Do you want to increase product sales? If YES, here is a sample e-commerce marketing plan template + killer marketing ideas and strategies to attract and retain customers.
Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting an e-commerce business. We also took it further by providing an in-depth sample e-commerce business plan template. In this article, we will be analyzing and drafting a sample e-commerce marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for e-commerce businesses. So put on your marketing hat and let’s proceed.
A Sample E – Commerce Business Marketing Plan Template
- The Present Business Situation of Our E-Commerce Business
Presently we have incorporated Shannon & Shavonne Inc, we have successfully secure all relevant license and permits to operate in the United States. We are an international online shopping website that offers a wide range of quality products such as electronics, computers, groceries, fashion, home appliances and kid’s items.
Our head office is located in the heart of Portland, Oregon and we have perfected plans to own warehouses in London, United Kingdom, Lagos, Nigeria and Rio, Brazil within the next 5 years of officially launching the business.
Presently, our payment platform is set to accept payment from credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, electronic fund transfer via bank’s website and other modes of electronics payment. Our inventory management of products is automated, our portal is designed such that it reports get generated instantly when required and our product inventory management is very efficient and easy to maintain.
At the moment, we have concluded on the recruitment and training of all the employees that will kick start the business and we intend officially opening our e – commerce business to the general public on the 24th of December, 2015.
- Our Products
Shannon & Shavonne Inc. Online Store 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 to our customers.
We will have available in our warehouses a wide range of durable goods and non – durable goods at affordable prices. We will deal in goods such as groceries, clothes, sports equipment, beauty products, jewelry, children’s toys, baby stuffs, home furnishings and home appliances et al. Just for clarity purpose, we have various items from world class brands in the following product categories:
- Beverages & Cigars
- Events & Tickets
- Home Appliances
- Mobile Phones
Our Vision Statement
Our vision is to build an e – commerce business (online store) that can favorably compete with international brands like Amazon and Alibaba.com
- Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to establish an online retail business that will make available a wide range of goods and products from top manufacturing brands at affordable prices to a wide range of customers that will cut across different countries of the world.
- Our Marketing Goals
No doubt, e-Commerce has become an important tool for doing businesses all over the world, not only to sell to customers, but also to engage them. It is now easier for organizations to expand their market from local level to national and even international markets with minimum capital investment.
The e – commerce industry is indeed a mega industry since it can generate well over $1 trillion annually on a global scale. For example, in 2012, e-commerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time in history and the figure is still growing. In view of the available statistics, we have decided to set great and achievable marketing goals for our e – commerce business.
Here are our marketing goals:
- To generate a minimum revenue of 500,000 US dollars within the first 12 months of operations
- To generate a minimum revenue of 1,000,000 US dollars in our second fiscal year of operations
- To generate a minimum revenue of 1,750,000 US dollars in our third fiscal year of operations
We aim to achieve the followings from our marketing efforts:
- To build an e – commerce business that will compete favorably with leading e – commerce businesses in the world and be listed among the top 10 e – commerce stores in the United States within a 5 years bench mark
- We aim to achieve a sustainable growth at the rate of 20% annual sales growth
- We want to build a self – sustaining e – commerce business that will contribute to the growth of the United States of America
Our Marketing Budget
The fact that we want to grow our e – commerce business within a 5 years period to compete favorably with leading e – commerce businesses in the world and also to set up warehouses in key countries in all the continents of the world means that we must be aggressive with our marketing approach hence the need to create a robust marketing budget. In view of that we have set aside a marketing budget of 25,000 US Dollars for the first year of operating the business.
Consequently, we will budget between 5 percent and 10 percent of our annual income towards marketing and promoting our trucking business. In future, if there is any need to increase the budget in order to explore other means of improving sales, we will gladly do that.
e-Commerce Marketing Plan – MARKET ANALYSIS
- Our Target Market
The demographic composition of those who we expect to patronize our online store cuts across every age groups simply because we have a wide range of products that can be used or consumed by everybody on planet earth.
Our target market is basically every one (organizations and individual as well who have cause to make purchase of items). We are in business to retail a wide range of products to the following groups of people from our online store;
- Corporate Executives
- Business People
- About to wed couples
- Expectant Mothers
- Sports Men and Women
Sample e-Commerce Marketing Plan Template – SWOT Analysis
Starting an online store comes with some challenges, especially when it comes to managing the payment portal, shipping goods to various locations and ensuring that goods are sold cheaper than is obtainable in physical stores. Shannon & Shavonne Inc. Online Store is launching an international e – commerce business which is why we decided to model successful brands. In doing that, we decided to conduct a thorough SWOT analysis.
We were able to employ the services of Dr. Pablo Carson, an expert HR and Business Analyst with bias in the e – commerce industry (online retailing store) 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 Shannon & Shavonne Inc. Online Store;
No doubt the fact that we have a robust relationship with a wide range of manufacturers of various products will definitely count as a strength for us. We have a well-coordinated shipping system and our customer can be rest assured that they will have their goods delivered to them in record time. Other area of strength are; secured payment platforms, wide range of products and excellent customer service culture.
A major weakness that may count against us is the fact that we are a new online retail store and we don’t have the financial capacity to compete with multi – billion dollars online stores like; Amazon and Alibaba.com. This is when it comes to wider reach and selling products at rock bottom prices.
The opportunities available to online retail stores are unlimited; as a matter of fact customers can make purchase from any part of the world. We will ensure that we position our warehouses in targeted countries so as to enable us cut cost of shipping and maximize the opportunity that are available to us.
Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face as an online retailing store is economic downturn. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing power. Another threat that may likely confront us is unfavorable government policies.
- Our Competitive Advantage
Shannon & Shavonne Inc. Online Store is an online retail business that is designed to serve a wide range of customers, which is why we have decided to hire some of the best hands to help us set up the business and also to manage the business.
We are coming into an industry that is highly competitive and we know that leveraging on price and quality will be our best bet to attract loads of customers. Our excellent customer service culture, secured payment portal, and effective and efficient shipping arrangement with count as a competitive advantage for us.
Sample e-Commerce Marketing Plan Template – SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
Shannon & Shavonne Inc. Online Store is a business that was established to retail a wide range of products to a wide range of customers that cut across different countries. In view of the above, our source of income will be in online retailing of a wide range of products from world class brands in the following product categories:
- Beverages & Cigars
- Events & Tickets
- Home Appliances
- Mobile Phones
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 online retailing business, the more shipping options you have, the more customers that will patronize your business. Below are the sales projections that we were able to come up with for the first three years of operations;
- First Year-: $250,000
- Second Year-: $400,000
- Third Year-: $750,000
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 that may likely affect the purchasing power of our target market.
- Our Pricing Strategy
Pricing is one of the key factors that gives leverage to online retail stores, it is normal for consumers to visit online retail stores where they can goods at cheaper price which is why big player in the e-commerce industry like Amazon will continue to attract loads of consumers.
Products in their store are tagged with the cheapest price you can get anywhere in the world. We know we don’t have the capacity to compete with Amazon or any other big online retail store, but we will ensure that the prices of all the products that are available in our online store are competitive and affordable.
Our Unique Selling Point; What Makes Our E – Commerce Superior to Our Competitions
We are quite aware that we are coming into an industry that is highly competitive and we know that leveraging on price and quality will be our best bet to attract loads of customers. Our excellent customer service culture, secured payment portal, and effective and efficient shipping arrangement will count as a competitive advantage for us.
Another competitive advantage that we are bringing to the industry is the fact that we have designed our online retail shop to serve a wide range of customers; customers from different parts of the world and customers that speaks different languages. Of course our online store is users’ friendly. We will run 24 hours a day and 7 day a week online shop, with effective and timely delivery system.
Lastly, we have decided to hire some of the best hands to help us set up the business and also to manage the business. our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be amongst the best in the industry meaning that they will be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our objectives.
Benefits Our Client Stand to Gain When They Patronize Our E-Commerce Store
No doubt the fact that we have robust relationship with a wide range of manufacturers of various products will definitely help our organization create benefits for our customers. We have a well-coordinated shipping system and our customer can be rest assured that they will have their goods delivered to them in record time. Other areas of strength are; secured payment platforms, wide range of products and excellent customer service culture.
Before setting up our e – commerce store, we have done our homework and we know that one of the key factors that will help our business to grow and continue to thrive is to continue to meet and even surpass the expectations of our clients whenever they purchase products from our online stores.
These are the benefits that a client stands to gain when they purchase items from our online store:
- Opportunity to choose from a wide range of quality products
- Availability of secured payment platform
- Competitive prices and discounts based on loyalty and referrals
- Trust, honesty, good relationship management and of course timely and safe delivery of products.
- Professionalism and excellent customer service delivery of the highest order from our highly trained staff members
- Availability of toll – free lines for enquiries and complaints.
Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Our e-Commerce Business
- Creating Brand Identity for Our Online Store / E – commerce Business
We will leverage on all available platforms to promote and advertise our business. We know the power of publicity, which is why we have a robust budget to handle the publicity of our business. We will be very aggressive when it comes to promoting our business especially within the first 12 months of operations. With effective publicity, we are likely going to hit the target that we set for the business.
We have been able to work with our consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market. First and foremost, we want our brand to be visible and well communicated, which is why we have decided to work with different class of people in the society. All our publicity materials and jingles are done by some of the best hands in the industry.
Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise our online store;
- Introduce our online store by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to stake holders (manufacturers of products that we intend retailing in our online store)
- Place adverts on both print (international and local newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Promote our e – commerce business online via our official website and all available social media platforms
- Adopt direct mailing coupon marketing approach
- List our business on yellow pages / local directories (both online and offline)
- Position our billboards, signage / flexi banners at strategic places
- Encourage our loyal customers to help us make use of word of mouth to promote our online stores
- Ensures that our workers wear our branded shirts at all times during working hours and also we will make sure we brand our vans, trucks, delivery bikes and cars et al.
- Sponsor relevant TV programs, Radio programs and community based programs.
Strategic Marketing Alliance with Our Competitors in the E-Commerce Industry
It is pretty difficult to form strategic marketing alliance with a competitor in the e – commerce industry simply because every e – commerce store will want to do all they can to attract a large chunk of the available market.
However there are opportunities to form strategic marketing alliance with other key players in the e – commerce industry; companies that offer support services such as shipping, internet maintenance and security, payment software / banks and of course manufacturers of various products that are retailed in your online store.
For instance; as an e – commerce store that is into the retailing of a wide range of household goods and other commodities, we may decide to form strategic marketing alliance with the manufacturers of all the products / items that are listed in our online store. Our partnership with them will likely help us get the goods at heavily discounted prices and in some cases on credit (buy now and make payment of sales et al).
Our Customer Retention Strategies (Ways to Improve Our Customer Experience)
Part of our retention strategies as a new entrant into the e – commerce industry is to ensure that we leverage on price and quality products to win over customers; the prices of items listed in our online store will be highly affordable.
We are in business simply because we want to make money and we know that we cannot make money without having customers to patronize our online store hence we have been able to map out strategies not only to win customers, but also to ensure that we retain them and make them our loyal customers.
These are the ways we intend utilizing when it comes to improving our customer experience so that we can create a good impression and generate repeated businesses from them:
- We will make provisions to give out discounts to our customers from time to time whenever they purchase stuffs from our online store
- We will ensure that our payment platform is highly secured and we will only deal in non-Cash Payment. Our payment platform will readily accept payment from credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, electronic fund transfer via bank’s website and other modes of electronics payment.
- We will ensure that all our customers are given first class treatment irrespective of the quantity of products they purchase or the part of the world they reside.
- We will ensure that all our phone lines are opened 24 hours a week and 7 days a week, with highly trained call center agents manning them and also customers can freely chat with us via our website at any time of the day.
- Make use of effective customer relationship management (CRM) software to effectively manage our clientele base.
- Ensures that we carry our clients along when making decisions that directly affect them.
Possible Ways We Intend Offering Incentives to Our Customers / Clients (Bonus, Discounts, etc)
From our feasibility studies and market research, we were able to pin point some of the strategies that will help us secure and retain clients as a new entrant into the e – commerce industry; one of such strategies is to offer mouth – watering incentives (bonuses, discounts and rebates et al) to our loyal customers from time to time.
In view of that, we have documented some of the possible ways we intend offering incentives to our customers in our business plan document and we hope to review them in order to continue to outsmart our competitors in the e – commerce industry.
We will ensure that we give out up to 50 percent discounts to loyal customers who are known to spend a certain amount as determined by our management team annually in purchasing goods from our online store. We will organize promos at regular interval with various prizes to attract new customers and also to gain the loyalty of old customers.
We will also give out gifts / souvenirs to corporate clients and individual clients during special celebrations such as Christmas seasons, New Year, Independent celebrations, Thanksgiving celebration and Easter celebrations et al.
- After Sales Service or Customer Support
When it comes to after sales services at it relates to e – commerce business / online stores, it is about ensuring that when a customer make purchase from our online store, we will ensure that the goods are delivered intact. It means that we will place a call to our clients to be sure they have received the goods that they are ordered for and what that the goods (especially electronic appliance) is functioning effectively as expected.
As regard customer support services, we will ensure that we maximize our customer relationship management software applications so as to keep in touch with all our customers to make sure we carry them along when we have any promo that we know will benefit them and also to make sure they are satisfied with our services and to give them the opportunity to lodge their complains if they do have any.
10 Possible Questions We Intend Asking Our Customers during Our Market Survey
These are the 10 possible questions we are going to put forward when conducting marketing survey on our customers / clients:
- When last did you make purchase on our online store?
- Are you comfortable with our contract terms and conditions?
- If you are not satisfied with our contract terms and conditions, what areas would you want us to work on?
- Aside from our online store, have you ever made a purchase from another online store?
- If yes, what is the name of the online store?
- Are you comfortable with the prices of all the items listed on our online stores?
- If you are to change one thing about our online store, what would that be?
- How would you want us to communicate to you when we want to pass useful information about our online store that will be of great benefit to you or someone you know? Through letters, text messages, e – mail, or via mobile apps (BBM, twitter, 2Go, WeChat, WhatsApp et al)
- Can you comfortably recommend our online store to your organization, family members, friends and colleagues?
- Are you satisfied with our customer service delivery? If no what areas would you want us to improve on?
Actionable Marketing ideas for Our e-Commerce Business
Cost Effective Ways We Intend to Advertise / Promote Our e – Commerce Business without Using the Internet
Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on when it comes to advertising and promoting our e – commerce business in the market place;
- Place adverts on local and international TV stations, Radio Stations and Newspapers / Magazines
- Sponsor relevant community based programs
- Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations in the United States of America
- List our e – commerce business on yellow pages / local directories (offline)
- Ensures that our workers wear our branded shirts at all times during working hours
- Ensures that all our delivery trucks, vans, delivery bikes et al are well branded
- Encourage the use of word of mouth by our loyal customers to advertise and promote our e – commerce business
- Attend chambers of commerce meetings with the aim of networking and promoting our e – commerce business.
Low Cost Ways We Intend to Advertise / Promote Our E – Commerce Business on the Internet
We are aware of the power of the internet and we will do all we can to maximize the internet to market our e – commerce business. In other words, a larger percentage of our marketing effort will be directed to internet users since our business is based on the internet; our website will become our number one marketing tool.
Here are they ways we intending leveraging on the internet to advertise / promote our e – commerce business:
- Leverage on social media platforms such as; Instagram, Facebook , Badoo, Snap chat, YouTube, Twitter, Google + et al to promote and advertise our online store
- Make use of mobile apps to promote our online store
- Leverage on our corporate website /online store to promote our e – commerce business
- Place adverts on high traffic websites
- Engage in blogging and make use of the platform to promote our e – commerce business
- Leverage on direct email marketing strategy and bulk SMS to advertise and promote our e – commerce business.
Creative Marketing Ideas Specific to Our E-commerce Business
Our creative marketing strategy will be centered on pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. We will ensure that whenever our customers order goods from our online store, they will get it delivered to them within the stipulated time frame. We know that if we are able to put the above stated in place, we won’t struggle to retain our old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
One thing is certain about online store, it has a wider reach and with the proper strategy and structure in place, we will be able to get our own share of the available market.
We are aware of the power of the internet and we will do all we can to maximize the internet to market our business. In other words, a larger percentage of our marketing effort will be directed to internet users since our business is based on the internet; our website will become our number one marketing tool