Are you about starting a Shopify company? If YES, here is a complete sample Shopify store business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE. If you want to set up an e-commerce company that is like Shopify, then it is important that you take concrete steps in making that plan a reality. Even though eCommerce might look like an easy business to start up, but the competition out there is stiff especially as you would need to compete with well-known brand names where people prefer to sell from or shop from.
Though there are a lot of great tools you can use in gathering information on how to set up your shopify-like company; but it is best you consult a business expert who has knowledge about the industry you are in to help advice you on the possibility of your business making it.
Another important thing you will need to do is formulate a business plan for your e-commerce platform by thinking up features that will sway sellers and buyers to your site. Your market research must be competitive so that you can become successful. If you do not know how to write a business plan, it is best to seek the services of a business plan writer or check online for sample business plan templates.
A Sample Shopify Store Business Plan Template
1. Industry Overview
The fact that consumers have been finding it difficult to visit brick and mortar stores due to hectic schedules has allowed for the growth of the e-commerce industry where customers can sit at home or in their office to shop. Also, transportation trouble is eradicated with the home or destination delivery offered by these platforms.
According to trends, products available online are usually cheaper than those sold in retail stores. Also, online stores usually give customers discounts, cash-on-delivery offers and other features that make it more attractive to shop online.
One good feature about shopping online is that buyers are able to see the specifications of the products and then compare them with similar products or alternatives. The speed of the internet and the increase in the ownership of smartphones and tablets has allowed for the growth of this sector.
The industry has experienced a lot of mergers and acquisitions as major brands keep acquiring other companies with niches in other areas in order to continue with their hold on the industry.
The industry has also experienced a lot of collaborations as major players have collaborated with third part vendors especially in providing logistic services. These collaborations are done in order to ensure that the processes flow smoothly.
North America has dominated the market on a global level in areas like consumer awareness, purchase pattern, and secured internet transactions; and this trend is expected to continue for a long time. Following closely behind is the Europe market.
It is expected that Asia-pacific will witness a rapid growth in the future on account of increase in the use of internet and technological devices.
The industry has had its share of difficulties as there has been counterfeit goods delivery from certain merchants or customers. Also, the monetary transactions being conducted online have given hackers opportunity to try and break into websites in order to get the information of customers.
2. Executive Summary
Juvia.com is an e-commerce company that has positioned itself to become a market leader by offering online retailers and buying customers a secure and simple way they can conduct their transactions online. Our company will offer a business-to-business solution to our online merchants regardless of what products or services they will be offering.
Our vision is to make eCommerce better for everyone by providing a hassle-free platform that will allow our customers build and focus on their retail businesses without distractions. We want online merchants from all over the world to use our platform in managing every aspect of their business and also change how purchasing works at the fundamental level for buying customers.
The eCommerce industry is filled with intense competition as there are huge brands such as Amazon, Shopify, eBay and the rest that have a huge share of the market, which is why our unique policy on handling returned merchandise will ensure that we secure a space for ourselves in the industry.
Part of our services include taking care of the needs of online merchants so that they are able to concentrate on their core competencies and not get distracted. Our other services include online 24/7 customer service, transportation and logistics as well as advertisements.
Because of how much we value our customers, we have developed a software application that will cater to the satisfaction of our customers by managing all their business activities seamlessly. We will also ensure that we form a strategic relationship with our online merchants as this will enable us to grow our customer base.
We have built a solid business structure that will allow us hire only the best to work for us. Our employees are not only competent but they also align with our core values as a company and are willing to work in ensuring that we attain our goals and objectives.
We have created an environment that is conducive enough to all our workforce and their welfare packages are one of the best in the industry especially amongst similar startups such as ours.
The company is founded by Jeff Ways, Diane Schultz and Michael Owen. Jeff has more than 15 years’ experience in this industry as he was top management for Amazon and Shopify. Diane has worked in UPS and will handle carrier alliances. Michael has close to 10 years’ experience in the information technology industry and has worked at big brands such as Microsoft and IBM.
3. Our Products and Services
At Juvia.com, we intend to offer services that will help retailers streamline their return process. We intend to allow the retailers on our platform to outsource a large part of their business so that they can focus fully on their core competencies and avoid distractions that will add little or no benefit to their business.
However, this will not be our only service as we intend to create multiple sources of income that will be in line with our objectives. It should be noted that while we might be looking to create a unique eCommerce platform for our clients (retailers and buying customers), we are established just like any business to generate profit and we will ensure that our revenue generation is within reasonable ambition for a company and under the permissible laws of the united states of America.
Some of the services that we intend to offer our various customers include;
- Domain name purchasing
- Secure Ecommerce hosting
- Online store
- Shopping cart system
- Integration of various payment gateway
- Marketing & SEO
- Escrow Service
4. Our Mission and Vision Statement
- Our vision is to make eCommerce better for everyone by providing a hassle-free platform that will allow our customers build and focus on their retail businesses without any sort of distractions. We want online merchants from all over the world to use our platform in managing their business and also change how purchasing works at the fundamental level for buying customers.
- Our mission is to ensure that we enhance customer service for our various merchants so that we not only help them increase their sales but we also help them retain a high number of their customers. We intend to improve the image of our eCommerce platform both for the merchants as well as buying customers by enhancing the interaction process and problem resolution time.
Our Business Structure
Our intention of starting Juvia.com is to build a brand that offers merchants a hassle-free platform in selling their products and or services and also ensure that their buying customers have the best experience possible when using our platform. It is to this effect that we have laid down plans to ensure that we get it right from the beginning by ensuring that we hire only competent and professional hands to all the available positions in our company.
We are building a management team that is not only filled with core professionals in their various fields but a team that has identified with our objectives and value and are therefore committed to ensuring that we are able to attain them.
We intend to ensure that our employees work in an environment that is not only conducive but also well structure. Due to the fact that we intend to offer a wide range of services to help us compete with already established brands, we will be hiring enough employees to fill in available positions in our company.
Below therefore is the business structure that we are looking to build at Juvia.com;
- Board of Directors
- Chief Executive Officer
- Director of Finance
- Logistics and Operations Manager
- Information Technology Manager
- Sales and Marketing Executive
- Human Resources and Administrative Manager
- Customer Service Executive
5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
Board of Directors
- In charge of overseeing the strategic direction and growth of the company in specific areas such as financial stability, operations and well-being of the company
- Acts on behalf of shareholders in ensuring that the day-to-day affairs of the company are in order
- Provide report to shareholders regarding the performance of the company
- Engages in opportunities that will allow for the expansion of the company
- Creates room for strategic alliance and management of relationships with internal and external customers
- Engages in strategic guidance of the company
Chief Executive Officer
- Oversees the day-to-day running of the company
- Drafts the policies and structures that will be used by the company
- Ensures that policies are implanted and reviewed regularly in order to modify or remove ineffective ones
Director of Finance
- Handles financial oversight on behalf of the company
- Ensures that the assets of the company are safeguarded
- Ensures that the overall budget is duly implemented
Logistics and Operations Manager
- Handles transportation and other logistics on behalf of the company
- Creates a strategic relationship between carriers for the benefit of the company
- Works hand-in-hand with the online merchants
Information Technology Manager
- In charge of the overall technological efficiency of the platform at all times
- Develops software when needed and upgrades existing software on behalf of the company
- Controls the dissemination of information on the platform
Sales and Marketing Executive
- Develops marketing strategies and engages in marketing activities on behalf of the company
- Generates revenue for the company
- Handles and enhances public relations on behalf of the company
Human Resources and Administrative Manager
- Sources for and recruits competent employees and conducts orientation on behalf of the company
- Engages in employee appraisals and ensures that employees undergo regular trainings
- Oversees the administrative affairs of the company
Customer Service Executive
- Handles customers on behalf of online merchants as well as on behalf of the company
- Ensures speedy resolve of customer complaints
- Remains updated as regards organizational policies so as to disseminate accurate information to clients at all times
6. SWOT Analysis
The fact that we intend to run a standard platform means that we must do all we can to ensure that we have the right information regarding the business which we intend to run. We have therefore engaged the services of a business consultant who has a thorough understanding of the industry to look through our business concept and determine our likelihood of survival.
The consultant intends to use an analysis that is objective to determine how ready we are internally and externally to handle the different scenarios that we would encounter running our business. The analysis will be done based on similar startups such as ours in the country.
The business consultant will be making use of internal attributes such as strengths and weaknesses and external factors such as opportunities and threats to determine if our business will be a success. Below is the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Juvia.com by our business consultant;
We have several strengths that will be of huge advantage to our business and they are the fact that we offer an operation that runs all hours and days of the week. This means that no matter where our customers might be located, they will experience no stoppage in their services.
Our business is one that is global and we have several retailers that have signed up from other countries other than the United States. Our services are fast and effective and we offer our customers comparison shopping where they can compare prices in our stores to that of our competitors. Also, our financial transactions are very secure and fast.
There are several weaknesses that plague our platform such as the fact that we are still a new brand and as such have not gained as much prominence as we would like in the industry, this we would solve through aggressive advertisement and publicity.
We have also found that transportation costs are a bit high and are therefore inadvertently increasing the price of products for our various merchants. We hope to tackle these by looking to partner with more transportation and logistics firms in order that we might have the upper hand when negotiating rates till we are able to handle transportation and logistics ourselves.
Internet users are increasing daily which means more people are going to grab the opportunity to sell online or become buyers from online retail stores, thereby increasing revenue for platforms such as ours. Also, more opportunities exist in the fact that more people feel comfortable buying from the internet.
There are several threats that we expect to face when looking to start our business and while we expect to be able to handle some threats, some we understand will be beyond our control. Some of the threats that we expect to face include; dishonest merchants who will damage the confidence of customers in ecommerce platforms, dishonest customers who will damage the faith of merchants in the system, adverse government policies, arrival of a new competitor and economic downturn.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- Market Trends
The online retail sector is one of the largest segments in e-commerce as this is the sector that accounts for the sale of consumer goods and accessories. Online retail stores in the United States according to the U.S Commerce Department generated revenue of close to $262 billion in 2013.
The revenue boom experienced by online retail stores is not only due to the fact that consumers have become more sophisticated when it comes to shopping but the advantage of speed and dynamics has continued to see online retail stores having an advantage over brick and mortar stores.
According to a research report by Forrester, it is expected that in the next several years, online retail sales will outgrow sales from brick and mortar stores. The growth experienced in online retail sale has received great boost due to smartphones and tablets as well as penetration of internet service on a global level.
The business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumers (B2C) market is very huge in the United States, as during 2013, the B2B aspect alone generated nearly $560 billion. The players in the B2B sector are however huge brands that include networking and infrastructure companies. Other sectors in the B2B industry are growing as well from cloud computing to social networks and advertising.
8. Our Target Market
Our target market is wide enough as our platform is open to online retailers of various categories. We have however decided to conduct a thorough market survey of our target market based on information obtained regarding similar businesses like ours in the country.
Our intention of conducting a market survey is so that we have a better idea of what it is our target market wants in order that we might then offer the right services that will meet these wants. The fact that there are already huge ecommerce platforms in the industry doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a need that hasn’t been met.
From the result of our market survey, we are therefore in business to offer our services to the following;
- Online retailers
- Buying customers
- Carrier companies
- Corporate bodies
- Advertising companies
- Payment Processing Companies
- Other ecommerce platforms
Our Competitive Advantage
Even though there are huge brands in existence like Amazon, eBay, Shopify and the rest, we foresee that there will be three types of competition from three avenues such as Direct, Internal and Channel. Regardless of the avenue, we have laid down policies and plans that will ensure that we offer top notch services to our various customers not only here in the United States of America but also on a global level as well. In order for us to be able to achieve this, we intend to have several laid down strategies that will allow us have the needed edge we need over our competitors.
One of the first competitive advantages that we intend to have over our competitors is ensuring that we are able to offer unique services to our internal competitors by striking a partnership and strategic agreement with the merchants that will enable Juvia.com cater to agreements when it comes to handling returned merchandise, a service that other platforms haven’t perfected for their various customers.
We intend to also have strategic partnerships with various carriers so that we will have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating rates and preferential service terms for our online retailers as well as buying customers. We will ensure that we create a higher degree of flexibility in our services so that we will be able to adjust to the needs of our customers.
We intend to have top notch customer service in order to be able to support our online retailers and the buying customers. Our customer service will be online all hours every day to speedily handle requests, complaints and feedback. We will ensure that our customers are satisfied most of the time as this is likely going to help increase our retention rate.
We intend to have the best welfare packages for our employees especially when compared to similar start-ups such as ours. We will also ensure that our employees work in an environment that is conducive enough and that they undergo regular training that will enhance their skills and boost their productivity for our company.
9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
Juvia.com has been established with the intention of not only generating revenue but also making profit in the eCommerce industry here in the United States of America. In order for us to achieve our aim of attaining profitability, we intend to offer various services to all our customers.
The services we are looking to offer in order to be able to generate revenue for Juvia.com include;
- Domain name purchasing
- Secure Ecommerce hosting
- Online store
- Shopping cart system
- Integration of various payment gateway
- Marketing & SEO
- Escrow Service
10. Sales Forecast
Juvia.com is an eCommerce platform that intends to offer merchants and buying customers an experience like never before when it comes to selling or buying via the platform.
The fact that we have chosen an easy enough name for merchants and customers to remember and easy enough to rank high in search engines means that we have strategically positioned ourselves to take on the available market and generate the revenue that will be needed to grow, sustain and expand our business. Through our estimation, we are confident of meeting our target and recouping our investment within our first three years of starting the business.
Our optimistic evaluation is borne out of the fact that we have conducted a critical evaluation of the eCommerce industry and our chances of making it in the industry. We engaged the services of a reputable business consultant who understands the business thoroughly to help evaluate our chances, and using data and information from similar startups such as ours in the industry, our projections were predicted.
Therefore, the findings of the business consultant for Juvia.com and based on certain assumptions are;
- First Fiscal Year: $1,000,320
- Second Fiscal Year: $2,200,000
- Third Fiscal Year: $5,000,000
N.B: It should be noted that the above sales projection was conducted based on what is obtainable in the industry during the period of the projection. Several factors were taken into consideration such as the arrival of a major competitor, change in government policies and downturn of the economy. Should the factors change from what it is now either positively or negatively, the sales projections for Juvia.com will either increase or decrease as well.
- Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy
Marketing is crucial to a business’s survival and no business either established for profit or nonprofit can bypass this aspect. Through marketing, a business cannot only generate awareness but also generate the revenue that will allow the business to become profitable.
The right marketing strategies will not only enable us to penetrate our intended target market but we will also enable us gain a huge share of the market for ourselves and compete favorably against our competitors in the United States and even globally.
Before any marketing strategies can however be crafted and deemed effective, it is necessary that there be an overall marketing plan as this is what will act as a guide for any strategies that will be created. Our marketing plan was formulated based on the market survey that we conducted in our bid to know and understand or target market and know what is expected from us as well as what we should expect from them.
We intend to engage the services of a reputable brand consultant who has a thorough understanding of the market to help us create the right strategies that will be of huge benefit to our business and therefore enable us win a large percentage of the market not only here in the United States of America but also globally as well.
We will also engage a sales and marketing team to engage in marketing strategies on behalf of the company. Below are some of the sales and marketing strategies that Juvia.com will adopt in order to deliver quality services to our various clients;
- Ensure that we create a quality and secure website for the various online stores on our platform making sure that the website loads easily and ranks high on search engines
- Engage in push strategy by engaging in direct sales force promoted to only the merchants
- Place advertisements about our platform on several media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations
- Place advertising banners on popular forums and blogs as well as on websites of participating merchants
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to massively engage in sales and marketing activities
11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy
Deploying the right publicity and advertising strategies is very important if we intend to survive and gain awareness for our business in an industry that is quite competitive. We intend to use our publicity and advertising strategies to not only penetrate the market but also gain a huge share of the market that we can convert into revenue generation and profit maximization for our business.
Because we intend to hit the ground running when we start our business, we are going to hire the services of a brand consultant to help us create and deploy the right publicity and advertising strategies that will help boost our brand and communicate our image positively to the public.
Some of the publicity and advertising strategies that we intend to use in creating awareness for our business include;
- Promotion of our story and values to leading online blogs and forums
- Install our billboards in strategic locations all around Virginia as well as in certain cities in the United States of America
- Place adverts about our platform in newspapers and various magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Sponsor and participate in relevant programs in various communities across the country
- Use our social media platform such as Facebook and Twitter to effectively promote our platform
12. Our Pricing Strategy
We have used a whole lot of factors to determine how our rates will be set. We intend to conduct a market research that will enable us know the right rates to set that will be affordable to our merchants, while not allowing us to run at a loss. We will also ensure that the prices we offer for our various packages are within the range of what our competitors are offering.
In order for us to attract more customers and increase awareness for our business, we intend to reduce our rates for at least three months across all packages and also offer a free two weeks trial for certain category of products that will be offered on our platform.
We have conducted a thorough analysis on whether our promo offer will hurt our bottom line and have found that even though we may not be making much during the three months period, but what we stand to gain will be for a long term.
- Payment Options
As an ecommerce platform, we are concerned about the convenience for our various merchants and their customers when it comes to providing payment options that will suit their different tastes and preferences. Therefore the different payment options that we intend to offer all our customers include;
- Payment via Juvia Pay
- Payment via Paypal
- Payment via Cyrptocurrency such as Bitcoin
- Payment via credit card
- Payment via Google pay
- Payment via Apple pay
It should be noted that the above payment options were carefully chosen because we had the interest of our several clients in mind. The payment options we know will work for all parties involved without hitches of any sort.
13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
Even though starting an eCommerce platform might look easy since it is a service based business, it requires a substantial amount of capital in order to be able to stand out and compete with other existing eCommerce platforms. Capital will be needed to pay the salaries of employees, lease a facility, handle secure hosting and take care of other running costs till the business is able to generate revenue to take care of itself.
The areas where the generated capital will be spent on include;
- Fees for registering and incorporating Juvia.com – $2,000
- Obtaining of zonal and regulatory licenses and permits, as well as accounting, database and CRM software – $100,000
- Insurance coverage (General liability, errors and omission insurance and Workers Compensation) – $20,000
- Marketing expenses for general e-commerce activities as well as promotional activities to promote grand launching of Juvia.com – $100,000
- Cost of hiring reputable business and publicity consultants – $50,000
- Operational costs for the first 1 year of operation (employee salaries, hosting fees, utility bills) – $500,000
- Leasing of office facility for a period of three years including renovations – $150,000
- Cost of purchasing furniture, computers, printers, fax machines, phones – $50,000
- Cost of launching and designing a website – $20,000
- Cost of our opening party – $10,000
- Miscellaneous – $50,000
From the above breakdown, we would need the sum of $1,052,000 in order to not only be able to startup but to also successfully run Juvia.com here in Virginia. It should be noted that the bulk of the capital will go into paying the salaries of employees for at least one year as well as providing secure hosting on our platform.
Generating Funding/Startup Capital for Juvia.com Business
Juvia.com is an ecommerce platform that is owned by three friends, Jeff Ways, Diane Schultz and Michael Owen, who have enough experience in the ecommerce business. They have plans of allowing external investors inject capital into their business both at the start-up phase as well as the expansion phase.
The areas where they are therefore looking to generate their startup capital from are;
- Generate part of the start-up capital from sale of stock and properties
- Apply for loan from the commercial bank
- Get startup capital from external investor
N.B: We have been able to generate the sum of $352,000 from our sale of stock and properties. We have sought for capital from an external investor to the tune of $400,000 in return for a 5% equity. We consider this to be a fair deal and have signed the necessary documents.
We sought the sum of $300,000 from our bank and after due negotiation, we have agreed to pay back the loan in 5 years at a return interest rate of 3%. All the documents with the bank will be signed within the week and we will have the money credited to our account after then.
14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
Even though our intention is to offer a hassle free platform for merchants and visitors, we are established to generate revenue and maximize profit that will allow us to sustain and expand our business. Our sustainability and expansion strategies include reinvesting back into the business to boost our bottom line; ensuring that we provide our customers’ quality service in order to enable us retain and attract more customers to our business.
We are starting off our business with a substantial amount of capital from our pockets and also borrowed from the commercial bank and an external investor and it is therefore important that we have laid down plans and strategies that will enable us recoup this investment in order that we not remain indebted further than we should be, while also striving for profitability. We have a competent director of finance who will conduct periodic financial analysis and statement and ensure that we remain on the right path when it comes to our finances.
The eCommerce industry is filled with intense competition especially as there are already huge brands that have taken a huge share of the market; however in order to be able to gain awareness in the market, we intend to offer all our customers – merchants, buying customers and visitors quality service.
Our merchants will have no problems focusing on their business as we intend to handle all the other aspects of the business – customer care, shipping, advertising and so on – that might cause them any distraction.
Our customer service is top notch because we know how valuable our customers are to us. We have a customer support service that will ensure that all our customers get adequate attention on whatever issues they might need resolved or whatever inquiries they might need attended to.
We have a dedicated staff that will ensure that we are able to satisfy about 95 percent of our customers. We know that deploying the above strategies will enable us to achieve our sustainability and expansion strategies.
- Business Name Availability Check: Completed
- Business Registration: Completed
- Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
- Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
- Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
- Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
- Application for business license and permit: Completed
- Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
- Conducting feasibility studies: Completed
- Generating capital from family members: Completed
- Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
- Writing of Business Plan: Completed
- Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
- Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
- Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
- Graphics Design and Printing of Promotional Materials: In Progress
- Recruitment of employees: In Progress
- Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
- Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
- Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
- Opening party planning: In Progress
- Establishing business relationship with vendors – wholesale suppliers/merchants: In Progress
- Purchase of trucks: Completed