is typically placed at the beginning, it should be  the last section to be written .

What the executive summary should include:

One of the issues that are not always analyzed in depth is the matter of the legal requirements. It shows that you have read them and that you can resolve them easily. Include them briefly, and then you can go into more details if necessary.

The goal of this section is to identify the competitive advantage of your online shop so that you can make use of it in the future. You must reflect the company’s identity by defining:

At this point it will be helpful if you do a SWOT analysis.

We’re going to take a quick look at what’s behind those letters.

A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) allows you to carry out an external and internal assessment of both positive and negative points of your project.

It is a matrix where each quadrant includes one of the letters.

business plans for online stores

These are factors that don’t depend on the business itself, but rather that the business either exploits them or foresees the risks.

The internal aspects:

If we had to define the relation between the SWOT analysis and the business plan in a sentence, it would be this:

The business plan should show that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses and that, at the same time, they are strong enough to combat the threats and exploit the opportunities.

Now let’s jump into the next point.

Once you have completed the SWOT analysis it will be really easy to complete this one.

A business plan for an online shop should include an analysis of the environment, which we are going to divide into three types:

If you are thinking that the existence of competitors is a negative point, you are wrong.

A lack of competitors would be even worse since it would mean that there is not enough demand.

Your business plan should show that there are competitors, but not enough as to be a threat: turn it into an opportunity!

Analyze the main competitors and repeat the strengths and weaknesses process which each of them. This will give you a very clear scenario to see where exactly you can surpass them.

Finding out who your competitors are is very easy with the Internet. Have a look on Google at the best-positioned pages and the ones with the most authority for your main keywords. In addition, analyze the behavior of your ideal client and find out what they visit and what they buy.

At this point you have to dig deep into the legal aspects within your market.

A modification to the law may mean both a risk and an opportunity.

C. Technology

For some sectors, it would be essential to stay up to date regarding the technological level of the market.

Summarize the main tools that you need:

The business plan for your online shop should answer those questions.

If you want to further develop this point, you can include a sociological or cultural analysis, but be careful not to include too much irrelevant information because it won’t help you achieve your goals.

What is my product going to offer to clients? This is the fundamental question you need to ask yourself at this stage of your business plan for your online shop. Your target clients and the problems you are going to solve for them must be crystal clear. If there are similar products in the market, clearly  establish what your added value is  compared to the other options.

Again, you can use a table. The table will show your products, their price, and the estimated profits.

If you are looking for funding, what matters to the risk analyst regarding your business plan is not the price. What really matter is why users will be willing to purchase and how much you’ll be getting from it.

Talk about pricing strategies and expenses. A company that has 100% control over where its money goes is already on the right path.

We have already shown how and what we offer to our webpage visitors.  This section includes every action planned in order to get sales.

Another common mistake, both online and offline, is to put too much effort into getting it ready and then just “opening the door” and waiting.

In a physical shop, at least passersby will see you, but for an online one that is just starting up, there is not even a street.

Bear in mind that a website, at the beginning, is located in a desert with nobody around. Telling your friends and family to visit you will make it look better at the beginning, but the real struggle is to make strangers come and make a purchase.

The marketing plan within the business plan should answer the following question:

How are we going to get constant visits to the shop?

Indeed, if this is not the most important part, it’s close. Gaining visibility is a slow process that must be planned.

A good marketing plan  starts with a thorough analysis of the market  . Identifying your direct competitors and deciding which strategies you will implement to try to overcome them will be essential. In addition, this section will include  which channels you will use to convey your message  and to get leads that will become clients.

Don’t forget to clearly state how you’ll use each of them.

The operational planning includes your  daily tasks as a entrepreneur.  You must establish basic things such as your work schedule, your location, your daily tasks timetable, and your product stock.

If reflects the task-flow from your e-commerce shop and how they’ll be divided.

If you are the only person in charge, you need to show what your routine will be.

Bear in mind that at the beginning you will have more tasks related to promoting and growing, but after some time you will have others to do:

Surely you will have to go through it again in the future , but  it is important to have an initial idea on paper,  and then make small modifications down the line.

By doing this you, will show that everything is under control in your business plan. 😉

Once you’ve gotten to this point, you will have to think about  where you want to see your shop in 1, 3, and 5 years time .

For those who don’t know where they are going, no wind is favorable.

That’s even truer for an e-commerce or an online business.

The reason for doing this is to give you a direction for moving towards your goals and, most importantly, to ask yourself how are you planning on achieving them. Based on this fact and when you start getting your first sales, you should  establish which percentage of the profits you are going to reinvest  into making your business grow.

Making an accurate prediction about your profits is difficult—and the person reading your report will know this—but at least you are showing that you have worked on it. Just don’t write figures without a rhyme or reason.

This is the last step of your business plan, in the case that you need external funding. It should include the amount of money you need and the exact ways that you plan on making use of it.

Put yourself in the investor’s shoes. Imagine that you are the one who is going to invest your money and think about what information you will like to read.

You may know the idea, the risks, the opportunity, and how to exploit it, but the other person doesn’t.

Be careful with the language you use—be precise and specific, and avoid vague expressions like:

“My experience and my multifaceted profile give me everything I need to comprehensively manage the business that I need your money to start.”

If you are only specific about the amount of money that you need, forget about the funding.

Use a chronogram in order to show your plan visually. It is easier to understand it if it comes with a graphic instead of just having a bare text.

This may not be necessary since you can start with a budget based on the popular  family and friends funding  in addition to your own funds.

Remember that the three Fs (Friends, Fools, and Family) will help you get started, but they can’t be the foundation of your strategy.

You already know how to  create your e-commerce business plan step by step  and now it’s time to take action. Remember that it is just a document and that you can write yourself with just a bit of time. As you can see, you don’t need to have studied business administration at university to be able to write your own business plan.

You don’t need to be a graphic designer. The important part is the content—don’t steal its thunder with an opulent presentation.

Once you have a rough draft with all of the information, bring into a Google Doc or Word document and save it as a PDF.

Just like with other aspects, less is more.

To wrap things up, here you can download lots of examples of business plan templates.

Use the examples carefully. Each project is different and if you just copy-paste it, the result will be a boring, non-informative text.

Get inspired by the templates and this post, then create your own version and make people fall in love of your idea.

Do you remember what we starting off talking about?

The things bring in the most profits are the ones that require effort before you see any rewards.

Don’t forget that when creating your business plan. That way, you’ll do it with the love and attention it deserves.

Also think about the fact that the main beneficiary is you. It is also true that it will open the doors to funding, but you don’t want funding for a project that isn’t viable.

The business plan will help you in two ways: to get to know your project more deeply and, if it is viable, to gain the resources to make it work.

And don’t worry about the difficulty of writing it. It doesn’t matter whether it is about a clothes shop, a shoe shop, or a shop that sells fishing equipment. You are the person who best knows the project and that is you need to have is knowledge about your project and your sector, as well as a  general strategic vision . 

This is the first step towards creating the online shop you dream of, so what are you waiting for?

business plans for online stores

business plans for online stores


Home » Sample Business Plans » Wholesale & Retail

How to Write a Retail Store Business Plan [Sample Template]

Are you about starting a retail business? If YES, here’s a complete sample online retail store business plan template & feasibility report to help you get started. Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting a retail store. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample retail store marketing plan template backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for retail stores. So let’s proceed to the business planning section.

Table of Content

Why Start a Retail Store?

1. industry overview, 3. our products and services, 4. our mission and vision statement, 5. job roles and responsibilities, 6. swot analysis, 8. our target market, 9. sales and marketing strategy, 10. sales forecast, 11. publicity and advertising strategy, 12. our pricing strategy, 14. sustainability and expansion strategy.

There are times when one might not be disposed to buy stuff in bulk. This might be due to financial constraint or other contingencies. This is one of the reasons why retail outlets are scattered all over the world. They know the importance of reaching all and sundry, and that is why they want to provide services that can reach all classes of people.

Those who are already in the trade know the huge profit levels which they attain always. If you have decided to start a retail business, then good news is that you are in a profitable trade, as nearly all the type of goods that are being dealt in is such that is important to all

A Sample Retail Store Business Plan Template

When we talk about retailing, we talk about a business that deals in loads of consumer goods; which can be categorized into three major areas. These categories are: general merchandise, apparel, and furniture. In other words, retailers are engaged in the selling of finished goods; they get the goods from the manufacturers and they sell to the end users (consumers).

Retail goods can also be categorized into durable goods and non – durable goods. Durable goods are goods such electronics, computers and accessories, furniture, and other large appliances et al and non – durable goods are good such as food, toiletries, drinks, beauty products, jewelry, clothing and shoes et al.

The retail industry is a major sector of the economy of the united states which generates a whooping sum of well over trillion annually from more than a million retail outlets scattered all around the United States of America.

The industry is responsible for the employment of well over 15 million people which is about 12% of the workforce of the U.S. eMarketer.com published that in 2014 alone, the retailing industry on a global scale generated a revenue of well over $22 trillion; it goes to show that the industry is indeed a very large industry.

It is a fact that an estimated two-thirds of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail consumption. This is why the United States of America’s economy is measured with the yardstick of how well the retailing business is fairing in the U.S. In essence, when there is an unstable economy, purchasing power drops and it impacts the retailing industry negatively which may result in the closure of some retail stores.

In recent time, the retail landscape has seen tremendous changes in the last 20 years; it has grown from the usual mom and pop outlets to a more organized and far reaching venture. The introduction of franchise and online store makes it easier for a retailer to reach out to a larger market far beyond the areas where his physical store is located.

It is interesting to note that more retail shops; especially lager retail outlets have started to include self-serve checkout lanes in their stores. It creates shorter lines that appeal to consumers; the average customer would not want to stay longer on queue.

Over and above, the retail industry is a profitable industry and it is open to any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can chose to start on a small scale in a street corner like the average mom and pop business or you can chose to start on a large scale with several outlets in key cities.

2. Executive Summary

People’s Choice Retail Shop is a retail shop that will be located in one of the busiest streets in Columbus, Ohio. We have been able to lease a facility that is big enough to fit into the design of the retail shop that we intend launching and the facility is located in a corner piece directly opposite the largest residential estate in Columbus, Ohio.

Our retail shop will retail a wide range of durable goods and non – durable goods at affordable prices from different brands. We retail goods such as groceries, clothes, sports equipment, beauty products, jewelry, baby stuffs, children’s toys, home furnishings and home appliances et al.

We are aware that there are several large and small retail outlets all around Columbus, which is why we spent time and resources to conduct our feasibility studies and market survey, so as to offer much more than our competitors will be offering. We have sell service options for our customers, and our outlet is well secured with the various payment options.

Much more than selling the goods and products of top brands in the manufacturing industry, our customer care is second to none in the whole of Columbus, Ohio. We know that our customers are the reason why we are in business, and that is why we will go the extra mile to get them satisfied when they visit our retail shop and also to become our loyal customers and ambassadors.

People’s Choice Retail Shop will ensure that all our customers are given first class treatment whenever they visit our shop. We have a CRM software that will enable us manage a one on one relationship with our customers, no matter how large the numbers of our customers base. We will ensure that we get our customers involved in the selection of brands that will be on our racks and also when make some business decisions.

We are aware of the trend in the retail industry and we are not only going to operate a system where our customers would have to come to our shop to make purchase or whatever they want but we will also operate an online store and our customers can order goods online and they will get it delivered to their houses or any location they want us to deliver the goods to within Ohio.

People’s Choice Retail Shop is a family business that is owned by Bob Wesley and Family. Although the business is launching out with just one outlet in Columbus, Ohio, but there is a plan to open other outlets all around Ohio.

People’s Choice Retail Shop is in the retailing industry and we will ensure we go all the way to make available a wide range of goods and products from top manufacturing brands in the United States and other countries of the world.

We will have available in our store a wide range of durable goods and non – durable goods at affordable prices. We retail goods such as groceries, clothes, sports equipment, beauty products, jewelry, children’s toys, baby stuffs, home furnishings and home appliances et al.

Our Business Structure

People’s Choice Retail Shop do not intend to start a retail business like the usual mom and pop business around the street corner; our intention of starting a retail business is to build a standard retail outlet in Columbus, Ohio. Although our retail business might not be as big as Wal-Mart or Marcy, but will ensure that we put the right structure in place that will support the kind of growth that we have in mind while setting up the business.

We will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, honest, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders (the owners, workforce, and customers).

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of three years or more. In view of that, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;

Merchandize Manager

Sales and Marketing Manager

Information Technologist

Chief Executive Officer – CEO:

Store Manager:

Accountant / Cashier:

Our intention of starting just one outlet of our retail store in Columbus, Ohio is to test run the business for a period of 2 to 5 years to know if we will invest more money, expand the business and then open other outlets all over Ohio. We are quite aware that there are several retail stores all over Columbus and even in the same location where we intend locating ours, which is why we are following the due process of establishing a business.

We know that if a proper SWOT analysis is conducted for our business, we will be able to position our business to maximize our strength, leverage on the opportunities that will be available to us, mitigate our risks and be welled equipped to confront our threats.

People’s Choice Retail Store employed the services of an expert HR and Business Analyst with bias in retailing to help us conduct a thorough SWOT analysis and to help us create a Business model that will help us achieve our business goals and objectives. This is the summary of the SWOT analysis that was conducted for People’s Choice Retail Store;

Our location, the business model we will be operating on (physical store and online store), varieties of payment options, wide range of products and our excellent customer service culture will definitely count as a strong strength for People’s Choice Retail Store.

A major weakness that may count against us is the fact that we are a new retail outlet and we don’t have the financial capacity to compete with multi – billion dollars retail outlets like Wal-Mart and co when it comes to retailing at a rock bottom prices for all their goods.

The fact that we are going to be operating our retail store in one of the busiest streets in Columbus, Ohio, provides us with unlimited opportunities to sell our goods to a large number of people. We have been able to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey and we know what our potential clients will be looking for when they visit our retail outlets; we are well positioned to take on the opportunities that will come our way.

Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face is economic downturn. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing power. Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new retail outlet in same location where ours is located.


Retailing business has been in existence for as long as humans started trading goods, but one thing is certain, the retailing industry is still evolving. The introduction of technology and subsequently online retail store has indeed helped in reshaping the industry.

It is now a common phenomenon for retail outlets to leverage on technology to effectively predict consumer demand patterns and to strategically position their shop to meet their needs; in essence, the use of technology help retailers to maximize supply chain efficiencies. No doubt data collected from customers goes a long way to help retail shops serve them better.

Another common trend in the retailing industry is the pricing system. Aside from having varieties of products in a store, one of the easiest ways for retail stores to sell the goods on their racks as fast as they can and keep re – stocking is to ensure that the prices of their goods are a bit lower than what is obtainable elsewhere. For example; it is common to see items with prices in this format; $3.99, $99 and $199 et al as against $4, $100 and $200.

Retailers also engage in massive clearance sales and discount sales to attract customers. It is a strategy that helps them welcome new customers and also reinforce the loyalty of old customers.

Perhaps the retailing industry has the widest range of customers; everybody on planet earth has one or more things that they would need in a retail shop. It is difficult to find people around who don’t patronize retail shops.

In view of that, we have positioned our retail store to service the residence of Columbus, Ohio and every other location our retail stores will be located all over Ohio. We have conducted our market research and we have ideas of what our target market would be expecting from us. We are in business to retail a wide range of products to the following groups of people;

Our Competitive Advantage

People’s Choice Retail Store is launching a standard retail shop that will indeed become the preferred choice of residence of Columbus, Ohio. Our retail store is located in a corner piece property on a busy road directly opposite one of the largest residential estates in Columbus, Ohio. We have enough parking space that can accommodate well over 100 cars per time.

One thing is certain; we will ensure that we have a wide range of products available in our store at all times. It will be difficult for customers to visit our store and not see the product that they are looking for. One of our business goal is to make People’s Choice Retail Store a one stop shop. Our excellent customer service culture, online store, various payment options and highly secured facility will serve as a competitive advantage for us.

People’s Choice Retail Shop is in business to retail a wide range of products to the residence of Columbus, Ohio. In essence, our source of income will be the retailing of a wide range of durable goods and non – durable goods at affordable prices. We will retail goods such as groceries, clothes, sports equipment, beauty products, jewelry, children’s toys, baby stuff, home furnishings and home appliances et al.

It is important to state that our sales forecast is based on the data gathered during our feasibility studies, market survey and also some of the assumptions readily available on the field. One thing is common with retailing business, the larger a retail store the larger the numbers of customers that will patronize them.

Although we may not be as large as Wal-Mart, but we will ensure that within our capacity we make available a wide range of goods from different manufacturing brands in our retail outlet. Below are the sales projections that we were able to come up with for the first three years of operations;

N.B : This projection is done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and natural disasters within the period stated above. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

Before choosing a location for People’s Choice Retail Store, we conducted a thorough market survey and feasibility studies in order for us to be able to be able to penetrate the available market and become the preferred choice for residence of Columbus, Ohio. We have a detailed information and data that we were able to utilize to structure our business to attract the numbers of customers we want to attract per time.

We hired experts who have good understanding of the retail industry to help us develop marketing strategies that will help us achieve our business goal of winning a larger percentage of the available market in Columbus, Ohio. In order to continue to be in business and grow, we must continue to sell the products that are available in our store which is why we will go all out to empower or sales and marketing team to deliver.

In summary, People’s Choice Retail Store will adopt the following sales and marketing approach to win customers over;

Despite the fact that our retail store is well located, we will still go ahead to intensify publicity for the business. We are going to explore all available means to promote our retail store. People’s Choice Retail Store has a long term plan of opening outlets in various locations all around Ohio which is why we will deliberately build our brand to be well accepted in Columbus before venturing out.

As a matter of fact, our publicity and advertising strategy is not solely for winning customers over but to effectively communicate our brand. Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on to promote and advertise People’s Choice Retail Store;

Pricing is one of the key factors that give leverage to retail stores, it is normal for consumers to go to places (retail outlets) where they can goods at cheaper price which is why big player in the retail industry like Wal-Mart will attract loads of consumers. Products in their store are tagged with the cheapest price you can get anywhere in the United States.

We know we don’t have the capacity to compete with Wal-Mart or any other big retail store, but we will ensure that the prices of all the products that are available in our store are competitive with what is obtainable amongst retail stores within our level.

Our payment policy is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different people prefer different payment options as it suits them. Here are the payment options that will be available in every of our outlets;

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will help us achieve our payment plans without any itches.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

This is the key areas where we will spend our start – up capital;

We would need an estimate of $500,000 to successfully set up our retail store in Columbus, Ohio. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first month of operation.

Generating Funding / Startup Capital for People’s Choice Retail Store

People’s Choice Retail Store is a private business that is solely owned and financed by Bob Wesley and family. They do not intend to welcome any external business partner which is why he has decided to restrict the sourcing of the start – up capital to 3 major sources. These are the areas we intend generating our start – up capital;

N.B: We have been able to generate about $200,000 ( Personal savings $150,000 and soft loan from family members $50,000 ) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $300,000 from our bank. All the papers and document have been signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited with the amount.

The future of a business lies in the numbers of loyal customers that they have the capacity and competence of the employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If any of these factors is missing from a business (company), then it won’t be too long before the business close shop.

People’s Choice Retail Store will ensure that all the factors listed above are reinforced on a regular basis and also we will engage in continuous capacity building of our workforce. As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of three years or more.

We will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that staff welfare is well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re – training of our workforce is at the top burner.

Check List / Milestone

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4 Free Retail & Online Store Business Plans

Blake Stockton

WRITTEN BY: Blake Stockton

Published December 13, 2019

Blake is an award-winning consultant, writer, and speaker. As a consultant, he helped over 700 biz owners start and grow their business. His expertise is featured across Fit Small Business in starting a business  content.

This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business .

A retail business plan can help entrepreneurs analyze their business concept and explain why it will be successful. Many banks and investors like to see companies’ strategic plans before agreeing to provide funding. All business plans for retail and online stores should showcase their products and services, financial projections, and marketing strategies.

Before starting your retail or online store, it’s important to register it as a legal entity with the state in which it’s doing business. A legal business entity would protect the business owner’s personal finances if a lawsuit were to ever occur against the business. Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service that assists small business owners with the paperwork needed for legal entity registration. Register your business with Rocket Lawyer for $99 plus state fees.

Visit Rocket Lawyer

Retail Business Plan Templates

We’ve included four retail business plan templates below and separated them into different types, including one for retail product-based storefronts, retail service-based storefronts, retail companies with a storefront and an online store, and retailers that run their business completely online. To understand each section of the business plan template better, we recommend you read our step-by-step business plan guide . All of the templates below include the necessary sections to obtaining funding from a bank or investor.

We’ve included template copies that are in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs. To save the Word document, click on your desired template’s link below. Once it downloads, click “File” within the document, then “Save As” to save the template to your computer.

To save the Google Doc, click your desired template’s link below. Copy all of the words in the document, open a new Google Doc on your account, and paste in the template. The new template will automatically save to your Google Doc account.

Product-based Retail Storefront

Product Based Retail Storefront

Word / Google Doc

Retailers with Storefront And Online Business

Retailers with Storefront and Online Business

Service-based Retail Storefront

Service-Based Retail Storefront

Online Only Retail Store

Online Only Retail Store

How Retail Business Plan Templates Work

These retail and online business plan templates walk you through how to create a plan for your business. They all come with questions in each section and subsection to spark creative thinking and provide direction.

It’s important to note that some businesses will have information that fits into all of the template categories. For example, a bakery can sell products in person and online in addition to providing a service with educational classes to aspiring chefs. If your business happens to have diverse revenue sources like this, choose the template that applies to how the majority of your revenue is earned. For example, if the online store will only earn 1% of overall sales, you should choose the storefront-based business plan template.

Product-based Retail Storefront Template

This template is for a retail business with a storefront that primarily sells products rather than services to customers. Typically, these types of businesses have a local marketing focus. Additionally, inventory and sales staff are important topics to discuss in the business plan. Examples that fall into this business category include clothing boutiques, food businesses, and jewelry companies―essentially, any store that buys and resells items in small quantities, not in bulk like wholesalers.

Download the product retail storefront business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word format. PDF isn’t available, because the Table of Contents’ page titles and numbers won’t update after you add new information to the template.

Service-based Retail Storefront Business Plan Template

The service-based retail storefront template is right for anyone who primarily provides a service to its customers. This type of business has a local marketing focus. Additionally, hiring and managing quality staff are discussed in this business plan. Examples of service-based retail storefronts include massage therapist companies, nail salons, product repair, shops, and rental-based businesses.

Download the service-based retail storefront business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . PDF isn’t available because the Table of Contents’ page titles and numbers won’t update when you add new information to the template.

Business Plan for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers With Online Stores

This template is for any retail business that has a storefront and is selling a product online as well. The business plan discusses ecommerce and online marketing strategy in depth. Examples of brick-and-mortar retailers with online stores include memorabilia or comic book stores in addition to shops that sell clothing, outdoor goods, and spices.

Download the retail storefront and online business plan template in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . A PDF version isn’t available, because the page titles and numbers within the Table of Contents won’t update when you add new information to the template.

Online Retailer Business Template

The online store business plan template is for retailers that primarily sell products online. The template emphasizes ecommerce, online marketing, and shipping. It’s best for niche businesses that cannot fund a storefront, such as stores that sell artisan soaps or custom items. Dropshipping businesses will also find the template useful.

Download the online retail business plan in Google Doc or Microsoft Word . A PDF version isn’t available because the Table of Content page titles and numbers won’t update when you add new information to the template.

What All Retail Business Plans Should Include

If you’ve looked at the above templates, you may have noticed that several sections are similar on all four business plans. That’s because no matter your type of business, when writing your business plan , bankers are looking for certain sections, including the Executive Summary, Company Summary, Market & Industry Analysis, Marketing Strategy, Financial Projections, and Appendix.

Executive Summary

This section is an overview of the business plan and is typically one to two pages in length. We recommend completing the executive summary last so that you know which sections are most important to emphasize and expand upon.

It’s important to make the executive summary as persuasive and compelling as possible. Interested investors often request the executive summary first to determine if they should spend time reading the rest of the plan.

Company Summary

The company summary highlights the company’s successes if already in business or why it will be a success if you have a new business. In this section, include information about what you need to purchase to start your business and how much it will cost. Additionally, briefly discuss the company’s ownership structure and its competitive advantage, which is the one big feature that gives your business an edge over competitors.

Market & Industry Analysis

In the market and industry analysis section, make your case as to why your business will be a success. Market analysis is a deep dive into research that you can use to show that there are sufficient customers who need your business. You should research the need in your local area, especially if you’re not operating online, to help prove your business can be successful. Use software like ReferenceUSA to research for free at thousands of local libraries across the United States.

For industry analysis, you need to show evidence that the industry in which you’re starting a business is growing, not shrinking. You can use a paid service like IBIS World to pull industry data. IBIS World’s industry experts update industry forecasts and data around every four months.

The marketing section is where you outline the marketing strategy for your business. The information in this section will vary depending on the type of business you own. For example, some businesses may want to showcase the quality of their interior buildout while others expand into their online marketing strategy. You may even want to discuss the high-quality materials you’ll be creating to promote the business.

Regardless of the marketing strategies you mention, we recommend including as many visual examples as possible. You may want to include one or two visual marketing materials in this section. If you have more materials to showcase or large graphics―a menu or interior rendering―place them in the Appendix ( discussed below ).

Financial Projections

The financial projections are the most important part of any business plan. Unfortunately, they are also the most difficult for business owners to create. In the financial projection section, you should predict how much revenue and expenses will flow through the business during its first three years in operation.

Calculating financial projections can be time-consuming, especially if you have a physical location because you have to research specific costs such as construction, inventory, and utilities. Software can also be a big expense. For instance, payroll tools like Gusto , accounting software like Intuit QuickBooks , cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems like Vend , and so on.

Additionally, it can be difficult to predict how much each product or service line will sell month-by-month over the first three years in business. Use software like Biz Miner to obtain yearly startup financials for your industry.

To organize your financial projections, you can use a free Excel workbook from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). In the workbook, you’ll find tabs for financial statements that need to be completed, such as the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Profit and Loss Statement.

The appendix is optional but recommended for a business plan. This is where you will put supporting documentation for your business. Include items like marketing materials, licenses, permits, leases, purchase agreements, and illustrations.

When to Use a Template Alternative

An alternative to the more traditional retail business plan templates above is a more modern business plan called the Business Model Canvas (BMC) . The BMC is a visual business plan that can be used in a team-building exercise and completed by upper management. Additionally, you should note that if you’re pressed for time, you can complete the BMC in under an hour. The downside of the BMC is that most banks and investors won’t accept it as a business plan.

Many business owners find that creating a business plan is a daunting task. Staring at a blank screen can be intimidating. If you need an alternative to using the templates above, consider using a business plan software to walk you step-by-step through the planning process. LivePlan is an affordable and easy-to-use business plan software that provides more than 500 business plan examples from which to learn. Get started with LivePlan for only $11.66 per month.

Visit LivePlan

Bottom Line

Every retail business owner needs to go through the exercise of creating a business plan. The process helps the owner understand the strengths and potential weaknesses of their business. Use our business plan templates along with the SCORE financial projections workbook to obtain necessary funding for your retail business. You may find yourself struggling with portions of the financial projections. If so, contact an accountant for assistance or use a business plan software.

If you’re on a tight budget and need legal advice about your business, you can contact an online legal service. Rocket Lawyer provides affordable expert legal advice to business owners. Get started with a 30-minute consultation from a Rocket Lawyer attorney for $59.99.

About the Author

Blake Stockton

Find Blake On LinkedIn Twitter

Blake Stockton

Blake Stockton is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on how to start brick-and-mortar and online businesses. He is a frequent guest lecturer at several undergraduate business and MBA classes at University of North Florida . Prior to joining Fit Small Business, Blake consulted with over 700 small biz owners and assisted with starting and growing their businesses.

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Online Store Builders: 7 Best Options for Your Website

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

Best online store builders: Key things to know

Shopify: best overall online store builder, square online: best free online store builder, shift4shop: best for b2b online stores, squarespace: simplest online store builder, bigcommerce: best for omnichannel sellers, wix: most customizable online store builder, woocommerce: best for wordpress users, how to choose an online store builder.

An online store builder can help turn a website into a digital storefront. These platforms support selling and shipping goods, marketing digital content, booking prepaid appointments and more.

Some e-commerce website builders offer an out-of-the-box solution with web hosting, payment processing, integration with other sales platforms and much more. These providers can be especially valuable if you’re building an online business from scratch.

But if you’re taking your brick-and-mortar business online or adding sales functionality to an existing website, start with options that build on your current infrastructure — like your point-of-sale or content management system. These options may even be free.

The best choice for you is one that offers the features you need at a price you can afford. Here are our picks for the best online store builders.

Shopify’s drag-and-drop builder lets you build an e-commerce store without knowing how to code. You can then use the platform for inventory management, shipping and returns, email marketing, listing your products on social media and third-party marketplaces, and more.

Shopify is a good choice if you’re starting an e-commerce business for the first time because it offers an all-in-one solution for web hosting, sales, payments and more. But its business-to-business, or B2B, features are limited, so it’s best for business-to-customer, or B2C, sellers.

Who should use Shopify: Businesses that primarily sell physical goods to individual customers.

Key details:

Price: Starts at $29 per month.

Payments: Built-in using Shopify Payments , or you can connect your own payment processor for an additional transaction fee.

In-person sales: Shopify POS .

Shipping: Discounted rates with the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and DHL. You can also track the status of your shipments in Shopify.

If you’re looking to move your brick-and-mortar store online, Square Online integrates with Square POS software — NerdWallet’s pick for best POS system — to connect some or all of your inventory to your website. Square sites are easy to build; once your site is live, you can list products, offer discounts, highlight new and popular items and advertise product drops. You can also take bookings using Square Appointments .

Square Online can help you sell on Instagram, Facebook and Google, but it doesn’t offer the robust multichannel sales features you’ll get with other platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. And while Square websites are mobile-friendly by design, you can’t customize a Square website in the variety of ways you can with Wix or WordPress.

Note that Square Online is not entirely free — Square, the payment processor , will still take a cut of all your debit and credit card transactions. But you won’t have to pay an additional monthly fee to run your store.

Who should use Square Online: Brick-and-mortar businesses that want to expand into online sales with a free or low-cost website. Square Online is easiest to use if you already use a Square point-of-sale system in your store. Read NerdWallet’s review of Square Online .

Price: Free. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Payments: Square Payments.

In-person sales: Square POS.

Shipping: Square can facilitate free in-store pickup and local delivery by your staff or third-party courier services. For shipping over longer distances, a rate calculator is built-in.

Shift4Shop — formerly known as 3DCart — is owned by payment processing company Shift4 and free for users who process at least $500 per month in sales using Shift4 Payments. It’s one of our top B2B e-commerce platforms because of its wholesale- and custom-pricing options. But it also offers features that may be valuable to B2C sellers, like preorders and the option to take payments over the phone.

Shift4Shop offers more features than Square Online’s free plan, making it a strong choice for businesses that will take advantage of services like abandoned cart emails and reorders. But if your business doesn’t need those tools, you may want to choose a simpler option.

Who should use Shift4Shop: Businesses that want to build an online store with a large catalog and wholesale-pricing options. It’s a particularly good fit for B2B sellers. Read NerdWallet’s review of Shift4Shop .

Price: Free if you process more than $500 per month in sales using Shift4.

Payments: Shift4.

In-person sales: Use the Shift4Shop POS system or integrate with Square POS.

Shipping: Built-in label printing for UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and Canada Post within your store manager.

Squarespace is a user-friendly website builder that offers e-commerce features, too. It stands out for its online appointment booking — you can set up reminder emails, intake forms and calendar integrations — and its membership and subscription options, like the ability to create gated sections of your website for paying customers.

Squarespace offers solid product sales features, too, but other platforms offer more advanced inventory management and omnichannel sales options.

Who should use Squarespace: Businesses that specialize in selling digital or in-person services. Read NerdWallet’s review of Squarespace .

Price: Plans with e-commerce features start at $23 per month.

Payments: Connect Stripe or PayPal.

In-person sales: Connect the Squarespace app to a Square reader.

Shipping: Squarespace offers shipping label printing and in-store pickup, but you’ll need third-party apps for more advanced shipping solutions.

BigCommerce is a multichannel-focused online store builder that integrates directly with Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook, Instagram and other sales channels. All BigCommerce plans include unlimited user accounts, which isn’t typically the case for entry-level plans.

However, BigCommerce plans are limited in a different way: Each has a cap on annual sales volume, starting at $50,000 in revenue on the Standard plan. If your sales exceed that limit, you’ll have to upgrade to the next plan.

Who should use BigCommerce: Businesses that want to sell products on a variety of platforms, including social media and third-party marketplaces. Read NerdWallet’s review of BigCommerce .

Price: From $29 per month.

Payments: Built-in using PayPal powered by Braintree, with a discount for higher-volume sellers. If you choose to go with a different provider, BigCommerce doesn’t charge additional transaction fees the way Shopify does.

In-person sales: Integrates with a variety of POS systems, including Square, Clover and Zettle.

Shipping: Built-in U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and DHL label printing, with discounted rates for Postal Service services.

Wix is an online store builder that offers hundreds of website templates, plus support for a variety of e-commerce business models — subscriptions, ticket sales, print-on-demand products and more. You’ll also have your choice of payment gateways.

However, Wix doesn’t match the multichannel sales features of the all-in-one platforms on our list. You can’t connect Wix items to Amazon, eBay or Etsy or sell within Facebook and Instagram posts. And more customization options may mean a steeper learning curve for the person who runs your website.

Who should use Wix: Businesses that have a dedicated web manager on staff so that person can understand and take advantage of Wix’s many features. Read NerdWallet’s review of Wix .

Price: From $27 per month.

Payments: Use Wix Payments or choose from a variety of other credit card processors.

In-person sales: Wix offers its own point-of-sale system.

Shipping: Discounted shipping rates with the U.S. Postal Service and potentially other carriers. You can print shipping labels from your Wix dashboard.

WooCommerce is a free open-source plug-in that can help you add an online shopping cart to your WordPress website. It’s not a standalone e-commerce store platform like others on our list — you’ll need to build your website on WordPress first. But once that’s in place, WooCommerce is a powerful plug-in that offers omnichannel selling , digital downloads, subscription sales, customizable checkout experiences and more.

WordPress isn’t easy to use, and WooCommerce has a learning curve, too. If your digital skills are limited or your store is relatively simple, you may not be able to take advantage of all WooCommerce’s customization options.

Who should use WooCommerce: Businesses that run their websites on WordPress and want to develop a robust online store. Read our comparison of WooCommerce vs. Shopify .

Price: Free.

Payments: You can use WooCommerce’s payment processor or choose your own payment gateway.

In-person sales: Connect to various third-party POS systems using extensions.

Shipping: U.S. Postal Service and DHL label printing with discounted rates, or you can use third-party extensions to facilitate shipping with UPS, FedEx and other carriers.

The best online store builder is the one that meets your selling needs at a price you can afford. To figure out the right solution for your e-commerce business, follow these steps:

1. Examine price and feature charts

Most online store builders offer charts that lay out what features they offer at each price tier. Identify the features you value most and make sure they’re available at the price tier you’re targeting, and compare providers to one another to get a clearer picture of which best suits your needs.

2. Consider your built-in option

If you already use Square, Shift4 or Shopify Payments to accept credit card transactions, look at the online store builders offered by those companies. Square Online is free to start for Square users, and Shift4Shop is free for Shift4 users processing $500 or more per month in payments.

If you choose to go with a different website builder, make sure the one you pick will integrate with your existing payment processor and other software programs — or that you’re prepared to make some changes.

3. Take advantage of free trials

Most online store builders offer free trials, ranging from a few days to several weeks. This is a great way to dig into the features of each platform and see what appeals to you. You can try out different store designs, create products, test payments, explore marketing tools and run test orders before you commit to a subscription.

4. Anticipate growth

Switching to a different e-commerce platform isn’t easy, so it’s important to select an online store builder that can support your growth. For example, selling on Amazon and social media sites might not be on your radar now — but if it’s part of your business plan , it might be wise to choose a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce now so you can easily set those integrations up later.

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

business plans for online stores

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Clothing Boutique Business Plan Template [Updated for 2022]

minute read

Clothing Boutique Business Plan Template [Updated for 2022]

A business plan is a document that outlines its intended purpose and goals and helps serve as a reference to keep you on track after you open your doors. If you plan to raise capital, you can send your boutique business plan to friends, family and other potential investors so they have a clearer idea of what they’re investing in. 

In this article, we outline what to include in your clothing store business plan, as well as a blank business plan template for you to use however you see fit. You can be as detailed as you like when writing your plan. 

Here’s what you need to know and include to get started: 

How to start a clothing store business in 2022

Executive summary, business description and mission statement.

Competitor and market analysis 

Clothing marketing strategies, business structure, clothing boutique startup costs and funding , growth forecast, clothing store boutique business plan template, global state of the retail industry report: omnichannel is do or die.

Get to know the state of the industry today as you open your clothing store boutique.

How much does it cost to open a clothing store? 

The cost of opening a clothing store varies depending on the size and location of your store. Leasing a retail space costs more in certain geographic areas than others. The average initial cost of opening a store can be anywhere from $48,000 USD to $150,000 USD, and this figure doesn’t include an upfront payment of first month’s rent or utilities. 

Having an accurate idea of your initial cost—and, as such, how much funding you need—is one of the key benefits of a thorough boutique business plan.

The costs and logistics involved in starting a clothing store business in 2022 are different than they were even 10 years ago. 

You need a rock-solid niche for your business, so you can make a splash in a crowded market. You need a brand identity that stands out, too. Those pieces aren’t new, though creativity is more important than ever—you want your new boutique clothing store to stand out online, after all. 

It’s the online aspect that really matters in 2022. Instead of picking between a brick-and-mortar or eCommerce store, your boutique business plan should take both into account. In an era of high-tech stores (even Amazon is getting in on the industry with its new Amazon Style ), customers have come to expect more from retailers. 

Keep in mind the technology you need to start a clothing store today: that includes a POS system with an integrated eCom platform, inventory management software that syncs your online and offline stock in real time and loyalty programs to reward them for shopping. These costs, and the time required to manage multiple sales channels, should be built into your business plan. 

How to write a clothing boutique business plan

Your business plan can be as long or as short as you’d like, but it needs to be clear to others, not just yourself. Remember, other people might read your plan in order to determine whether or not to invest, so each part needs to be understandable. 

Here is an example of a business plan for a boutique clothing store that gets funders on board (and what you should be putting in each section). 

The executive summary should be a summary of your entire business plan. It typically appears at the beginning of a business plan, but you should write this last so you can draw from the rest of the sections for a more accurate blurb. 

Think of this as the elevator pitch for your boutique business plan. If this summary was all someone read, they’d come away with an idea of what you want to open and why; detailed enough that they get the big picture, but not so detailed that they get lost on the page.

An executive summary should be at most 10% of the entire document. For example, if your clothing store’s business plan is 15 pages long, the summary should be a page and a half at most; if your plan is five pages long, try for a half-page executive summary. 

The next section should be a description of what your clothing business is and does. For example, are you a children’s clothing boutique? Are you selling in store, online or both? What kinds of styles are you going to cater to? For instance, do you sell basics like plain tee shirts or pieces with a more bohemian aesthetic?

This is also where you should define your mission and company values. Your mission should answer the questions: why are you starting your business and what will your new store bring to the table? Your company values are the characteristics your business aligns itself with and uses to make informed decisions. What values are most important to you and which qualities will you make a priority? 

This is your opportunity to really sell potential funders on why your clothing store will succeed. What’s more compelling: describing yourself as a new apparel retailer, or as a new clothing boutique with a focus on personal styling for young professionals that carries local designers in a high-foot-traffic area in your city’s financial district? 

Products, services and pricing

With your executive summary and business description having introduced potential funders to your vision, your boutique business plan should next move into the concrete details. Your products and services section should outline: 

If you plan to offer more or different products later down the line, outline that in this section as well. 

It’s important to look at what your competitors are doing to get a sense of which needs are being met and where the biggest gaps in the market lie. Make sure you explain how you’re positioning yourself and why you offer something different or better than what already exists. Include the following information: 

As a new business, you’ll need to promote yourself to bring customers in the door. Use this section of your boutique business plan to explain to investors and your team how you intend to do that.

The structure of your business will have a big impact on how it’s taxed and managed. Define your plans for incorporating as well as your org chart: 

There are many upfront purchases to be made as well as recurring expenses that come with starting a clothing store. This is where you’ll list what you need to buy and the funding you’ll need in order to make sure you get everything you need. Here are some examples of costs you might include: 

One-time costs

Recurring expenses  

In addition to listing expected expenses and funding needs, also add a projected profit and loss statement, cash flow and balance sheet, if you’re able to. This will help paint a more complete financial picture.  

Growth forecast 

In this section, list how much inventory you’ll have on to start and your initial assets. Plan how much cash you’ll have on hand for your grand opening. 

Here is where you can predict how quickly you will grow and in what ways you intend to expand. How much revenue do you intend to generate after one year in operation? Do you plan to offer more products in the future? Are you envisioning outgrowing your first retail space? Do you intend to open more locations? Describe these plans to the best of your ability. 

Now that you know what goes into a business plan, you’re ready to make one. Fill in this free template to set your future clothing store up for success. 

Executive summary 

Business name:

Founders and executive team:

Products and services:

Target demographic:

Marketing strategies:

Future plans and goals:

Company description

What does your business do?

What gap does it fill in the market?

Mission statement:

Core values:

Description of each product and service: 

How you plan to price each item:

Supply chain details:

Competitor and market analysis

Competitor analysis:

Industry trends: 

Market size:

SWOT analysis:

Target customer: 

Marketing strategies

Which marketing channels you’ll be using:

Plans for paid vs. organic marketing: 

Loyalty program outline: 

Marketing goals:

Legal structure:

Business leaders:

Organizational chart: 

Hiring plans: 

Startup costs and funding

What you need to buy: 

How much funding you need: 

Profit and loss statement: 

Balance sheet: 


Cash on hand: 

Revenue (projected or actual):

Other growth plans or predictions: 

Create your clothing business the way you envision it

A clothing store business plan can help you solidify your thoughts and ideas so that you can start your business the way you intend to. Taking time to ask yourself important questions like how and why you’re starting will serve you well in the long run. 

Clothing retailers use Lightspeed’s commerce platform to take sales, manage inventory, create a website and so much more. If you’d like to learn about how Lightspeed can help you accomplish your business goals, watch a demo .

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Emily Polner

Emily is a Content Specialist at Lightspeed, where she brings her passion, knowledge, and expertise to give you helpful tips on how to take your retail business to the next level. When she’s not behind the keyboard, Emily can be found thrifting, getting iced lattes at local cafes or endlessly scrolling through TikTok.

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Online Retail Business Plan Sample

MAR.03, 2015

Online Retail Business Plan Sample

U.S. statistics for e-commerce indicate that annual internet sales are steadily increasing. In fact, U.S. sales doubled between 2006 and 2013 and were an estimated $210 billion in 2013 for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). Globally, the best estimates report B2C e-commerce sales of approximately $638 billion, and that excludes travel sales. It is not surprising that millions of entrepreneurs are preparing their online retail business plan so they can capture the great opportunities.

Approximately a third of all internet sales are for travel and flight bookings which means internet-based store for goods and services account for two-thirds of the revenue generated. How can an entrepreneur take advantage of the opportunities? It is to get on the internet and start a web based shopping enterprise.

However, it is not so easy to generate sales and grow a startup because shoppers must find the website among the billions already operating. The owner must know how to get attention through marketing and search engines. The startup needs an online retail business plan that lays out the operating model and the critical success components like marketing, operations, and financials.

Business plan for retail

Online Retail Business Plan Sample

You should think the following before writing the plan:

Pre-requisites of online retail business plan

Thus, an effective business plan for retail is important to start a successful business. You can also review sample online retail business plans for retail to have the general idea about what retail business strategy includes. An effective plan includes a good executive summary, market strategy, and financial strategy and SWOT analysis.

Setting sites on Success

A professional online retail business plan used for many purposes. They include setting the path for successful operations, finding interested investors, setting short and long-term goals, documenting market research and more. It plays such an important role in the entrepreneur’s success that it should be considered a “living” document that keeps decision-making on track.

Every section needs to be thorough, accurate, and based on in-depth research, covering information like the following:

Online Retail business plan sample

How to write a Sample online retail business plan?

The retail work mainly includes general merchandise etc. The retailers buy products directly from their producers and sell those products to the common people. These products in the online retail business can be long lasting and non-durable items. Durable retail items mainly include electronic items and other whereas non-durable retail involve food, drinks, shoes, cosmetics and clothing.

Further, the online retail business plan is a rewarding business if done properly. Properly drafted retailing business plans would help you to achieve success in the business. You can open many retail outlets in major cities. You should write the separate business plan if you are dealing with specific retail business like garment retail business plan.

Sample business plan for a retail shop

Below is the sample online retail business plan to assist you:

Thus, you must elaborate complete description of your online retail business plan. You must take guidelines from the retail business plan UK . The above-given sample key points would also help you to customize your online retail business plan.

Appealing to the Investor

Even a  small internet retail business  needs capital to cover startup and operating expenses the first year. It is important to know how to identify outside funding needs and to include a perspective in the online retail business plan that appeals to the type of investor most likely to be interested in the businesses. Fact-based financial statements are instrumental to long-term success and for landing investors. Investors are savvy and easily recognize inflated numbers or financial information that is not based on high quality research.

Professional Help

Since 2006,  OGS Capital consulting professionals have successfully help SMEs with the development of quality online retail business plans and with raising capital. Each document is customized and retail business plan templates are used. When ready to startup or grow a online retail business and in need of a customized business document, simply send your information on a completed contact form.

Download Online Retail Business Plan Sample in pdf

OGS capital writers specialize in business plan themes such as business plans for pharmacy , underwear business plan , online store business plan example , dating website business plan , IT security business plan , video game developer business plan , virtual assistant business plan template and many other business plans.

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

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Network 18

Urban Ladder plans to double retail stores by March 2024, to expand retail presence in 32 cities

The company, which opened its latest store in Kolkata, has rapidly scaled up its offline presence in the last nine months as it was operating only 13 stores until June 2022.

Urban Ladder

Urban Ladder

Furniture and home decor brand Urban Ladder, which on Wednesday opened its 50th store, said it plans to double this store count by March 2024.

"... the company plans to expand its retail stores in 32 cities by 2023 and aims to double this number by March 2024," Urban Ladder said in a statement.

Starting its journey as an online brand, the company would continue to strengthen its presence in the e-commerce segment.

"The world of e-commerce is rapidly expanding, and Urban Ladder also aims to strengthen its online presence through UL.com and Jiomart," it said.

Urban Ladder Chief Business Officer Nishant Gupta said the company has a robust expansion plan to cater to consumers across various metro and non-metro markets.

"Our customers have always supported and motivated us to create unique offerings and every component is carefully curated, which makes us distinct. Every detail is worked on meticulously, from the design to the selection of materials, fabrics, and packaging. In the coming years, we are committed to innovating and bringing more contemporary and traditional concepts and products to India," he said.

Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions was co-founded by Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa in July 2012. It has over 40,000 products across 300-plus brands, delivering to more than 83 cities across India.

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How To Start An Online Store In 8 Steps (2023 Guide)

Reviewed By

Updated: Nov 21, 2022, 9:44pm

How To Start An Online Store In 8 Steps (2023 Guide)

Table of Contents

1. pick a viable niche and define your target audience, 2. choose your product line, 3. create your brand name and brand assets, 4. register your business, 5. choose an e-commerce platform, 6. build your e-commerce website, 7. optimize your site, 8. tell the world, why e-commerce is important, frequently asked questions.

Whether you have unique handmade items you’d like to sell or you want to start a wholesale or dropshipping business, you’ll need a great website with eCommerce functionality to be successful online. With relatively low upfront costs and many great code-free site builders available, it’s easier than ever to start an eCommerce business. In this article, we’ll show you how to start an online store in just eight easy steps. Make your eCommerce business dreams a reality today!

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The first step in starting your online store is to determine a niche market you’d like to serve. One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is not focusing on the three components of choosing a niche:

Your target audience is just as important as your niche. You want to make sure the products you sell will interest them and that they can purchase what you’re selling with no trouble. Don’t ask people for their opinion on your product if they’re not in your target audience.

Once you’ve determined your niche and target audience, it’s time to decide on your product or service line. This can be the hardest part of starting your online store. You want to make sure you’re not selling a product that’s too expensive to produce or that no one is searching for. It’s also important to make sure you have the resources, such as storage and shipping, to accommodate your products.

If you choose a product that’s already popular, how will you differentiate yours from the best? Can you improve on an existing product? How will you make sure your online store is the go-to source for this product?

Once you know what you want to sell, the next step is to choose your brand or business name and create your brand assets, such as your logo. For some, this step might come very easy and for others, this can be very challenging. One way that businesses often weed through name ideas is by going to a domain name registrar, such as GoDaddy and searching for available domains. The reason is, ideally, you want your domain name to match your business name.

If you’re not sure where to begin when creating your logo, Canva is a great place to start. It offers dozens of free and easy-to-customize logo templates. In case you don’t want to try your hand at logo design, you can always hire someone to do it for you from platforms like Fiverr and 99Designs.

In order to process payments for your online store, you’re going to need an EIN (or employer identification number). To get an EIN you need to register your online store as a business in your state. While you can register as a sole proprietorship or corporation, generally small businesses register as an LLC (or limited liability company ), which helps protect your personal assets should your company get sued.

There are also tax advantages to creating one for your new company, so check with your tax advisor to see if an LLC is the best option for you. The process of registering your business will vary from state to state, so it’s best to refer to your state’s Secretary of State for more detailed information on the process. Alternatively, you can always use a business registration service such as LegalZoom or ZenBusiness.

Start A Limited Liability Company Online Today with ZenBusiness

Click on the state below to get started.

Next, it’s time to choose an e-commerce platform. This is the platform where you will build and manage your online store. There are a number of great e-commerce platforms to choose from, such as Squarespace, Shopify and Square. However, each platform comes with its own unique set of features, which impact affordability, capabilities, and user-friendliness, so it’s worth taking the time to find the right one for you.

Here are a few of the best e-commerce platforms for easily building an online store:

For more insights and information and to help you choose the right one for your online store, check out the best e-commerce platforms .

Once you have decided which e-commerce platform you want to use, the next step is to go to that platform and create an account and begin building your online store. While the steps will vary depending on which platform you’re using, typically the steps will more or less involve the following.

How to build an online store website:

Follow along with our detailed step-by-step instructions that walk you through how to build a website .

Once your online store is up and running, optimize it for search engines so that it can get found online and in search engines, such as Google. This will help your website increase its visibility, gain more website visitors, and generate more sales–all for free.

Here are a few things you can do to optimize your site:

Once your online store is up and running, you need to market it. The reason for this is that building a business through SEO is a key component in your long-term strategy. Marketing your products and services will help bring in traffic now.

Here are several ways you can promote your online store:

The best way to promote your online store depends on your business and the products or services you’re selling. Successful marketing campaigns contain many, if not all, of these strategies at the same time. Try a few different methods and see which ones work best for you.

There’s a reason the current generation is often called the instant gratification generation: our world is more connected—and easily accessible—than ever. With a few clicks of a button, people from all over the world can purchase your products and services 24/7, 365 days per year, provided you have an online website. Sometimes, this is referred to as an e-commerce store. The overall look, speed and quality of your site can make or break a sale.

How much does it cost to start an online store?

The cost to start an online store varies depending on the platform you choose and the features you need. Some platforms are free to use, while others have a monthly fee. You can find e-commerce platforms for less than $30 per month. Then, just pay for marketing, products and shipping.

Where can I get products for my online store?

You can get products for your online store from a variety of sources, including wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors. Popular aggregators of manufacturers include Alibaba and DHgate. Many store owners use sites like Faire or Abound for wholesale products.

How do I start an online store with no money?

The easiest way to start an online store with no money is to sell services or digital products and choose a free e-commerce platform. This way, you only pay per transaction. Examples include printable products, editing services and PDF workbooks.

What is the difference between an e-commerce platform and e-commerce hosting?

An e-commerce platform gives you the tools to design an attractive-looking page or series of pages for customers to visit and learn more about you but that website has to be hosted somewhere, which is what an e-commerce website host does. Websites are hosted on platforms that can support the traffic being sent to them.

What are the most important sections that my online store should have?

In addition to having sections for your goods or services and a place to check out, you should also have sections or pages that include your contact details, an about page that provides details about your store and its offerings, a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that can help answer some of the questions your customer may have regarding your store of what you have to offer and a policy page that offers you some form of legal protection in case there are disputes―this section or page should deal with information related to your liability, return policy, privacy policy and similar issues.

What are some easy businesses to start?

One of the easiest businesses to start also has the lowest overhead: selling digital goods. This can include items such as e-books, online courses, audio files or software. If you have expertise in a particular area or niche, this is a great option for you. Dropshipping is also a great option because you don’t have to keep inventory. Or, you could buy wholesale products or create your own. Once you create your product, you can sell it through your own website or third-party platforms, such as Amazon or Etsy.

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Kathy Haan, MBA is a former financial advisor-turned-writer and business coach. For over a decade, she’s helped small business owners make money online. When she’s not trying out the latest tech or travel blogging with her family, you can find her curling up with a good novel.

A Better Lemonade Stand

Online Ecommerce Incubator

How to Make a Business Plan for an Online Business

How to Make an Online Business Plan

Do you need a business plan for your online business?

The answer is yes!

Most businesses benefit from having some kind of business plan, so an online business plan counts, too. But, it usually doesn’t have to include the same things that traditional business plans cover, and it likely will also include additional things that don’t apply to brick-and-mortar businesses.

Online business plans are a bit of a different ball game, so that’s what this post will help you out with—how to create a business plan for your online business.

Let’s create an online business plan!

Table of Contents

What is an online business plan, when to create a business plan, how to create an online business plan, do i need a business plan for an online business, your business’ essentials, your product & niche information, your business model, your product acquisition methods, your costs & pricing, your competitive analysis, your customer personas, your branding assets, your unique value proposition, your consumer channels, your store build information, your marketing strategies.

First things first, what is a business plan, and what is a business plan for an online business?

A business plan is a document that details a business’ important information and its future projections. A business plan should include factual information like a business’ name, URL, and operational costs, but also qualitative research like the business’ strengths and weaknesses and fictitious customer personas.

A business plan acts as a record of a business’ information so it can be easily referenced at any point in the business’ lifetime and it also acts as a blueprint of the path the business wants to take. Business plans are not only used by the founders of the business, but also by business partners, investors, and if the business is ever sold, it will likely be referenced during the sales process or post-purchase.

An online business plan is a business plan designed specifically for online businesses. Since many businesses nowadays exist solely online and don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, merchants need to design their business plan to suit their digital business. A lot of the general sections of the business plan stay the same, however, there are some differences.

How Online Business Plans Differ from Traditional Business Plans

The main differences between business plans for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses and business plans for online businesses are this:

When to Create an Online Business Plan

You can create a business plan at any point in your business-building process. It’s usually best to do it at the very beginning though so you have a roadmap leading you where you want to go, but if you’ve already started your business in some capacity and you didn’t create one at the beginning, you can still create a business plan too!

Business plans really just help guide the next steps of your business, no matter where your business is currently at. Plus, some aspects of your business plan will change as your business evolves over time so it can be a living document that gets updated as your business progresses if that’s something you want to do.

How to Create an Online Business Plan

Creating a business plan is pretty simple, you can make one in whatever word processor you’re most comfortable with, such as Google Docs , Microsoft Word , Apple Pages , Evernote , or Bear App . You could even use Airtable or Google Sheets if you prefer to work with spreadsheets.

Your business plan doesn’t have to be particularly fancy, it mostly just has to be organized. Create clear headings and sub-headings for each section and make sure to write clearly and concisely. Ideally, your business plan shouldn’t be too big of a document—you want it to be thorough but easy to read and to skim.

Do I Need a Business Plan for an Online Business

The answer is yes! All businesses can benefit from having a business plan, whether you’re starting an online business, a brick-and-mortar business, or even a business that does both.

If you’re starting an online business, your business plan will act as a record of your business’ important information and you can include plans and projections for the future which can help you to stay on track.

A lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs struggle with accountability, goal-setting, and staying on track when it comes to building, launching, and growing an online business, so having an online business plan can give you a greater chance at long term success.

As mentioned in the previous section, our One Page Ecommerce Business Plan worksheet and ebook has been created specifically for online businesses, so if you’re struggling to make traditional business plan templates work for your digital business, it can be your solution.

What to Include in Your Online Business Plan

Ready to actually make a business plan for your online business? The following are the sections you’ll want to include in it plus some information about why it’s important to have in your business plan.

Create a heading for each of these sections in your business plan document and note down the necessary information as it pertains to your business. Or, if you’re using the One Page Business Plan , simply fill in the digital worksheet.

Your Business's Essentials

First things first, your business plan should start off with the basics:

These are fundamental parts of your brand that you need to know before you move onto planning pretty much any other part of your business because your choices here will impact everything else.

Business Name

Choosing a business name can be tough—often it’s the first sticking points for most entrepreneurs—and that makes sense because it’s such an important part of any business.

If you’re still deciding on your business name, check out our blog post here on how to come up with a business name for useful tips to help guide you in the right direction. Don’t get so caught up in choosing the perfect name that it delays you from actually starting your business, though. You don’t want to be stuck on the first step for too long!

Domain Name

Every online business needs a domain name so add it to your online business plan just so it’s recorded with everything else about your business.

Here are a few tips for picking a good domain name:

When it comes to actually purchasing your domain, you can use domain registrars like Namecheap or Hover —or, if you’re setting up a Shopify store ( Shopify Review ), you can purchase a domain through them.

Social Handles

Your social channels are likely going to be an important part of your business’ identity, so add them to your business plan to keep them organized and in one place. If you’re lucky, all your social handles can be the same, however, depending on the availability on each platform, you might not be able to get your brand name on every single social platform.

Whichever platforms you do choose to be on though, make sure you list them as well as your handle on your business plan.

Here are some of the social platforms you might want to register your business on (you can choose to register on all of them, even if you don’t plan to post on some of them, just to ensure that you “own” the handle should you ever decide to use the platform for your brand):

We also recommend getting your social handles as soon as you decide on the name for your business so you have the best possible chance at getting the exact handle name you want. The sooner you register, the better!

Your Product & Niche Information

This section of your business plan includes basic information outlining the kinds of products you sell and the niche you serve. One quick look at this part of your business plan should give somebody an idea of what you do and who you do it for.

Step one, describe your niche. Your niche is the audience you serve with the products you create. Ideally, you want your niche to be broad enough so you have a significant market of people to sell to but also narrow enough that you have clearly defined buyer personas in mind.

Targeting too broad of a niche can mean that you won’t be able to hone-in on your audiences’ needs and wants easily, which can cause your product designs and/or marketing to lose focus, and having too narrow of a niche can leave you with too small of an audience to sell to. You want to find that sweet spot.

For example, choosing “women” as a niche is too broad. A better example of a clearly-defined niche is, “women who hike.”

In this part of your business plan, you should be able to summarise in one sentence what your product, or products, are. Keep it simple and keep it short—this is just the cliff notes version of what you sell so anyone reading your business plan gets an elevator pitch version of what you do.

Product Strengths & Weaknesses

In this section of your business plan, list the main strengths and weaknesses of your product so that anyone reading your business plan has an overview of the advantages and challenges that selling your products might face.

To get an idea of what your products’ strengths and weaknesses might be, use these methods:

No product is perfect, so expect to find some weaknesses. Some examples of product weaknesses could be the price (maybe you can’t out-price your competition because of the materials you use or the level of quality you want to maintain), or it could be the quality (maybe with the manufacturing options available to you, you can’t make your product with high-quality materials), or it could be that your product contains certain ingredients that make it difficult to ship to other countries, meaning you’ll have to meet different countries’ regulations in order to sell globally (this often applies to food or cosmetics products).

On the other hand, it’s also important to identify your product’s strengths because if it doesn’t have any, then it’s probably not worth selling!

Identifying these upfront gives you the opportunity to acknowledge the potential success of your product idea before you start investing time and resources into developing it. This can help you avoid pitfalls and unpleasant surprises in the future that you may not have otherwise considered.

Product Trajectory Forecast

Lastly in this section, identify whether you think your product is on a trending, fad, growing, or stable trajectory. These options will help you classify the longevity you see your business having.

Here’s the breakdown of what these options mean:

Not sure what trajectory-level to label your product(s)? Type your keywords into Google Trends to get an overall idea of the demand for your products over time.

Your Business Model

There are four main business models that are common amongst ecommerce businesses: Making, manufacturing, wholesale, or dropshipping.

Whether you choose to make, manufacture, wholesale or dropship plays a huge role in many different aspects of your business. Which model you choose will depend on your level of skill, the products you want to sell, the level of funds you have to work with, how much profit you intend to make, and how you want your business to grow.

When making your business plan, note down which business model you’re using so whoever is reading it has an idea of how you’re souring your products.

Your Product Acquisition Methods

How you acquire your products is very important information to know about your business, so include all contact information for your main suppliers and backup suppliers.

This is important to have listed in one place in case you or your team need to get a hold of your suppliers, or in case your backup suppliers are needed, their contact information will be easily accessible.

Your Costs & Pricing

A business’ success depends on the health of its financials, so including them in your business plan is a good idea. Not only is it necessary information to know and have for your own reference, but it is necessary information that people looking at your business plan (like investors) will want to know.

You don’t have to give your full financial statements in your business plan—just giving a quick overview of the most essential details is all you need. The following sections are all things you should include.

Project Launch Budget

If you haven’t already launched your ecommerce business, include your launch budget as part of your business plan to give insight into how you’re planning to launch and what it will entail financially. This can give anyone who you’re working with, or who are investing in your business, an idea of what funds are needed upfront to get your business up and running.

Product Cost

For each product that you sell, note down how much it takes to manufacture that product. This is important information to know when determining margins, profits, budgets, and financial strategies in general, so put it in your business plan so you don’t forget it.

Product Price

In addition to the product cost, also include the product price. This section should indicate the price that you’re selling each product to your customers for. Knowing this information is key because again, it will also play a part in determining margins, profits, budgets, and financials.

Your profit margins are a main indicator of your business’ financials, so also include them in your business plan.

You can determine your profit margin percentages with this formula:

(Profit / Selling Price) x 100 = Margin %

And your profit margins in dollar amounts with this formula:

Product Price – Product Cost = Margin $

Again, not only is this important information for you to know, but potential investors would also want to know this information as well.

Expected Average Order Size

Your expected average order size will depend on what product you sell and how many products you expect a single customer to purchase at one time. You’ll have to guesstimate this number based on what makes sense for your business.

For example, if you’re an online clothing retailer that sells different types of tops, shirts, dresses, skirts, and jeans, it makes sense for your customers to purchase a couple of items at a time.

In time, you’ll learn exactly what this number is, but guesstimating and establishing a number prior to launch is a good way to begin understanding the potential of your businesses and setting targets.

Your expected average order size can be represented by both a number (1 item, 2 items) or it can be the value of those items (in your currency).

Expected Average Order Profit

Similar to the previous section, understanding your business’ average order profit is also important to help you understand your business’ numbers so you can make well-thought-out decisions.

Expected Average Order Profit = Expected Average Order Size – Cost of the Order

There are so many things that eat into the revenue of every product you sell—the cost of each order doesn’t just come down to the actual cost of the product itself. Other aspects of your business operations such as the shipping costs, product packaging costs, the cost of returns, advertising costs to get customers, and customer support costs all factor into the cost of the order which ultimately will impact your profits. So beyond just understanding average order values, you need to understand your average order profit as well.

Monthly Marketing Budget

Establishing a monthly marketing budget can help you make better decisions when it comes to your marketing—forcing you to think more critically about the return on investment (ROI) you receive as well as potentially forcing you to try new marketing methods, campaigns, and channels.

List it in your business plan so you and your team have an understanding of what your marketing goals are going forward and how you plan to carry out those goals financially.

Your Competitive Analysis

Performing a competitive analysis is a very important part of your business plan and can bring to light some of the strengths and weaknesses of your brand or product you may not have otherwise discovered that you had.

In your business plan, list out your top three competitors that match you somewhat in size and sell similar products to the same market as you. Take time to learn about their companies and determine what their strengths and weaknesses are. These can be found by perusing their website, reading customer reviews, observing customer engagement on their social platforms, reading about their brand story, going through their blog posts, reading through their policies, and even ordering from them to understand the experience from a customer’s lens.

You can create an entire document focused on competitor analysis (which we recommend doing) but in your business plan, it doesn’t have to be quite so detailed. Do your research but then note your findings in your business plan in an easily digestible way so whenever you refer to it, you can quickly see what it is your competitors excel at and where their Achilles’ heels are. You want it to be easy to understand so you don’t have to sift through tons of paperwork anytime you need a refresher.

Your Customer Personas

Every brand has its core customers. When businesses strategize, they often create customer personas (also known as buyer personas) to illustrate who their core customers are so they can clearly think about business decisions from these core customers’ perspectives. In your business plan, list out your customer personas and some of the main descriptive information for each one so you can easily refer back to them.

When you’re developing your customer personas it’s important to put a name to them and an image and to write down information such as their age, gender, where they live, what they do, how much money they make, their interests, their educational background, etc. You want to be as specific as possible so you can get a very clear image in your mind of who this person is.

Each person you develop should be slightly different, but still relevant to your brand. Just like people in real life, everyone’s unique, but people of varied interests can still share similar interests. Not all of your future customers will be identical to one another, but they’ll all have similar interests and thus, be similarly interested in your brand.

In the future, anytime you make a decision for your business, you should run your ideas through the filter of your customer personas. Ask yourself what your customer personas would think of this idea—would they be excited to purchase it, would it be relevant to them, would it alienate them, would they tell their friends about it? If your ideas aren’t in line with your core customers then they aren’t worthwhile to pursue.

Your Branding Assets

Your branding is a major pillar of your overall business and often, there are little pertinent details about your brand that can be tedious to remember. Instead of having them filed away in ambiguous corners of your computer, written down on loose sheets of paper, or worse, forgotten altogether, put them in your business plan.

This is helpful for your own reference but it’s also valuable information that anyone who takes over your business (should that happen) will need to know.

So, what should you include?

Your Brand Pillars

Brand pillars are simple, straightforward, and concrete adjectives representing your brand that will help you guide the decisions you make for your business so you always stay true to your core fundamentals.

Your brand pillars will be used when building your website, talking to customers, selecting imagery, writing copy, creating policies, and posting on social media. They’re the essence of your brand that you want to be consistent throughout every aspect of your business.

Your brand pillars should be around four descriptive words that you can choose either individually or with your team. The purpose is to find the four words that truly define what your brand is and what you want it to represent to others.

Brand Colors (HEX Codes)

Every successful, identifiable brand has a color palette. For some brands, the colors they use are so identifiable people can recognize a brand just by its exact shade. Check out BrandColors to get an idea of the brand colors that companies are using and get a sense of their color palettes.

When creating your business plan, list your brand colors so you can easily identify what they are. The easiest way to do this is to identify the HEX codes for each color. HEX codes are six-digit numbers used by computing applications to represent specific colors so if ever you need to find a color or adjust a color in an application like Photoshop or Canva, you can just use the HEX code to get the exact color that you’re looking for.

Noting down your HEX codes will make sure you know exactly what each of your brand colors are without having to guess every time you go to create a piece of branding.

Most brands have about 3-5 brand colors, so we recommend sticking with that. If you need help determining your brand’s color palette, check out these resources:

Brand Fonts

Another essential part of your business’ branding are your typefaces and fonts. Most brands have around 2-4 fonts that are a part of their branding and these fonts will be used on their website, social media platforms, marketing materials, and even on product packaging.

A brand’s font can be as recognizable as its name and color palette, so it’s important to know what your fonts are called!

Make sure to list all of the fonts that you’re using in your business plan so you don’t forget them and so anyone who may take over your business in the future knows which fonts have been used in the past.

Photography Style

In addition to having product photos on your website—which are usually simple images of your products against a plain white background—you should also have some lifestyle photos and images of your products in action.

Unlike product photos, which should simply be a photo of the product against a neutral background, lifestyle shots should be of your product in its natural habitat, so your customers can envision it being a part of their own life.

For the sake of consistency throughout your entire website, your lifestyle shots should have their own style. This style should reflect your brand and be determined against your four brand pillars and should evoke the feelings you want your customers to connect with.

Your photography style can be bright, it can be mysterious, it can be rugged, or loud—whatever you think will represent your brand and engage with your customers most. The most important thing is to find a specific style so that the lifestyle photos you take or acquire from stock photo services are consistent across your entire website.

In your business plan, try to pin down your photography style and describe it. If necessary, include some example shots of quintessential photography representing your brand. This can help you keep your images consistent and can even help you describe what you’re looking for if you hire photographers to take your shots for you.

Your Unique Value Proposition

Your brand’s unique value proposition (UVP—also sometimes known as a unique selling proposition) is what you’re pledging to deliver to your customers—in other words, what your customers can hope to achieve or experience as a result of purchasing your products.

Most unique value propositions can be summed up into one sentence, and usually, they’re displayed on the homepage of a brand’s website, above the fold .

Your UVP doesn’t have to promise anything groundbreaking, and it’s usually something as simple as offering a lower price, or a better quality product, or a more reliable service, or a greater selection, or a heightened brand perception.

So whatever yours is, distill it into a 15-word maximum sentence and write it down in your business plan. It’s going to be a leading guidepost for your brand so you need to remember what it is!

But beyond just including it in your business plan, make sure you’re living it, too. Your UVP needs to be something that you’re actively focusing on and delivering to your audience, not just a motto you put on your website because it sounds good.

Your Consumer Channels

This section is where you’ll predict your total expected sales from both consumers and businesses in one year. Essentially, in this part of your business plan, write down where you expect to make most of your sales from.

Here are your options:

If your business is only selling products to consumers, you can predict that 100% of your sales in one year will come from B2C.

If you make your own products and only sell them to other businesses to resell on their websites, you can predict that 100% of your sales will come from B2B.

If you sell a quarter of your products directly to consumers, and three-quarters of your products to resell on other business’ websites, then you can predict that 25% of your sales will be B2C and 75% of your sales will be B2B.

Make your predictions based on your own business’ unique situation. Thoughtfully considering these options early-on can help you make better decisions for your marketing channels, budget, and the overall direction of your brand.

Your Store Build Information

In this section of your business plan, break down the nitty-gritty details of your online store’s digital infrastructure as well as the cost of maintaining it so you have a record of some of your business’ main operational costs.

Just as brick-and-mortar businesses have operational costs like water, heating, and electricity, online businesses have operational costs like their ecommerce platform subscription, theme costs, and apps.

First off, list your ecommerce platform of choice and how much it costs you per month or per year to subscribe to.

Your ecommerce platform is the host that’s going to be supporting your business so it’s no small decision to make when considering which one to select. There are many different ones to choose from—some are more mainstream and some are more niche, but ultimately the best one for your business depends on your own individual needs.

We highly recommend Shopify because it’s intuitive, customizable, secure, supported, reasonably priced, and the best option for most types of stores—but there are many other options.

Next up, list any essential apps that you use to run your online business, including their monthly or yearly costs. This could include security apps like Rewind ( Rewind Review ) or Sucuri ( Sucuri Review ), the Spocket app if you’re using it to source your dropshipping products ( Spocket Review ), or even marketing apps like ProveSource ( ProveSource Review ). Whatever is essential to your business’ operations—include it in your business plan!

And finally, also list which theme you’re using for your store, where you purchased it from, and how much it cost. This is important information to know not only for your business’ records but in case you need to look up your theme’s development documents to troubleshoot any problems in the future.

Your Marketing Strategies

Now, your marketing is always going to grow and change, and it’s one of those things that you’ll be tweaking more than most of the other things on your business plan, so we recommend starting by setting three-month marketing goals in your business plan so you create a direction to work towards that keeps you accountable.

Here are some things you can list in this section of your business plan:

If you need help developing a marketing action plan, especially for the first few months of your business, check out our 52 Week Marketing Plan which has a bunch of strategies and tactics you can use to market your new online store. It will help you try out new marketing methods so you can discover what actually works for your brand!

Keep in mind that your business plan should be a dynamic document, not a static one, meaning: Keep updating it, refining it, and tweaking it. It should be a representation of where your business currently is and a guidepost for where your business is going in the future. Your business is going to be constantly evolving which means your business plan should, too.

Remember, our One Page Ecommerce Business Plan is tailor-made to benefit online businesses in particular, so if you’re looking for a business plan template for your online business, it’s worth checking out.


About the author

The A Better Lemonade Stand Content Team focuses on writing comprehensive, actionable, practical and resourceful content for our audience of ecommerce entrepreneurs wherever they are in the process of building, launching and growing their own ecommerce businesses.

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Retail Store Business Plan

Are you thinking of starting a retail store We have prepared a solid retail store business plan sample that guides you on every stage of your business plan writing

business plans for online stores

Retail store is a competitive business as competition is intense in this segment. Moreover, many big giants are investing more in e-commerce and digital marketing making this business even tougher day by day.

Having a physical retail store that offers a shopping experience along with products is a dream for many. It is not only because of the size of a business, but the potential and opportunities such a business offers.

And if you are an individual who likes to interact with people, constantly improve your way of doing business, and form communities that work towards something then you might have thought of having your retail store business.

Now, a retail store has great potential for success but it is also a very competitive business. You’ll need a retail store business plan to help you stand apart from your competition and have a thriving business.

Industry Overview

Research suggests total retail sales in the United States were projected to amount to 6.03 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, up from around 5.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation .

Retail businesses come in many forms such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bookstores. There are around 4 million retail businesses in the United States alone.

The domestic retail market in the United States is very competitive, with many companies recording strong retail sales. Walmart, a retail chain giving low prices and a wide selection of products, is the front runner in the United States. Amazon, The Kroger Co., Costco, and Target are a selection of other notable U.S. retailers.

Now, to have any genuine hope of getting noticed in such a jammed industry, you need a solid business plan to get success.

Things to Consider Before Writing Your Retail Store Business Plan

Build a brand image, pick the right location, plan a good store design, build communities that promote your brand, how business plan can help.

Regardless if you’ve been operating for a long time already, by writing up a business plan for your retail store, you can get an overview of what you want to achieve with your business, and guidelines for how you’ll achieve your goals .

A retail business plan is a solid foundation for the success of your business, whether you seek funding or not. It helps you see clearly what your business looks like and how it’s positioned in your target market .

If you need to get funding , your retail business plan will work as proof that you and your business are good for investment . Studies suggest you can double your chances of securing a loan with a business plan and grow your business.

How to Write a Retail Store Business Plan?

Writing a retail store business plan requires a good amount of research , a thoroughly competitive and customer analysis , and a little bit of extra help.

You can get help for writing your plan either through a premade template on the internet or through an online business plan software which will help you write a customizable plan anywhere and at any time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new Retail store business, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of Retail & E-commerce-related business plans .

We have created this sample Business Plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect Retail Store business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Retail Store Business Plan Outline

This is the standard retail store business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

What to Include in a Retail Store Business Plan?

A retail store business plan consists of several different aspects. The major ones are as follows:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary gives an overview of what your business stands for to the reader. It should be written in such a way that even an outsider could get an idea of what your business is all about.

This section mainly comprises your business summary, your vision and mission statement , and your financial summary.

2. Company Profile

The company summary or company profile section of your business plan would consist of everything about your company ranging from its location to information about your team.

While the executive summary section consists of information about the functional aspects of your business, a company summary consists of information about the structural aspects of your business.

While writing a company summary, it is a good practice to take suggestions from your team, as this section represents you as a team of individuals more than representing you as a brick and mortar company.

3. Market Research

Conducting market research helps you understand what you are getting yourself into. It helps you understand your target market, your competitors, and the working of the industry in general.

You can conduct thorough market research by using tools like PESTEL analysis or SWOT analysis . These tools help you conduct research specific to your business and prevent you from wasting your time on vague data.

4. Marketing Plan

As a retail store, it is your primary job to let your customers know about your existence. And to retain them once they start coming to your store.

A good marketing plan would help you do just that.

Based on the information you have gathered about your target audience through market research you can design your marketing campaign and promotional offers that’ll appeal to your customer base.

5. Operations

As a retail store, a proper operations plan can prevent your business from turning into a chaotic mess. An operations plan consists of your business’s logistic and functional information. Basically, it helps an outsider see what a typical day at your business looks like.

It also consists of your long-term and short-term goals. As well as the milestones you’ll have to reach for achieving them.

As a retail store business, your operations plan would consist of your supply renewal cycles, your backup distributors, a plan for the working of your store, your daily sales targets and your long-term expansion goals, etc.

6. Financial Plan

A financial plan ensures that your business sails smoothly through tough times and also generate maximum profits.

It would consist of your funding requirements, cash flow projections, and profit forecasts.

As a retail store, your financial plan would consist of the funding requirements for setting up your store, buying supplies, and hiring people. It would also consist of your projected profits and break-even analysis.

Retail Store Business Plan Summary

In conclusion, a retail store business plan helps you organize and manage your store better. It takes care of everything that goes behind the scenes of running a retail store, so you can greet your customers with a smile.

From angry customers to poorly stocked supplies, a business plan can save you from all of it.

After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this retail store business plan template into your business plan and modify the required information and download your retail store business plan pdf or doc file.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

business plans for online stores

Business Planning Resources

We have plenty of  free business planning resources  available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.


Not found what you are looking for? Explore our 200+ sample business plans to find match for your business.

business plans for online stores

DISCLAIMER: The business plans, templates, and articles contained on upmetrics.co are not to be considered as legal advice. All content is for informational purposes, and upmetrics makes no claim as to accuracy, legality or suitability. The site owner shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions or for damages of any kind.

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Free Business Plan Template With Examples for Small Businesses (2023)

Sample business plan template for entrepreneurs

A business plan is the secret to starting a business successfully. 

The easiest way to simplify the work of writing a business plan is to start with a business plan template.

You’re already investing time and energy in refining your business model and planning your launch—there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to formatting your plan. Instead, to help build a complete and effective plan, lean on time-tested structures created by entrepreneurs and startups who have come before you. 

Free: Business Plan Template

Business planning is often used to secure funding, but plenty of business owners find writing a plan valuable, even if they never work with an investor. That’s why we put together a free business plan template to help you get started.

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What our business plan template includes

This template is designed to ensure you’re thinking through all of the important facets of starting a new business. It’s intended to help new business owners and entrepreneurs consider the full scope of running a business and identify functional areas they may not have considered or where they may need to level up their skills as they grow.

That said, it may not include the specific details or structure preferred by a potential investor or lender. If your goal with a business plan is to secure funding , check with your target organizations—typically banks or investors—to see if they have business plan templates you can follow to maximize your chances of success.

Our free business plan template includes seven key elements typically found in the traditional business plan format:

In our business plan template, each section includes an overview of the most important information to cover and guidelines on how to approach writing and researching each one.

Professional business plan example

We’ve filled out a sample business plan as a companion to our template, featuring a fictional ecommerce business . We’ve noted where—and how—an entrepreneur could add more details to expand on their business plans, depending on their goals.

Our fictional business creates custom greeting cards with your pet’s paw prints on them, and the founder of the business is writing a plan to help understand the target market, as well as the logistics and costs involved, to give themselves the best chance of success before they launch.

professional business plan example

The sample is set up to help you get a sense of each section and understand how they apply to the planning and evaluation stages of a business plan. If you’re looking for funding, this example won’t be a complete or formal look at a business plan, but it will give you a great place to start and notes about where to expand.

Before you write your own, read through the following business plan example . You can download a copy in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and use it to inspire your own planning.

Download the business plan example (.doc)

Lean business plan example

A lean business plan format is a shortened version of your more detailed business plan. It’s helpful when modifying your plan for a specific audience, like investors or new hires. 

Also known as a one-page business plan, it includes only the most important, need-to-know information, such as:

Want to create a lean business plan? Read Trimming It Down: How to Create a Lean Business Plan .

A good business plan helps you operate successfully

It’s tempting to dive right into execution when you’re excited about a new business or side project, but taking the time to write a solid business plan and get your thoughts on paper allows you to do a number of beneficial things:

Should you use a template for a business plan? 

A business plan can be as informal or formal as your situation calls for, but even if you’re a fan of the back-of-the-napkin approach to planning, there are some key benefits to starting your plan from an existing outline or template.

Tips for creating a successful business plan

There are some high-level strategic guidelines beyond the advice included in this free business plan template that can help you write an effective, complete plan while minimizing busywork.

Once you’ve done the strategic work, it’s time to put it into action and write your plan. Download the business plan template and review our guide on writing a business plan for additional information.

Maximizing your business planning efforts

Planning is key to the financial success of any type of business , whether you’re a startup, non-profit, or corporation.

To make sure your efforts are focused on the highest-value parts of your own business planning, like clarifying your goals, setting a strategy, and understanding the target market and competitive landscape, lean on a business plan outline to handle the structure and format for you. Even if you eventually omit sections, you’ll save yourself time and energy by starting with a framework already in place.

Illustrations by Rachel Tunstall

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About the author

Desirae Odjick

Desirae is a senior product marketing manager at Shopify, and has zero chill when it comes to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

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