How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

Kayla Carmicheal

Published: April 03, 2024

If you have a promising idea for an online e-commerce business , it’s important to create an e-commerce business plan to ensure your vision has enough stock to be profitable.

business plan online shop example

Having a business plan for your online store will help you define your target market, establish your monthly and quarterly sales goals, and increase the likelihood of long-term e-commerce success.

In this post, we’ll go over an online store business plan and how you can create one for your e-commerce startup. Let’s get started.

→ Download Now: Free Business Plan Template

What is an e-commerce business plan?

An e-commerce business plan is a document that outlines your business and its goals, analyzes your industry and competitors, and identifies the resources needed to execute your plan. It also lists the e-commerce retailers you’ll use to distribute your products and the marketing strategies you’ll use to drive sales.

Whether a company operates as a startup or has years of operations and growth under its belt, an e-commerce business plan is essential for evaluating a business and determining areas of improvement.

An e-commerce business plan is essential, with increasing numbers of shoppers conducting business online. It's estimated this number has reached over 2 billion . An e-commerce business plan keeps you organized and is useful when seeking investors who need to understand your company.

So, let’s dive into some examples of e-commerce business plans and what goes into writing one using our free template .

business plan online shop example

Free Business Plan Template

The essential document for starting a business -- custom built for your needs.

  • Outline your idea.
  • Pitch to investors.
  • Secure funding.
  • Get to work!

Download Free

All fields are required.

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

E-commerce Business Plan Template

business plan online shop example

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

Consumer Confidence: What It is & How It Works

Consumer Confidence: What It is & How It Works

How to Create the Best PowerPoint Presentations [Examples & Templates]

How to Create the Best PowerPoint Presentations [Examples & Templates]

17 PowerPoint Presentation Tips From Pro Presenters [+ Templates]

17 PowerPoint Presentation Tips From Pro Presenters [+ Templates]

TikTok Shop: What It Is, How to Launch One & How to Market One

TikTok Shop: What It Is, How to Launch One & How to Market One

How to Create an Infographic in Under an Hour — the 2024 Guide [+ Free Templates]

How to Create an Infographic in Under an Hour — the 2024 Guide [+ Free Templates]

How to Make Your Brand Stand Out When Amazon's Your Marketing Competitor

How to Make Your Brand Stand Out When Amazon's Your Marketing Competitor

20 Great Examples of PowerPoint Presentation Design [+ Templates]

20 Great Examples of PowerPoint Presentation Design [+ Templates]

14 Ecommerce Trends to Expect in 2024

14 Ecommerce Trends to Expect in 2024

Get Buyers to Do What You Want: The Power of Temptation Bundling in Sales

Get Buyers to Do What You Want: The Power of Temptation Bundling in Sales

The 16 Best Abandoned Cart Emails To Win Back Customers

The 16 Best Abandoned Cart Emails To Win Back Customers

2 Essential Templates For Starting Your Business

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

How to Make an Ecommerce Business Plan for Your Startup

' src=

Darren DeMatas

June 5, 2024


In addition to receiving commissions generated through affiliate marketing, we are able to fund our independent research and reviews at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more.

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 thinking 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 ecommerce 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. Think of it as a roadmap for your new business venture.

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:

  • Knowledge:  A greater sense of knowledge of the business aspects.
  • Resources:  The resources you’re going to need to make your business successful, such as partners, money, employees, etc.
  • Road Map: Have clear set goals to take you from the very beginning of your business and onward.
  • Viability: In other words, is your business possible? Will you have enough profit margins to keep the doors open long-term?

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

How to Start an Ecommerce Business Plan

At 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 of your ecommerce business plan, 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?

The first step to creating an online business is to learn the absolute basics of what you can sell.

  • Physical products: Clothing , shoes, home goods
  • Digital products: Software as a Service products, ecourses, ebooks
  • Services: Consulting services, home cleaning

Who are you selling to?

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): You are selling to organizations, corporations, and non-profits rather than individual customers
  • Business to Consumer (B2C): This means you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses
  • Marketplace: You are acting as a middleman by bringing businesses and (B2B or B2C) customers to one website.

How are you sourcing your product?

  • Manufacture in-house: You make your product or service in-house
  • Third-party manufacturer: You outsource the manufacturing of your product or service to a third-party manufacturer
  • Dropship: You partner with a dropship manufacturer. Basically, this means that they make your product, package it and ship it directly to your customer while your company handles the entire customer relationship.
  • Wholesale : You buy goods or services from other companies in bulk and re-sell those products on your online store

Additional References

  • Entrepreneurship: Business & Marketing Plans
  • Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurship Resources
  • Business Plan Resources

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
  • Product/industry
  • Target market
  • Sales channel

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, or ideal customer, is in the community.

If you’re selling vegan skincare products, your target customers 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:

  • Company type
  • Domain name
  • Value proposition
  • Brand traits

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. You can create a separate section for a full operations plan or add that later.

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:

  • CEO (usually the business owner)
  • Management team
  • Customer service/logistics
  • PR/Social media specialist
  • SEO manager
  • Advertising manager

Competitive Market Analysis

Competitive 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 analysis and 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 of 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 describes 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

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.

Outdoor apparel kids hiking hiking gear Google search Trends 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 they 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 were going into Billy’s Outdoor Store to research the outdoor apparel market, I would probably ask Billy the following:

  • What are your best-selling products?
  • What are your worst-selling products?
  • Find products similar to yours and ask the representative his/her favorite features on products similar to yours.
  • How much are customers generally willing to spend on these types of products?
  • Do customers make repeat orders of any of these products?
  • Do you get a lot of customers that are looking to buy last-minute hiking gear before they go on a hike?


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

  • Competitor Name
  • Price point
  • Product Description
  • Key Features (e.g., fabric, waterproof, slim fit, etc.)

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 surefire shortcut 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

  • How big is the overall industry?
  • How big is the specific sub-industry in which you intend to operate?
  • Where has most of the historic growth in the market come from?
  • Why is this the right time to enter this market?
  • What are the sub-segments that are poised for future growth (e.g., youth apparel)?
  • How crowded is the product category with competition?
  • How is your competition distributing its product (online, retail, wholesale, etc.)?
  • What’s missing from the competition’s product offering?

Products and Offers

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Products and Offers

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

But for some of us, we’re not quite sure 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:

  • Convenience products: Frequent purchase products, little effort on buying
  • Shopping products: Less frequently purchased in between purchases, little more effort and planning, shop around
  • Specialty products: Strong brand preference and loyalty, will buy no matter what the price

The various types of niches include the following:

  • Hobby niches
  • Lifestyle niches
  • Problem niches
  • Weird/embarrassing niches

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:

  • Detailed sketches of the shirt
  • Fabric weight, materials, type
  • Key features (e.g., pre-shrunk, water-proof, SPF 40)

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:

  • Core product

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:

  • Target price
  • Supplier cost of the product
  • Total cost per unit
  • Net profit per unit
  • Profit margin per unit

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 to 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:

  • How old is your customer?
  • Where does your customer live?
  • What is the population of your customer base?
  • What is their education level?
  • What is their income level?
  • What are your customer’s pain points?

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

  • Pay-per-click – this online marketing typically involves using Google Shopping campaigns  and managing a product data feed.
  • Affiliate sales networks – Allowing other blogs and websites to sell your product for a cut of the revenue. List the different affiliate sale networks that you plan to promote through.
  • Facebook ads ⎯ Ads posted on Facebook to draw in buyers through social media means.
  • Influencer marketing ⎯ Hiring industry influencers to get the word out about your product through their social media platforms and contacts.

Organic Marketing

  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram , Pinterest, etc.): What is your strategy for social media, and where will you dedicate your attention?
  • Search Engine Optimization : Create and promote awesome content so people find your product organically through search.
  • Content marketing: Figure out how you’ll use content marketing in your business. Consider various article topics that will persuade your target audience to buy your products.
  • Blogger networks: could be organic or paid through affiliate sale programs.
  • Key bloggers: Develop a list of the key bloggers in your product category. For Atlas Hiking Co., this might be an influencer that blogs about the best hiking trails in America.

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 first to discuss a concept known as customer lifetime value 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 the cost of 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:

  • Sales/branded content
  • SEO/blog content
  • Facebook/Instagram ads
  • Influencer marketing
  • Marketing tools
  • Niche advertising

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:

  • Shopping Cart Platforms  – e.g., Shopify , BigCommerce , WooCommerce , or any open-source platform
  • Hosting – Nexcess , BigScoots , Kinsta , WPX
  • Payment Processo r – e.g., Stripe, Paypal
  • Fulfillment Center – e.g., Amazon, ShipBob
  • Apps – e.g., Zipify, BuildWooFunnels, Gelato
  • Accounting & Taxes  – e.g., Quicken, Xero
  • Marketing Automation – e.g., Klaviyo , Mailchimp
  • Marketing Tools – e.g.  Buzzstream, Ahrefs
  • Customer Loyalty Programs  – e.g., Antavo, Smile

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 on 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:

  • What you say about yourself and your products with your website content
  • How you respond to questions on live chat and email support
  • How to make use of chatbots
  • How you connect on social media
  • The information you send through email marketing
  • What bloggers and influencers say about your brand
  • How existing customers review your company
  • How you advertise
  • How you establish loyalty beyond sales

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.

This section is used for financial projections, such as forecasting sales, expenses, and net income of the business. Ideally, you’ll want to create a monthly Excel balance sheet showing the following:

  • Projected revenue:  First, come up with your projected number of units sold and then come up with your projected revenue (Projected Revenue = # of Units Sold * Average Sales Price).
  • Fixed expenses:   these are expenses that are fixed no matter how much you sell. Typically, these relate to monthly SaaS subscriptions, employee salaries, or rent.
  • Variable expenses  – these expenses change in direct proportion to how much you sell. Common examples include the cost of goods sold and credit card payment processing fees.

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:

  • How much product do you need to sell per year to meet your income goals for the business?
  • What are the margins on your product? If you sell one hiking shirt for $50, how much do you make after paying your supplier, employees, and marketing costs?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?
  • How much can you spend to acquire customers? If you conservatively project that the average customer will spend $300 over time on your shirts, then you can afford to spend an amount less than $300 to acquire that customer using the paid marketing channels described previously.
  • Do you have any big capital expenditures early on that would require you to need to bring in investors?
  • Can you improve gross margins by making bigger orders from your suppliers?

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:

  • The profit equation
  • Break-even analysis
  • Units needed to achieve the profit target

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

What are the key elements of an ecommerce business plan?

The main components of an eCommerce business plan include the executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management structure, product line or service, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections, and funding request, if applicable.

How do I create a budget for my ecommerce business?

Start by estimating your initial startup costs and ongoing expenses. Consider costs like website development, inventory, marketing, shipping, taxes, and any necessary licenses or permits. It’s also important to factor in a contingency plan for unexpected costs.

How do I find the right product to sell?

Research is fundamental. Look at market trends, customer needs, and competitor products. Use tools like Google Trends or social media platforms to understand what customers are currently interested in. Always consider your passion and knowledge about the product too, as this can drive your business forward.

How can I differentiate my product from competitors?

Differentiation can come from unique product features, superior customer service, better pricing, or a compelling brand story. Understand what your competitors offer and how you can do it differently or better.

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!

About the author

Photo of author

Leave a Comment

Featured on.


Join 30K+ entrepreneurs already learning ecommerce.

Ecommerce ceo.

Partner With Us

Editorial Policy

Review Guidelines

Terms Of Use

Affiliate Disclosure

Privacy Policy

[email protected]

Guides & Resources

Ecommerce Learning Center

How To Start An Ecommerce Business

How To Make Money Online

What To Sell Online

How To Sell On Amazon

Online Business Ideas

Best Ecommerce Tools

Ecommerce Platforms

Fulfillment Services

Shipping Software

Inventory Management

Print On Demand

Dropshipping Companies

Amazon Research

Online Course Platforms

POS Systems

3PL Companies


Shopify vs BigCommerce

2800 N 6th Street #5156 St. Augustine, FL 32084 United States

‪(904) 458-7077 ‬

Copyright © 2024 - Mission Demand LLC . All rights reserved.

Exclusive Member of Mediavine Finance

Business Plan Template for Online Shopping

  • Great for beginners
  • Ready-to-use, fully customizable Subcategory
  • Get started in seconds

slide 1

Starting an online shopping platform or e-commerce business can be an exciting venture, but it requires careful planning and execution to ensure success. That's where ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Online Shopping comes in handy!

This comprehensive template is designed specifically for entrepreneurs looking to jumpstart their online shopping venture. With ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Online Shopping, you'll be able to:

  • Outline a clear strategy and roadmap for your online shopping platform
  • Identify and target your ideal market to maximize sales and growth
  • Create accurate financial projections to secure funding and make informed decisions
  • Develop effective marketing plans to attract and engage customers

Don't leave your online shopping business to chance. Start your journey with ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Online Shopping and turn your dreams into a profitable reality!

Business Plan Template for Online Shopping Benefits

Starting an online shopping platform or e-commerce business requires careful planning and strategy. A business plan template for online shopping provides several benefits:

  • Streamlines the planning process by providing a structure to outline your business strategy, target market, and financial projections
  • Helps you identify potential challenges and opportunities in the competitive online shopping industry
  • Enables you to effectively communicate your business ideas to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders
  • Guides your marketing efforts by outlining your brand positioning, customer acquisition strategies, and promotion tactics
  • Allows you to track and measure your progress against your initial projections, helping you make informed decisions for future growth.

Main Elements of Online Shopping Business Plan Template

When starting an online shopping platform or e-commerce business, it's important to have a solid plan in place. ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Online Shopping provides all the necessary elements:

  • Custom Statuses: Use statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do to track the progress of each section of your business plan.
  • Custom Fields: Utilize fields such as Reference, Approved, and Section to add important details and keep your plan organized.
  • Custom Views: Access different views like Topics, Status, Timeline, Business Plan, and Getting Started Guide to analyze your plan from different angles and ensure a comprehensive strategy.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Collaborate with your team by assigning tasks, setting due dates, and leaving comments within each section of your business plan.
  • Document Management: Attach files, images, and links to relevant resources to support your online shopping business plan and easily share it with stakeholders.

How To Use Business Plan Template for Online Shopping

If you're starting an online shopping business and need a solid plan, look no further than the Business Plan Template for Online Shopping in ClickUp. Follow these five steps to create a comprehensive business plan that will set you up for success:

1. Define your business concept and target market

Begin by clearly outlining your online shopping business concept. What products or services will you offer? What makes your business unique? Next, identify your target market. Who are your ideal customers? What are their needs and preferences? Understanding your target market will help you tailor your business strategy and marketing efforts.

Use the Docs feature in ClickUp to write a detailed description of your business concept and target market.

2. Research your competition and industry

To position your online shopping business for success, it's important to conduct thorough research on your competition and industry. Identify your direct competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, stay up-to-date on industry trends, market demand, and customer preferences. This information will help you differentiate your business and make strategic decisions.

Create tasks in ClickUp to track your competitor research and industry analysis.

3. Develop a marketing and sales strategy

A key component of your business plan is your marketing and sales strategy. Outline how you will attract customers and generate sales. This may include online advertising, social media marketing, influencer partnerships, email campaigns, and more. Determine your pricing strategy, promotions, and customer retention tactics. Your marketing and sales strategy should align with your target market and business goals.

Utilize the Goals feature in ClickUp to set specific objectives for your marketing and sales efforts.

4. Plan your operations and logistics

Efficient operations and logistics are crucial for running a successful online shopping business. Outline how you will manage inventory, handle shipping and delivery, and provide customer support. Consider the technology and systems you will need to support your operations, such as an e-commerce platform and customer relationship management (CRM) software. A well-planned operations strategy will ensure smooth business operations and customer satisfaction.

Use the Board view in ClickUp to create tasks and organize your operations and logistics plan.

5. Determine your financial projections and funding needs

No business plan is complete without financial projections and funding considerations. Estimate your startup costs, fixed and variable expenses, and projected revenue. Determine how you will fund your business, whether through personal savings, loans, or investors. Additionally, create a financial forecast for the next three to five years to outline your growth and profitability goals.

Utilize the Tables and Dashboards features in ClickUp to create and track your financial projections.

By following these five steps and using the Business Plan Template for Online Shopping in ClickUp, you'll have a comprehensive and well-structured plan to guide your online shopping business towards success.

Get Started with ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Online Shopping

Entrepreneurs looking to start an online shopping platform or e-commerce business can use the ClickUp Business Plan Template for Online Shopping to effectively outline their strategy, target market, financial projections, and marketing plans.

To get started, hit “Add Template” to sign up for ClickUp and add the template to your Workspace. Make sure you designate which Space or location in your Workspace you’d like this template applied.

Next, invite relevant members or guests to your Workspace to start collaborating.

Now you can take advantage of the full potential of this template to create a comprehensive business plan:

  • Use the Topics View to organize your business plan into different sections and topics
  • The Status View will help you keep track of the progress of each section, with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do
  • The Timeline View will allow you to set deadlines and visualize the timeline of your business plan
  • Use the Business Plan View to have a comprehensive overview of your entire plan in one place
  • The Getting Started Guide View will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to use the template effectively
  • Customize the template by adding custom fields like Reference, Approved, and Section to provide additional information and track progress
  • Collaborate with team members to brainstorm ideas, gather data, and create a solid business plan
  • Monitor and analyze the progress of each section to ensure your business plan is on track for success.
  • Business Plan Template for Real Estate Agents
  • Business Plan Template for Netflix
  • Business Plan Template for Project Coordinators
  • Business Plan Template for Change Readiness
  • Business Plan Template for Packaging Manufacturers

Template details

Free forever with 100mb storage.

Free training & 24-hours support

Serious about security & privacy

Highest levels of uptime the last 12 months

  • Product Roadmap
  • Affiliate & Referrals
  • On-Demand Demo
  • Integrations
  • Consultants
  • Gantt Chart
  • Native Time Tracking
  • Automations
  • Kanban Board
  • vs Airtable
  • vs Basecamp
  • vs MS Project
  • vs Smartsheet
  • Software Team Hub
  • PM Software Guide

Google Play Store

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

Ecommerce Business Plan Template: How to Make a Business Plan

If you click to purchase a product or service based on our independent recommendations and impartial reviews, we may receive a commission. Learn more

business plan online shop example

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 just 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:

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of your business – your blockers, biggest assets, and most lucrative opportunities.
  • Understanding the state of the market, and where you want to position your ecommerce store within it.
  • Planning for what’s ahead – getting to grips with industry trends, and how they might affect your burgeoning business.
  • Testing how viable your ecommerce store’s idea and concept is, and any weak points inherent in the premise.
  • Assessing the outlay required – be it time, effort, or money, this is useful for understanding the scope of the work that lies ahead.
  • Obtaining funding – business plans are, after all, super useful for selling the idea of your online store to potential investors.
  • Clarifying your strategies for marketing, logistics, and finance, as well as exactly who your target audience is. Making your business idea a little more tangible – it’s starting to feel real now!

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:

  • What your business does
  • What goals you want to achieve
  • What product or service you’re selling
  • Where you’re selling
  • Who you’re targeting
  • Who your competitors are
  • How you plan to make money
  • How you’ll implement the business plan that follows

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:

  • Details of your products/services – what are you planning to sell?
  • Your company’s key details – your name, tagline, logo, and any top-level branding information.
  • Your key individuals – your founder(s), CEO, and COOs.
  • Its legal structure: have you set up as a partnership, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
  • Your vision, mission , and values. Beyond making money, what does your ecommerce store stand for? What do you believe in – and what higher purpose gets your staff up and out of bed in the morning?

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:

  • Market size
  • Current competitors
  • Any gaps, opportunities, and threats

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:

  • Your marketing goals
  • KPIs: such as engagement rates, traffic, conversion rate
  • Key channels: email, SEO content, paid SEM marketing
  • Your key marketing tactics: will you focus on social media, or plow your resources into influencer marketing? Perhaps a blend of both?

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:

  • Where you’ll source your products
  • How (and where) you’ll store those products
  • How you’ll deal with orders
  • How you’ll fulfill orders – in-house, or via a 3PL (third-party logistics) supplier?
  • How you’ll handle deliveries, and which shipping provider you’ll partner with
  • How you’ll deal with returns

3PL suppliers like ShipBob store, sort, pick, pack, and ship your goods – so they can be a fantastic option if you’re a growing business, and outsourcing the fulfillment process makes sense.

ShipBob screenshot

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:

  • How you’ll fund your store’s start-up costs
  • How you’ll price your products
  • How much profit you’ll make on each product sold
  • Financial projections
  • Income statement
  • Balance sheet

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:

  • New ecommerce stores
  • Businesses seeking investment
  • Businesses looking to expand into new markets
  • Ventures attempting to increase their share of an existing market

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:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Market analysis
  • Customer research
  • Marketing plan
  • Logistics plan
  • Financial 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.

Hiring someone to pen your ecommerce business plan for you will cost anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000. You can recruit them from most of the platforms where creatives dwell: such as Airtasker, Fiverr, and

Written by:

Found this article helpful.

Share this article or comment below!

Leave a comment

8 Steps to Write a Successful Online Store Business Plan

Online store business plan

Read over our steps and tips to creating a strong online store business plan.

Who Needs an Online Store Business Plan?

If you’re looking to jump into ecommerce, you need a business plan. It will prove vital to your overall success by creating an overarching guide for your new venture.

Your business plan can serve multiple purposes. It can help you secure investors or business loans. You can use it as a tool for recruiting employees and partners. Also, you’ll be able to use it as a roadmap.

Creating Your Ecommerce Business Plan

As with so many things in the world, there aren’t really many hard and fast rules when it comes to crafting an ecommerce business plan. However, the most effective business plans tend to have the following components:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing plan
  • Logistics and operations
  • Financial plan

We’ll go through each of the steps you’ll need to take to complete these components.

Step 1: Write an Executive Summary

Your executive summary is the first thing that will be presented in your online store business plan. As the name implies, it acts as a summary for the entirety of your business plan, with high-level information laid out for readers to easily peruse.

The importance of a concise and informative executive summary cannot be understated. It’s likely any potential investors or lenders with busy schedules are going to read the executive summary before taking any time to read the more detailed parts of your business plan. You don’t want to lose them here.

Make sure your executive summary is easy to read and includes pertinent information you want to communicate. You want to give the audience an idea of who/what your company is, without trying to sell yourself too hard. The rest of your business plan will do the selling, as your executive summary should entice them to read the business plan.

Try to write no more than two pages for your executive summary, but you really should be aiming for just one page. At the end of the summary, the reader should know who you are, the problem you have identified, and your approach to solving that problem.

Beyond high-level points in the summary, you can get a bit more granular in pointing out things such as current partnerships, customers, product development, monetization strategies, and other details that will help the reader get a better idea of who you are, and what to expect when reading your full business plan.

You might want to save writing the executive summary until after you have completed the rest of your business plan, or you could write it first to help give you a guide to the bulk of the plan.

Step 2: Complete Your Company Description

Where your online store business plan executive summary should give readers and potential investors a high-level sense of your business, creating a company description is where you need to get extremely specific.

Include all identifying elements of your company, including:

  • Business structure, such as:
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Website domain name

Now, start getting more detailed in describing who and what your company is on a grander scale. This is where your business plan should include your company’s mission statement and vision.

Your mission statement should be short and sweet. You’re essentially wrapping up your entire company in one sentence. Tell the reader and the world why your company exists as quickly as possible.

If you’re having trouble coming up with your mission statement, start with something extremely grand and general. Then try to insert your company into that grand statement.

What grand thing or problem are you attempting to solve are you doing, and for whom are you doing it? If your company sells food from organic and sustainable farms to schools maybe your mission statement is something like, “Keeping the world green and our kids’ diets clean.”

Where your mission statement tells the world who you are now, your vision statement shows where you want to be in the future. Think about the overarching goal you want to reach through your mission. “Our vision is to ensure the health of the people and planet. Through this, we will get nutritional and tasty meals to kids across the country, sourced from our curated and highly-vetted sustainable farmers and producers.”

After sharing your mission and vision statements, give the reader some more background into where you are coming from. How did you find the problem and what made you think about the solution? What experience do you have?

Then, introduce yourself formerly. List the key players involved from ownership down to staff. Though if you are already substantially big, you probably don’t need to list absolutely everybody. Be proud of who your team is and show why their contributions matter.

Step 3: Document Your Market Analysis

As with any good business, conducting market analysis plays a big role in getting off to a good start. Including your analysis in your business plan not only shows anybody reading it what is happening in the market, it also shows the that you fully understand the market yourself.

Break up your market analysis into three distinct categories:

  • Audience analysis : Identify the demographics you are selling your products and services to. Use key identifying factors such as age, gender, location, and income. Show your understanding of what is important to your audience.
  • Industry analysis : What is the current state of the industry? How did it get there, and where is it heading? Are there ecommerce trends that could impact your business? Back your conclusions with data where possible.
  • Competitive analysis : Know and understand your competition. What are the products/services they offer? What is there pricing structure? What is their current standing with the public? Identify their strengths and weaknesses. Find learnings from your competitors’ successes and failures. Identify any gaps that you can fill. Show how you can reach higher profits, how your product is better than theirs, and you might target an untapped audience.

You can even go the extra mile and analyze yourself. Conduct a SWOT analysis to name your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This will give you huge insight into how you are already set up for success, and things that could use extra attention and work.

A great store is only as good as its hosting

Make sure your site is performing well without having to think about it

Step 4: Describe Your Products & Services

Here is your chance to dive deep into your products and services with your online store business plan. Use this space to detail how your products differ from competitor products. Point out how your products helps address any problems.

Keep in mind that this probably isn’t the place to get very technical. Avoid jargon here and make things simple and easily digestible for a wide and varying audience. You also don’t have to go into every single product or service if you have a large selection. Concentrate more on categories of products rather that each single individual item.

Step 5: Put Together Your Marketing Plan

You’re sure to go far with a good plan to market your ecommerce business . Outline your marketing plan here as part of your greater website business plan.

Start by pointing out who your audience is, where you’re most likely to find them, and how best to grab their attention. Then consider how much you want to invest in marketing strategies.

Working in ecommerce gives you several tried and true online methods of marketing.

  • You can help your audience find you organically by building a digital content strategy where you create and produce related content, like articles and videos.
  • You can learn and establish best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) for ecommerce so that your website will rank higher in web search platforms like Google.
  • You can take advantage of Google’s popular pay per click (PPC) program to get your site listed in front of a target audience.
  • It’s also a good idea to build a strong social media presence where more people will be able to find you. Social platforms also offer a breadth of paid advertising tools if you want to go that route.
  • With affiliate marketing , you can have external editorial websites leverage their built-in audience to highlight your product to get a cut of sales that come through their funnel.
  • Many influencers will work with companies to promote products. Target influencers in your niche rather than looking for just the people with the most followers.

It’s important to note that organic marketing (or unpaid) doesn’t exactly mean free. It takes labor and quite often a good chunk of money to build out and implement a good organic marketing strategy.

Step 6: Detail Out Your Logistics and Operations

Here is where you’ll point out all the things you need to keep your business running day to day. If you are selling physical products, you’ll need to consider things like:

Many small ecommerce companies rely on third parties to handle the bulk of their logistics. If you are doing so, be sure to highlight that here.

If you are selling a service, your logistics and operations will look a bit different. You’ll be more concerned about things like transportation, computer hardware and software, office upkeep, and more. Of course, that doesn’t mean that companies selling products aren’t also concerned with these operational items.

By completing this section, you should get a strong grasp of what your business needs to run well, and you’ll be able to give potential investors an idea of the costs required to operate well.

Step 8: Lay Out Your Financial Plan

There’s a ton that goes into ecommerce business planning, and one aspect does seem to loom large: financials.

While you may have touched on your finances in other parts of your business plan, here’s where you need to be much more granular and detailed. Just how into the weeds you get will depends on what you deem crucial for others to know. Investors and lenders, for example, are probably going to pay more attention to your financial plan than anyone else.

You’ll want to include these main pillars of a well thought out financial plan:

  • Income statement : This will give your reader a look into your bottom line by showing your total revenue against your expenses over time. Of course, if you have yet to launch your business, you can project these numbers.
  • Balance sheet : Used to calculate shareholder equity, your balance sheet reflects your total assets (everything your business owns) minus liabilities (all your reoccurring costs).
  • Cash-flow statement : True to its name, this shows how your cash flows in and out. You’ll detail out when your revenue comes in and how much. You’ll also explain when you must pay out all your expenses and how much too.

Wrapping Up Your Online Store Business Plan

Coming up with an entire business plan for online businesses is no small feat. If you need a little more help, check out the many ecommerce business plan templates available online. Once you’ve tied all loose ends, don’t forget to at least give yourself a small pat on the back. As you wrap things up, keep in mind that your business plan can absolutely be a living document. It’s even a good idea to tailor it according to whomever is reading it.

For example, if you know an investor who gets excited by big ideas, you might want to put more thought into products and services. If you’re presenting it to somebody highly experienced in the industry, you might want to throw in a few more ecommerce terms than you normally would. If you have a number cruncher, you probably want to fine-tune your financial plan. If you’re just using it as a roadmap for your organization, you might be content to keep things high level.

Whatever the case, remember that you have the power to make your business plan perfect for your needs. If you need more help with your new company, take a look at some of the top ecommerce KPIs to build your business and grow revenue.

Have a business plan? Ready to get going? Check out Nexcess Managed WooCommerce plans.

Nexcess, the premium hosting provider for WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento, is optimized for your hosting needs. Nexcess provides a managed hosting infrastructure, curated tools, and a team of experts that make it easy to build, manage, and grow your business online. Serving SMBs and the designers, developers, and agencies who create for them, Nexcess has provided fully managed, high-performance cloud solutions for more than 22 years.

Free eCommerce Business Plan Template & Guide

business plan online shop example

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 your online store. 

Even if you are not a startup and you don’t need to get people to invest thousands of dollars in your project, the business plan is still essential to put your best foot forward.

Having a business plan for your online shop 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 that your eCommerce business plan must include so you can start working on it today.

Are you ready to jumpstart your online shop? Download our FREE business plan template to help you get started with your eCommerce!

Let’s get to it!

Business Plan 7

Why do you need an eCommerce business plan?

There are two types of actions in life:

  • Those that bring gratification first and pain later.
  • Those that bring pain first and gratification later.

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

An online store 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.

1. Executive Summary

It is the first thing your supposed investors would read if you were looking for funding since  it is the synopsis of your eCommerce 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  for your online store 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:

  • Idea presentation: In one or two sentences it has to define your project, the value proposal, and the main competitive advantage.
  • Who is behind the idea: A good idea needs the support of a good entrepreneur. It is time to introduce yourself, but don’t overuse the standard CV formula. Be honest, creative, and original.
  • Basic information: This is your planned name, the legal status it will acquire, location, and foreseen scope. You can show this as a chart to make it easier to read .

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.

2. Description of the Company

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:

  • Mission:  the reason behind your shop’s existence, the role it plays in the market, who is it directed toward, and what its differential factor is.
  • Vision:  the objectives that you want to achieve long term, which must be both realistic and ambitious so they can be motivating.
  • Values:  the universal ethical principles that you want your shop to be identified with. Only choose those values that you will be committed to upholding with every action you take.

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.


On one side, the external factors are analyzed:

  • Threats: These represent what could happen or what already exists in the market that may be a trouble for the project.
  • Opportunities: These could be change of legislation or any other favorable situation, whatever the reason may be.

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:

  • Weaknesses: These are our weakest points. We may not master the technical part or we may have a lack of resources.
  • Strengths: What are we good at and how does that give us an advantage over competitors?

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

The online shop 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.

3. Environment analysis

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:

A. Competition

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 online store 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.

B. Legislation

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:

  • Do they require investment? Will it be just one or will it be recurrent?
  • Do you have the necessary knowledge to use them?
  • Will you need to hire a third party?

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.

Download Your FREE eCommerce Business Plan Template Here

4. Products and Services

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 eCommerce 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.

5. Marketing Plan

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 online shop 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.

  • Email marketing
  • Social networks
  • Videomarketing and YouTube.
  • Content marketing
  • Ecommerce marketing
  • Paid traffic with AdWords or Facebook Ads.

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

6. Operational Planning

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:

  • Manage returns
  • Offer support
  • Deal with unforeseen events
  • Manage the stock
  • Negotiate with suppliers

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 online store business plan. 😉

7. Financial projections

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.

8. Funding Application

This is the last step of your eCommerce 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 online store business 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.

How to present your online store business plan

You already know how to  create your eCommerce 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 online shop 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.

Business Plan Examples

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 business plan templates and this post, then create your own version and make people fall in love of your idea.

eCommerce Business Plan FAQs 1. What should be included in an eCommerce business plan?

An eCommerce business plan should encompass key elements such as a detailed market analysis, competitive landscape assessment, financial projections, marketing strategies, and a comprehensive operational plan.

2. How much money do I need to start an eCommerce business?

The required capital to initiate an eCommerce business varies, but it generally involves expenses for product sourcing, website development, marketing, and initial operational costs. A detailed financial plan can provide a clearer estimate based on your business model and scale.

3. How to start an eCommerce business?

Initiating an eCommerce business involves several steps. Begin by conducting market research, selecting a niche, creating a business plan, registering your business, setting up an online store, sourcing or creating products, implementing secure payment options, and establishing a marketing strategy. Consistent effort in each step is crucial for a successful start.

4. Is online eCommerce business profitable?

The profitability of an online eCommerce business depends on various factors, including the chosen niche, market demand, competition, and effective management. A well-planned business strategy, quality products or services, and efficient marketing can contribute significantly to the profitability of your online venture.

Start Writing Your Online Store Business Plan Today

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 eCommerce 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.

An online shop 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? Download our FREE business plan template to help you get started with your eCommerce! Good luck!

  • Increase your eCommerce sales by 20%
  • The 10 largest eCommerce sites in the world
  • How to start an online shop from scratch

business plan online shop example

Related articles


SWOT Analysis for Online Business (+ Template & Examples)

livestreem ecommerce

Livestreaming e-commerce

empresas packaging

Why improving your shop’s packaging will increase sales and 6 original ideas to do it

remarketing ecommerce o tienda online

10 e-commerce remarketing strategies to boost your ROI

mejores articulos ecommerce

The 10 best posts on e-commerce that you have to read

Sobre nosotros Doofinder

How to write the perfect “About Us” page for your e-commerce (even if you don’t know what to say at this point)

Subscribe to our blog.

Merchant support

How to write a business plan for an online store?

In the age of digitalization where customer-friendly experience appears to be a cornerstone of every online store, it is of great importance to design a creative and meticulous ecommerce business plan. 

It’s said that 50% of new businesses close down within five years from the launch and therefore if you are thinking about opening up your own business, or you already have one, you’ll benefit greatly from writing a plan. 

An ecommerce business plan is usually presented in the form of a booklet with a detailed description of your business. It consists of elements such as: Executive Summary, Company structure, Products, Operations, Market Analysis, Marketing Strategy and Financial Plan. We will elaborate on each and every of these sections further on.

Having a written business plan will keep you on the right track and encourage you to meet your targets (e.g. sales targets) more effectively.

How to write a business plan?

So now that you know what a business plan is, let’s talk about the structure. It’s worth remembering that every plan is highly individual and depends on the owner’s vision and the objectives of their company.  The aim of the following article is to give you a hint or a general idea of what components of your company need a thorough consideration. But before we move on to the structure, let’s discuss the aim of writing it.

Why is it good to have a business plan?

There are many compelling reasons behind having an ecommerce business plan, one of which is to think critically about every major feature of your company: What do I want to achieve? How? What message would I like to send? How am I going to talk about my business? Those are the questions that need a deep thought before getting started. It allows you to identify any limitations and prevent possible problems. Moreover, it can be beneficial when you’re after outside funding. Setting clear goals and showing your potential makes your business credible and attractive to future investors. There are also other reasons that seem to reappear, among which we can distinguish: planning, idea evaluation, research, recruiting and partnership.

Planning. Writing down a description and the concept of your online store will give you a clue about how much time and money will you need, what is the scope of your company and what kind of resources will be needed from day one.

Idea evaluation. Writing a business plan will also help you decide whether your concept has a chance to achieve success. It’s also a great opportunity to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of your idea.

Research. A good business plan needs solid research. Therefore, the information you will find, might be of great importance if it comes to your business, sales and marketing strategy.

Recruiting. Another reason to design a business plan is to communicate your mission and vision to other people by inviting them to your team. Also, it’s a perfect moment to think about what personalities and professions will be of great value to your business.

Partnership. It takes two to ta ngo… or even more. Another reason behind making a business plan is to identify if and what kind of collaborations you are going to have especially when you are in the early stage of growth.

Important elements

While writing your business plan it’s crucial to include the following aspects:

Competition analysis

An overview of what’s happening on the market plays a crucial role while planning a business and therefore, it gives you substantial information about the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

SWOT analysis

Making a deep analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will determine your competitive advantage on the market or illustrate aspects that need improvement. To make it clear and coherent we suggest you make such an analysis in a grid form with specific bullet points in each section. 

Store logistics

Every merchandise needs to be delivered to the customer and this is possible thanks to logistics. This is an aspect that plays a crucial role in customer acquisition since the more efficient logistic service, the happier the shopper. There are five logistic models among which we can distinguish:

  • Dropshipping;
  • Cross-docking
  • Own warehouse;
  • Fulfillment.

If you need more information about each logistic model, click here . Also, if you feel that fulfillment is the best option for your ecommerce business, leave us a contact below. 

Are you going to handle logistics duties yourself or work with a logistics company? To find out which is right for you, talk to the Omnipack Sales Team today.

Ecommerce business plan structure.

Every business plan is individual and will cater different needs and objectives. However, there are several features that need to be included:

Executive summary

The word summary in this section isn’t without reason. This part is a company description that introduces and highlights key elements of your business. It serves as a booklet presenting your mission statement and describes your major objectives. The more objectives you enumerate, the better sense of direction you will get. Present your online store platform and describe briefly your products. Think about what makes your online store so special and how you are going to stand out from other companies. Remember that it’s a summary- keep your executive summary brief and consistent. 

Company description

It’s a good idea to start from the very basics of the plan. Writing down the list of people working for your company will give you a clue who is responsible for which task. Moreover, it will not only present their responsibilities but also illustrate their qualifications and skills. Also, think about the business model you represent- Are you a solo proprietorship, general/limited partnership, incorporated company/ LLC?

Market analysis

Before launching your product or service, it’s of great value to spend some time on the market analysis. Try to understand your ideal customer: Who and how old are they? What professions do they represent? What social media/ ecommerce platforms do they use? What will they buy? What kind of products or services might they be interested in? Also, don’t forget to research relevant industry trends and its trajectory. Will your products be in demand next year? Is your target market stable or rather changeable? Is your ecommerce platform efficient? All that information will give you a clue about the feasibility and viability of your business plan.

This seems to be the very cornerstone of your online store. This is where it all began, right? Think about the product/service you are selling. Focus on their specifications and benefits. To help you sort all those aspects out, I strongly recommend following the questions below: What are your main products? What makes them unique? How do you acquire them? What kind of materials are used to produce your product? How much will they cost? Are your products seasonal? Will they last? How long?

Marketing strategy

Next step in the process of designing an ecommerce business plan is to think about the means you are going to use in the process of customer acquisition. How will you acquire, convert and retain customers? Consider the following: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PR, Content Strategy, Search Engine, Social Media (e.g. Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram), Email marketing, Promotions. In addition to that you might consider Customer Loyalty as well. How are you going to reward returning customers? According to statistics, 58% of customers that belong to a brand’s loyalty program make purchases from that brand at least once per month . As you can see, having an effective marketing strategy will keep your ecommerce business sustainable.

Let’s talk about logistics as this is the essential part of every ecommerce business. Behind every successful delivery and customer-friendly service, there is a meticulous and efficient process. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give this aspect a longer thought. Think about things such as, the website of your online store, the shipping process, payment processing, the staff and management team, suppliers, couriers and 3PL services. A smooth workflow has an immense impact on the final outcome and the future success of your company. 

Financial plan

Talking about money is never an easy task; However, in terms of your business plan it is one of the most important aspects to ponder on. Without money, your business wouldn’t happen in the first place and that’s why it needs your attention. By planning your finances, you won’t be taken aback by unexpected expenses and if it comes to outside funding, you  will stand out as a transparent and scalable company. The complexity of this part of your business plan depends on the goals, audience, and the size of the business. Typically, there are three major factors to consider: an income statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. Nevertheless, feel free to include as much information as you need.

To sum up, writing a business plan gives you an opportunity to look critically at every aspect of your online store and introduce your mission statement. Make sure it’s not just a daunting task and treat it as an in-depth analysis of your idea for the business. You might find it beneficial to highlight the key points you’ve discovered while writing your plan. Perhaps you’ll find something that needs an adjustment. Focus on features such as: Basic concepts, Business mission and objectives, Product description, Planning strategy, Target market, Operations (e.g. the platform, shipping process, payment processing etc.), The ask, The team, Current/Projected Financial state. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight- it needs some time but with a solid plan, it will make it.

Reach out to us and let’s talk about how Omnipack can streamline logistics and help your business grow!

Omnipack Team

Omnipack Team

August 4, 2021 9 min


Get Your E-commerce Logistics Ready for the Coming Sales Peak


See similar posts

Cross-Border e-commerce: Strategy Guide in 3 Easy Steps

Cross-Border e-commerce: Strategy Guide in 3 Easy Steps

If you want to stay afloat, you have to rethink your strategy and adjust it to the post-COVID scenery...

Start utilizing a product bundling strategy

Start utilizing a product bundling strategy

What if we told you that there is a straightforward and cheap way to lower your shipping costs and in...

How to build a crisis-proof eCommerce business?

How to build a crisis-proof eCommerce business?

Check what 3 elements you need to take care of to make your eCommerce crisis-proof.

Why don’t European online stores offer cross-border sales?

Why don’t European online stores offer cross-border sales?

The number of online stores is growing every year. More and more of them are also opening up for fore...

Black Friday like you’ve never seen before

Black Friday like you’ve never seen before

The times when Black Friday was strictly for the brick-and-mortar stores and Cyber Monday was for eCo...

5 logistics improvements your customers will love

5 logistics improvements your customers will love

The importance of logistics in corporate structures grows. Today, it’s not just about packaging a par...

Fulfillment in Poland – more and more eCommerce companies outsource logistics

Fulfillment in Poland – more and more eCommerce companies outsource logistics

The fulfillment service is just start...

e-Commerce in Poland: How to start selling online in Poland?

e-Commerce in Poland: How to start selling online in Poland?

Just 26% of Polish customers buy products in foreign online stores! The conclusion is simple - you ha...

eCommerce Blog

Starting a Business | 6 min read

How to write a business plan for your online business

business plan online shop example

Your business plan is vital to your success, and for more than one reason. First, your business plan provides a strong foundation from which to move forward without losing momentum by wondering what to do next. Second, a well-written business plan is required when presenting your business to potential investors.

Don't be intimidated by the idea of writing. You can start with an informal plan and clean it up later by fitting it into a business plan template when (or if) you're looking to secure a loan. Your starter plan doesn't need to have perfect grammar or really be in any shape to show to investors — that comes later. The most important thing is that you do it!

Below well show you how to write a business plan step-by-step, with 9 key sections that every business plan should include.

Point 1: Your Business Plan Executive Summary

The Executive Summary of your business plan covers the objectives of your business and lays out your mission. It's basically an overview of your business and the problems your business will seek to solve for your clients. Discuss your motivations and business goals. It's recommended to write the Executive Summary last, after you've outlined everything else.

Point 2: Your Business Description

Describe your business from your own point of view and discuss how you plan to grow. Explain where your profits will come from. Explain what kinds of customers you're going to target and how your products or services are going to help them specifically.

Point 3: Market Analysis and Competition

Show that you've thoroughly analyzed the market you're targeting and prove that there's a demand for the product or service you're offering. Include information about the size of your market and how many customers you expect to have, and how many will be repeat customers. Discuss your competition and how your business will stand out from the others.

Point 4: Your Product or Service

Here you explain in detail the product or service at the heart of your business. Remember to lay it out as if you're describing it to someone brand new to your idea (it can be easy to forget to do this and phrase things more for someone already "in-the-know" since that's where you're coming from when you write it).

Point 5: Marketing and Sales Plan

In this section, describe how you'll reach the marketplace you're aiming for. Are you going to create a website and social media profiles? Do you plan to attend trade shows? How about paid advertising? Don't limit yourself to what you'll do at the beginning — if you plan to hold off on paying for ads until later, make a note of that.

Point 6: Ownership, Management, and Personnel

This section includes a description of how you'll staff and manage your business, who the owners are (if more than you alone), and the types of personnel you'll need. Include team members you'll be looking to hire as well as those already working with you at this stage. Write a one-paragraph profile of each existing major team member, including yourself.

Point 7: Financial Plan and Projections

This is a very important section, both for your own planning and especially if you're going to seek investors. Create a cash flow projection to describe your monthly predicted revenue and expenses, a break-even analysis to show how many sales you need to make to cover your initial expenses and make a profit, a sample profit-and-loss statement using anticipated values, and a balance sheet describing your business's current assets, liabilities, and equity. These are the kinds of financial data you'll need to assemble every year at tax time, at which point you'll have real numbers to work with rather than projections.

Point 8: Investment

What will your investors receive, based on your cash flow? This doesn't just include outside investors who you might approach later (and with a more formal business plan). It should also include estimates for the return on investment for anyone who has put money into the formation of the business, like you and anyone you're already working with.

Point 9: Appendices

The appendices are a collection of any supporting data you have, such as testimonials, research excerpts, charts, and other information relevant to your business.

Informal vs. Formal Business Plans

Your informal business plan only needs to be around 10 pages , and you can leave the appendices out if you desire. As mentioned, the informal plan doesn't have to be perfect, but it should still be reasonably professional — you may want to recruit a trusted friend or editor to proofread, for example.

Your formal business plan, on the other hand, can be up to 40 pages and should be written to the best standards you can manage, since the formal plan is the one you'd bring with you to secure a business loan or court investors. The appendices will come in handy here to help convince them of the value of investing in your business. Remember, your formal business plan should be impressive but honest.

Business Plans Templates for Download

how to write a business plan

For additional information on how to start an online business  you can download our free ebook below.

Free report: The Real Cost of Running a Shopify Store

Leave a reply or comment below

Sign up for marketing tips, related posts.

{ }}

Apps & Integrations

B2B Ecommerce

Conversion Optimization

Customer Service

Digital Payments

Ecommerce Features

Ecommerce Marketing

eCommerce News

Email Marketing

Fraud Prevention

Holiday Shopping

Search Engine Optimization

Shipping & Fulfillment

Social Media

Starting an Online Business

Success Stories

Popular Articles

business plan online shop example

Copyright © 2023 Shift4Shop. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sample Business Plans
  • Retail, Consumers & E-commerce

Online Boutique Business Plan

Executive summary image

There are several fashion enthusiasts and designers who want to start a boutique business , but not everyone wants to go through the hassle of owning a physical store.

After all, a physical store requires a huge amount of resources, finances, and time. Also, with the rise of eCommerce websites and the convenience that comes with them, many people have switched to buying their clothes online.

This makes now a time as good as any to get started with your online boutique business.

If you are planning to start a new online boutique store, the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample Online Boutique Business Plan created using Upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new online boutique store, spend as much time as you can reading through some samples of Retail & E-commerce Business Plans .

Industry Overview

According to data, the apparel eCommerce market in the US stood at a value of 91.7 billion US dollars in 2020 and has grown at a rate of 8.06 percent in 2021. Also, with the increase in preference for shopping for clothes online, it isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

With contactless and convenient deliveries, hundreds of options to explore, and no long queues for changing rooms, the number of people who prefer to shop online has increased exponentially.

And this has turned the eCommerce fashion industry into one of the fastest-growing and most profitable ones.

Say goodbye to boring templates

Build your business plan faster and easier with AI

Plans starting from $7/month

CTA Blue

Some Aspects to Consider Before Writing an Online Boutique Business Plan

Find the right ecommerce platform for your business.

There are several popular eCommerce websites, but only a few would be ideal for your business. Check out the terms and conditions of becoming a seller on all possible eCommerce websites and pick the one that fits the best for your business needs.

Offer unique designs

Your designs should catch the eyeballs and appeal to the heart. It is necessary to help you stand out from thousands of other options.

It also helps you create your unique style and become more memorable to your target audience.

And as you’ll be working in an intensely competitive market, your unique designs can become your business’s USP.

Know what your customers want

This is essential to the success of an online boutique.

Because more often than not, people shop online because they can’t find what they want in physical stores.

Stay updated with the latest styles and trends, add your unique touch to them and you are ready to get going!

Build your network

Though an online business comes minus several hassles of a physical store, it has its own set of challenges too.

And though that shouldn’t discourage you from starting your business, you should keep in mind that having a network of people who can help you along the way by giving advice, helping you learn necessary skills, and so on is important.

Chalking out Your Business Plan

Reading  sample business plans  will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for. It will also show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample for you to get a good idea about what a perfect online boutique business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Online Boutique Business Plan Outline

This is the standard online boutique business plan outline covering all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

Executive summary: The executive summary of your online boutique plan provides a high-level overview of the entire plan

Company overview: this section of your plan provides a detailed description of your online boutique, its vision, mission, and future goals., product & service offerings: this section describes the product and service offerings your online boutique intends to provide., market analysis: your market analysis section will provide a detailed description of your industry, target market, competitive advantage, and growth potential., sales and marketing strategies: your marketing plan will outline the marketing and sales strategies you will use to attract new customers or pet owners., management team: the management team section will introduce your management team to readers. the list may include the founders and other key people involved in the business operations., operations plan: it’s a section outlining business procedures and day-to-day business activities that ensure seamless business operations., financial plan: this section provides a clear overview of your financial projection and financing needs. a well-prepared financial plan is key to raising capital for a new business..

  • Problem Definition & Validation
  • Mission Statement
  • Keys to Success
  • Avante – 5-Year Highlights
  • Company Ownership / Legal Entity
  • Interior Operating Facilities
  • Hours of Operation
  • Start-up Summary
  • Casual Jumper
  • Patchwork Jacket
  • Contemporary Overalls
  • Production Process
  • Shoe Segment
  • Accessories and Bags
  • Jewelry and Bags
  • Market Trends
  • Competitive Advantage
  • SWOT analysis
  • Distribution Strategy
  • Direct Sales
  • Trade Publications
  • Trade shows and Lifestyle Exhibitions
  • Targeted Online Advertising
  • Positioning Statement
  • Target Market Segment
  • Online Marketing Channels
  • Offline Marketing Channels
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Organization chart
  • Management Team
  • Hiring plan
  • Important Assumptions
  • Brake-even Analysis
  • Profit Yearly
  • Gross Margin Yearly
  • Projected Cash Flow
  • Projected Balance Sheet
  • Business Ratios

Download a sample online boutique business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go; download our free online boutique business plan pdf to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your online boutique. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

You may also explore our clothing and fashion business examples before you start writing.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Write your business plan with Upmetrics

A business plan software like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions, customizable templates, and an extensive library of 400+ sample business plans to help you get started.

So, whether starting an online boutique or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you need to create a business plan.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning today!

Related Posts

Jewelry Business Plan

Jewelry Business Plan

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

How to Write a Business Plan Step by Step

How to Conduct a Customer Analysis

How to Conduct a Customer Analysis

Best Business Planning Softwares

Best Business Planning Softwares

Frequently asked questions, do you need a business plan for an online boutique.

Yes, you surely need a business plan for an online boutique. It’s an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

How to get funding for your online boutique?

There are several ways to get funding for your online boutique, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

  • Bank loan – You may apply for a loan in government or private banks.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan – SBA loans and schemes are available at affordable interest rates, so check the eligibility criteria before applying for it.
  • Crowdfunding – The process of supporting a project or business by getting a lot of people to invest in your business, usually online.
  • Angel investors – Getting funds from angel investors is one of the most sought-after startup options.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available. Check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

What is the easiest way to write your online boutique business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of any online boutique business plan example and edit it as per your need. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

What key components should an online boutique business plan include?

The following are the key components your online boutique business plan must include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business Overview
  • Market Analysis
  • Products and services
  • Sales and marketing strategies
  • Operations plan
  • Management team
  • Financial plan

Can a good online boutique business plan help me secure funding?

Indeed. A well-crafted online boutique business plan will help your investors better understand your business domain, market trends, strategies, business financials, and growth potential—helping them make better financial decisions.

So, if you have a profitable and investable business, a comprehensive business plan can certainly help you secure your business funding.

About the Author

business plan online shop example

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

Plan your business in the shortest time possible

No Risk – Cancel at Any Time – 15 Day Money Back Guarantee

bpb AI Feature Image

Create a great Business Plan with great price.

  • 400+ Business plan templates & examples
  • AI Assistance & step by step guidance
  • 4.8 Star rating on Trustpilot

Streamline your business planning process with Upmetrics .

Download Online Boutique Business Plan


  • E-COMMERCE E-commerce Website Development E-commerce Web Packages E-commerce SEO E-commerce Integrations Offshore Web Development White Label Web Design WordPress Web Design Shopify Development WooCommerce Development Magento To Shopify Migration Shopify to WooCommerce Migration WooCommerce to Shopify Migration MAGENTO Magento Website Development Magento PWA Development Magento 2 Migration Magento 2 Upgrade Magento Integration Magento SEO Magento Support APPS Progressive Web App Development Hybrid App Development Website Vs. PWA
  • Magento Extensions Magento 2 PWA Theme Magento 2 PWA Add-ons Shopify Apps
  • Search for:

Guide To Build A Practical Business Plan For Online Store

business plan for online store

A business plan can be a make-or-break for any business. It’s safe to say successful enterprises all have the same solid foundation with a great business plan, including the ones in e-commerce. This article will show all the steps to build a practical business plan for an online store. If you are thinking about running an online store, don’t miss out on this guide.

Definition Of A Business Plan

A business plan is a document that describes a company, its products or services, how it will make a profit, its leadership and human resource, finance, operation model, and other details critical to its success.

A great business plan helps companies set goals and strategies to achieve them and introduce them to investors. If your business is an online tool, your e-commerce business plan is the roadmap. First, define your business – your vehicle – then describe where you want to take your business and how to get there.

ecommerce business plan

Why You Need A Business Plan For Online Store

Your eCommerce business plan is the most important strategic document for your business.

When you write a business plan, you will:

Gain a deeper understanding of your business

Writing a business plan means you need to check all the factors relevant to your business. Thus, you get all the details about your business and understand it better.

Identify the resources you need

You have a great business idea. Now you have to gather resources to make it happen. Look at three categories of resources: financial, physical, and human, and see what you need to fulfill the requirements for these resources.

Create a roadmap for the future

This document is your game plan for success. You will describe your growth strategy, sales goals, and personal ambitions. You’ll set milestones and identify key performance indicators (KPIs).

business plan ecommerce

Evaluate your competitors

By having a plan, you will find out about your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, what you can learn from them, etc. The answers you discover are beneficial in helping your business compete with others.

Identify opportunities

Opportunities are everywhere – you need to know where to look. You can form marketing partnerships with companies whose products complement each other.

Key Sections In A Business Plan For Online Store

1. executive summary.

An executive summary distills your business idea into a clear and compelling one-page outline.

It should provide a high-level overview of your business. With a glance, reviewers will understand the type of business you run, what you do, and what makes your business stands out. Your executive summary should include:

  • Business concept
  • Business goals and vision
  • Product description and differentiation
  • Targeted market
  • Marketing strategy
  • Current financial situation
  • Human resource

2. Company overview

This part of your business plan should answer two fundamental questions: Who are you, and what are you doing? Answering these questions can explain why you are in business, what makes you different, what represents you, and why you are a good investment.

Here are some components to include:

  • Corporate structure (are you a sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, or corporation?)
  • Business model
  • Company Vision, Mission, and Value Proposition
  • Background information about your company or its history
  • Short- and long-term business goals
  • Team, including key personnel and their salaries

3. Market analysis

To be successful in e-commerce, you need to understand your target market. Before writing, do research about your industry and the long-term prospects for that particular industry.

A market analysis should include an overview of how big you think the market for your product is, an analysis of your company’s position in the market, and an overview of the competitive landscape.

market analysis

4. Products and services

In your executive summary, you give a brief overview of your product or service. Now is the time for details. Whatever you sell, write down detailed descriptions, its benefits, potentials, and all other factors that you’d like your customers to know.

Make your product and service sections digestible: keep paragraphs short, stick to non-technical language, and use bullet points to emphasize product attributes. If you have testimonials from pre-launch product testers, include them in this section of your business plan.

5. Marketing plan

Customers directly influence your marketing efforts. You should outline your current marketing plan and future direction for the business and connect and retain people.

Most marketing plans contain information on four main themes. How much detail you provide in each case depends on your company and the target audience.

6. Logistics and operations plan

This is the workflow you implement to bring your ideas to life. Depending on your business, the logistics and operations plan should cover the following:

  • Suppliers 
  • Shipping and fulfillment

7. Financial plan

Almost all businesses require a certain amount of capital to get started. Some entrepreneurs present their start-up costs, and others form alliances with wealthier partners. Still, others are looking for angel investors, launching crowdfunding campaigns, or raising business loans.

Typically you want to include three main views of economic data: the income statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement. It may also be appropriate to have financial data and forecasts.

financial plan

Common Mistakes When Writing A Business Plan For Online Store

Being unrealistic.

  • Financial projections: This is one of the most common mistakes in business plans. Investors want to know where your business is now and where it’s headed in the future. So if the project is too optimistic and the forecast is not explained, the plan will be rejected.
  • Competition: If you overemphasize your match, investors will worry that the company will not survive. Focus on a niche that sets you apart from the competition

Bad Research

All searches must be verified and attested. Using incorrect or outdated information, you discredit the rest of your business idea and plan. The only way to address these weaknesses is to include a detailed strategy on how you intend to manage them.

Hiding Your Weaknesses

Don’t hide your weaknesses, but don’t overemphasize them either. Every company has its shortcomings, but you’ll keep investors out if you hide them or overemphasize them.


Even if you never set out to reach out to investors, a business plan for online store can help you identify clear, intentional next steps to grow your shop gradually.

Whether you’re writing a business plan for an online store, brick-and-mortar store, or growing your existing business, you now have a comprehensive guide and the information you need to start your next phase of business.

Creating a solid business plan is the first step towards e-commerce success. Get personalized advice and strategies for your online store with our free website consultation.

business plan online shop example

Plan Your Perfect Website

Book a free website consultation with our experts.

Our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.

business plan online shop example

Zoe Lee Zoe Lee

Zoe is a highly skilled Marketing Manager and a key team member at Tigren. With extensive experience in digital marketing, brand strategy, and campaign management, Zoe is passionate about driving growth and engagement for businesses in today's fast-paced, digital landscape.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Last Updated on 4 weeks by Mark Mac

business plan online shop example

Small Business Trends

How to create a business plan: examples & free template.

This guide has been designed to help you create a winning plan that stands out in the ever-evolving marketplace. U sing real-world examples and a free downloadable template, it will walk you through each step of the process.

Table of Contents

How to Write a Business Plan

Executive summary.

business plan

The Executive Summary serves as the gateway to your business plan, offering a snapshot of your venture’s core aspects. This section should captivate and inform, succinctly summarizing the essence of your plan.

Example: EcoTech is a technology company specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable products designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste. Our mission is to create innovative solutions that contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

Overview and Business Objectives

This part of the plan demonstrates to investors and stakeholders your vision for growth and the practical steps you’ll take to get there.

Company Description

Include information about the company’s founders, their expertise, and why they are suited to lead the business to success. This section should paint a vivid picture of your business, its values, and its place in the industry.

Define Your Target Market

Example: Our target market comprises environmentally conscious consumers and businesses looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. Our ideal customers are those who prioritize sustainability and are willing to invest in eco-friendly products.

Market Analysis

Our research indicates a gap in the market for high-quality, innovative eco-friendly technology products that cater to both individual and business clients.

SWOT Analysis

Competitive analysis.

In this section, you’ll analyze your competitors in-depth, examining their products, services, market positioning, and pricing strategies. Understanding your competition allows you to identify gaps in the market and tailor your offerings to outperform them.

Organization and Management Team

Example: EcoTech’s organizational structure comprises the following key roles: CEO, CTO, CFO, Sales Director, Marketing Director, and R&D Manager. Our management team has extensive experience in technology, sustainability, and business development, ensuring that we are well-equipped to execute our business plan successfully.

Products and Services Offered

Marketing and sales strategy.

Describe the nature of your advertising campaigns and promotional activities, explaining how they will capture the attention of your target audience and convey the value of your products or services. Outline your sales strategy, including your sales process, team structure, and sales targets.

Logistics and Operations Plan

Inventory control is another crucial aspect, where you explain strategies for inventory management to ensure efficiency and reduce wastage. The section should also describe your production processes, emphasizing scalability and adaptability to meet changing market demands.

Financial Projections Plan

In the Financial Projections Plan, lay out a clear and realistic financial future for your business. This should include detailed projections for revenue, costs, and profitability over the next three to five years.

Income Statement

The income statement , also known as the profit and loss statement, provides a summary of your company’s revenues and expenses over a specified period. It helps you track your business’s financial performance and identify trends, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your financial goals.

Cash Flow Statement

Executive SummaryBrief overview of the business planOverview of EcoTech and its mission
Overview & ObjectivesOutline of company's goals and strategiesMarket leadership in sustainable technology
Company DescriptionDetailed explanation of the company and its unique selling propositionEcoTech's history, mission, and vision
Target MarketDescription of ideal customers and their needsEnvironmentally conscious consumers and businesses
Market AnalysisExamination of industry trends, customer needs, and competitorsTrends in eco-friendly technology market
SWOT AnalysisEvaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsStrengths and weaknesses of EcoTech
Competitive AnalysisIn-depth analysis of competitors and their strategiesAnalysis of GreenTech and EarthSolutions
Organization & ManagementOverview of the company's structure and management teamKey roles and team members at EcoTech
Products & ServicesDescription of offerings and their unique featuresEnergy-efficient lighting solutions, solar chargers
Marketing & SalesOutline of marketing channels and sales strategiesDigital advertising, content marketing, influencer partnerships
Logistics & OperationsDetails about daily operations, supply chain, inventory, and quality controlPartnerships with manufacturers, quality control
Financial ProjectionsForecast of revenue, expenses, and profit for the next 3-5 yearsProjected growth in revenue and net profit
Income StatementSummary of company's revenues and expenses over a specified periodRevenue, Cost of Goods Sold, Gross Profit, Net Income
Cash Flow StatementOverview of cash inflows and outflows within the businessNet Cash from Operating Activities, Investing Activities, Financing Activities

Tips on Writing a Business Plan

3. Set realistic goals: Your business plan should outline achievable objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Setting realistic goals demonstrates your understanding of the market and increases the likelihood of success.

FREE Business Plan Template

To help you get started on your business plan, we have created a template that includes all the essential components discussed in the “How to Write a Business Plan” section. This easy-to-use template will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.

What is a Business Plan?

Why you should write a business plan, what are the different types of business plans.

In today’s fast-paced business world, having a well-structured roadmap is more important than ever. A traditional business plan provides a comprehensive overview of your company’s goals and strategies, helping you make informed decisions and achieve long-term success. There are various types of business plans, each designed to suit different needs and purposes. Let’s explore the main types:

Type of Business PlanPurposeKey ComponentsTarget Audience
Startup Business PlanOutlines the company's mission, objectives, target market, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections.Mission Statement, Company Description, Market Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Organizational Structure, Marketing and Sales Strategy, Financial Projections.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Internal Business PlanServes as a management tool for guiding the company's growth, evaluating its progress, and ensuring that all departments are aligned with the overall vision.Strategies, Milestones, Deadlines, Resource Allocation.Internal Team Members
Strategic Business PlanOutlines long-term goals and the steps to achieve them.SWOT Analysis, Market Research, Competitive Analysis, Long-Term Goals.Executives, Managers, Investors
Feasibility Business PlanAssesses the viability of a business idea.Market Demand, Competition, Financial Projections, Potential Obstacles.Entrepreneurs, Investors
Growth Business PlanFocuses on strategies for scaling up an existing business.Market Analysis, New Product/Service Offerings, Financial Projections.Business Owners, Investors
Operational Business PlanOutlines the company's day-to-day operations.Processes, Procedures, Organizational Structure.Managers, Employees
Lean Business PlanA simplified, agile version of a traditional plan, focusing on key elements.Value Proposition, Customer Segments, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure.Entrepreneurs, Startups
One-Page Business PlanA concise summary of your company's key objectives, strategies, and milestones.Key Objectives, Strategies, Milestones.Entrepreneurs, Investors, Partners
Nonprofit Business PlanOutlines the mission, goals, target audience, fundraising strategies, and budget allocation for nonprofit organizations.Mission Statement, Goals, Target Audience, Fundraising Strategies, Budget.Nonprofit Leaders, Board Members, Donors
Franchise Business PlanFocuses on the franchisor's requirements, as well as the franchisee's goals, strategies, and financial projections.Franchise Agreement, Brand Standards, Marketing Efforts, Operational Procedures, Financial Projections.Franchisors, Franchisees, Investors

Using Business Plan Software

Enloop is a robust business plan software that automatically generates a tailored plan based on your inputs. It provides industry-specific templates, financial forecasting, and a unique performance score that updates as you make changes to your plan. Enloop also offers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget.

SoftwareKey FeaturesUser InterfaceAdditional Features
LivePlanOver 500 sample plans, financial forecasting tools, progress tracking against KPIsUser-friendly, visually appealingAllows creation of professional-looking business plans
UpmetricsCustomizable templates, financial forecasting tools, collaboration capabilitiesSimple and intuitiveProvides a resource library for business planning
BizplanDrag-and-drop builder, modular sections, financial forecasting tools, progress trackingSimple, visually engagingDesigned to simplify the business planning process
EnloopIndustry-specific templates, financial forecasting tools, automatic business plan generation, unique performance scoreRobust, user-friendlyOffers a free version, making it accessible for businesses on a budget
Tarkenton GoSmallBizGuided business plan builder, customizable templates, financial projection toolsUser-friendlyOffers CRM tools, legal document templates, and additional resources for small businesses

Business Plan FAQs

What is a good business plan, what are the 3 main purposes of a business plan, can i write a business plan by myself.

We also have examples for specific industries, including a using food truck business plan , salon business plan , farm business plan , daycare business plan , and restaurant business plan .

Is it possible to create a one-page business plan?

How long should a business plan be, what is a business plan outline, what are the 5 most common business plan mistakes, what questions should be asked in a business plan.

A business plan should address questions such as: What problem does the business solve? Who is the specific target market ? What is the unique selling proposition? What are the company’s objectives? How will it achieve those objectives?

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

How is business planning for a nonprofit different.

business plan online shop example

Type above and press Enter to search. Press Esc to cancel.

How to Write An Attention-Grabbing Retail Business Plan

  • by Luke O'Neill

minute read

How to Write An Attention-Grabbing Retail Business Plan

Now, you might be thinking: ‘why do I need a business plan? I’ve got it all mapped out in my head. I might even have successful businesses already!’

But business plans are so much more than another action item on your ever-growing to-do list.  They communicate your positioning, planning and potential for success to the world.

Whether you’re writing your first business plan or your tenth, we’ve put together a guide to getting it done that will help:

  • The purpose of a retail business plan
  • How a retail business plan differs from other business plans
  • Before you get started
  • What to include in your plan
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • How to set your plan apart

Inventory management made easy

Use our easy-to-follow inventory management to streamline your processes and eliminate errors.

What are retail business plans for? 

Retail business plans are planning and forecasting documents. They explain your business model, who your customers are and how you plan to take your store or online shop from an idea to a profitable reality. 

Why are retail business plans different?

Because retail businesses are different. 

Whether you’re selling from a brick-and-mortar store or through an online shop, you have to consider a combination of factors that many other businesses don’t. Think inventory, store supplies, sourcing and supply chains. And, even more complex activities like order fulfillment, deliveries and customer returns. 

You don’t need to write a tome that covers all of these areas, but they will inform how you put your business plan on paper. 

What are the different sections of a retail business plan? 

Crafting an attention-grabbing retail business plan hinges on detailing its most crucial sections with precision. 

Your elevator pitch. 
Details the size and growth potential of your target market, customer demographics, purchasing habits, and competitor analysis.
Lays out financial projections and funding requirements clearly.
Provides an overview of your business, including its history, mission, vision and goals.
Describes the organizational structure of your business.
Outlines the products or services your business will offer.
Details how you will attract and retain customers.
Explains how your business will operate on a day-to-day basis.
Includes supporting documents or additional data that provide further context or evidence for your business plan.

Each section plays a vital role in presenting a comprehensive and convincing plan for your retail business.

Here are three pivotal areas to focus on:

  • Executive summary: your elevator pitch. The executive summary distills your business concept, market positioning and unique selling proposition into a compelling narrative that hooks the reader immediately. 
  • Market analysis: this section should detail the size and growth potential of your target market, customer demographics, and purchasing habits. It also covers competitor analysis, showing awareness of your competition and how your business will stand out. 
  • Financial Plan: lay out your financial projections and funding requirements clearly. This includes startup costs, projected income statements, cash flow forecasts, and a break-even analysis.

Before you write your retail business plan

But let’s pump the brakes for a second. It might be tempting to dive right in and start writing your business plan as soon as possible. But consider these suggestions before you do.

Research your market first

“Without a market, a retail firm cannot exist,” said Susan Smith, marketing manager at Velden Engineering . “One of the first things readers will look for when reading your business plan is evidence of a healthy market, an unmet need in the market and how your company is positioned to meet that need. Completing thorough market research before developing your business plan should be a top priority,” she said.

To grasp customer demographics and preferences, retailers should engage in thorough market research:

  • Analyze existing data on target market segments to understand age, gender, income levels and lifestyle choices.
  • Conduct surveys and focus groups to gather insights directly from potential customers about their needs, preferences, and shopping behaviors.
  • Leverage social media analytics to reveal wider trends and consumer sentiments.

Combining quantitative data with qualitative feedback allows retailers to tailor their offerings and marketing strategies effectively, ensuring their business plan is aligned with customer expectations and market demand.

Understand your competitors

This will give you valuable insight into your own products and services.

“Most industries are becoming oversaturated at this point, so investors want to know what sets you apart. What makes you unique. Do as much research into your competitors as you do into your own business ,” said Gabriel Dungan, CEO and founder of mattress topper company, ViscoSoft.

To research your competitors:

  • Shop with them. Browse their online storefront, visit one of their locations, make a purchase and make note of their services.
  • Gather their press releases, investor relations and earning statements.
  • Chart their growth patterns and research the cities and neighborhoods they operate in.
  • Record their USP, product offering and any loyalty programs.

Choose the right location

When selecting a potential location, consider factors such as target market proximity, foot traffic, competition density and the compatibility of the local demographic with your product offering. A prime location can boost foot traffic, offering more opportunities to attract and retain customers.

The impact of location extends beyond mere physical presence; it’s about positioning your business in a spot that maximizes its exposure to the right audience, enhancing the likelihood of higher sales volumes.

Do research to help you articulate the rationale behind your location:

  • Gather market research data, foot traffic statistics and competitive analysis.
  • Cross reference how your chosen location aligns with your target market’s profile and shopping habits.

Have a growth strategy

Identify a clear growth strategy to strengthen your business plan, suggests Michelle Ebbin, Owner of Australian clothing brand JettProof .  “Most companies focus on market penetration where they sell current products to an already existing market,” said Ebbin. “While that’s a feasible route, you might also want to explore product development by introducing new, innovative products to existing customers.”

“There’s also market development where you try to find new markets for your existing products and diversification for introducing new products to new markets,” she said. Ebbin believes determining a clear growth strategy can increase retailers’ chances of convincing potential investors, who essentially want to know how you will grow your business once it’s up and running.

TIP: Accountants and financial advisors can help you prepare your retail business plan.

Retailers should consider expansion or diversifying product lines and services when their current operations consistently exceed performance expectations, signaling market demand and operational capacity for growth. Analyze sales data, customer feedback, and market trends to identify opportunities. Additionally, if there’s a noticeable shift in consumer behavior or emerging trends align with your business’s strengths, it might be time to diversify. In your business plan, clearly outline the strategic rationale for expansion or diversification, supported by data and market analysis, to demonstrate how these moves will drive future growth and address evolving market needs.

What to include in your retail business plan

When it comes to the specifics, include these details.  

Give a business overview in your executive summary 

For your executive summary, give a high-level description of your retail business. If you had less than two minutes to explain why your business will succeed, what would you say?

You can mention your company’s structure, legal name, location and the products or services you’ll sell, but don’t go in depth—these will all have their own dedicated sections. Describe whether you will be selling in-store, online or across various channels.

Keep this section simple. Use easy-to-understand language. It shouldn’t be more than a page, and it should get people excited right away.

Explain your business goals

In this section, you should talk about what you plan to achieve. Why are you starting this business, and where do you want it to go? Realistically, what will you be able to make happen?

This doesn’t need to be lengthy or complex. And the goal doesn’t need to be huge, either. For example:

“Our goal is to become the go-to provider of HD gaming and streaming cameras for teenagers in San Francisco within 18-24 months.”  

You could also cover any goals you have about locations, product ranges or online stores. 

Showcase your industry experience

This section is more about you, the owner. It’s where you showcase your personal and professional drive to take the business forward. Keep it brief, but say why you’re the right person to take this retail business from an idea to a reality. 

  • Your specialty, such as brick-and-mortar, ecommerce or both. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) is also an option.
  • Any senior roles in well-known national or regional retail businesses
  • Sales or lead generation goals you’ve driven before
  • Successful growth initiatives, like new store openings.

Set out your marketing strategy 

Here’s where you talk about your store’s image and branding strategy. Cover of some of the fundamentals of retail marketing, including your plans for the 4Ps of retail marketing. 

Here’s a quick reminder about what they are:  

  • Product: What you’ll sell and your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). 
  • Pricing: How much your products will cost and why you’ve chosen these price points. 
  • Place: Where you’re going to sell your products (online, in-store or omnichannel).
  • Promotion: How you’re going to promote both your store and the products you will sell.  

Consider briefly outlining your strategy for leveraging social media for marketing and customer engagement. Describe how platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will serve as tools for brand promotion, product launches, and direct customer interaction. 

This section doesn’t need to be overlong or complex. If you want to dive into the details—or provide a complete marketing plan —you can do this in an appendix at the end of the plan. 

Financial strategy and forecast

Nine times out of 10, this is what people reading your business plan will most want to see.

“At the end of the day, your company will be judged on its capacity to generate a profit,” said Will Cannon, CEO of Signaturely , an e-signature software company. “Investors will want to see some data related to your startup demands and revenue estimates, no matter how succinct and appealing your retail business plan is,” he said. 

Think about including your:

  • Estimated capital requirements
  • Profit and revenue model
  • Estimated sales volume
  • A break-even point calculation
  • Balance sheet projections
  • Cash flow projections.

Above all, ground these figures in reason.

Detail the management structure

Explain your management setup. Who are the founders? What will their job be? Will you have a CFO, a CPO, a head buyer, a head of marketing? A vice president? Define your titles and jobs. 

This will make things move much more easily throughout the early settling-in time. Everyone will understand where they stand and you will know how you plan to manage people on a daily basis. This strategy should include information such as the number of team members you’ll hire, their roles and how those roles fit into the wider plan. 

Outline your plan for technology and retail operations

In this part of your business plan, detail how you’ll harness retail technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experience and expand your market reach. List your options for POS systems, why you’re considering them, their opportunities for growth and their annual cost.  

Emphasize integrating ecommerce into your business model and exactly how—will you operate your own site, sell on Amazon or both? Discuss the specifics of your online storefront, including website design—will you pay for a custom-coded site?—payment processing systems and cybersecurity measures to protect customer information.

Talk about inventory sourcing and supplier management

Outline your criteria for selecting suppliers, including their sustainability practices, delivery timelines and ability to scale with your business. If you have any quotes from or connections with suppliers already, include those details here. 

Discuss your strategies for efficient inventory sourcing, such as leveraging technology for inventory management, adopting a just-in-time inventory system to reduce holding costs and diversifying your supplier base to mitigate risks. Explain how you plan to negotiate favorable terms and build a collaborative rapport with suppliers to secure better prices, quality improvements and exclusive products.

Include your approach to handling supply chain disruptions and ensuring product availability to meet customer demand without overstocking. 

Make a plan for compliance and legal considerations

This part of your retail business plan should detail any local zoning laws, health and safety standards and specific retail sector regulations you need to make a plan for. 

Mention the need for protecting your business with the right insurance policies. Outline the types of insurance you’ll secure, such as:

  • Liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Workers’ compensation

Mention your sustainability and ethical practices

Describe initiatives you’ll invest in, such as using eco-friendly materials, reducing waste through efficient packaging and implementing energy-saving practices within operations, and briefly mention their importance to your potential customers. 

Also discuss the importance of ethical inventory sourcing, ensuring that products are obtained from suppliers who uphold high standards for labor practices and environmental responsibility.

Finish by detailing plans to monitor and adapt to market trends

Future-proof your retail business plan by laying the foundation for scaling and adapting. Outline your strategies for continuous market research, including customer feedback mechanisms, social media monitoring and industry reports, to identify emerging trends and shifts in consumer preferences.

Discuss how your business plan is designed to be flexible, allowing you to swiftly adapt to changing market conditions. This might include diversifying product lines, embracing new technologies or refining marketing strategies to meet evolving consumer demands. 

Avoid these common mistakes

A good business plan is as much about what you leave out as what you put in. 

Too much detail

You’re not here to write a novel. You’re here to get busy people on board with your business plan.

“Potential partners and investors will not waste time pouring over hundreds of pages of rambling nonsense,” said Nick Edwards, Director at Snow Finders , a ski holiday company in the UK.

Long blocks of text should be avoided. Use visuals and graphics to substitute prose, with any exceptionally heavy content being attached as appendices if necessary.

Poor financial planning 

Some landlords take a percentage of sales as part of the rent. And it’s common for rent to increase annually. Your retail business plan should account for growing expenses, taxes and wider market influences to prove you’ve got a handle on your financial planning.

Spelling and grammar

Remember the basics. Grammar and spelling errors show you haven’t put diligence into the planning process. And that can undermine how partners and potential investors view the plan.  

Once you’ve written your business plan, have a professional editor look it over to catch any errors and make sure you’re as clear as possible.

How to strengthen your business plan 

As you’ll have noticed by now, you need to keep a few different audiences in mind while writing your business plan. In most cases, there are three:

  • Potential investors: People or businesses who want to back your business with capital, in return for future profits or part-ownership.
  • Potential business partners: Suppliers, brands and business partners who may want to supply goods or services to your business, or even help you run the whole show. 
  • Banks, lenders and insurers: Financial institutions that you may need for credit cards, overdrafts, loans or revolving credit facilities. 

“Be wary about exaggerating your numbers or laying out too difficult or impossible things,” said Stacey Kane, Business Development Lead at Easy Merchant . “You want the investor who finds flaws in your plan to be the exception, not the norm. With this perspective, you can strengthen your view of what can be done with research and transparent results. Finding ways to show how valuable your idea is will also help make them more likely to invest,” she said.  

Finishing your retail business plan 

Done well, business plans are much more than a helpful written guide to your business strategy. They’re a resource to attract future business partners, and even a foundation for securing outside funding. Don’t put writing your retail business plan on the backburner for too long—it could be one of the first stepping stones to your very own thriving retail business. 

Ready to write your retail business plan? Talk to a Lightspeed product expert to discover how the right POS technology can help you show investors and partners that you mean business. 

Frequently asked questions about business plans

How do i write a retail business plan.

Begin with a clear executive summary, followed by market analysis to understand your audience.

Detail your business description, including products and services. Include sections on organization and management, marketing and sales strategies, funding requests (if applicable), financial projections and an appendix for additional documents. 

Each section should be concise, backed by research, and reflect your vision for the business.

How do I start a successful retail business?

  • Identify a market need and develop a business model that addresses that need uniquely. 
  • Conduct thorough market research.
  • Choose a strategic location.
  • Curate a compelling product mix.
  • Write a business plan detailing all this, plus financial planning, and get funding.

How do you structure a retail business?

Organize your operations into key areas: procurement, sales, marketing, inventory management, customer service and finance. Define clear roles and responsibilities for your team to ensure smooth operations and a positive customer experience.

What does a retail business plan look like?

A retail business plan includes an executive summary, market analysis, business description, organization and management structure, details of product or service offerings, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections and an appendix. It’s a structured document that outlines your business goals and your financial expectations.

How do you start a business plan from scratch?

Start by defining your business idea and objectives. Conduct market research to understand your competition and target audience. Outline your business structure, products or services, marketing and sales strategies and financial plans including projections. Write an executive summary last, which summarizes the key points of your plan. Use a clear, concise and realistic approach throughout the document.

business plan online shop example

News you care about. Tips you can use.

Everything your business needs to grow, delivered straight to your inbox.

Sorry, there was an error with your submission.

Success! You are now signed up to our blog content updates.

Luke O'Neill

Luke O’Neill writes for growing businesses in fintech, legal SaaS, and education. He owns Genuine Communications , which helps CMOs, founders, and marketing teams to build brands and attract customers.

Related articles

Retail Return Policies: Your Guide to Returns and Free Shipping

Retail Return Policies: Your Guide to Returns and Free Shipping

  • by Alex Hammond

Purchase Orders Explained: What Retailers Need to Know

Purchase Orders Explained: What Retailers Need to Know

14 Stockroom Organization Ideas and Guidelines to Implement in Your Retail Store

14 Stockroom Organization Ideas and Guidelines to Implement in Your Retail Store

  • by Francesca Nicasio

Browse more topics


Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example

Avatar photo

  • June 15, 2024
  • Business Plan

the business plan template for a fashion store

Creating a comprehensive business plan is crucial for launching and running a successful fashion store. This plan serves as your roadmap, detailing your vision, operational strategies, and financial plan. It helps establish your fashion store’s identity, navigate the competitive market, and secure funding for growth.

This article not only breaks down the critical components of a fashion store business plan, but also provides an example of a business plan to help you craft your own.

Whether you’re an experienced entrepreneur or new to the retail industry, this guide, complete with a business plan example, lays the groundwork for turning your fashion store business concept into reality. Let’s dive in!

Our fashion store business plan is structured to cover all essential aspects needed for a comprehensive strategy. It outlines the store’s operations, marketing strategy , market environment, competitors, management team, and financial forecasts.

  • Executive Summary : Offers an overview of your fashion store’s business concept, market analysis , management, and financial strategy.
  • Services & Rates: Lists the clothing and accessories provided by your fashion store, including the pricing structure .
  • Operations: Describes the store’s daily operations, inventory management, staffing, and customer service policies.
  • Key Stats: Shares industry size , growth trends, and relevant statistics for the fashion market.
  • Key Trends: Highlights recent trends affecting the fashion sector.
  • Key Competitors : Analyzes main competitors nearby and how your store differs from them.
  • SWOT Analysis : Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis.
  • Marketing Plan : Strategies for attracting and retaining customers.
  • Timeline : Key milestones and objectives from start-up through the first year of operation.
  • Management: Information on who manages the fashion store and their roles.
  • Financial Plan: Projects the store’s 5-year financial performance, including revenue, profits, and expected expenses.

the business plan template for a fashion store

Fashion Store Business Plan

business plan online shop example

Fully editable 30+ slides Powerpoint presentation business plan template.

Download an expert-built 30+ slides Powerpoint business plan template

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary introduces your fashion store’s business plan, offering a concise overview of your store and its offerings. It should detail your market positioning, the range of apparel and accessories you offer, its location, size, and an outline of day-to-day operations.

This section should also explore how your fashion store will integrate into the local market, including the number of direct competitors within the area, identifying who they are, along with your store’s unique selling points that differentiate it from these competitors.

Furthermore, you should include information about the management and co-founding team, detailing their roles and contributions to the store’s success. Additionally, a summary of your financial projections, including revenue and profits over the next five years, should be presented here to provide a clear picture of your store’s financial plan.

Make sure to cover here _ Business Overview _ Market Overview _ Management Team _ Financial Plan

Business Overview

For a Fashion Store, the Business Overview section can be concisely divided into 2 main slides:

Services & Rates

Detail the extensive array of fashion products available, including clothing, footwear, and accessories for various occasions and demographics. Outline your pricing structure, designed to cater to a range of customers, from budget-conscious shoppers to luxury seekers. Highlight promotional offers, seasonal discounts, and loyalty rewards programs that enhance customer retention and satisfaction.

Describe the store’s strategic location, emphasizing how its proximity to bustling shopping areas and ease of access, including public transportation and parking, makes it a prime choice for shoppers. Explain the thoughtful store layout and design that facilitates a seamless shopping experience, from product discovery to checkout. Discuss the well-trained staff that enhances the shopping experience with their expertise and customer service.

Make sure to cover here _ Service & Rates _ Operations

Market Overview

Industry size & growth.

In the Market Overview of your fashion store business plan, start by examining the size of the fashion retail industry and its growth potential. This analysis is crucial for understanding the market’s scope and identifying expansion opportunities.

Key Market Trends

Proceed to discuss recent market trends , such as the increasing consumer interest in sustainable fashion, the rise of e-commerce, and the demand for personalized shopping experiences. For example, highlight the popularity of eco-friendly and ethically sourced materials, as well as the integration of technology in personalizing customer interactions.

Key Competitors

Then, consider the competitive landscape, which includes a range of fashion retailers from luxury boutiques to budget-friendly stores, as well as online shopping platforms. For example, emphasize what makes your store distinctive, whether it’s through exclusive product offerings, a commitment to sustainability, or exceptional customer service. This section will help articulate the demand for fashion store services, the competitive environment, and how your store is positioned to thrive within this dynamic market.

Make sure to cover here _ Industry size & growth _ Key competitors _ Key market trends

Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example market overview

Dive deeper into Key competitors

First, conduct a SWOT analysis for the fashion store , highlighting Strengths (such as a diverse product range and strong brand identity), Weaknesses (including reliance on seasonal trends or strong competition), Opportunities (for example, the growing interest in sustainable and ethically produced clothing), and Threats (such as economic downturns that may decrease consumer spending on non-essential goods).

Marketing Plan

Next, develop a marketing strategy that outlines how to attract and retain customers through targeted advertising, promotional discounts, an engaging social media presence, and community involvement. Focus on digital marketing campaigns, collaborations with fashion influencers, and hosting fashion events to increase brand visibility and customer engagement.

Finally, create a detailed timeline that outlines critical milestones for the fashion store’s opening, marketing efforts, customer base growth, and expansion objectives, ensuring the business moves forward with clear direction and purpose. Include key dates for product launches, seasonal sales, and strategic reviews to adapt to changing market conditions.

Make sure to cover here _ SWOT _ Marketing Plan _ Timeline

Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example strategy

Dive deeper into SWOT

Dive deeper into Marketing Plan

The Management section focuses on the fashion store’s management and their direct roles in daily operations and strategic direction. This part is crucial for understanding who is responsible for making key decisions and driving the fashion store toward its financial and operational goals.

For your fashion store business plan, list the core team members, their specific responsibilities, and how their expertise supports the business.

Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example management

Financial Plan

The Financial Plan section is a comprehensive analysis of your financial projections for revenue, expenses, and profitability. It lays out your fashion store’s approach to securing funding, managing cash flow, and achieving breakeven.

This section typically includes detailed forecasts for the first 5 years of operation, highlighting expected revenue, operating costs , and capital expenditures.

For your fashion store business plan, provide a snapshot of your financial statement (profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow statement), as well as your key assumptions (e.g. number of customers and prices, expenses, etc.).

Make sure to cover here _ Profit and Loss _ Cash Flow Statement _ Balance Sheet _ Use of Funds

Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example financial plan

Related Posts

the business plan template for a bridal shop

Bridal Shop Business Plan PDF Example

Avatar photo

Bookstore Business Plan PDF Example

the business plan template for a bicycle rental store

Bicycle Rental Business Plan PDF Example

Privacy overview.

BIGipServerwww_ou_edu_cms_serverssessionThis cookie is associated with a computer network load balancer by the website host to ensure requests are routed to the correct endpoint and required sessions are managed.
cookielawinfo-checkbox-advertisement1 yearSet by the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin, this cookie is used to record the user consent for the cookies in the "Advertisement" category .
cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional11 monthsThe cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
cookielawinfo-checkbox-others11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.
cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance11 monthsThis cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".
CookieLawInfoConsent1 yearRecords the default button state of the corresponding category & the status of CCPA. It works only in coordination with the primary cookie.
elementorneverThis cookie is used by the website's WordPress theme. It allows the website owner to implement or change the website's content in real-time.
viewed_cookie_policy11 monthsThe cookie is set by the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin and is used to store whether or not user has consented to the use of cookies. It does not store any personal data.
__cf_bm30 minutesThis cookie, set by Cloudflare, is used to support Cloudflare Bot Management.
languagesessionThis cookie is used to store the language preference of the user.
_ga2 yearsThe _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
_ga_QP2X5FY3282 yearsThis cookie is installed by Google Analytics.
_gat_UA-189374473-11 minuteA variation of the _gat cookie set by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to allow website owners to track visitor behaviour and measure site performance. The pattern element in the name contains the unique identity number of the account or website it relates to.
_gid1 dayInstalled by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
browser_id5 yearsThis cookie is used for identifying the visitor browser on re-visit to the website.
WMF-Last-Access1 month 18 hours 11 minutesThis cookie is used to calculate unique devices accessing the website.


AI Generator

business plan online shop example

E-commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. E-commerce encompasses various business models, including business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B). It enables businesses to reach a global audience, offers convenience to consumers, and often involves electronic payment systems, Ecommerce Chatbot , Ecommerce Marketing , and logistics management to facilitate the entire transaction process. An effective e-commerce marketing strategy is essential for businesses to thrive in the competitive online marketplace. Developing a comprehensive e-commerce marketing plan can help businesses target the right audience, optimize their online presence, and increase sales.

What is E-Commerce?

Ecommerce , short for electronic commerce, refers to the practice of conducting business transactions online. This involves selling and buying products or services through digital platforms such as websites and mobile apps. E-commerce allows businesses to operate beyond physical stores, reaching customers worldwide and offering them the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time.

When planning an e-commerce project , developing a comprehensive e-commerce project plan is essential. This plan should include strategies for website development, marketing, and logistics. An e-commerce website questionnaire can help gather customer preferences and requirements, ensuring the site meets user needs. Additionally, obtaining a website quote provides an estimate of the costs involved in building and maintaining the e-commerce platform. For a unique customer interaction, integrating an interesting ChatGPT feature can enhance user engagement by providing personalized assistance and answering queries in real-time.

Examples of E-Commerce

Types of e-commerce.

Types of Ecommerce

1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

  • Description : Transactions between businesses and individual consumers.
  • Examples : Amazon, Walmart, Zappos.

2. Business-to-Business (B2B)

  • Description : Transactions between businesses.
  • Examples : Alibaba, ThomasNet, Costco Wholesale.

3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

  • Description : Transactions between individual consumers, often facilitated by a third-party platform.
  • Examples : eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace.

4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

  • Description : Transactions where individuals sell products or services to businesses.
  • Examples : Shutterstock (selling photos), Upwork (freelance services), influencer marketing.

5. Business-to-Government (B2G)

  • Description : Transactions between businesses and government entities.
  • Examples : Government procurement sites, defense contractors, public sector software providers.

6. Government-to-Business (G2B)

  • Description : Transactions where governments sell products or services to businesses.
  • Examples : Licensing services, public records access, government data services.

7. Government-to-Consumer (G2C)

  • Description : Transactions between governments and individual consumers.
  • Examples : Online tax filing, license renewals, public service portals.

8. Mobile Commerce (M-commerce)

  • Description : Transactions conducted through mobile devices.
  • Examples : Mobile shopping apps like Amazon, mobile banking, mobile payment services like Apple Pay.

9. Social Commerce (S-commerce)

  • Description : Transactions conducted through social media platforms.
  • Examples : Shopping features on Instagram, Facebook Shops, Pinterest Buyable Pins.

10. Subscription E-commerce

  • Description : Transactions where consumers subscribe to receive products or services on a regular basis.
  • Examples : Netflix (streaming services), Dollar Shave Club (subscription boxes), Adobe Creative Cloud (software subscriptions).

Working of E-Commerce

  • Website/App Setup : Businesses set up an online store through a website or mobile app, showcasing their products or services with detailed descriptions and prices.
  • Customer Browsing : Customers browse the online store, using search functions and categories to find products or services they are interested in.
  • Selection and Cart : Customers select items and add them to their virtual shopping cart.
  • Checkout Process : Customers proceed to checkout, where they enter shipping and payment information.
  • Payment Processing : Payment is processed through secure online payment gateways (e.g., credit cards, PayPal).
  • Order Confirmation : Once payment is successful, the customer receives an order confirmation via email or app notification.
  • Order Fulfillment : The business processes the order, packing the items and arranging for shipping through logistics partners.
  • Shipping and Delivery : The order is shipped and delivered to the customer’s specified address.
  • Post-Sale Support : Customers receive post-sale support, including order tracking, handling returns or exchanges, and customer service assistance.

Where does E-Commerce Take Place?

  • Platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba where multiple vendors sell products to consumers.
  • Businesses operate their own online stores, like or, where they sell directly to consumers.
  • Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest now offer shopping features that allow users to buy products directly.
  • Dedicated shopping apps like Etsy, Wish, and retail-specific apps (e.g., Walmart, Target) provide mobile-friendly shopping experiences.
  • Websites like Alibaba and ThomasNet facilitate business-to-business transactions.

How does E-Commerce Take Place?

  • Description : Businesses list their products or services online with detailed descriptions, prices, and images.
  • Platform : This can be done on their own websites, online marketplaces, or social media shops.
  • Browsing : Customers use search functions, filters, and categories to find products.
  • Selection : They select items and add them to their virtual shopping carts.
  • Cart Management : Customers review their selected items in the shopping cart.
  • Checkout Process : Customers proceed to checkout, entering shipping details and selecting payment methods.
  • Payment Gateways : Payments are processed securely through gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or direct credit card processing.
  • Transaction Confirmation : Once payment is successful, customers receive an order confirmation.
  • Processing : The business receives the order, processes it, and prepares it for shipment.
  • Packaging and Shipping : Items are packaged and shipped using logistics services (e.g., UPS, FedEx).
  • Shipping : Orders are delivered to the customer’s specified address.
  • Tracking : Customers can track their shipments through tracking numbers provided by the logistics partner.
  • Customer Support : Handling queries, returns, and exchanges through customer service.
  • Feedback : Customers leave reviews and feedback about their purchasing experience.

E-Commerce Website

An e-commerce website is an online platform where businesses sell products or services to consumers over the internet. These websites allow customers to browse products, make purchases, and manage orders from the comfort of their homes or on the go. Effective email marketing strategies can enhance customer engagement and drive sales by sending personalized promotions and updates directly to customers. Additionally, providing a detailed invoice for your e-commerce sales ensures transparency and helps customers keep track of their purchases

Steps to Create an E-Commerce Website

  • Select a unique and memorable name for your website.
  • Choose a platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or BigCommerce.
  • Create a user-friendly and visually appealing design. Customize templates or hire a web designer.
  • Upload product images, descriptions, prices, and specifications.
  • Integrate payment gateways and configure shipping options.
  • Ensure your website is secure with SSL certificates and other security protocols.
  • Test all features thoroughly and launch your site to the public.
  • Use digital marketing strategies like SEO, social media marketing, and email campaigns to attract customers.

E-Commerce Business

An e-commerce business is a company that operates primarily over the internet, selling products or services to consumers or other businesses. E-commerce businesses leverage online platforms and digital tools to reach a broader audience, provide convenience, and streamline the buying process.

Steps to Start an E-Commerce Business

  • Identify a niche market, conduct competitor analysis, and create a business plan.
  • Decide whether to operate as B2C, B2B, C2C, or C2B based on target market and goals.
  • Choose a business name, register it, and obtain necessary licenses and permits.
  • Choose a platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or BigCommerce based on your needs.
  • Design your website, add products, set up payment and shipping options.
  • Decide whether to manufacture, wholesale, or dropship your products.
  • Launch your online store and implement marketing strategies to attract customers.
  • Use analytics to track performance, customer behavior, and sales. Continuously optimize your processes and strategies.

Challenges of E-Commerce

  • Description : High competition from numerous online businesses.
  • Impact : Difficult to stand out and attract customers.
  • Description : Risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks.
  • Impact : Loss of customer trust and potential financial loss.
  • Description : Managing efficient order fulfillment and timely delivery.
  • Impact : Customer dissatisfaction due to delays or shipping errors.
  • Description : Keeping customers engaged and loyal.
  • Impact : High customer acquisition costs if retention strategies fail.
  • Description : Reliance on technology and platform stability.
  • Impact : Downtime or technical issues can disrupt sales.
  • Description : Handling secure and diverse payment options.
  • Impact : Transaction failures and customer frustration.
  • Description : Adhering to international and local laws and regulations.
  • Impact : Legal issues and fines for non-compliance.
  • Description : Providing effective and timely support.
  • Impact : Negative customer experiences if service is lacking.
  • Description : Handling returns and refunds efficiently.
  • Impact : Increased operational costs and potential abuse of return policies.
  • Description : Driving traffic to the website and converting visitors into buyers.
  • Impact : Low sales if traffic generation and conversion strategies are ineffective.

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Commerce

Allows businesses to reach a worldwide audience.
Customers can shop anytime, increasing sales opportunities.
Reduced need for physical stores and staff.
Tailor marketing efforts to individual preferences.
Easy access to products and services from home.
Gather insights on customer behavior and preferences.
Easier to scale business operations compared to physical stores.
Quick to update inventory, prices, and product details.
Leverage SEO, social media, and email marketing at lower costs.
No need for physical storefronts and associated costs.

Tips for How to Succeed in E-Commerce

Tips for How to Succeed in Ecommerce

  • Understand Your Market : Know your audience and competitors.
  • Choose the Right Platform : Select a scalable and user-friendly e-commerce platform.
  • Offer Quality Products : Ensure high-quality products to build trust.
  • Create an Engaging Website : Focus on UX and visual appeal.
  • Optimize for Search Engines : Implement SEO strategies.
  • Leverage Social Media : Promote products and engage with customers.
  • Offer Excellent Customer Service : Provide responsive support.
  • Utilize Data Analytics : Make data-driven decisions.
  • Implement Secure Payment Options : Offer secure payment methods.
  • Efficient Order Fulfillment : Manage inventory and ensure fast shipping.
  • Effective Marketing Strategies : Use email marketing and paid advertising.
  • Build Customer Loyalty : Implement loyalty programs.

Why is ecommerce important?

Ecommerce is important because it provides convenience, a broader reach, and often lower costs for both businesses and consumers.

What are the benefits of ecommerce for businesses?

Businesses benefit from ecommerce through increased sales, broader market reach, reduced operating costs, and improved customer insights.

How can consumers benefit from ecommerce?

Consumers benefit from ecommerce through convenience, a wider selection of products, competitive pricing, and easy access to reviews and information.

What are some popular ecommerce platforms?

Popular ecommerce platforms include Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce, offering various features for different business needs.

How do payment gateways work in ecommerce?

Payment gateways securely process online payments, verifying transaction details and transferring funds from the customer to the merchant.

What is drop shipping in ecommerce?

Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store sells products without keeping inventory, relying on suppliers to ship directly to customers.

How can businesses improve their ecommerce presence?

Businesses can improve their ecommerce presence by optimizing their website, enhancing user experience, employing SEO, and utilizing social media marketing.

What is mobile commerce (m-commerce)?

Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, refers to buying and selling goods and services through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

How important is customer service in ecommerce?

Customer service is crucial in ecommerce as it builds trust, resolves issues, enhances user experience, and fosters customer loyalty.

What is an online marketplace?

An online marketplace is a platform where multiple sellers offer products or services, like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.


Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

10 Examples of Public speaking

20 Examples of Gas lighting

You might be using an unsupported or outdated browser. To get the best possible experience please use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge to view this website.

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Katherine Haan

Updated: Apr 7, 2024, 1:44pm

How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Before you begin: get in the right mindset, 1. determine your business concept, 2. research your competitors and market, 3. create your business plan, 4. choose your business structure, 5. register your business and get licenses, 6. get your finances in order, 7. fund your business, 8. apply for business insurance, 9. get the right business tools, 10. market your business, 11. scale your business, what are the best states to start a business, bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Starting a business is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you can have. But where do you begin? There are several ways to approach creating a business, along with many important considerations. To help take the guesswork out of the process and improve your chances of success, follow our comprehensive guide on how to start a business. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from defining your business idea to registering, launching and growing your business .

Featured Partners


$0 + State Fees

Varies By State & Package


On ZenBusiness' Website


On LegalZoom's Website

Northwest Registered Agent

$39 + State Fees

Northwest Registered Agent

On Northwest Registered Agent's Website

$0 + State Fee

On Formations' Website

The public often hears about overnight successes because they make for a great headline. However, it’s rarely that simple—they don’t see the years of dreaming, building and positioning before a big public launch. For this reason, remember to focus on your business journey and don’t measure your success against someone else’s.

Consistency Is Key

New business owners tend to feed off their motivation initially but get frustrated when that motivation wanes. This is why it’s essential to create habits and follow routines that power you through when motivation goes away.

Take the Next Step

Some business owners dive in headfirst without looking and make things up as they go along. Then, there are business owners who stay stuck in analysis paralysis and never start. Perhaps you’re a mixture of the two—and that’s right where you need to be. The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal. Then, order those steps by what needs to happen first. Some steps may take minutes while others take a long time. The point is to always take the next step.

Most business advice tells you to monetize what you love, but it misses two other very important elements: it needs to be profitable and something you’re good at. For example, you may love music, but how viable is your business idea if you’re not a great singer or songwriter? Maybe you love making soap and want to open a soap shop in your small town that already has three close by—it won’t be easy to corner the market when you’re creating the same product as other nearby stores.

If you don’t have a firm idea of what your business will entail, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What do you hate to do?
  • Can you think of something that would make those things easier?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do others come to you for advice about?
  • If you were given ten minutes to give a five-minute speech on any topic, what would it be?
  • What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but lacked resources for?

These questions can lead you to an idea for your business. If you already have an idea, they might help you expand it. Once you have your idea, measure it against whether you’re good at it and if it’s profitable.

Your business idea also doesn’t have to be the next Scrub Daddy or Squatty Potty. Instead, you can take an existing product and improve upon it. You can also sell a digital product so there’s little overhead.

What Kind of Business Should You Start?

Before you choose the type of business to start, there are some key things to consider:

  • What type of funding do you have?
  • How much time do you have to invest in your business?
  • Do you prefer to work from home or at an office or workshop?
  • What interests and passions do you have?
  • Can you sell information (such as a course), rather than a product?
  • What skills or expertise do you have?
  • How fast do you need to scale your business?
  • What kind of support do you have to start your business?
  • Are you partnering with someone else?
  • Does the franchise model make more sense to you?

Consider Popular Business Ideas

Not sure what business to start? Consider one of these popular business ideas:

  • Start a Franchise
  • Start a Blog
  • Start an Online Store
  • Start a Dropshipping Business
  • Start a Cleaning Business
  • Start a Bookkeeping Business
  • Start a Clothing Business
  • Start a Landscaping Business
  • Start a Consulting Business
  • Start a Photography Business
  • Start a Vending Machine Business

Most entrepreneurs spend more time on their products than they do getting to know the competition. If you ever apply for outside funding, the potential lender or partner wants to know: what sets you (or your business idea) apart? If market analysis indicates your product or service is saturated in your area, see if you can think of a different approach. Take housekeeping, for example—rather than general cleaning services, you might specialize in homes with pets or focus on garage cleanups.

Primary Research

The first stage of any competition study is primary research, which entails obtaining data directly from potential customers rather than basing your conclusions on past data. You can use questionnaires, surveys and interviews to learn what consumers want. Surveying friends and family isn’t recommended unless they’re your target market. People who say they’d buy something and people who do are very different. The last thing you want is to take so much stock in what they say, create the product and flop when you try to sell it because all of the people who said they’d buy it don’t because the product isn’t something they’d buy.

Secondary Research

Utilize existing sources of information, such as census data, to gather information when you do secondary research. The current data may be studied, compiled and analyzed in various ways that are appropriate for your needs but it may not be as detailed as primary research.

Conduct a SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis allows you to look at the facts about how your product or idea might perform if taken to market, and it can also help you make decisions about the direction of your idea. Your business idea might have some weaknesses that you hadn’t considered or there may be some opportunities to improve on a competitor’s product.

business plan online shop example

Asking pertinent questions during a SWOT analysis can help you identify and address weaknesses before they tank your new business.

A business plan is a dynamic document that serves as a roadmap for establishing a new business. This document makes it simple for potential investors, financial institutions and company management to understand and absorb. Even if you intend to self-finance, a business plan can help you flesh out your idea and spot potential problems. When writing a well-rounded business plan, include the following sections:

  • Executive summary: The executive summary should be the first item in the business plan, but it should be written last. It describes the proposed new business and highlights the goals of the company and the methods to achieve them.
  • Company description: The company description covers what problems your product or service solves and why your business or idea is best. For example, maybe your background is in molecular engineering, and you’ve used that background to create a new type of athletic wear—you have the proper credentials to make the best material.
  • Market analysis: This section of the business plan analyzes how well a company is positioned against its competitors. The market analysis should include target market, segmentation analysis, market size, growth rate, trends and a competitive environment assessment.
  • Organization and structure: Write about the type of business organization you expect, what risk management strategies you propose and who will staff the management team. What are their qualifications? Will your business be a single-member limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation ?
  • Mission and goals: This section should contain a brief mission statement and detail what the business wishes to accomplish and the steps to get there. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and time-bound).
  • Products or services: This section describes how your business will operate. It includes what products you’ll offer to consumers at the beginning of the business, how they compare to existing competitors, how much your products cost, who will be responsible for creating the products, how you’ll source materials and how much they cost to make.
  • Background summary: This portion of the business plan is the most time-consuming to write. Compile and summarize any data, articles and research studies on trends that could positively and negatively affect your business or industry.
  • Marketing plan: The marketing plan identifies the characteristics of your product or service, summarizes the SWOT analysis and analyzes competitors. It also discusses how you’ll promote your business, how much money will be spent on marketing and how long the campaign is expected to last.
  • Financial plan: The financial plan is perhaps the core of the business plan because, without money, the business will not move forward. Include a proposed budget in your financial plan along with projected financial statements, such as an income statement, a balance sheet and a statement of cash flows. Usually, five years of projected financial statements are acceptable. This section is also where you should include your funding request if you’re looking for outside funding.

Learn more: Download our free simple business plan template .

Come Up With an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is important for any business that is seeking funding because it outlines how you’ll sell the company or transfer ownership if you decide to retire or move on to other projects. An exit strategy also allows you to get the most value out of your business when it’s time to sell. There are a few different options for exiting a business, and the best option for you depends on your goals and circumstances.

The most common exit strategies are:

  • Selling the business to another party
  • Passing the business down to family members
  • Liquidating the business assets
  • Closing the doors and walking away

Develop a Scalable Business Model

As your small business grows, it’s important to have a scalable business model so that you can accommodate additional customers without incurring additional costs. A scalable business model is one that can be replicated easily to serve more customers without a significant increase in expenses.

Some common scalable business models are:

  • Subscription-based businesses
  • Businesses that sell digital products
  • Franchise businesses
  • Network marketing businesses

Start Planning for Taxes

One of the most important things to do when starting a small business is to start planning for taxes. Taxes can be complex, and there are several different types of taxes you may be liable for, including income tax, self-employment tax, sales tax and property tax. Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you may also be required to pay other taxes, such as payroll tax or unemployment tax.

Start A Limited Liability Company Online Today with ZenBusiness

Click to get started.

When structuring your business, it’s essential to consider how each structure impacts the amount of taxes you owe, daily operations and whether your personal assets are at risk.

An LLC limits your personal liability for business debts. LLCs can be owned by one or more people or companies and must include a registered agent . These owners are referred to as members.

  • LLCs offer liability protection for the owners
  • They’re one of the easiest business entities to set up
  • You can have a single-member LLC
  • You may be required to file additional paperwork with your state on a regular basis
  • LLCs can’t issue stock
  • You’ll need to pay annual filing fees to your state

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

An LLP is similar to an LLC but is typically used for licensed business professionals such as an attorney or accountant. These arrangements require a partnership agreement.

  • Partners have limited liability for the debts and actions of the LLP
  • LLPs are easy to form and don’t require much paperwork
  • There’s no limit to the number of partners in an LLP
  • Partners are required to actively take part in the business
  • LLPs can’t issue stock
  • All partners are personally liable for any malpractice claims against the business

Sole Proprietorship

If you start a solo business, you might consider a sole proprietorship . The company and the owner, for legal and tax purposes, are considered the same. The business owner assumes liability for the business. So, if the business fails, the owner is personally and financially responsible for all business debts.

  • Sole proprietorships are easy to form
  • There’s no need to file additional paperwork with your state
  • You’re in complete control of the business
  • You’re personally liable for all business debts
  • It can be difficult to raise money for a sole proprietorship
  • The business may have a limited lifespan


A corporation limits your personal liability for business debts just as an LLC does. A corporation can be taxed as a C corporation (C-corp) or an S corporation (S-corp). S-corp status offers pass-through taxation to small corporations that meet certain IRS requirements. Larger companies and startups hoping to attract venture capital are usually taxed as C-corps.

  • Corporations offer liability protection for the owners
  • The life span of a corporation is not limited
  • A corporation can have an unlimited number of shareholders
  • Corporations are subject to double taxation
  • They’re more expensive and complicated to set up than other business structures
  • The shareholders may have limited liability

Before you decide on a business structure, discuss your situation with a small business accountant and possibly an attorney, as each business type has different tax treatments that could affect your bottom line.

Helpful Resources

  • How To Set Up an LLC in 7 Steps
  • How To Start a Sole Proprietorship
  • How To Start a Corporation
  • How To Start a Nonprofit
  • How To Start a 501(c)(3)

There are several legal issues to address when starting a business after choosing the business structure. The following is a good checklist of items to consider when establishing your business:

Choose Your Business Name

Make it memorable but not too difficult. Choose the same domain name, if available, to establish your internet presence. A business name cannot be the same as another registered company in your state, nor can it infringe on another trademark or service mark that is already registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Business Name vs. DBA

There are business names, and then there are fictitious business names known as “Doing Business As” or DBA. You may need to file a DBA if you’re operating under a name that’s different from the legal name of your business. For example, “Mike’s Bike Shop” is doing business as “Mike’s Bikes.” The legal name of the business is “Mike’s Bike Shop,” and “Mike’s Bikes” is the DBA.

You may need to file a DBA with your state, county or city government offices. The benefits of a DBA include:

  • It can help you open a business bank account under your business name
  • A DBA can be used as a “trade name” to brand your products or services
  • A DBA can be used to get a business license

Register Your Business and Obtain an EIN

You’ll officially create a corporation, LLC or other business entity by filing forms with your state’s business agency―usually the Secretary of State. As part of this process, you’ll need to choose a registered agent to accept legal documents on behalf of your business. You’ll also pay a filing fee. The state will send you a certificate that you can use to apply for licenses, a tax identification number (TIN) and business bank accounts.

Next, apply for an employer identification number (EIN) . All businesses, other than sole proprietorships with no employees, must have a federal employer identification number. Submit your application to the IRS and you’ll typically receive your number in minutes.

Get Appropriate Licenses and Permits

Legal requirements are determined by your industry and jurisdiction. Most businesses need a mixture of local, state and federal licenses to operate. Check with your local government office (and even an attorney) for licensing information tailored to your area.

  • Best LLC Services
  • How To Register a Business Name
  • How To Register a DBA
  • How To Get an EIN for an LLC
  • How To Get a Business License

Start an LLC Online Today With ZenBusiness

Click on the state below to get started.

Open a Business Bank Account

Keep your business and personal finances separate. Here’s how to choose a business checking account —and why separate business accounts are essential. When you open a business bank account, you’ll need to provide your business name and your business tax identification number (EIN). This business bank account can be used for your business transactions, such as paying suppliers or invoicing customers. Most times, a bank will require a separate business bank account to issue a business loan or line of credit.

Hire a Bookkeeper or Get Accounting Software

If you sell a product, you need an inventory function in your accounting software to manage and track inventory. The software should have ledger and journal entries and the ability to generate financial statements.

Some software programs double as bookkeeping tools. These often include features such as check writing and managing receivables and payables. You can also use this software to track your income and expenses, generate invoices, run reports and calculate taxes.

There are many bookkeeping services available that can do all of this for you, and more. These services can be accessed online from any computer or mobile device and often include features such as bank reconciliation and invoicing. Check out the best accounting software for small business, or see if you want to handle the bookkeeping yourself.

Determine Your Break-Even Point

Before you fund your business, you must get an idea of your startup costs. To determine these, make a list of all the physical supplies you need, estimate the cost of any professional services you will require, determine the price of any licenses or permits required to operate and calculate the cost of office space or other real estate. Add in the costs of payroll and benefits, if applicable.

Businesses can take years to turn a profit, so it’s better to overestimate the startup costs and have too much money than too little. Many experts recommend having enough cash on hand to cover six months of operating expenses.

When you know how much you need to get started with your business, you need to know the point at which your business makes money. This figure is your break-even point.

In contrast, the contribution margin = total sales revenue – cost to make product

For example, let’s say you’re starting a small business that sells miniature birdhouses for fairy gardens. You have determined that it will cost you $500 in startup costs. Your variable costs are $0.40 per birdhouse produced, and you sell them for $1.50 each.

Let’s write these out so it’s easy to follow:

This means that you need to sell at least 456 units just to cover your costs. If you can sell more than 456 units in your first month, you will make a profit.

  • The Best Business Checking Accounts
  • The Best Accounting Software for Small Business
  • How To Open a Bank Account

There are many different ways to fund your business—some require considerable effort, while others are easier to obtain. Two categories of funding exist: internal and external.

Internal funding includes:

  • Personal savings
  • Credit cards
  • Funds from friends and family

If you finance the business with your own funds or with credit cards, you have to pay the debt on the credit cards and you’ve lost a chunk of your wealth if the business fails. By allowing your family members or friends to invest in your business, you are risking hard feelings and strained relationships if the company goes under. Business owners who want to minimize these risks may consider external funding.

External funding includes:

  • Small business loans
  • Small business grants
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capital
  • Crowdfunding

Small businesses may have to use a combination of several sources of capital. Consider how much money is needed, how long it will take before the company can repay it and how risk-tolerant you are. No matter which source you use, plan for profit. It’s far better to take home six figures than make seven figures and only keep $80,000 of it.

Funding ideas include:

  • Invoice factoring: With invoice factoring , you can sell your unpaid invoices to a third party at a discount.
  • Business lines of credit: Apply for a business line of credit , which is similar to a personal line of credit. The credit limit and interest rate will be based on your business’s revenue, credit score and financial history.
  • Equipment financing: If you need to purchase expensive equipment for your business, you can finance it with a loan or lease.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) microloans: Microloans are up to $50,000 loans that can be used for working capital, inventory or supplies and machinery or equipment.
  • Grants: The federal government offers grants for businesses that promote innovation, export growth or are located in historically disadvantaged areas. You can also find grants through local and regional organizations.
  • Crowdfunding: With crowdfunding , you can raise money from a large group of people by soliciting donations or selling equity in your company.

Choose the right funding source for your business by considering the amount of money you need, the time frame for repayment and your tolerance for risk.

  • Best Small Business Loans
  • Best Startup Business Loans
  • Best Business Loans for Bad Credit
  • Business Loan Calculator
  • Average Business Loan Rates
  • How To Get a Business Loan

You need to have insurance for your business , even if it’s a home-based business or you don’t have any employees. The type of insurance you need depends on your business model and what risks you face. You might need more than one type of policy, and you might need additional coverage as your business grows. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law if you have employees.

Work With an Agent To Get Insured

An insurance agent can help determine what coverages are appropriate for your business and find policies from insurers that offer the best rates. An independent insurance agent represents several different insurers, so they can shop around for the best rates and coverage options.

Basic Types of Business Insurance Coverage

  • Liability insurance protects your business against third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage and personal injury such as defamation or false advertising.
  • Property insurance covers the physical assets of your business, including your office space, equipment and inventory.
  • Business interruption insurance pays for the loss of income if your business is forced to close temporarily due to a covered event such as a natural disaster.
  • Product liability insurance protects against claims that your products caused bodily injury or property damage.
  • Employee practices liability insurance covers claims from employees alleging discrimination, sexual harassment or other wrongful termination.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and income replacement for employees who are injured on the job.
  • Best Small Business Insurance
  • Best Commercial Auto Insurance
  • How To Get Product Liability Insurance
  • Your Guide to General Liability Insurance
  • 13 Types of Small Business Insurance

Business tools can help make your life easier and make your business run more smoothly. The right tools can help you save time, automate tasks and make better decisions.

Consider the following tools in your arsenal:

  • Accounting software : Track your business income and expenses, prepare financial statements and file taxes. Examples include QuickBooks and FreshBooks.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software : This will help you manage your customer relationships, track sales and marketing data and automate tasks like customer service and follow-ups. Examples include Zoho CRM and
  • Project management software : Plan, execute and track projects. It can also be used to manage employee tasks and allocate resources. Examples include Airtable and ClickUp.
  • Credit card processor : This will allow you to accept credit card payments from customers. Examples include Stripe and PayPal.
  • Point of sale (POS) : A system that allows you to process customer payments. Some accounting software and CRM software have POS features built-in. Examples include Clover and Lightspeed.
  • Virtual private network (VPN) : Provides a secure, private connection between your computer and the internet. This is important for businesses that handle sensitive data. Examples include NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
  • Merchant services : When customers make a purchase, the money is deposited into your business account. You can also use merchant services to set up recurring billing or subscription payments. Examples include Square and Stripe.
  • Email hosting : This allows you to create a professional email address with your own domain name. Examples include G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.

Many business owners spend so much money creating their products that there isn’t a marketing budget by the time they’ve launched. Alternatively, they’ve spent so much time developing the product that marketing is an afterthought.

Create a Website

Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, a web presence is essential. Creating a website doesn’t take long, either—you can have one done in as little as a weekend. You can make a standard informational website or an e-commerce site where you sell products online. If you sell products or services offline, include a page on your site where customers can find your locations and hours. Other pages to add include an “About Us” page, product or service pages, frequently asked questions (FAQs), a blog and contact information.

Optimize Your Site for SEO

After getting a website or e-commerce store, focus on optimizing it for search engines (SEO). This way, when a potential customer searches for specific keywords for your products, the search engine can point them to your site. SEO is a long-term strategy, so don’t expect a ton of traffic from search engines initially—even if you’re using all the right keywords.

Create Relevant Content

Provide quality digital content on your site that makes it easy for customers to find the correct answers to their questions. Content marketing ideas include videos, customer testimonials, blog posts and demos. Consider content marketing one of the most critical tasks on your daily to-do list. This is used in conjunction with posting on social media.

Get Listed in Online Directories

Customers use online directories like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook to find local businesses. Some city halls and chambers of commerce have business directories too. Include your business in as many relevant directories as possible. You can also create listings for your business on specific directories that focus on your industry.

Develop a Social Media Strategy

Your potential customers are using social media every day—you need to be there too. Post content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website where customers can learn more about what you do and buy your products or services.

You don’t necessarily need to be on every social media platform available. However, you should have a presence on Facebook and Instagram because they offer e-commerce features that allow you to sell directly from your social media accounts. Both of these platforms have free ad training to help you market your business.

  • Best Website Builders
  • How To Make a Website for Your Business
  • The Best E-Commerce Platforms
  • Best Blogging Platforms
  • Best Web Hosting Services

To scale your business, you need to grow your customer base and revenue. This can be done by expanding your marketing efforts, improving your product or service, collaborating with other creators or adding new products or services that complement what you already offer.

Think about ways you can automate or outsource certain tasks so you can focus on scaling the business. For example, if social media marketing is taking up too much of your time, consider using a platform such as Hootsuite to help you manage your accounts more efficiently. You can also consider outsourcing the time-consumer completely.

You can also use technology to automate certain business processes, including accounting, email marketing and lead generation. Doing this will give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

When scaling your business, it’s important to keep an eye on your finances and make sure you’re still profitable. If you’re not making enough money to cover your costs, you need to either reduce your expenses or find ways to increase your revenue.

Build a Team

As your business grows, you’ll need to delegate tasks and put together a team of people who can help you run the day-to-day operations. This might include hiring additional staff, contractors or freelancers.

Resources for building a team include:

  • Hiring platforms: To find the right candidates, hiring platforms, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, can help you post job descriptions, screen résumés and conduct video interviews.
  • Job boards: Job boards such as Craigslist and Indeed allow you to post open positions for free.
  • Social media: You can also use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find potential employees.
  • Freelance platforms: Using Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr can help you find talented freelancers for one-time or short-term projects. You can also outsource certain tasks, such as customer service, social media marketing or bookkeeping.

You might also consider partnering with other businesses in your industry. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could partner with a florist, photographer, catering company or venue. This way, you can offer your customers a one-stop shop for all their wedding needs. Another example is an e-commerce store that partners with a fulfillment center. This type of partnership can help you save money on shipping and storage costs, and it can also help you get your products to your customers faster.

To find potential partnerships, search for businesses in your industry that complement what you do. For example, if you’re a web designer, you could partner with a digital marketing agency.

You can also search for businesses that serve the same target market as you but offer different products or services. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, you could partner with a jewelry store or a hair salon.

  • Best Recruiting Software
  • How To Hire Employees
  • Where To Post Jobs
  • Best Applicant Tracking Systems

To rank the best states to start a business in 2024, Forbes Advisor analyzed 18 key metrics across five categories to determine which states are the best and worst to start a business in. Our ranking takes into consideration factors that impact businesses and their ability to succeed, such as business costs, business climate, economy, workforce and financial accessibility in each state. Check out the full report .

Starting a small business takes time, effort and perseverance. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be a great way to achieve your dreams and goals. Be sure to do your research, create a solid business plan and pivot along the way. Once you’re operational, don’t forget to stay focused and organized so you can continue to grow your business.

How do I start a small business with no money?

There are several funding sources for brand-new businesses and most require a business plan to secure it. These include the SBA , private grants, angel investors, crowdfunding and venture capital.

What is the best business structure?

The best business structure for your business will depend entirely on what kind of company you form, your industry and what you want to accomplish. But any successful business structure will be one that will help your company set realistic goals and follow through on set tasks.

Do I need a business credit card?

You don’t need one, but a business credit card can be helpful for new small businesses. It allows you to start building business credit, which can help you down the road when you need to take out a loan or line of credit. Additionally, business credit cards often come with rewards and perks that can save you money on business expenses.

Do I need a special license or permit to start a small business?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of business you want to start and where you’re located. Some businesses, such as restaurants, will require a special permit or license to operate. Others, such as home daycare providers, may need to register with the state.

How much does it cost to create a business?

The cost of starting a business will vary depending on the size and type of company you want to create. For example, a home-based business will be less expensive to start than a brick-and-mortar store. Additionally, the cost of starting a business will increase if you need to rent or buy commercial space, hire employees or purchase inventory. You could potentially get started for free by dropshipping or selling digital goods.

How do I get a loan for a new business?

The best way to get a loan for a new business is to approach banks or other financial institutions and provide them with a business plan and your financial history. You can also look into government-backed loans, such as those offered by the SBA. Startups may also be able to get loans from alternative lenders, including online platforms such as Kiva.

Do I need a business degree to start a business?

No, you don’t need a business degree to start a business. However, acquiring a degree in business or a related field can provide you with the understanding and ability to run an effective company. Additionally, you may want to consider taking some business courses if you don’t have a degree to learn more about starting and running a business. You can find these online and at your local Small Business Administration office.

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. You could also 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.

What is the most profitable type of business?

There is no one answer to this question because the most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your industry, location, target market and business model. However, some businesses tend to be more profitable than others, such as luxury goods, high-end services, business-to-business companies and subscription-based businesses. If you’re not sure what type of business to start, consider your strengths and interests, as well as the needs of your target market, to help you choose a profitable business idea.

  • Best Registered Agent Services
  • Best Trademark Registration Services
  • Top LegalZoom Competitors
  • Best Business Loans
  • Best Business Plan Software
  • ZenBusiness Review
  • LegalZoom LLC Review
  • Northwest Registered Agent Review
  • Rocket Lawyer Review
  • Inc. Authority Review
  • Rocket Lawyer vs. LegalZoom
  • Bizee Review (Formerly Incfile)
  • Swyft Filings Review
  • Harbor Compliance Review
  • Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC
  • LLC vs. Corporation
  • LLC vs. S Corp
  • LLP vs. LLC
  • DBA vs. LLC
  • LegalZoom vs. Incfile
  • LegalZoom vs. ZenBusiness
  • LegalZoom vs. Rocket Lawyer
  • ZenBusiness vs. Incfile
  • How to Set Up an LLC
  • How to Get a Business License
  • LLC Operating Agreement Template
  • 501(c)(3) Application Guide
  • What is a Business License?
  • What is an LLC?
  • What is an S Corp?
  • What is a C Corp?
  • What is a DBA?
  • What is a Sole Proprietorship?
  • What is a Registered Agent?
  • How to Dissolve an LLC
  • How to File a DBA
  • What Are Articles Of Incorporation?
  • Types Of Business Ownership

Next Up In Business

  • Best Online Legal Services
  • How To Write A Business Plan
  • How To Start A Candle Business
  • Starting An S-Corp
  • LLC Vs. C-Corp
  • How Much Does It Cost To Start An LLC?
  • How To Start An Online Boutique
  • Most Recession-Proof Businesses In 2024

Best Hawaii Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Best Hawaii Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Katherine Haan

Best Arizona Registered Agent Services Of 2024

Free Mission Statement Template (With Examples)

Free Mission Statement Template (With Examples)


How To Start A Print On Demand Business In 2024

HR For Small Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

HR For Small Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

Anna Baluch

How One Company Is Using AI To Transform Manufacturing

Rae Hartley Beck

Katherine Haan is a small business owner with nearly two decades of experience helping other business owners increase their incomes.

  • Start free trial

Start selling with Shopify today

Start your free trial with Shopify today—then use these resources to guide you through every step of the process.

business plan online shop example

What Is a Marketing Plan and How To Write One (+ Template)

Learn the key elements of a marketing plan, access templates to get started, and get tips on how to write an effective plan.

a funnel on a purple background representing a marketing plan

No matter how much you stick to a plan, things go wrong. As the famous quote by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower goes: “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

When it comes to ecommerce, consumer trends shift, circumstances change, and initial experiments don’t always go as planned. All of these things impact your marketing plan. 

Research shows that marketers who proactively write a marketing plan are 356% more likely to report success. So, what does a realistic ecommerce marketing plan look like? And how do you handle unexpected obstacles and overestimations that threaten your company’s marketing strategy? This guide shares the answers.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is the strategy a business uses to get its products or services in front of its target customer. It includes who the target market is, the channels used to reach them, and the messaging that will help the business sell its products. 

The purpose of a marketing plan isn’t to create a step-by-step, never-fail manual. Rather, it’s a roadmap to help you accomplish the best-case scenario, while also maintaining realistic expectations for your marketing initiatives and establishing backup plans if something doesn’t work.

Marketing plan vs. business plan

A business plan paints a bigger picture of how you plan to run your business. It includes a mission statement, products you’ll launch, and market research. A marketing plan, on the other hand, is a specific document that details how you plan to achieve these wider goals through marketing . 

Marketing plan vs marketing strategy

An overarching marketing strategy details how marketing will drive business results. A marketing plan is the route you’ll use to get there. It’s more specific than a strategy and includes a practical roadmap on how you’ll put your marketing activities into play. 

Free marketing plan template to help you get started

Creating your own marketing plan is no small job. You put hours into customer and competitor research to find the channels likely to have the biggest impact on your marketing goals. You can check out marketing plan examples , but when it comes to creating your own, you can save time with a template.

Ditch the intimidating blank screen by building a marketing plan using Shopify’s free marketing plan template. Use it to guide your marketing strategy, tweaking the template to meet your business needs.

Download the template now

Types of marketing plans

Digital marketing plan.

A digital marketing plan is a specific type of marketing plan that revolves solely around online channels like social media, email, and search engines. It doesn’t include offline channels like billboards or radio ads.

Social media marketing plan

A social media marketing plan focuses specifically on how a business will use social media to reach its target market. It gives you a framework of which channels you’ll use, the types of content you’ll create, whether you’ll invest in social media ads, and how you’ll drive product sales. This can take place either through your online store or a social media storefront such as Facebook and Instagram Shops .

Example Instagram checkout for a jewelry business that uses Shop Pay.

Content marketing plan 

A content marketing plan details how you’ll produce content that turns people into paying customers. This can span multiple formats, including an email newsletter, infographics, product documentation, and user-generated content (such as social media posts). 

Alongside the more traditional elements of a marketing plan, a content-marketing-specific strategy would include:

  • Keywords you plan to target
  • Who you’ll use to create the content (e.g., freelancers or in-house marketers)
  • How you’ll promote and repurpose your content

Offline marketing plan

An offline marketing plan details how a business will reach its target market without using digital channels. This might include billboards, radio ads, direct mail, event sponsorships, and outdoor advertising. 

How to write a marketing plan

Detail your unique value proposition, outline your buyer personas, run a swot analysis, detail product features and benefits, set key performance indicators, outline your marketing funnel.

  • Define your marketing channels

Decide on your content formats

  • Plan your marketing resources

Create a measurement and optimization plan

A unique value proposition underlines your entire marketing plan. Regardless of the channels and formats you plan to use, consistency is key. Mixed messages on what you sell and what your brand stands for will only confuse potential customers.

A simple way to refine your messaging is to focus on your unique selling point. Costco, for example, is cheaper than its competitors. Harper Wilde’s products are comfier than any other bra retailer. Find the marketing channels each retailer uses and you’ll see messaging centered around its adjective.

Harper Wilde’s YouTube channel homepage with seven videos in tiled format.

Consult your customers if you’re unsure what your value proposition adjective should be. Research is the biggest part of any copywriting process . Survey people who’ve already bought from you, run an Instagram poll to discover why people follow your brand, and see where your competitors’ weaknesses lie. Look for adjectives that crop up frequently during the process.

What overarching goal are you trying to accomplish with the business? Why does it exist? Summarize it in one sentence, and you’ll have a mission statement to inform everything you do, which includes your marketing strategies .

Going overboard with assumptions is a common mistake among marketers. The end result is a marketing plan that doesn’t actually result in revenue.

While data won’t give you a foolproof plan, every assumption is one more bit of uncertainty you’re folding into your marketing goals . If an amazing plan has a 40% chance of holding up to real-world scenarios, one without much rigor—and lots of assumptions—might hold up 10% of the time.

Consult your customer segments and buyer personas to get as much information as you can about the person buying your products, such as: 

  • Demographic data (location, age, and income level) 
  • Interests, goals, and challenges 
  • Channels they use to discover new products

Be careful not to confuse this with your target audience . Children would be the target audience of a toy brand; parents are the buyer persona. The latter is who you’ll be reaching out to with your marketing plan. 

A SWOT analysis helps uncover your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats relative to your competitors. It’s useful to include one as part of your marketing plan because it can help anticipate problems you might encounter, make more data-driven decisions, and spot areas where you can get ahead of your competitors. 

Example SWOT analysis template from Oberlo with four sections of bullet points.

Dive deep into the data you already have about your customer base by investigating marketing analytics , social media audiences, and customer surveys . It reiterates who you’re trying to reach—and more importantly, the triggers that would make them buy your product over a competitor’s.

Remind yourself of your unique selling proposition (USP) throughout this process. Tailor your marketing plan around key takeaways from these. 

Include any special features, competitive advantages, or customer favorites your marketing plan will lean on.

You could have the best mattress in the world—one made with 100 springs and cotton stitching, vigorously tested by sleep experts. But you’d struggle to market it if you lean too heavily on product features. A customer cares more about getting a peaceful night’s sleep than detailed product specifications.

“Every great marketing plan needs one thing first: a product that is 10 times better than the next,” says Nick Saltarelli, co-founder of Mid-Day Squares . “Once you have that, marketing is about deep human connections.”

Mid-Day Squares product page with the title, “Functional chocolate squares that satisfy your sweet cravings”.

Nick says, “It felt obvious that there was a sweet spot somewhere in between: people who wanted to follow along, and a true behind-the-scenes look into building a massive chocolate business from the ground up.”

As a result, the Mid-Day Squares marketing plan doesn’t prioritize product promotion. The brand instead “focuses on getting people to fall in love with us, the founders, to scale the human connection,” Nick says.

What are you trying to achieve with your marketing plan? Create both short- and long-term business goals that relate to financial metrics like revenue growth, retention , or new customers .

Most marketers measure success using return on investment (ROI) —the revenue you expect to generate after spending your marketing budget. It’s every marketer’s dream to get $100,000 in sales from $1,000 in marketing spend. While that isn’t the most realistic expectation, knowing your target ROI will prevent overspending. If your ROI is hurtling beyond your predictions, you can better allocate that budget to be spent elsewhere.

But there’s more to marketing measurement than dollar returns. Revenue isn’t always the end goal. Brand awareness, website traffic, and social media followers are short-term marketing objectives that aim to get new people into your marketing funnel. Nail them early on and you set your business up for success later down the road.

Not everyone will see your products and convert into a customer instantly. Most people progress through a sales funnel. Content that will make someone progress to the next stage depends on the one they’re currently in. 

If you were to use Facebook ads to sell your products to a generic audience modeled on your buyer persona, for example, you might not get the highest conversion rate. These people don’t know who you are, what you stand for, or why they should choose you over a competitor. 

But if you used Facebook ads to specifically target people at the bottom of your marketing funnel, you could use retargeting ads to show items someone had in their shopping cart. You’re bound to get a better return on your investment with this strategy because you’re only investing money into reaching people who just need a final nudge to convert. 

Let’s break down how you might outline your marketing funnel in a marketing plan. 

Example marketing funnel showing the three different stages.

Top of the funnel (TOFU)

People at the top of your marketing funnel don’t understand who you are or what you sell. Social media, podcasts, and video content play huge roles here. Each channel is used by potential customers looking to learn or be inspired.

For this stage, prioritize metrics that give insight into how people are engaging with your top-funnel content, such as:

  • Video views
  • Website clicks
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per click (CPC)

Middle of the funnel (MOFU)

People reach the middle of the funnel when they know they have a problem that needs to be solved. Look at the marketing channels and formats you’re using to target these people. Most often, it’s search engines and retargeted ads.

Google Analytics is your best bet here. While the dashboard can feel overwhelming for a lot of people, you don’t need to look at every report. Use the following metrics to see how people engage with your middle-funnel content:

  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session 
  • Users by traffic source
  • Email subscriber conversion rate 

To track the data above, especially for advertising campaigns, add the Meta pixel to all pages of your store.

Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)

Going for the hard sell? For marketing messages where the only goal is to convert your audience into paying customers, consult the back end of your ecommerce store. It’s home to sales and product-related data that helps you understand whether your marketing plan is successful, such as:

  • Added to cart conversion rate
  • Average order value (AOV)
  • Number of orders
  • Reached checkout conversion rate
  • Sales conversion rate

Shopify Analytics dashboard showing metrics like total sales, sessions, and conversion rate.

Post-funnel and retention

Planning to build a steady stream of paying customers off the back of your ecommerce marketing plan? It's easy to assume revenue growth comes from audience growth. But oftentimes, the easiest way to grow your revenue is by focusing on the people we forget about: existing customers.

Resist the temptation to focus on flashy metrics like social media followers and YouTube subscribers. Instead, involve existing customers in your marketing plan. Use them as a source of testimonials and word-of-mouth referrals.

Graph shows how a small change in retention leads to more revenue.

“Happy customers have been powerful word-of-mouth catalysts for our brand, and it has made sense to keep them engaged,” says Chris Campbell, partner at The Charming Bench Company . “We’ve been getting a steady stream of five-star ratings on websites and social media, which we then share on our Facebook, X [formerly known as Twitter], Pinterest, and Instagram profiles. It’s a great alternative to pushing loud sales messages that don’t always work.”

Define your marketing channels 

Channels are the platforms you’ll use as part of your marketing plan. Go back to your market research and uncover the online and offline channels your target audience is using to shop and get entertained or inspired.

Some of the most popular channels for ecommerce businesses include:

  • Social media . Social media is used by more than six out of 10 people . Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are free to use (on the whole) and help brands reach their target audience. 
  • Search engines . Some 44% of online shoppers start their product research on search engines. By making search engine optimization (SEO) part of your marketing plan, you can generate new business by reaching people when they’re actively looking for your products or services.
  • Email marketing  and  SMS marketing . Email and text message inboxes are two of the most sacred places for a marketer to reach. A phone number or email address gives you a direct line of communication with your target customers, if they opt in to hear from you.
  • Podcasts . Record conversations you have with your team, customers, or experts in the industry and share them with your audience. By establishing yourself or your brand as a thought leader in your industry, you’ll inspire confidence that in turn builds trust in your products.
  • Offline channels. While digital marketing is vital in today’s world, offline and in-person marketing efforts can be equally powerful. Get in front of people when they’re not online, using channels like word-of-mouth recommendations , radio, billboards and outdoor advertising , or TV marketing campaigns.

There’s a sweet spot to how many channels your marketing plan should include. Go too wide and you burn resources on channels with poor returns. But become too reliant on one channel and you’re at risk.

Algorithms power most digital marketing channels. They’re praised as the type of technology that delivers personalized experiences for their users, but any changes to an algorithm can make marketing plans utterly useless overnight.

“If you rely on SEO, then any algorithm updates could potentially cut your revenue for months before you recover,” explains Marquis Matson, VP of Growth at Sozy . “If you rely on paid ads, then any changes to privacy policies can cut your revenue. If you rely on email marketing, then any ESP  [email service provider]  policy changes can cut your revenue. Diversifying your acquisition is crucial in a fast-paced digital marketing world.”

Footwear brand Hippy Feet is one ecommerce brand that failed to diversify channels. “The original marketing plan was to drive traffic to our Shopify store through ads—relying heavily on paid Facebook and Instagram traffic,” says Sam Harper, Hippy Feet’s co-founder and CEO. “While this is still a major component of our marketing strategy, the decreasing effectiveness of these ads has forced us to expand our marketing efforts.

“A diverse media strategy is crucial to helping an ecommerce business survive in this highly-dynamic market. By driving traffic through SEO, email, and media coverage, we’re more resilient and less impacted by a single tech platform changing their algorithm.”

For each channel, define which content formats you’ll use to capture attention and drive website traffic. That could include:

  • Audio. Reach podcast and radio listeners with audio content. 
  • Images. Capture visual learners and shoppers on visually dominant social media sites with infographics, GIFs, and memes.
  • Video. Get listed on YouTube , the world's second largest search engine, with explainer videos and product demonstrations. Many social media platforms— Instagram and TikTok included—are also evolving to prioritize video content. 
  • Written content. Most search engine results retrieve links to optimized written content, such as blogs , transcripts, or landing pages .

Content marketing is a beast that constantly needs to be fed. Customers want newer, fresher, more exciting content on a regular basis. That’s demanding for a small business to keep up with.

If this sounds unsustainable, consider a content marketing strategy that collects user-generated content (UGC) from existing customers. The more they share their experiences with others, the more content you have to repurpose on each channel. It’s an effective route to scale your content marketing plan and stretch your editorial calendar if your marketing department has limited resources. Don’t have time to invest in promoting the content you create? Partner with popular influencers in your niche—those whose loyal audience overlaps with your target market .

Your marketing budget is the dollar amount you expect to spend executing your marketing plan. If you’re bootstrapped, you can run a marketing plan on a tight budget .

As part of your own marketing plan, state whether you intend to use each channel organically or boost it with advertising. Most channels allow businesses to run sponsored content, which is guaranteed to reach your target market across online and offline channels, like door-to-door sales , social media, TV, billboards, and radio.

“I apply for any competitions, press opportunities, and awards to get my small business out there at any given opportunity,” says Terri-Anne Turton, founder of The Tur-Shirt Company . 

The strategy has worked: The Tur-Shirt Company has won a Junior Design Award for best fashion newcomer and a shoutout from media entrepreneur Steven Bartlett after entering his #DeserveToBeFound competition with Facebook.

“I focus on those my target market knows of to build credibility,” says Terri-Anne. “Plus, most of the awards I enter are free or low-cost; they just need some time investment and creativity to take part. It proves my USP to my target market—that my kids’ clothing products are unique—without investing thousands into advertising.”

business plan online shop example

While you can run a strategy with little to no budget, this section of your marketing plan needs to account for more than any planned advertising spend. Time is a resource that needs to be managed and accounted for. Be sure to detail how much time you plan to spend executing your marketing strategy.

If you have a designated marketing team, it’s also worth noting who will be responsible for each element of your marketing plan. Who’s responsible for this marketing plan? Which team members are executing it? What experience do they have with marketing?

More importantly, detail what you expect from the resources you’re putting into your marketing plan. If you plan to spend $40,000 throughout the coming year, how much revenue will you get in return? If you’re producing a marketing plan for a large or public company, this is what stakeholders really want to see.

Go back to the KPIs (key performance indicators) you set in the earlier section of your marketing plan. How will you determine whether you’ve met these KPIs? What happens if you’re exceeding or falling short of your target? It’s good to have a plan of action for either case.

Let’s put that into practice and say you expected to increase sales by 20% through your social media marketing plan. Detail exactly how you’d measure this, for example, you could say, “we’ll look at our Shopify sales report once per month and analyze which channel is meeting this KPI. If a channel falls behind, we’ll evaluate why and either adjust our marketing plan or deprioritize it in favor of more effective channels.” 

The best marketers approach their plans with an open mind. The hypothesis you started with might be proven wrong. Don’t take that as a negative. You just got closer to finding what will work. 

Tips for creating your marketing plan

Set conservative expectations.

While it’s good to approach your marketing goals with confidence, high expectations often lead to disappointment when we fail to meet them. That disappointment is magnified in a marketing plan, as stakeholders or founders will have already bought into unrealistic predictions and business objectives.

Start small

Don’t overwhelm yourself and your team by trying to generate results with all marketing tactics at once: running Facebook ads, tweeting like crazy, writing daily blog posts for SEO, and making constant changes to site and content strategy to improve your conversion rate.

If you’re very lucky, one of these tactics will bring you consistent traffic and sales. But more often than not, trying everything at once will make you extremely busy without anything to show for it.

Take it from Jameela Ghann, owner of Alora : “When we first started Alora, 10 years ago, our marketing plan was unrealistic. We were just a couple of people making plans that were good on paper but almost impossible to execute with a small team.” 

Alora’s website home with tiled images of earrings, necklaces, and jewelry gifts.

Originally, Jameela’s team planned to invest in several marketing channels—online and offline advertising, PR, trade shows, influencer marketing, and blogging included. However, the team changed its marketing plan. They went deep on one channel instead of spreading resources too thin by trying to be everywhere at once.

“We stuck to one course of action that was where our customers were, and ready to buy, and easiest for us to see a good ROI,” Jameela says. “What really worked for us was focusing on a handful of channels that we knew we could do well.”

Go back to your audience research and identify three channels your target audience uses most often. Put most of your energy into perfecting those before overcomplicating things with a more comprehensive marketing plan.

Use historical data as a guide

Past performance can help you temper your expectations for your marketing plan. If you know your click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook ads is 0.1%, don’t stray too far from that baseline with your social media marketing .

The same goes for website content optimized for search : If you’re currently getting 10,000 visitors per month from Google, scaling your traffic up to a million is a tough battle. Instead, 50,000 visitors is a more achievable goal.

Allow for flexibility

The purpose of a marketing plan isn’t to create a never-fail manual. Whether your marketing team has fallen victim to completion bias or focused too heavily on one channel, sticking rigidly to your original plan can be a big mistake.

Imine Martinez, assistant manager at Rainbowly , says: “Our regular campaigns targeting mainly birthday celebrations and anniversaries offered poor return on ad spend and inconsistent results over the months.

“That said, during festive seasons, such as Christmas or New Year’s, our targeted campaigns were particularly profitable, achieving five times return on ad spend with much cheaper cost per click and impression.”

Continuing with the same marketing strategies despite this data would only have resulted in heartbreak. Rainbowly would be pouring money down the drain on ads that wouldn’t perform, just because its marketing plan said to do so.

Creating a marketing plan is the first step

A lot of hard work goes into a successful marketing plan. To create an attainable one, you’ll need to spend hours diving into competitive research, audience data, and channels your target market consults when researching new products.

Most importantly, know that marketing is unpredictable. There are thousands of scenarios that fundamentally change the marketing strategy that’s best for your business. Global pandemics, PR crises, and the emergence of new social media platforms are unpredictable.

Treat your marketing plan like the best-case scenario. Plan SMART goals and strategies but remember to be flexible to give your marketing the best chance of success.

  • The Ultimate Guide to International Ecommerce
  • The 12 Best Ecommerce Platforms for 2024
  • 130+ Dropshipping Products To Sell for Profit
  • The Ultimate Guide To Dropshipping (2024)
  • The 5-Step Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Business
  • Amazon Dropshipping Guide- How To Dropship on Amazon (2024)
  • How To Write a Return Policy (+ Free Template) (2024)
  • A 14-Point Ecommerce Checklist to Launch Your Shopify Store
  • Faster Checkout on Instagram and Facebook with Shop Pay
  • What Is Marketing Automation? Definition and Guide

Marketing plan FAQ

How much does a marketing plan cost, how often should a marketing plan be reviewed, what are the 4 steps of a marketing plan.

  • Conduct market research
  • Outline your marketing channels and formats
  • Create goals and measure performance

Why is marketing plan important?

What are some marketing plan mistakes.

Keep up with the latest from Shopify

Get free ecommerce tips, inspiration, and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from Shopify.

popular posts


The point of sale for every sale.

Graphic of a mobile phone with heart shapes bubbles floating around it

Subscribe to our blog and get free ecommerce tips, inspiration, and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Unsubscribe anytime. By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from Shopify.

Latest from Shopify

Jun 20, 2024

Learn on the go. Try Shopify for free, and explore all the tools you need to start, run, and grow your business.

Try Shopify for free, no credit card required.

  • How to Make a Membership Website With WordPress (2024)

business plan online shop example

Membership websites are exploding in popularity, especially in recent years. Whether you’re a fitness instructor offering exclusive workout routines, a photographer sharing behind-the-scenes tutorials, or a woodworking society building an online community, membership websites provide a powerful way to connect with your audience and generate recurring revenue.

In this post, we’ll walk you through creating a WordPress membership website using Divi and MemberPress . Let’s dive in!

  • 1 What are the Benefits of a Membership Website?
  • 2 What You’ll Need to Make a Membership Website with WordPress
  • 3.1 Step 1: Purchase a Domain
  • 3.2 Step 2: Purchase WordPress Hosting
  • 3.3 Step 3: Purchase a Premium WordPress Theme
  • 3.4 Step 4: Purchase & Install a Membership Plugin
  • 3.5 Step 5: Set up MemberPress
  • 3.6 Step 6: Creating Membership Pages with Divi
  • 3.7 Step 7: Creating Additional Pages With Divi AI
  • 3.8 Step 8: Extending Your Membership Website With Plugins
  • 3.9 Step 9: Enhance Your Membership Website With Divi-Specific Products
  • 4 Making a Membership Website With WordPress is Easy With Divi
  • 5 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Benefits of a Membership Website?

Launching a membership website with WordPress has many advantages. The most obvious benefit is recurring revenue. You can move beyond one-time sales and generate a steady income stream through monthly or annual subscriptions. Membership websites provide a predictable income source, allowing you to focus on creating valuable content and growing your community.

Another benefit of creating a membership website is fostering a sense of community. Membership websites create a space for visitors to connect, share ideas, and build a sense of belonging. A loyal community can become a powerful asset for promoting your work or attracting new members.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased engagement
  • The ability to showcase exclusive content
  • Establishing yourself as a valuable resource
  • A thriving membership website builds trust and credibility, attracting new members and potential clients who value your expertise

What You’ll Need to Make a Membership Website with WordPress

Building a membership website doesn’t have to be expensive. WordPress makes the process easy and serves as your secret weapon for success. With its user-friendly platform and vast ecosystem of plugins and themes, WordPress allows anyone to create a professional membership site.

Because WordPress is so robust, you’ll need only a few things to get the job done: a good domain name, a WordPress hosting plan, a premium WordPress theme like Divi, and a membership plugin such as MemberPress.

Here’s a full list of things you should expect to purchase to get your membership website up and running:

  • A Domain Name: This serves as your address on the internet
  • Web Hosting: Storage space for your website
  • WordPress: Installed on your web host, either manually or through a one-click install
  • A Membership Plugin: To sell memberships, subscriptions, gate content, and accept payments
  • A WordPress Theme: Opt for a premium theme that has extensive customization options and features

How to Make a Membership Website with WordPress

In this section of our How to Make a Membership Website with WordPress guide, we’ll focus on helping you plan your content, purchase a domain, set up hosting, and create your membership website with Divi.

Step 1: Purchase a Domain

Before building your membership website, you must purchase a domain name. A domain name serves as your website’s address on the internet. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose one that’s memorable and relevant to your membership site.

Consider brainstorming some ideas when deciding on the perfect domain name. For example, try to use keywords related to your website’s niche or target audience . If you have a brand name, using it in your domain is a great idea. It gives your domain name authority, which is helpful for search engine optimization (SEO) .

You should also keep it short and sweet. Try to limit it to 15 characters or less. A longer domain name that’s difficult to spell will frustrate your potential customers, leading to potential revenue loss.

Lastly, use a good domain name registrar, such as Namecheap, that offers a domain search feature. This will allow you to check for available names and easily pick your favorite.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Namecheap is one of the most recognizable names in domain registration. It offers top-level domains, such as .com, .net, and .org, for as little as $5.98 per year . In addition to affordability, the Namecheap interface is extremely user-friendly. You can easily search for the perfect domain name with little effort.

One of Namecheap’s best features is the free WhoisGuard Protection. While most other domain registrars charge for this feature, Namecheap provides this important service for free. That way, you won’t have to worry about your private information being leaked to the world.

Get Namecheap

Step 2: Purchase WordPress Hosting

Purchasing a WordPress hosting plan is the next step in our how to make a membership website with WordPress guide. Like a domain name, a web host serves as your digital land or house . Web hosts offer secure storage space for your website’s files, allowing your site to be visible 24/7. When considering which hosting provider to choose, there are a few things to look for. First is security. Good security features are imperative because your website will handle sensitive member information, like credit cards, addresses, or phone numbers.

There are a few other factors to consider in addition to security. Make sure to pick a hosting provider that offers ample storage and bandwidth . While you may be tempted to start out with more budget-friendly WordPress hosts , it’s a good idea to choose a host that can grow with you. Opt for a provider that lets you easily switch your plan when you need more features.

Lastly, choose a web host that offers hosting that’s optimized for WordPress . Hosts such as Cloudways , Flywheel , and SiteGround offer features such as WordPress-optimized security, one-click WordPress installs, automatic updates, daily backups, and more at reasonable prices.

SiteGround Provides WordPress Optimized Hosting For Less

how to make a membership website with wordpress

One of our go-to WordPress hosts is SiteGround . It offers several hosting plans specifically designed for WordPress. Take the guesswork out of installing WordPress, thanks to SiteGround’s one-click WordPress install feature. You’ll also have access to a proprietary, user-friendly dashboard, Site Tools . It provides an easy way to handle every aspect of your website, its files, and server-side settings.

Every SiteGround plan has at least 10 GB of storage space, unmetered bandwidth, and tons of free features. Freebies include professional email , site migrations, a content delivery system (CDN) , a domain for one year, and an SSL certificate . SiteGround also has robust security, including a web application firewall (WAF), an AI-powered antibot system, and a security plugin to monitor and block threats.

There are three plans, StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek, with plans starting at $2.99 monthly .

Get SiteGround

Step 3: Purchase a Premium WordPress Theme

With a secured domain and WordPress hosting plan, your focus should shift to purchasing a WordPress theme. Selecting a premium theme provides more customization options versus a free theme. Premium themes offer a strong foundation for building a feature-rich, visually appealing, and user-friendly membership website. Many of them provide global style options, drag-and-drop page builders , performance settings, and complete design control. While there is an upfront cost, the long-term benefits translate to a polished and professional membership website.

Divi Is The Ultimate WordPress Theme

how to make a membership website with wordpress

The next step in making your membership website with WordPress is purchasing and installing a premium theme, such as Divi . It is one of the most popular WordPress themes in the world, offering unlimited design options and features. It’s perfect for making a membership website, primarily thanks to its drag-and-drop page builder, Visual Builder . Divi is also a full site editing theme, with its proprietary Theme Builder allowing you to create templates for posts, archives, products, and more.

Divi comes with over 200 design elements capable of creating all types of websites. You can easily design login, registration, pricing, and core web pages. If you’d like a simpler approach, you can start your membership website with a premade layout . Every Elegant Themes membership comes with 2000+ premade layouts. You’ll also have access to Elegant Themes plugins, such as Monarch and Bloom , which are perfect for displaying social media icons and creating popups. Divi is available starting at $89 per year .

Step 4: Purchase & Install a Membership Plugin

For this tutorial, we assume you’ve purchased a domain, web hosting plan, and Divi and installed WordPress. If not, refer to our in-depth guide for installing WordPress. With most of your foundation set, it’s time to add the membership functionality needed to set up user registrations, payments, gated content, and more.


MemberPress is a powerful and user-friendly plugin specifically designed for WordPress. It allows you to create membership levels, restrict access to content based on those levels, and integrate secure payment gateways for accepting payments. MemberPress excels at controlling access to your website’s content. You can easily restrict pages, posts, categories, tags, files, and, if you’re a Divi user, content at the module level. Content can be restricted based on role, ensuring only members can access all content on your site.

With MemberPress, you can create unlimited membership levels, assign pricing for each tier, and assign specific content. You can even assign a time for each subscription, offering options when creating your website. MemberPress is perfect for all types of membership sites, including online magazines, learning sites, web design tutorials, and more. It is available for $179.50 per year .

Get MemberPress

Step 5: Set up MemberPress

After installing MemberPress, it’s time to configure some essential settings to turn your website into a membership site. MemberPress offers a user-friendly setup wizard that guides you through the initial configuration process.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

The wizard walks you through adding your license key, enabling essential features, creating or selecting content to restrict, creating membership levels, and setting up a payment gateway. MemberPress offers several add-ons, including a course creator, digital downloads, a VIP forum, and more. By default, MemberPress comes with Stripe as a payment gateway. It allows you to accept major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and others, with a small fee per transaction.

how to make a membership website with wordpressy

Once you complete the wizard, you should take steps to familiarize yourself with the MemberPress settings. You can find the settings by navigating MemberPress > Settings . We won’t go over every detail in this section. Instead, we’ll walk you through the most common tasks you’ll complete to get your membership website up and running.

Adding A Payment Method

Before setting up membership levels, you’ll want to ensure you can take payments. By default, MemberPress uses Stripe, but there are other options available. You can also accept offline payments, set up an account, or link your PayPal account. To make things easy, we’ll set up payments through Stripe. Navigate to the Payments tab. Click the Add Payment Method button to add Stripe.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Give the payment gateway a name , select Stripe as the gateway, and click the Connect with Stripe button.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

When the page refreshes, enter your email address and click the Submit button .

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Those with a Stripe account must only enter a password to continue. If you’re a new user, you’ll be prompted to create one. Once your account is created, you’ll enter a one-time code to log in.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Select your Stripe account and click the Connect button to continue. Alternatively, you can create a new account .

connect Stripe

Once the connection is made, you’ll be forwarded to the WordPress dashboard. To complete the process, click the Update Options button at the bottom of the page.

update MemberPress options

Creating Membership Levels

Another important step in creating a WordPress membership website is creating membership levels. These allow you to cater to a wider audience with different needs and budgets. Only some people are ready for that level of commitment. By offering a range of options, including a free tier, you’ll attract potential members who might not normally sign up. Free memberships entice new visitors, while premium membership levels offer a deeper level of value for committed members.

Start by defining the different types of members you want to attract. Create a free membership with basic access to your content. This serves as a great starting point for potential members to experience the benefits of your site and incentivize them to update for more.

To create a new membership, navigate to MemberPress > Memberships . Click the Add New button to begin.

membership levels

There are a few steps to take when creating membership levels. The first is to give your membership level a name . Next, you’ll want to set a price for your membership. We’re creating a free membership tier in this case, so leave the price set to 0.00 . Leave the access set to lifetime  and click the Publish button .

creating a membership level with MemberPress

Membership Level Settings

Before we move on, let’s discuss a few other important settings when creating a membership level. Each membership level will have its own registration form, user permissions, and custom emails to set up. You can customize the registration button’s text, enable a custom thank you page message, configure a welcome email, customize the payment method, and more.

MemberPress registration options

Under the permissions tab, you can specify who can purchase this membership, add a custom permissions message, and allow users to create multiple active subscriptions.

Permissions options

You can also create a custom pricing box to display on your pricing page to aid users in signing up. You can add a heading, membership benefits, footer text, and a custom sign-up button.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Under advanced settings, you can create a custom membership access URL, define pricing terms, add a custom login redirect URL, and specify user roles.

advanced membership level settings

Repeat the steps to create additional membership levels.

Step  6: Creating Membership Pages with Divi

MemberPress has a ReadyLaunch feature that automatically creates all of MemberPress’s core pages. The pages automatically generated when MemberPress is installed are the member account, log in, registration, pricing, and thank you pages. You can allow ReadyLaunch to generate these pages or create them with the Divi builder. To use the Divi Builder, you must first disable ReadyLaunch. Navigate to MemberPress > Settings > ReadyLaunch . Under Pro Mode Templates , turn all toggles to disabled and then click the Update Options button.

disable ReadyLaunch

Activate The Visual Builder For MemberPress Custom Post Types

When creating a MemberPress pricing page with Divi, one of the first things you must do is ensure the Visual Builder is enabled for custom post types. This will allow us to design our MemberPress core pages with Divi’s drag-and-drop visual editor. Head to Divi > Theme Options and navigate to the Builder tab. Enable Groups and Memberships and click the Save Changes button.

Divi Builder options

Create a Membership Page Template

Next, we’ll create a template for our membership page. To do this, we’ll need to use the Theme Builder, along with MemberPress shortcodes , to display the content. Navigate to Divi > Theme Builder and click the Add New Template button.

add new template

Click Build New Template .

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Next, scroll down, select All Memberships , and click the Create Template button.

create membership template

Next, click the Add Custom Body button.

add custom body

Click Build Custom Body to launch the Visual Builder.

build custom body

Building a membership page with Divi is simple, but there are a few steps involved. For the membership template, we only need to add the post content module to add content using Divi directly into the Free Trial membership level. With the Visual Builder active, hover over the section at the top of the blank page. When the blue border appears, click the settings icon to bring up the section module’s settings.

Divi section settings

Click on the design tab , select spacing , and set the padding to 0 . Click the green check button to save the module’s settings.

adjust padding

Next, we’ll add a row module. Click the green plus icon to add a row.

add Divi row module

Select the single-column row module.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Next, search for the Post Content Module and add it to the template.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Next, we’ll alter the spacing for the row the same way we did for the section module. This time, hover over the row to reveal the green border. Click the settings icon to alter the row’s settings.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Under Design > Sizing , adjust the width and max width to 100%.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

We’ll adjust the padding to 0 , just like the section.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Save the row by clicking the green check button. These are the only steps we need to take to prepare our template. To save it, click the purple ellipsis menu at the bottom center of your screen.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Click the green save button at the bottom right corner of the screen to save the template.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Build a Membership Page With the Visual Builder

The Visual Builder is a beautifully designed system that allows you to build pages and templates on the front end. More than 200 design modules allow you to design any page you can imagine. Since we have enabled the Visual Builder on membership pages and created the template, we can start designing the page.

Head back to MemberPress > Memberships and open the Free membership.

edit membership page

You’ll notice a new button: Use The Divi Builder . Click it to launch the Visual Builder.

enable Divi Builder

To use the Divi Builder effectively, we must alter a few settings in the membership. Under Divi Page Settings , set the page layout to No Sidebar .

Divi page settings

Scroll down and locate the Page Attributes section. Set the Template to Full Width .

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Finally, under the Membership Options section, click the Membership Shortcodes link.

membership shortcodes

Look for the second shortcode. Copy and paste it to embed it in a Divi Code Module, which will display the registration form on the front end.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Now, we can use Visual Builder to create the membership page. Click Build On The Front End to continue.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Design Your Membership Website Faster With Divi AI

In addition to a premade layout, you can build a page from scratch or use Elegant Themes’ new AI-powered design assistant, Divi AI .

divi ai

A prompt can generate text, images, code, and full web pages. You can use it to create any type of website you want, including a membership website. The process takes less than two minutes and will include images, text, and a full layout. It’s a great way to jumpstart your membership website, all while saving a great amount of time. Divi AI offers a free trial of 100 generations. You’ll want to sign up once you see how easy it is to use. For $16.08 per month (billed annually), you can generate unlimited text, images, and code, creating as many pages as your website needs.

Get Divi AI

Designing A Membership Page With Divi AI

When the Visual Builder launches, you’ll have the same three options. Select Build with AI this time.

build with Divi AI

The Divi AI dialog box will appear, revealing a few fields and custom options. First, describe the type of page you’d like the AI to create . Be as descriptive as possible, including what sections you’d like and the look and feel you’re going for. Under the optional text field, Tell Divi AI About Your Website , you can include business information, such as your brand name, a brief bio about the business, and your website’s niche. Finally, you have a few more options under Customize Fonts & Colors .

Under the header and body font, you can choose from one of the hundreds of Google Fonts, select the website’s default fonts, or let the AI choose them for you. You’ll have the same options for heading and body font colors as well as primary and secondary colors.

Divi AI options

Once you’ve entered your prompts and made font and color selections, click the Generate Layout button.

generate a membership page with Divi AI

Once the process is complete, we’ll need that shortcode we copied in the last step. Find a spot on your layout to add a Code Module .

Divi Code Module

Next, paste the MemberPress shortcode into the Code Module and click the green check button to save the changes.

MemberPress shortcode

Finally, click the purple ellipsis menu to bring up the page settings.

Divi page settings

When the page settings menu appears, click the green save button to save the page.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Style The MemberPress Membership Form

When you first view the page, you’ll notice the registration form is present, but it could be prettier. To fix that, we must add some CSS.

membership form

Hover over the site title to reveal a dropdown menu. Choose Theme Customizer to open the Divi Theme Customizer.

Divi theme customizer

Open the Additional CSS menu item and enter the following CSS code:

Next, click the Publish button .

style MemberPress form

When the page refreshes, your membership form should have the same styling as the rest.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

In addition to membership pages, you can create custom layouts for other MemberPress pages, like a custom Account, Login, Pricing, and Thank You pages. Simply repeat the steps above (minus the Theme Builder step) and insert the appropriate shortcode to display registration, login, and logout forms and links.

Step 7: Creating Additional Pages With Divi AI

In addition to core membership pages, you can use Divi AI to build the remaining pages of your membership site. Using an example of an online movie streaming service, we’ll need home, movies, movie, and genre pages. We’ll also restrict logged-out users’ access to streaming movies.

Create a Landing Page With Divi AI

To create a page in WordPress, navigate to Pages > Add New Page .

add WordPress page

Give the page a name and click the Use Divi Builder button to launch the Visual Builder.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Go through the steps to create a landing page with Divi AI. After generating a page with Divi AI, you can add one of 200 design elements, rearrange, edit, or delete modules, and restrict certain modules, rows, or sections to logged-in users only.

In the next section of our How to Make a Membership Website with WordPress tutorial, we’ll show you how to restrict content using Divi and the MemberPress Divi Add-On.

Restricting Access to Content

One of MemberPress’s best features is its ability to restrict content to paid users. Those using the Divi theme can take things a bit further by restricting content at the section, row, or module level. The MemberPress Divi Add-On adds another tab to Divi’s module settings, allowing you to restrict specific content down to the user level.

This option must be installed before integrating MemberPress into the Visual Builder. Head to MemberPress > Add-Ons and look for Divi . Click the Install Add-On button to continue.

MemberPress Divi add-on

Create a Content Rule

Before restricting content in Divi, we must create a content rule. Content rules allow you to restrict content in various ways, including full pages, posts, categories, tags, and partial. A partial content rule will allow you to restrict content to a single module, which is useful since we’re building an online streaming service membership website.

Start by navigating to MemberPress > Rules . Click the Add New Rule button to continue.

add new rule

Under protected content , select Partial from the dropdown list. Next, add three access conditions for our three memberships.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Scroll down to the Unauthorized Access section. Hide the excerpt and select custom for the unauthorized message . Enter a message of your choosing.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Click the Save Rule button once you’ve entered all the information.

save MemberPress rule

Restrict Content At a Granular Level

With the Divi MemberPress Add-On installed, we can return to our new home page and restrict access to specific content. Although our home page looks great, we want to make some changes. The AI generated a section on our page to feature a particular movie. We added a YouTube trailer to the video module Divi AI generated, but we’d like a video module with a full-length film accessible only to paid, logged-in users.

To do this, add a new section and single column row underneath the teaser section of the layout (or create one if Divi AI didn’t generate one) . Next, add the Video Module to the row.

how to make a membership website with wordpress

Add a video to the module and click the green check button to save it.

business plan online shop example

Next, hover over the newly created section to reveal the row settings. Click the settings icon to edit the section.

edit section

Click the MemberPress tab in the module settings. Next, click the dropdown arrow in the Protect Content section. Under Membership Rule , select partial . Select default for the unauthorized content message. Alternatively, you can select display message and type in a new message. Once the settings are to your liking, click the green check button to save the section.

protect Divi content

When viewing the page in an incognito window or a different browser, the video module and its entire section will be invisible until you log in.

Divi membership landing page

Repeat the steps above to create any additional pages you’d like for your membership website.

Step 8: Extending Your Membership Website With Plugins

Now that we’ve learned how to create, edit, and restrict content on our membership website, we’ll go over a few must-have plugins you’ll want to install. Some of these are optional, depending on the hosting provider you choose. For example, suppose you go with a SiteGround WordPress hosting plan. In that case, you won’t need security or backup plugins because they are automatically provided with their hosting service.

There are some you’ll want, so let’s discuss a few good ones and what they are useful for.

  • LMS Plugins: Although MemberPress does come with a courses add-on, those who want a more robust online learning management system will want a plugin like LifterLMS or LearnDash
  • Forum Plugins : If you want to add a community forum to your membership site, bbPress or another forum plugin is a great option
  • Ecommerce Plugins : Those who want to sell merchandise or digital downloads can integrate plugins like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads
  • Email Optin Plugins : A good way to grow your member list is through email marketing. Plugins like Bloom or Mailchimp allow you to tailor content to your members and attract new ones
  • Analytics Plugins : Monitor traffic and sales with a Google Analytics plugin like MonsterInsights
  • Podcasting Plugins : Add podcasts to your memberships with direct integration with Blubrry PowerPress and more
  • Form Plugins : Create custom registration forms with MemberPress’s integration with WP Forms

Step 9: Enhance Your Membership Website With Divi-Specific Products

In addition to plugins made for WordPress, the Divi Marketplace offers Divi-specific extensions, child themes, and layout packs that will enhance your membership website. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them so you’ll get a better idea of what’s available.

Hide & Show Pro

Hide & Show PRO

There are other ways to build a membership website besides membership plugins like MemberPress and Paid Memberships Pro. Hide & Show Pro allows you to show or hide content based on user role, user ID, logged-in status, and more. There are 34 conditional components, making it possible to set up custom display rules for your content. It also offers direct integration with WooCommerce, so you can create custom display rules for products, schedule sales by day, month, or year, and recurring, or set up a customer loyalty program based on the number of total purchases a customer has. Hide & Show Pro is available for $39 per year .

Get Hide & Show Pro

Divi Pixel

Another incredible product is Divi Pixel , a powerful toolkit that provides over 50 design modules, 5 extensions, and 40+ premade layouts to enhance Divi’s already amazing functionality. There are nearly endless customization options for creating custom headers and footers, building a custom login page, maintenance mode, and more. Mobile menu effects allow you to collapse submenus, set a custom hamburger menu icon, or change the site logo on mobile devices. Divi Pixel is available for $169 per year with unlimited website usage.

Get Divi Pixel


If you’re looking for a variety of fresh looks for your membership website, then DiviMade is the perfect solution. With over 1250 professionally-designed templates, you’ll always have options. You’ll get hundreds of variations, full layouts, pages, footers, headers, 230+ styled modules, and more. All layouts are 100% responsive, meaning they’ll look amazing on any screen size. DiviMade is available for $28.99 for a lifetime license and can be used on unlimited websites.

Get DiviMade

Making a Membership Website With WordPress is Easy With Divi

We’ve covered many topics in this guide on how to make a membership website with WordPress. From purchasing a domain name at Namecheap to purchasing the Divi Theme and MemberPress to restricting content using the MemberPress Divi Add-On, you now have the knowledge you need to effectively build a membership website. When set up correctly, Membership websites offer immense potential to connect with your audience, share your expertise, and generate recurring revenue. With the tools and knowledge you’ve gained here, you’re well on your way to building a successful membership website fostering a vibrant community.

Do you want to learn more about the products and services mentioned in this post? The table below provides pricing and links to each product so you can research them and decide which is right for your membership website.

$500 for the first month
40 cents per birdhouse
$500/($1.50 - 40 cents)
Products MentionedStarting PriceDescriptionAction
1 $5.98/yearDomain Registrar
2 $2.99/monthHosting Provider
3 $13/monthManaged Hosting Provider
4 $12/monthManaged Hosting Provider
5 $89/yearWordPress Theme
6 Included with DiviPage Builder Plugin
7 Included with DiviPage Builder Plugin
8 Included with DiviFull Site Editing
9 $16.08/month (billed annually)AI Website Builder
10 Included with DiviSocial Media Plugin
11 Included with DiviEmail Optin Plugin
12 $179.50/yearMembership Plugin
13 $149.50/yearLMS Plugin
14 $199/yearLMS Plugin
15 Free, Add-ons AvailableEcommerce Plugin
16 Free, $89.55/yearEcommerce Plugin
17 Free, $27/monthEmail Marketing Tool
18 Free, $99.60/yearAnalytics Plugin
19 $12/monthEmail Marketing Service
20 $49.50/yearContact Form Plugin
21 Prices VaryExtensions, Child Themes, and Layouts for Divi
22 $39/yearDivi Modules
23 $169/yearDivi Modules
24 $28.99/yearDivi Modules

Frequently Asked Questions

Although we’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, you may still have questions about building a membership website. The FAQ section below will provide you with the answers you need.

Is WordPress a good platform for a membership website?

What do i need to get started building a membership website with wordpress, what kind of content should i offer on my wordpress membership site, how much does it cost to create a membership website with wordpress, do i need any coding knowledge to build a membership website with wordpress, how can i protect my members-only content on my wordpress membership website, what are some common challenges of running a membership website, should i offer free and paid membership tiers on my membership website, how can i integrate email marketing with my membership site, what are some metrics to track the success of my membership site.

Top Picks

Get Started With Divi!

Explore plans, pricing and features. Click here to get started. 👇

Explore plans, pricing and features here. 👇

By deanna mclean.

Deanna McLean is a blog author, and web developer. She studied graphic design at the University of Mississippi and loves all things, Hotty Toddy. (If you know, you know.) As an adventurous creative, there is nothing Deanna loves more than taking her son and two dogs on excursions in her Jeep.

Explore Divi, The Most Popular WordPress Theme In The World And The Ultimate Page Builder

Premade Layouts

Check Out These Related Posts

How to Create a Landing Page with AI (2024 Guide)

  • How to Create a Landing Page with AI (2024 Guide)

Updated on June 19, 2024 in Marketing

With competition on the internet ramping up, you need the ability to create landing pages that stand out and perform. Every business or personal website that requires better conversion rates must invest time and technology into creating landing pages. At their best, landing pages simplify offers,...

Divi vs Oxygen: Which One Should You Choose? (2024)

  • Divi vs Oxygen: Which One Should You Choose? (2024)

Posted on June 16, 2024 in WordPress

Website design has become more straightforward thanks to drag-and-drop tools like Divi and Oxygen Builder. But which one is better, Divi or Oxygen? Let’s compare these two visual WordPress page builders, covering Divi’s easy-to-use interface and AI approach against Oxygen’s...

How to Build a Website with Divi (2024 Tutorial)

How to Build a Website with Divi (2024 Tutorial)

Posted on June 12, 2024 in Divi Resources

You’ve purchased Divi and are ready to build your website. The only problem is that you need to figure out where to start. Thankfully, Divi is one of the most intuitive WordPress themes available. It offers a user-friendly drag-and-drop Visual Builder that allows you to place design modules...

Leave A Reply Cancel reply

  • Recent Posts
  • Divi Product Highlight: Divi Pixel
  • Get a Free Fashion Stylist Layout Pack For Divi
  • Divi Resources
  • Theme Releases
  • Tips & Tricks

974,872 Customers Are Already Building Amazing Websites With Divi. Join The Most Empowered WordPress Community On The Web

We offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, so joining is Risk-Free!

Divi Features

  • All Features Explore Divi
  • Divi Modules
  • Divi Layouts
  • No-Code Builder
  • Ecommerce Websites
  • Theme Builder
  • Marketing Platform
  • Speed & Performance
  • Premium Support
  • Divi Marketplace
  • Divi AI Brand New!
  • Divi Hosting
  • Extra Theme
  • Bloom Plugin
  • Monarch Plugin
  • Plans & Pricing Get Divi Today
  • Documentation
  • Help Articles & FAQ
  • 24/7 Support
  • Developer Docs
  • System Status
  • Product Updates
  • Best Plugins
  • Best Hosting
  • Divi Meetups
  • Divi Facebook Group
  • Divi Examples
  • Divi Integrations
  • Divi Reviews
  • Community Forum
  • Affiliate Program
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2024 Elegant Themes ®

Retail & Ecommerce Business Plans

Art store business plans.

  • Art Sales Custom Framing Business Plan
  • Art Supply Store and Gallery Business Plan
  • Pottery Studio Business Plan

Bookstore Business Plans

  • Newsagent - Newsstand Business Plan
  • Online College Bookstore Business Plan
  • Scrapbooking Store Business Plan
  • Used Book Store Business Plan

Car Dealership Business Plans

  • Auto Inspectors Business Plan
  • Auto Parts Store Business Plan
  • Automotive Repair - Sales - Valet Business Plan
  • Environmental Car Dealership Business Plan
  • Motorcycle Shop Business Plan
  • Used Auto Sales Business Plan

Clothing & Accessories Retail Business Plans

  • Bridal Gown Shop Business Plan
  • Clothing E-Commerce Site Business Plan
  • Clothing Retail Business Plan
  • Custom Quilt Artist Business Plan
  • Specialty Clothing Retail Business Plan
  • Family Clothing Business Plan
  • Lingerie Retail Clothing Store Business Plan
  • Lingerie Shop Business Plan
  • Maternity Clothing Business Plan
  • Women's Boutique Shoe Store Business Plan
  • Womens Clothing Boutique Business Plan
  • Women's Shoe Store Business Plan
  • Vintage Store Business Plan

Convenience Store Business Plans

  • Convenience Store Business Plan
  • Convenience Store Cafe Business Plan
  • Convenience Store Gas Station Business Plan
  • Convenience Store Soda Fountain Business Plan
  • Truck Stop Business Plan
  • Vending Machine Business Plan

Cosmetics & Cleaning Retail Business Plans

  • MLM Cleaning Products Business Plan
  • Day Spa Business Plan
  • Hair And Beauty Salon Business Plan
  • Hair Removal Business Plan
  • Hair Replacement and Salon Business Plan
  • Hair Salon Business Plan

Ecommerce Business Plans

  • Children's Website Business Plan
  • Cigar Manufacturing Business Plan
  • E-commerce Internet Business Plan
  • E-Commerce Retailer Business Plan
  • E-Commerce Start-Up Business Plan
  • Ecommerce Fabric Store Business Plan
  • Fish Breeder Business Plan
  • Home, Garden Gifts Online Business Plan
  • Horse Reseller Business Plan
  • Mail Order Returns Business Plan
  • Maternity Clothing Online Business Plan
  • Etsy Shop Business Plan
  • Amazon FBA Business Plan

Franchise Business Plans

  • Athletic Shoe Store Franchise Business Plan
  • Fast Food Restaurant Business Plan
  • Franchise Sandwich Shop Business Plan
  • Pizzeria Franchise Business Plan
  • Coffee Shop Franchise Business Plan

Gift Shop Business Plans

  • Florist Business Plan
  • Gift Basket Business Plan
  • Gift Novelty Souvenir Shop Business Plan
  • Gift Shop Business Plan
  • Gifts and Collectibles Retail Shop Business Plan
  • Gifts, Novelties, Souvenir Business Plan
  • Specialty Gifts Business Plan

Health Products Business Plans

  • Massage Products Business Plan
  • Medical Equipment - Supplies Business Plan
  • Pharmacy Business Plan

Home & Garden Retail Business Plans

  • Decorative Pottery Business Plan
  • Feed and Farm Supply Business Plan
  • Garden Nursery Business Plan
  • Hardware Retail Franchise Business Plan
  • Home Accessories and Gifts Business Plan
  • Home Decoration Fabrics Business Plan
  • MLM Water Filter Business Plan
  • Retail Discount Store Business Plan
  • Retail Hardware Store Business Plan
  • Retail Furniture Manufacturer Business Plan

Jewelry Business Plans

  • Custom Jewelry Business Plan
  • Diamond Retailer Business Plan

Office Supplies & Office Furniture Business Plans

  • Direct Mail and Shipping Business Plan
  • Office Equipment Rental Business Plan
  • Office Furniture Manufacturer Business Plan
  • Office Furniture Store Business Plan
  • Office Supplies Retail Business Plan
  • Online Print Shop Business Plan
  • Printing Services Broker Business Plan
  • UK Furniture Manufacturer Business Plan

Raw Materials Retail Business Plans

  • Gravel Rock Products Business Plan

Retail Music Business Plans

  • Music Retail Business Plan
  • Musical Instrument Store Business Plan

Sporting Goods Retail Business Plans

  • Fishing Equipment Business Plan
  • Fishing Shop Business Plan
  • Fishing Supplies and Fly Shop Business Plan
  • Paintball Products Retail Business Plan
  • Retail Bicycle Shop Business Plan
  • Retail Tennis Shop Business Plan
  • Skateboard Gear Retail Business Plan
  • Sporting Goods Retail Store Business Plan
  • Sports Clothing Retail Shop Business Plan
  • Sports Equipment Cafe Business Plan
  • Sports Equipment Rental Business Plan
  • Sports Equipment Retail Business Plan
  • Sports Memorabilia Business Plan
  • Used Sports Equipment Store Business Plan
  • Yoga Center Business Plan

Technology Retail Business Plans

  • Cell Phones Retailer Business Plan
  • Computer Hardware Reseller Business Plan
  • Computer Software Retailer Business Plan
  • Computer Support Business Plan
  • Computers Reseller Business Plan
  • Electronics Retailer Business Plan
  • Software Sales Business Plan
  • Telephone Sales Business Plan
  • Wi-Fi Kiosks Business Plan
  • SaaS Business Plan

Do you have dreams of owning your own brick and mortar retail store? Or an eCommerce website you can run from the comfort of your own home? Whichever retail option you choose, you’ll need a business plan to get started and successfully manage it.

Check out our library of retail sample plans for inspiration and guidance as you build out your own physical retail or eCommerce business.

Garrett's Bike Shop

The quickest way to turn a business idea into a business plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

No thanks, I prefer writing 40-page documents.

LivePlan pitch example

Discover the world’s #1 plan building software

business plan online shop example

  • Credit cards
  • View all credit cards
  • Banking guide
  • Loans guide
  • Insurance guide
  • Personal finance
  • View all personal finance
  • Small business
  • Small business guide
  • View all taxes

You’re our first priority. Every time.

We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. And while our site doesn’t feature every company or financial product available on the market, we’re proud that the guidance we offer, the information we provide and the tools we create are objective, independent, straightforward — and free.

So how do we make money? Our partners compensate us. This may influence which products we review and write about (and where those products appear on the site), but it in no way affects our recommendations or advice, which are grounded in thousands of hours of research. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners .

Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses of 2024

Hillary Crawford

Karrin Sehmbi is a lead content management specialist on the small-business team. She has more than a decade of editorial experience in the fields of educational publishing, content marketing and medical news. She has also held roles as a teacher and tutor. Karrin is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hillary Crawford is a small-business writer at NerdWallet, with a special focus on business software products. Her previous roles include news writer and associate West Coast editor at Bustle Digital Group, where she helped shape news and tech coverage. Her work has appeared in The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Yahoo Finance and Entrepreneur, in addition to other publications. She is based in Traverse City, Michigan.

Sally Lauckner

Sally Lauckner is an editor on NerdWallet's small-business team. She has over 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. Before joining NerdWallet in 2020, Sally was the editorial director at Fundera, where she built and led a team focused on small-business content and specializing in business financing. Her prior experience includes two years as a senior editor at SmartAsset, where she edited a wide range of personal finance content, and five years at the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, where she held a variety of editorial roles. She is based in New York City.

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 .

Accounting software helps you track how money moves in and out of your small business. The best accounting software makes it easy to keep a detailed financial record so that you’re ready come tax season. It also includes tools for streamlining accounting tasks, like the invoice process, and gaining insight into your business’s financial health.

To choose the right option for you, think about the present and future versions of your business — your accounting software should be able to support both. Right now, check that it’s within your budget and is compatible with your point-of-sale and/or payroll software, as well as your accountant’s system. Based on how much you expect your small business to grow, keep an eye on scalability, too.

Accounting software is like a database for all of your business’s financial transactions. It helps you follow basic accounting principles so that you can keep your books up to date and in order, which is especially important come tax season. Most software uses double-entry accounting , meaning it factors in assets, liabilities and equity, in addition to revenue and expenses.

Most accounting software goes beyond these tasks with additional built-in modules for invoicing and billing as well as inventory management , among other functions. The more your accounting software becomes a one-stop shop for these financial chores, the fewer integrations you need to consider.

» Learn more about accounting: What is accounting?

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best small-business accounting software, including why we selected each product, monthly price details and features checklists for easy product comparisons. We've also included a couple of solutions that nearly made our list and a few products you can skip.

Why trust NerdWallet

250+ small-business products reviewed and rated by our team of experts.

95+ years of combined experience covering small business and personal finance.

75+ categories of best business software selections.

Objective and comprehensive business accounting software ratings rubric. ( Learn more about our star ratings .)

NerdWallet's small-business software content, including ratings, recommendations and reviews, is overseen by a team of writers and editors who specialize in business software, including payroll, accounting and payment processing. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur, ABC News, Yahoo Finance and other national and local media outlets. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity to ensure accuracy and fairness in our coverage.

Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses

  • QuickBooks Online


Additional pricing tiers (per month): $60, $90, $200.  

$30 per month for the Simple Start plan.

$60 per month for the Essentials plan.

$90 per month for the Plus plan.

$200 per month for the Advanced plan.

» MORE: Explore all QuickBooks plans and pricing

QuickBooks Online is an industry leader in the accounting field, thanks to its strong feature set and scalability. In addition to core accounting capabilities, it has robust reporting and transaction tracking tools, invoicing capabilities, inventory management features and mobile app functionality.

In particular, entrepreneurs trying to measure performance in different segments of their business will like QuickBooks’ granular transaction tracking tools that let you group transactions by department or location, among other categories. Reporting capabilities increase with each plan, but even the least expensive Simple Start plan includes more than 50 reports.

Easy to share information with your accountant and to find QuickBooks experts and online resources if needed.

More than 750 app integrations, including live, in-house bookkeeping.

Robust feature set includes thorough record-keeping, comprehensive reporting, excellent invoicing and inventory management, plus a capable mobile app.

Daily phone support and 24/7 chat support in all plans.

Lacks industry-specific features.

Limited account users with each plan.

» MORE: Best alternatives to QuickBooks

Many of the household accounting software names, such as QuickBooks, Xero and Zoho Books, can be classified as integrated accounting software solutions. This means that in addition to maintaining a general ledger and assisting with day-to-day bookkeeping, the software includes functions for tracking accounts receivable and accounts payable , reconciling bank transactions (often with some level of automation for convenience and time-saving), managing inventory and purchase orders and handling the billing process.


Additional pricing tiers (per month): $42, $78.  

$15 per month for the Early plan.

$42 per month for the Growing plan.

$78 per month for the Established plan.

Xero is another reliable product when it comes to standard accounting capabilities. It also has excellent reporting features and a capable mobile app as well as a customizable dashboard that lets each user rearrange or hide panels according to their preferences.

Xero allows an unlimited number of users on a single account at each plan level, a valuable feature in situations where several users need some level of access to the system. And you can assign them different permission levels: For example, one user might only be able to create invoice drafts and submit time entries, while another can view reports but not edit transactions. Competitors’ plans limit how many users you can add, or they charge an additional monthly fee for each user, which can add up quickly. Xero offers a large number of integrations, too.

Unlimited users in all pricing plans.

Integrates with more than 1,000 third-party apps.

Feature set includes an excellent mobile app and suite of reports, capable invoicing features, plus automated bill and receipt capture through Hubdoc.

Simple layout and easy to use.

No phone number for customer support listed.

Entry-level plan limits bills and invoices to five and 20 per month, respectively.

» MORE: Best alternatives to Xero

Zoho Books

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $20, $50, $70, $150, $275.  

$0 per month for the Free plan.

$20 per month for the Standard plan.

$50 per month for the Professional plan.

$70 per month for the Premium plan.

$150 per month for the Elite plan.

$275 per month for the Ultimate plan.

Unlike some competitors, none of Zoho Books’ plans put a limit on billable clients, and even its free plan lets you send up to 1,000 invoices per year. On top of that, the free option offers a customer portal, automatic payment reminders, mileage tracking and the ability to schedule reports. Higher-tier plans let users automate workflows and track project profitability, and give access to advanced inventory and analytics tools.

The software’s mobile-first features — such as the ability to send invoices by iMessage or add widgets to your phone’s home screen to easily access timers and overdue invoices — really help set it apart, though. There’s also an Apple Watch app that lets you track time, send payment reminders and review outstanding invoices.

Less expensive than some competitors; free plan available for businesses with less than $50k in annual revenue.

Email support in free plan; phone and chat support in paid plans.

Rich feature set includes excellent invoicing, inventory management, workflow rules and a capable mobile app.

Add accounting widgets to your phone’s home screen; track time using your Apple Watch.

Fewer third-party integrations and reports than some competitors.

No plan includes more than 15 users (can add additional users for a fee).

» MORE: Best Zoho Books alternatives

To find startup accounting software that will best serve your business at any stage, consider scalability as well as strong customer support. You will also want to choose software that uses the accrual basis accounting method for recording transactions. It’s a more detailed (and therefore more involved) method of accounting, but for many businesses — especially those tracking a large amount of inventory and those in need of a business loan — it’s the preferred method.


Additional pricing tiers (per month): $33, $60, custom.  

$19 per month for the Lite plan.

$33 per month for the Plus plan.

$60 per month for the Premium plan.

Custom pricing for the Select plan.

With standout invoicing features and client management resources, FreshBooks is a great accounting solution for freelancers, particularly if you have 50 or fewer total clients and can therefore opt for the Lite or Plus plan. Your clients can even choose to create their own accounts. This lets them save and comment on invoices, save their payment information, invite others to access the account and collaborate on projects they’ve been invited to view.

Unlike some competitors that require you to pay extra for a time-tracking module, all FreshBooks plans come with unlimited time tracking. You can start a timer from within the mobile app to log hours spent on a particular project or sync data from tools like Asana and Trello.

Stay in touch with clients through the FreshBooks mobile app and get notified when invoices have been viewed or become overdue.

Intuitive, customizable invoicing capabilities compete with those of more robust accounting solutions.

Track time and add billable hours to invoices in all plans.

Weekday phone support in all plans.

Lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails for accountants to review.

Highest-tier Select plan only comes with two users (additional users add $11 per month) and lower-tier plans put limits on billable clients.

Least expensive plan lacks double-entry accounting reports, bank reconciliation and accountant access.

» MORE: Best alternatives to FreshBooks

  • Sage 50 Accounting


Additional pricing tiers (per month): $101.92, $172.  

$58.92 per month, for 1 user, for the Pro Accounting plan.

$101.92 per month, for 1 user, for the Premium Accounting plan.

$172 per month, for 1 user, for the Quantum Accounting plan.

Prices increase with each additional user.

Sage 50 Accounting, unlike some of its competitors, offers inventory management and job costing features at all plan levels. Also included with every plan is Sage’s own cybersecurity offering, which will keep tabs on your business credit score and monitor for data breaches. Business owners working in construction or manufacturing may be especially drawn to Sage 50’s advanced inventory, job costing, reporting and budgeting capabilities.

Sage 50 Accounting advertises “cloud-connected capabilities,” which refers to a few features of the software that reach beyond typical desktop software functionality: bank feeds, which flow all your business transactions into the software to assist with the reconciliation process; data backups in the cloud for safeguarding your important financial information; and remote data access so you, your team and your accountant can securely access your data from devices other than the machine the software is locally installed on (though perhaps not simultaneously or seamlessly).

Advanced inventory tracking and job costing features.

Industry-specific features for construction, retail and professional services businesses.

Phone and chat support, plus a dedicated account representative in all plans.

Lowest-tier plan doesn’t include audit trails.

Pricier than many other solutions on this list.

Also sometimes called on-premise software, desktop accounting software must be locally installed on a specific computer and can only be accessed from that one device or location. For some small-business owners, this type of program feels more secure than online accounting software from a data protection perspective, though regular manual backups are necessary to protect against total loss of data in the event of a technology failure.

  • Wave Accounting


Additional pricing tiers (per month): $16  

$0 for the Starter plan.

$16 per month for the Pro plan.

Wave is a simple solution for very small businesses that need a place to consolidate bookkeeping records and invoices, but don’t have to log more than a handful of transactions each day. The free version of the accounting software lets you track income and expenses, send unlimited invoices and automatically send reminders for late online payments. It also gives you access to more than a dozen pre-built financial reports, including a profit and loss statement and balance sheet.

If you don’t want to manually enter transactions into Wave, you can opt for the Pro plan to link an unlimited number of bank and credit card accounts for automated reconciliation. The paid plan offers more competitive online payment processing rates, too (starting at 2.9% per transaction vs. the free plan’s 2.9% + $0.60 per transaction).

Free plan available.

Lacks features that quickly growing companies need, like audit trails.

Must subscribe to Wave’s Pro plan or other paid services (payroll, payments, advisor, etc.) to receive customer support from a human

No third-party integrations, mileage tracking feature or ability to accept in-person card payments.

» MORE : Best free accounting software

  • QuickBooks Enterprise

Additional pricing tiers (per year): $1,922; $2,363; $4,668. Adding users or cloud access costs extra.  

$1,481 per year for the Silver plan.

$1,922 per year for the Gold plan.

$2,363 per year for the Platinum plan.

$4,668 per year for the Diamond plan.

With QuickBooks Enterprise, business owners can set up volume discounts and customize pricing rules according to sales rep, item category or customer in the Platinum plan and up. The same plans help speed up the inventory count process by allowing businesses to use mobile devices as barcode scanners. And unlike some competitors that only track single inventory items, QuickBooks Enterprise lets you track inventory parts plus assemblies. You can also track the cost of goods sold and adjust inventory for loss or shrinkage.

It is possible to purchase cloud access so your team can better collaborate and access the software and its data from anywhere, but costs add up quickly with an additional monthly charge per user.

Strong feature set includes thorough record-keeping, invoicing and advanced inventory management and pricing rules.

More than 200 reports, including industry-specific options for various industries.

24/7 phone and chat support.

Limited direct, third-party software integrations.

Annual subscriptions are expensive; each additional user license and cloud access costs extra.


Per user. Additional pricing tiers per user (per month): $70.  

$35 per month per user for the Standard plan.

$70 per month per user for the Enterprise plan.

With Striven’s integrated accounting software, you have access not only to your general ledger and standard reports like profit and loss but also to tools for accounts receivable and accounts payable plus billing, order management and more. Striven’s accounting software will also help ensure your business is operating in a tax-compliant manner by automating tax calculations and giving you access to various tax reports.

Striven has designed accounting solutions tailored to a dozen industries. Its retail solution, for example, includes CRM, inventory management and marketing features to integrate with its accounting platform. But its nonprofit solution includes tools for managing records and scheduling events and even includes a donation portal. And because it’s a cloud-based system, you’ll be able to access your real-time accounting and other business data on the go from anywhere.

Offers industry-specific features for consulting businesses, nonprofits, manufacturing companies, professional services and more.

Tools to ensure tax compliance.

Other features include inventory tracking, reporting, invoicing, project management tools and the ability to categorize transactions using classes.

Customer support available by phone and live chat.

Monthly costs could add up quickly if you require multiple users.

No mobile app.

Limited third-party integrations available; no POS or payroll integrations.

  • Additional accounting software to consider

In our review of more than a dozen accounting software products, NerdWallet determined a couple of products are strong contenders that may be worth consideration for certain businesses. Consider one of the following solutions if those on our list above don’t suit your small-business accounting needs.

Odoo: Good for an all-in-one business management app

Consider Odoo for your business if you:

Run a small, medium or enterprise business.

Need access for an unlimited number of users.

Have a monthly accounting software budget of $0-$58.40.

Require multiple software integrations (Odoo’s open-source software has dozens of its own apps for a variety of business needs plus thousands of third-party integrations).

$0 per month for use of a single app.

$38.90 per user per month for access to all apps.

$58.40 per user per month for access to all apps across multiple companies plus Odoo’s external API.

Like its name suggests, open-source software is open to the public, meaning anyone can access and tweak its code. This makes it more customizable than typical closed-source, or proprietary, software that you purchase, download and work with as-is. Open-source products, like Odoo, are ideal for business owners who know how to code and want to play a hands-on role in customizing the product to fit their business needs.

» MORE: Best business software

ZarMoney: Good for inventory management features

Consider ZarMoney for your business if you:

Need access for one to 30 users.

Have a monthly accounting software budget of $20-$350.

Require few or no software integrations (ZarMoney has only a handful).

$15 per month for the Entrepreneur plan.

$20 per month for the Small Business plan.

$350 per month for the Enterprise plan.

» MORE: Best inventory management software

  • Accounting software you can skip

These few accounting products fell short in our ratings rubric on a number of fronts. We recommend skipping them in your exploration of the best accounting software for small businesses, unless you can live without some key features these products lack and their price tag feels worth it to you.

TrulySmall Accounting: Truly lacking some important features

Where it falls short: Considering its entry price point of $20 per month, we would expect TrulySmall Accounting to come with standard accounting features such as audit trails and the ability to switch between cash and accrual accounting . The software also lacks inventory tracking tools as well as integrations with any third-party software.

$20 per month for the Accounting plan.

TrulySmall also offers standalone Invoices and Expenses plans for businesses that opt out of the Accounting plan. They cost $8.99 per month each.

» MORE: Best online bookkeeping services

ZipBooks: Zip past this one while shopping

Where it falls short: When considered through the lens of free accounting software, ZipBooks is worth a gander, (although Wave and Zoho Books both offer free accounting plans with a heavier dose of useful features). But ZipBooks comes up short on mobile app features (receipt capture only), lacks inventory tracking, doesn’t offer support from an actual human (help library only) and has no direct integrations with other software.

$0 per month for the Starter plan.

$15 per month for the Smarter plan.

$35 per month for the Sophisticated plan.

Akaunting: Don’t be fooled by “free” software

Where it falls short: Akaunting advertises its “free” accounting software, but in fact, only the base plan for its desktop (on-premise) software is free. That free version of the software must be downloaded to a single machine, which means it is not accessible from any device anywhere via the cloud, and it won’t even fetch you standard accounting software features such as bank connections (for easy and automated transaction reconciliation), a chart of accounts or a general ledger. The lowest-tier on-premise plan essentially operates as invoicing software. But with plenty of strong free invoicing software products on the market — all of the options that make our list are cloud-based — you can skip right over Akaunting.

$0-$684 per year for an on-premise plan.

$12-$218 per month for a cloud plan.

  • How we determined the best accounting software

NerdWallet independently reviews accounting software products before determining our top picks. We collect the data for our software ratings from products’ public-facing websites and from company representatives. Information is gathered on a regular basis and reviewed by our editorial team for consistency and accuracy.

NerdWallet’s accounting software ratings favor products that are easy to use, reasonably priced, have a robust feature set and can grow with your business. The best accounting software received top marks when evaluated across 10 categories and more than 30 subcategories. Learn more about how we rate small-business accounting software .

These ratings are meant to provide clarity in the decision-making process, but what’s best for your business will depend on its size, growth trajectory and which features you need most. We encourage you to research and compare multiple accounting software products before choosing one.NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines .

  • How to choose accounting software

Ideally, your accounting software will make your day-to-day routine easier through automation. Here are some key factors to consider when researching and choosing the best accounting software for your small business.

Accessibility: Cloud-based software enables access through any device with an internet connection. This generally allows for easier collaboration with accountants and seamless integration with other business software. Desktop-based software, however, can only be accessed from a single computer.

Scalability: Take a look at products’ plan offerings, including how many employees and users the software can support, to make sure you can upgrade to a more robust version of the software as your business grows. If you anticipate rapid or high growth, consider accounting software for medium-sized businesses . 

Y our budget: Determine how much your business can afford to spend monthly on accounting software in conjunction with other recurring costs, like utilities, rent and additional software subscriptions for a POS system or payroll, for example. If you’re a solopreneur and want to keep costs down, check out our list of best accounting software for freelancers and the self-employed .

Ease of use: Accounting software that isn’t intuitive and user-friendly can take up an unnecessary amount of your time or discourage you from using it as often as you should to keep your finances in order. Test out free trials of accounting software, request a demo and watch tutorial videos to get a feel for navigating the software. 

Integrations: Think about the other types of software you already use or plan to use, and check to see if direct integrations are available between those products and the accounting software you’re considering. If not, you may need to pay for an indirect integration or manually transfer data from one product to another. 

Customer support: Think about what time of the day you’re most likely to reach out for assistance and how you’d like to communicate with customer service representatives. Free accounting software options typically offer less robust customer support solutions than paid products do. 

Sharing with your accountant: If you’re working with an outside accountant, take note of how easy (or not) a product makes it for you to share your financial details and reports with your accountant. Many popular accounting software products allow you to easily share access, but some require upgrades to costlier plans for this access and some products only enable you to export data to be sent to your accountant.

How much does accounting software cost?

Paper documents wrapped with a ribbon that has a checkmark on it.

If you’d like to shop by industry, check out NerdWallet’s picks for:

Best church accounting software .

Best construction accounting software .

Best consultant accounting software.

Best e-commerce accounting software .

Best farm accounting software .

Best hotel accounting software .

Best law firm accounting software .

Best manufacturing accounting software .

Best nonprofit accounting software .

Best property management accounting software .

Best accounting software for Amazon sellers .

Best accounting software for restaurants .

Best accounting software for retailers .

Best accounting software for SaaS businesses .

Best trucking accounting software .

  • Compare NerdWallet’s top accounting software picks by features

To help determine which accounting software is best for your business, start by comparing each product’s maximum user limit, invoicing capabilities, time-tracking tools, inventory tracking features and phone support availability.


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating


NerdWallet rating

Table of Contents

  • Find the right Medicare Advantage plan
  • Compare Medicare Advantage providers
  • Compare Medicare Supplement Insurance companies
  • About Mutual of Omaha
  • Find the right Medicare Supplement Insurance plan
  • Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medigap plans
  • About Kaiser Permanente
  • About Wellcare
  • Compare Medicare Part D companies
  • Find the right Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Part D Plans
  • How to choose a Medicare Advantage plan
  • About UnitedHealthcare
  • Life insurance buying guide
  • Cost of EV ownership
  • How to charge an EV at home
  • How to shop for an EV
  • About Wellpoint (Amerigroup)
  • About Humana
  • About Aetna
  • About Anthem
  • About Highmark
  • About Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • About Cigna
  • Still deciding on the right carrier? Compare Medicare Advantage plans
  • SoLo Funds cash advance basics: Amounts, fees and funding time
  • MoneyLion Instacash advance basics: Amounts, fees and funding time
  • Who SoLo Funds is best for
  • Who MoneyLion Instacash advances are best for
  • What you need for a SoLo Funds advance
  • What you need for a MoneyLion Instacash advance
  • How to get a SoLo Funds cash advance: Step-by-step instructions
  • How to get a MoneyLion Instacash advance: Step-by-step instructions
  • Frequently asked questions about SoLo Funds
  • Frequently asked questions about MoneyLion Instacash
  • Other MoneyLion features
  • A closer look at our MoneyLion Instacash star rating
  • A closer look at SoLo Funds star rating
  • Explore more cash advance apps
  • You're our first priority. Every time.
  • Nerdy takeaways
  • Best home security systems
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage
  • Cigna Medicare Advantage
  • Best Medicare Supplement Plan G companies
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage
  • About Figo pet insurance
  • Consent for Electronic Signatures, Records, and Disclosures (“E-Consent”)
  • About Healthy Paws pet insurance
  • About Homesite home insurance
  • About Progressive pet insurance
  • About Citizens home insurance
  • About Lemonade pet insurance
  • About Costco pet insurance
  • The best pet insurance companies at a glance
  • Which cellular network is best for you?
  • 7 of the best apps to make money
  • About MetLife pet insurance
  • About Liberty Mutual pet insurance
  • Chase checking accounts
  • Best banks and credit unions
  • Best tax software 2024
  • What is a high-risk driver?
  • Full H&R Block review
  • The best car insurance for veterans and military members
  • How do expense trackers work?
  • The best money-making apps
  • The best burial insurance in June 2024
  • Transamerica life insurance
  • Top 7 Denver financial advisors
  • Best classic car insurance companies
  • Where Homesite stands out
  • Where Liberty Mutual stands out
  • Where Liberty Mutual falls short
  • Compare to other insurers
  • Where Geico stands out
  • Where Amica stands out
  • The best pet insurance companies of 2024
  • What is the best streaming service?
  • Best inventory management software
  • Where Erie stands out
  • How we ranked the top life insurers
  • Where Auto-Owners stands out
  • What LifeLock does and what it costs
  • Texas Farm Bureau auto insurance coverage
  • H&R Block's prices
  • Best affordable homeowners insurance in New York: State Farm
  • Plans and coverage
  • Best affordable homeowners insurance in New Jersey: Travelers
  • Best affordable homeowners insurance in Michigan: Frankenmuth
  • Cheap(er) cell phone plans from Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T
  • Best car insurance in California overall: Travelers
  • Best car insurance in Colorado overall: Travelers
  • Best budget homeowners insurance in Massachusetts: The Andover Companies
  • Mercury insurance coverage
  • Checking and savings features
  • Where Homesite falls short
  • Zoho Inventory
  • Should you choose postpaid or prepaid?
  • Where Geico falls short
  • How Root auto insurance works
  • Transamerica life insurance policies
  • How much does USAA car insurance cost? 
  • Where to find affordable high-risk auto insurance
  • Costco pet insurance plans and coverage
  • Where Auto-Owners falls short
  • Where Amica falls short
  • MetLife pet insurance plans and coverage
  • Where Citizens stands out
  • Lemonade pet insurance plans and coverage
  • Chase direct deposit requirements for checking accounts
  • Best iOS personal expense tracker apps
  • Where Erie falls short
  • Best free tax software for simple returns: H&R Block
  • Auto insurance discounts
  • How do streaming services fit into your budget?
  • The best high-risk auto insurance companies
  • How Chase checking account fees compare
  • Best Colorado car insurance for your budget: State Farm
  • Best burial life insurance policies for 2024
  • Your Privacy
  • Where Citizens falls short
  • Best California auto insurance for your budget: Auto Club of SoCal
  • How much does Geico car insurance cost? 
  • Compare with other insurers
  • Root auto insurance coverage
  • Amica auto insurance coverage
  • Best homeowners insurance in New York for coverage: The Andover Companies and Erie
  • Best homeowners insurance in Michigan for coverage: State Farm
  • Auto-Owners insurance coverage
  • How USAA's rates compare
  • Questions? Concerns? Suggestions?
  • What’s not covered
  • Best homeowners insurance in New Jersey for coverage: The Andover Companies
  • Cheap cell phone plans from brands owned by the big three
  • Erie auto insurance coverage
  • Best homeowners insurance in Massachusetts for coverage: Openly and The Andover Companies
  • Liberty Mutual auto insurance coverage
  • Is LifeLock worth the price?
  • Texas Farm Bureau home insurance coverage
  • H&R Block at a glance
  • How much does high-risk car insurance cost?
  • State availability
  • Pricing based on tracked driving habits
  • Frequently asked questions about Chase checking accounts
  • Do you need a family cell phone plan?
  • How much do streaming services cost?
  • How Geico's rates compare
  • Home insurance discounts
  • USAA auto insurance coverage
  • Coverage options
  • Citizens home insurance coverage
  • Complaints and customer satisfaction
  • Best car insurance in California for customer complaints: Amica
  • Best Colorado car insurance for customer complaints: Country Financial
  • Best overall paid tax software package: TurboTax
  • Transamerica life insurance rates
  • Best homeowners insurance in Michigan for consumer experience: Nationwide
  • Cheap cell phone plans from brands that resell network service
  • Texas Farm Bureau life insurance
  • Best homeowners insurance in New Jersey for consumer experience: Nationwide
  • H&R Block's ease of use
  • Restrictions and waiting periods
  • Transamerica customer complaints and satisfaction
  • Best homeowners insurance in Massachusetts for consumer experience: Nationwide
  • Geico auto insurance coverage
  • Compare the best savings and money market accounts
  • More about Mercury insurance
  • Best homeowners insurance in New York for consumer experience: Nationwide
  • Best California car insurance for ease of use: State Farm
  • Best Colorado car insurance for ease of use: State Farm
  • What plans are best for seniors?
  • What's not covered
  • Full list of the best homeowners insurance in Michigan
  • Compare the best CD accounts
  • More about Root auto insurance
  • More about Texas Farm Bureau insurance
  • Home insurance from Mercury
  • What Reddit users say about Transamerica
  • Classic car insurance companies
  • Sample rates
  • Customer experience
  • Plan options
  • Full list of the best homeowners insurance in New Jersey
  • Best Android personal expense tracker apps
  • Is it time for you to switch to a better plan?
  • Auto-Owners life insurance
  • Things to consider
  • Other insurance coverage from Mercury
  • Benefits for all Chase checking accounts
  • Full list of the top auto insurance companies in California
  • Full list of the best homeowners insurance in Massachusetts
  • Compare the best checking accounts
  • Best affordable tax software package: TaxSlayer
  • Other insurance from Root Insurance
  • Other insurance from Texas Farm Bureau
  • Questions from Reddit: Our experts answer
  • Full list of the best home insurance companies in New York
  • How much does homeowners insurance cost in Michigan?
  • Full list of the best car insurance companies in Colorado
  • Am I eligible for classic car insurance?
  • How much does homeowners insurance cost in New Jersey?
  • Erie life insurance
  • Compare the best banks, credit unions and cash management accounts
  • More about Liberty Mutual auto insurance 
  • Amica life insurance
  • How to switch plans and keep your number
  • How to get the best car insurance in California
  • How much does homeowners insurance cost in New York?
  • Military car insurance rates
  • How to get the best car insurance in Colorado
  • How much does homeowners insurance cost in Massachusetts?
  • H&R Block's handy features
  • Consumer complaints
  • Average cost of homeowners insurance in Michigan by city
  • Compare the best bank accounts for students and kids
  • Homeowners, renters and pet insurance from Liberty Mutual
  • More about USAA auto insurance
  • Average cost of homeowners insurance in New Jersey by city
  • Consumer experience
  • Another Chase checking account perk: the Chase Disney debit card
  • Average cost of homeowners insurance in Massachusetts by city
  • Summary of the best banks and credit unions of 2024
  • Competitive tax software to consider: TaxAct
  • Other insurance from Liberty Mutual 
  • More about Auto-owners insurance
  • More about Transamerica
  • Life, homeowners and renters insurance from USAA
  • Average cost of homeowners insurance in New York by city
  • The cheapest home insurance in Michigan
  • Who offers military car insurance discounts
  • The cheapest home insurance in New Jersey
  • More about Erie auto insurance 
  • More about Geico insurance 
  • How Chase premium checking accounts compare
  • If you're ready to start a budget
  • The cheapest home insurance in Massachusetts
  • Auto-Owners homeowners and renters insurance 
  • More about Amica insurance 
  • Other insurance from USAA
  • The bottom line
  • Salesbinder
  • How to save on car insurance for veterans and military personnel
  • What to know about Michigan homeowners insurance
  • Erie homeowners and renters insurance
  • H&R Block’s human tax help
  • The cheapest home insurance in New York
  • Shopping for classic car insurance
  • Other home insurance companies to consider
  • Amica homeowners and renters insurance 
  • What to know about New Jersey homeowners insurance
  • Additional benefits for premium Chase checking accounts
  • Other insurance from Auto-Owners
  • Other insurance from Erie 
  • What to know about Massachusetts homeowners insurance
  • Healthy Paws pet insurance vs. competitors
  • Other insurance from Geico 
  • How to choose tax software
  • Other insurance from Amica 
  • What to know about New York homeowners insurance
  • Evaluating high-risk auto insurance companies
  • Is a Chase checking account the right choice?
  • Figo pet insurance vs. competitors
  • How to save on classic car insurance
  • Other pet insurance companies to consider
  • How we review pet insurance
  • H&R Block's support options
  • Getting a quote
  • Alternatives to the best burial insurance
  • If no car insurance company will accept you
  • Massachusetts Division of Insurance
  • Do I need tax software?
  • How to avoid high car insurance rates
  • Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services
  • inFlow Inventory
  • More about top-rated life insurance companies
  • Lemonade vs. competitors
  • New York insurance department
  • Costco pet insurance vs. competitors
  • New Jersey department of insurance
  • H&R Block refund options
  • Restaurant365
  • Progressive vs. competitors
  • How H&R Block compares
  • Bottom line: Is H&R Block right for you?
  • Brightpearl
  • Finale Inventory
  • What is inventory management software?
  • Inventory management software features
  • How much does inventory management software cost?
  • Benefits of inventory management software
  • Inventory management software FAQ
  • Compare the best pet insurance companies
  • How much is pet insurance?
  • How to find the best dog insurance
  • How to find the best cat insurance
  • How to compare pet insurance companies
  • How we ranked the best pet insurance companies
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in California
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland
  • Best overall: SimpliSafe
  • Compare the best Medicare Supplement plans in Florida
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Iowa
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Florida
  • Summary of best home warranties
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona
  • Compare the best Medicare Supplement plans in Ohio
  • Compare the best Medicare Advantage plans in Connecticut
  • Best multifunction sensors: Arlo
  • Best DIY system: Ring
  • Best smart home integration: Abode
  • Best monitoring: ADT
  • Best professional installation: Vivint
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in California
  • What to know about Medicare in Maryland
  • How to choose a home security system
  • Most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types in Florida
  • What to know about Medicare in Iowa
  • What to know about Medicare in Florida
  • Best overall: Liberty Home Guard
  • What to know about Medicare in Arizona
  • Most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan types in Ohio
  • What to know about Medicare in Connecticut
  • Best overall: AARP/UnitedHealthcare
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Maryland
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Iowa
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Florida
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona
  • Top-rated Medicare Advantage plans in Connecticut
  • Top Medicare Supplement Insurance companies in Florida
  • Top Medicare Supplement Insurance companies in Ohio
  • Best for additional coverage options: Anthem
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance prices in Florida
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance prices in Ohio
  • How we picked top home security systems
  • What to know about Medicare Advantage in California
  • Best for inclusive coverage: American Home Shield
  • Medicare resources in Arizona
  • Third-party ratings
  • Medicare resources in Maryland
  • Medicare resources in Iowa
  • Best for high-deductible Medigap Plan G: Mutual of Omaha
  • Medicare resources in California
  • Medicare resources in Florida
  • Medicare resources in Ohio
  • Honorable mention: Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Best for high coverage limits: First American Home Warranty
  • How much does a home warranty cost in Texas?
  • How does a home warranty work?
  • Runner-up for high coverage limits: Choice Home Warranty
  • What does a home warranty cover?
  • What does a home warranty not cover?
  • Best basic plan coverage: Old Republic Home Protection
  • Are home warranty companies regulated in Texas?
  • Best repair guarantee: 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
  • Best for pre-existing conditions: Cinch Home Services
  • Other companies we considered
  • How do home warranties work?
  • Is a home warranty worth it?
  • Methodology
  • How we choose the best home warranties
  • 6 no-credit-check loans in 2024
  • The 7 Best Invoicing Software for Small Businesses
  • Best equipment financing options
  • NerdWallet overview
  • Our take on Choice Home Warranty
  • What is a no-credit-check loan?
  • How does OneGuard Home Warranty work?
  • Viva Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • How does Cinch Home Services work?
  • What is Trust & Will?
  • Peoples Health Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Braven Health Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Alignment Health Plan Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Wellcare Medicare Part D pros and cons
  • AARP Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • AARP Medicare Part D pros and cons
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Cigna Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Our take on American Home Shield
  • Wellabe (Medico) Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • How does Old Republic Home Protection work?
  • Wellpoint (Amerigroup) Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Humana Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Highmark Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage pros and cons
  • Why you can trust us
  • Deciding factors
  • Viva Medicare star ratings
  • Peoples Health Medicare star ratings
  • Alignment Health Plan Medicare star ratings
  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Insurance pros and cons
  • Wellcare Medicare Part D star ratings
  • AARP and UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D star ratings
  • What it looks like
  • UHC Medicare Advantage star ratings
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage star ratings
  • Cigna Medicare Supplement pros and cons
  • Wellabe Medicare Supplement pros and cons
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare star ratings
  • AARP/UHC Medicare Supplement Insurance pros and cons
  • AARP Medicare Advantage star ratings
  • Humana Medicare star ratings
  • Highmark Medicare Advantage star ratings
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare star ratings
  • Braven Health Medicare star ratings
  • What Trust & Will looks like
  • Choice Home Warranty's plans
  • Wellpoint (Amerigroup) Medicare star ratings
  • Quicken WillMaker benefits and drawbacks
  • Aetna Medicare star ratings
  • Cigna Medicare Supplement plan types
  • How much does a OneGuard Home Warranty cost?
  • What does Viva Medicare Advantage cost?
  • AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance plans
  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Insurance plans
  • Trust & Will benefits and drawbacks
  • What does Alignment Health Plan Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does Peoples Health Medicare Advantage cost?
  • Wellcare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
  • AARP Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
  • Wellabe (Medico) Medicare Supplement plan types
  • Types of no-credit-check loans and their risks
  • What does Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage cost?
  • How much does a Cinch Home Services home warranty cost?
  • Alternatives to Quicken WillMaker
  • What does Anthem Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage cost?
  • American Home Shield plans
  • What does Braven Health Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does Humana Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does AARP Medicare Advantage cost?
  • What does Highmark Medicare Advantage cost?
  • Cost for Cigna Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Themes from customer reviews
  • What does Wellpoint (Amerigroup) Medicare Advantage cost?
  • Wellcare Medicare Part D cost
  • Alternatives to Trust & Will
  • Choice Home Warranty's claim process
  • What does Aetna Medicare Advantage cost?
  • Cost for Mutual of Omaha Medigap plans
  • Cost for Wellabe (Medico) Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Where is OneGuard Home Warranty available?
  • Available Medicare Advantage plans
  • How much does Old Republic Home Protection cost?
  • AARP Medicare Part D cost
  • Cost for AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medigap plans
  • Choice Home Warranty coverage limits
  • American Home Shield coverage
  • Pros of OneGuard Home Warranty
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Braven Health Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Viva Medicare Advantage service area
  • How to choose construction accounting software
  • Humana Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Cons of OneGuard Home Warranty
  • Alignment Health Plan Medicare Advantage service area
  • Additional benefits
  • Where is Cinch Home Services available?
  • AARP Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Available Highmark Medicare Advantage plans
  • Alternatives to OneGuard Home Warranty
  • ProfitBooks
  • Wellpoint (Amerigroup) Medicare Advantage plan types
  • American Home Shield warranty cost
  • Braven Health Medicare Advantage service area
  • Choice Home Warranty price
  • Additional Aetna benefits
  • Available Anthem Part D prescription drug plans
  • Pros of Cinch Home Services
  • UHC Medicare Advantage plan types
  • AARP Medicare Advantage service area
  • Available BCBS Part D prescription drug plans
  • Cigna member complaints
  • Available Highmark Part D prescription drug plans
  • Cons of Cinch Home Services
  • Pros of Old Republic Home Protection
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage plan types
  • Wellabe member complaints
  • Peoples Health Medicare Advantage service area
  • Mutual of Omaha member complaints
  • American Home Shield claims
  • Cons of Old Republic Home Protection
  • Choice Home Warranty cancellation
  • Cigna's spending on care
  • Alternatives to Cinch Home Services
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage third-party ratings
  • How to cancel American Home Shield
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage service area
  • AARP customer service
  • Wellcare Medicare Part D service area
  • Wellabe’s spending on care
  • Mutual of Omaha’s spending on care
  • Alternatives to Old Republic Home Protection
  • Aetna third-party ratings
  • How to shop for no-credit-check loans
  • UnitedHealthcare member complaints
  • Wellpoint (Amerigroup) Medicare Advantage service area
  • Additional invoicing and billing software to consider
  • Customer reviews and experiences
  • Customer service
  • AARP Medicare Part D service area
  • Themes in customer reviews
  • Humana Medicare Advantage service area
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage service area
  • How to get a loan with no credit check
  • UnitedHealthcare’s spending on care
  • Cigna Medicare Supplement Insurance service area
  • Wellpoint (Amerigroup) customer service
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare service area
  • How we determined the best free accounting software
  • Highmark Medicare Advantage service area
  • Alternatives to American Home Shield
  • Wellabe Medicare Supplement Insurance service area
  • Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Insurance service area
  • What is nonprofit accounting software?
  • Alternatives to Choice Home Warranty
  • Cigna Medigap customer service
  • No-credit-check loan alternatives
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage service area
  • How to choose free accounting software for a small business
  • Anthem Medicare Advantage customer service number
  • Highmark Medicare Advantage customer service
  • How to compare equipment financing offers
  • How to choose nonprofit accounting software
  • Mutual of Omaha Medigap customer service
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage service area
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage customer service
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance service area
  • What is equipment financing?
  • Is AARP Medicare Advantage the same as UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage?
  • Aetna customer service
  • How equipment financing works
  • How we determined the best invoicing and billing software
  • BCBS customer service
  • UnitedHealthcare Medigap customer service
  • Is free software right for your small business?
  • How to choose invoicing or billing software
  • Frequently asked questions
  • How to apply for an equipment loan
  • Should your small business use online invoicing?
  • Pros and cons of equipment financing
  • Equipment financing rates and terms
  • Where to get equipment financing
  • 1. Each Two Men and a Truck location sets its own rates
  • Best Medicare Advantage companies in 2024
  • Best dental insurance for seniors on Medicare
  • Best Medicare Supplement Insurance companies
  • Best Medicare Part D plans for 2024
  • How much does Sunrun cost?
  • 2. Some moves require in-home estimates
  • How to get a quote
  • 3. There's a budget-friendly option for small long-distance moves
  • How Sunrun works
  • 4. The online quote form is long
  • What’s included in the basic price?
  • 5. You can pay with a credit card
  • Loss and damage protection
  • Sunrun pros
  • Changes and cancellations
  • Sunrun cons
  • Alternatives to Sunrun
  • Why get life insurance?
  • Your free credit score with NerdWallet unlocks
  • 8 reasons to go to college
  • Take your savings to the Max
  • Find extra cash
  • 1. Cover final expenses
  • Trusted by 14M+ users like you
  • Do the math on college costs
  • 2. Leave an inheritance
  • Keep your current bank while earning more with online banks
  • Frequently asked questions about NerdWallet
  • Afford the necessities
  • How to measure earnings vs. debt
  • 3. Cover large debt
  • College Return on Investment Calculator
  • Credit report 101
  • Credit score 101
  • Related Nerdy articles
  • Low-cost loans
  • Here’s what our clients say
  • Will a degree pay off for you?
  • Could your dollars use a dose of nerdy wisdom?
  • 4. Replace your income
  • Explore other NerdWallet guides and tools
  • NerdWallet’s calculators and budgeting tools
  • Small-dollar bank loans
  • 5. Build an investment
  • More money wisdom
  • Bad-credit borrowing options
  • Your security. Our priority.
  • Learn about predatory lending
  • Build credit
  • Manage debt
  • Get help with a high-cost loan
  • Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker: Best all-inclusive
  • Best for low premiums: Wellcare Medicare Part D
  • Best for size of network: UnitedHealthcare
  • Best for Medigap plan options: AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Best for size of dental network: UnitedHealthcare
  • Best for member satisfaction: AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Part D
  • Best for extra perks: Aetna
  • Best for member satisfaction: State Farm Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • GoodTrust: Best for digital assets
  • Best for comprehensive coverage: Cigna
  • Additional Medicare Part D companies
  • Best for local support: Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Best for high coverage limits: Old Republic Home Protection
  • Best for premium discounts: Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Trust & Will: Best for ease of use
  • Best for low-cost plan availability: Humana
  • Best for repair guarantee: 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
  • Best for extra benefits: Anthem Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • Rocket Lawyer: Best customer service
  • Best of the Blues: Highmark
  • Best for low-cost plans: Humana
  • Best for nationwide availability: Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplement Insurance
  • How to shop for Medicare Advantage plans
  • LegalZoom: Best state-specific legal advice
  • Best for multiple refrigerators: American Home Shield
  • Medigap plan types
  • Best among startups: Devoted Health
  • Do Your Own Will: Best free will software
  • Fabric by Gerber Life: Best online will maker for young families
  • How much does Medicare Advantage dental coverage cost?
  • Best for commercial brand appliances in the home: First American Home Warranty
  • What if you have Original Medicare?
  • What other services does each will maker offer?
  • Are online wills legit?
  • Compare appliance warranty coverage by cheapest plan
  • Other ways to write a will
  • How we chose the best companies for appliance coverage
  • NerdWallet's editorial picks: Best instant approval business credit cards
  • Best place to get a personal loan
  • How to compare the best personal loan lenders
  • Lightspeed Restaurant
  • Personal loan interest rates and fees
  • TouchBistro
  • Pros and cons of personal loans
  • Bar POS system must-have features
  • How to get fast approval on a business credit card
  • How to get a personal loan
  • Frequently asked questions about personal loans
  • Preapproval vs. pre-qualification vs. instant approval
  • How long does it take to get approved for a business credit card?
  • Cheapest car insurance companies in Seattle
  • Cheapest Los Angeles car insurance
  • Average car insurance cost in Seattle and Washington
  • Average cost of car insurance in Seattle and Washington
  • Average cost of car insurance in Seattle ’s largest ZIP codes
  • Average cost of car insurance in Seattle ’ largest ZIP codes
  • Cheap car insurance in Seattle by age
  • Seattle ’s cheapest companies and rates by driving record
  • Cheapest Los Angeles car insurance by driving record
  • Shop around to get cheap insurance
  • How to get cheap car insurance in Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles car insurance requirements
  • Cheap car insurance in Seattle for drivers with poor credit
  • How to get cheap car insurance in Seattle
  • Seattle car insurance requirements
  • Best for customer satisfaction
  • Best for older adults
  • Best for long-term care
  • Best for high returns
  • Best for agent support
  • Best for term life
  • Why you should trust us

Best Life Insurance of June 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

Life insurance is as complicated as the policyholders and beneficiaries who use it. That means there's no single "best" life insurance company. Instead, you can find the best option based on what you want or what you prioritize.

Summary of the Best Life Insurance Companies

  • Best for customer satisfaction: State Farm Life Insurance
  • Best for older adults: Prudential Life Insurance
  • Best for agent support: New York Life Insurance
  • Best for long-term care: Columbus Life
  • Best for high returns: Allianz Life
  • Best for term life: North American Company

Best Life Insurance Companies of 2024

While there is no such thing as the objective best life insurance policy, you will be able to find the best insurance policy for your specific needs. Here are our picks for the best life insurance companies, whether you want to use your life insurance policy to build wealth through cash value or you're just looking for a term life insurance policy .

Best Life Insurance for Customer Satisfaction

State farm life insurance.

State Farm Life Insurance gets the best life insurance ranking in J.D Power's Individual Life Insurance Study, with a score of 843/1,000. The company is also ranked A++ with AM Best for its financial stability with term, universal, and whole life insurance options. 

All State Farm policies have to be purchased through a State Farm agent. Your agent can help you bundle and save or buy one policy. State Farm is also among the companies offering "survivorship universal life insurance ," which means the policy covers two people, and it kicks in after the second person dies. Couples looking to maximize their death benefit for beneficiaries with one premium payment each month may enjoy lower overall costs.

State Farm agents can run quotes and compare options to find the right plans for each applicant. The range of options, discounts, and familiar name all contribute to the popularity of State Farm's life insurance.

Read our State Farm Life Insurance review .

State Farm State Farm Life Insurance

Bundling is standard, and agents often quote with multiple discounts.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Best in JD Power customer service ratings
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Company offers a range of different insurance products to meet buyer needs
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Agents are knowledgeable about its products
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Life insurance products are conservative and limited
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Buyers may be subject to multi-year waiting periods before they qualify for full payouts on life insurance policies
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. State Farm agents cannot offer alternative options if State Farm is unable to bind a life insurance policy

State Farm is one of the insurance industry's most prominent insurers offering auto, home, and other insurance. Bundling is standard, and agents often quote with multiple discounts. Its term, universal, and whole life insurance products are no exception.

  • Life insurance products include term and permanent life
  • Ranks highly for customer satisfaction

Best Life Insurance for Older Adults

Prudential vul protector life insurance.

Prudential Life Insurance is available in all states except New York. New York residents can buy the Pruco Life of New Jersey VUL Protector plan. This plan allows buyers to pull money out of their plan to pay for nursing home expenses. Cash value policy premiums are fixed, so you won't have to worry about extra costs later on. Internal costs are low, which minimizes risk. Due to age, many older adults want a safe investment option for their money. Prudential VUL Protector invests to avoid loss. That also means you're not as likely to see big increases in your available funds outside of what you deposit.

Read our Prudential Life Insurance review .

Prudential Prudential Life Insurance

Offers aggressive financial plans.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Available in all 50 states (New York residents may have different plans)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Buyers can withdraw money to pay for nursing home bills due to severe illness or disability
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Knowledgeable agents who can walk you through your options
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Financial returns are limited
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Limited policy options for seniors and other groups who might struggle to find life insurance

The aggressive financial plans offered by Prudential may appeal to many younger buyers and those with a stable income. However, those with lower income or buyers who aren't sure about the financial system may be more hesitant to engage with Prudential. Like many other industry giants, Prudential is working to change this perception.

Best Life Insurance for Long-Term Care

Columbus life insurance.

Columbus Life offers a wide range of riders to customize your policy with affordable premiums. The company also allows you to convert term policies to whole life insurance policies until the end of your term (generally around age 70). For this and many other reasons, customer satisfaction is high.

When using living health benefits (otherwise known as accelerated death benefits), buyers are allowed to pull money from policies early to pay for medical bills, living costs, etc. under certain circumstances. Most companies use a discounted death benefit, which reduces your final payout using two models. Columbus uses the lien method, which makes it easier to calculate the financial impact of pulling money out early.

Columbus Columbus Life

Offers lien method to makes it easier to calculate the financial impact of pulling money out early.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Buyers can pull money out for medical and other bills in the event of disease or disability
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Columbus uses lien method to simplify accelerated death payments
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Company offers a wide range of riders to customize policies
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Premiums may be higher than competitors
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Term policies are not guaranteed to be converted to whole

Best for long-term care and accelerated death benefits.

Best Life Insurance for High Returns on Income

Allianz life insurance.

Allianz Life plans are geared towards high-income adults looking for more tax-free income. Allianz offers a 40% multiplier bonus with a 1% annual assets charge. In short, the professionals managing your investments take 10%. Overall, your investments would pull in an extra 14%-1% asset charge. This means you end up with 3% more than what you deposit every year your life policy is active. This plan offers strong returns when using a life policy to supplement your retirement savings. Allianz also offers specialized plans to grow your income by as much as 20% according to some estimates.

Of note: Allianz also offers plans for foreign nationals, including those with H-1B visas.

Allianz Allianz Life

Offers life insurance policies for foreign nationals with H-1B visas.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Plans offer high returns on investment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Great for investment and long-term retirement planning
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. May increase your income by as much as 20%
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Allianz offers plans for foreign nationals including H-1B visas
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Plans are meant specifically for high-income adults, alternatives may not be offered

Best for investing and high returns on income.

Best Life Insurance for Agent Support

New york life insurance.

New York Life Insurance agents go through extensive training before they ever hit the sales floor. What does this get you? Policies vary widely, and New York Life offers both large and small payouts. Some policies have significant penalties for early withdrawal, but taking a loan offers more options. Whatever your questions, New York Life agents are trained to offer comprehensive support giving you accurate information about its policies every time. The company comes in at position eight in J.D. Power's latest life insurance customer satisfaction study.

Read our New York Life Insurance review here.

New York Life New York Life Insurance

Offers aggressive financial products and extensively trained agents.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Strong life insurance options for financial planning and wealth building
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Policies available nationwide
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Knowledgeable life insurance agents
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. May require a medical exam
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Buyers looking for more modest policies may not find the most competitive pricing

If you're preparing for a comfortable retirement or looking to build generational wealth, New York Life is one of the strongest options. If you have questions or genuinely want to understand your life insurance options, New York Life agents are among the most qualified professionals in the business.

  • Life insurance provider with policies available across the US

Best Life Insurance for Term Life

North american life insurance.

North American Company offers term policies alongside accelerated death benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses and more. The company allows one conversion on a 20-year policy at 15 years or 70 years old (whichever is earlier). The conversion cannot happen later than the five-year marker regardless of which policy you choose or the length. North American Company also offers a term policy with a lower premium renewable up to the age of 95 for qualifying insureds.

Sammons Financial North American Company

Offers term policies alongside accelerated death benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses and more.

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers accelerated death benefits for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers conversion for life policies up to 70 years old
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Term policies can be renewed up to age 95 for qualifying applicants
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Not all term policies qualify for renewal or conversion

Best Term Policy.

Types of Life Insurance

While there's many different types of life insurance policies , broadly speaking, there are two types of life insurance: temporary and permanent. Let's go over each in detail.

Temporary life insurance

Temporary life insurance is often called term life insurance. This type of policy covers you for a set amount of time before expiring, usually between 10-30 years. If you pass away after your policy expires, your family won't receive any benefits. Additionally, your policy won't accrue cash value like a permanent policy. That said, some term life insurance policies offer a conversion from term to whole life insurance, so you can extend your coverage. 

Because its benefits aren't guaranteed, term life policies are generally cheaper than permanent life insurance. That said, the vast majority of term life insurance policies never pay out. on

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is an umbrella term for a variety of life insurance policies that will insure you indefinitely and guarantee a payout as long as you maintain your policy. Policy types that fall under permanent life insurance includes:

  • Whole life insurance
  • Universal life insurance
  • Variable life insurance
  • Variable universal life insurance
  • Simplified life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance

These policies vary widely in purpose and intended buyers, but all guarantee death benefits to your loved ones. Some permanent life insurance policies, like whole, universal, and variable have a cash value component , which you can use as a savings tool or to leave your heirs a larger death benefit.

How to Pick the Best Life Insurance Policy for You

Finding the right fit in life insurance starts with finding a trusted insurance agent. Because there are so many state regulations, shopping for homeowners or auto insurance can be easily done online. Life insurance is not required. So it's a voluntary purchase. Many buyers don't know what they need or when they need it. Before making your selection, consider a few things:

Some companies will sell you a policy for your child as soon as they're born. While this may seem morbid, early sign-up means lower rates for a policy your child could enjoy in the future. Regardless, early sign-up equates to more policy for lower premiums and a higher likelihood of acceptance. At 20, you may be healthier and be able to pay into the policy for a longer period compared to when you're 50 with more age-related conditions.

As a general rule, never agree to more than you can afford. For the average life insurance agent, their job is to sell you a large policy with a large commission. Consider not only how much you make now, but how likely your current income is to continue. If you work on a project basis and your project is scheduled to end in 12 months, you may want to reconsider a policy premium outside your monthly savings.

How much are you prepared to buy? Some people only want a small policy to cover funerals and other end-of-life expenses. Others build a life policy into their retirement plan. Whatever direction you're going, involving a financial planner could help you make the right decisions. Depending on the carrier, customers can also compare set limits with index universal life policies, which set no limit. These policies never expire, and the value builds over the entirety of your life.

Living Benefits

Life happens unexpectedly. You could be healthy one day and in the hospital the next. Many life policies offer living benefits. These allow you to draw a limited amount out of your policy to cover medical and other bills you cannot pay while sick.

Much like a 401(k), many life insurance policies have penalties for early withdrawal. No matter what policy you want, this question is critical to an informed decision. It's a question of how early you can withdraw and how much you'll lose from the total to have the money in 10 years instead of 30 or after death.

Some policies require insured parties to pay premiums for at least one year before any significant payout would be available. Suicide exclusions are common. Even with no medical exam policies, the company may still do a check for known conditions. An insurance company has to mitigate its risk.


Once you've been denied a life insurance policy, a mark goes on your record. No matter the reasons, other insurance companies may deny you coverage based on the first denial. So consider your whole situation and choose your policy carefully before you submit any applications. Some policies have greater flexibility if you lose your job or otherwise can't make payments. Others will lapse if you miss even one payment.

Payment Type

Even within whole life or term life insurance policies, customers have the option to choose guaranteed fixed or variable rates. Some have guaranteed payouts, but you'll need to ask your agent for details.

What is your intended use? Why are you shopping for a life insurance policy in the first place, and what are your goals? Many successful financial planners also have a background in life insurance. So while they may not be able to find you a specific life insurance policy, financial planners can help you set out a blueprint for your purchase.

Why You Should Trust Us: How We Reviewed the Best Life Insurance Companies

In life insurance, it's easy to get "sold a bill of goods." Many life insurance agents pass a state test to be thrown into the deep end. Agents sell the company product, but not all know the products. In this vein, we look at the products each company offers. We also look at agent training.

A good life insurance agent may not volunteer all facts upfront. But a company's agents should answer questions about its products accurately and in a way the average consumer can digest. Agents should be able to inform you about the long-term benefits and limitations. This will help customers find the right policy for their long-term plan.

We consider affordability, policy sizes available, and performance for a comprehensive assessment in our life insurance rating methodology . If you can, we recommend also working with a financial advisor to make a plan for your future with life insurance.

Our Expert Panel for The Best Life Insurance Companies

To inform our choices for the best life insurance companies, we spoke with the following experts:

  • Paul LaPiana , head of product at MassMutual
  • Barbara Pietrangelo , CFP, CLU, and chair of the nonprofit Life Happens
  • Wykeeta Peel , Corporate Vice President and Market Manager, African American Market Unit at New York Life

The Experts' Advice on Choosing The Best Life Insurance for You

How much life insurance coverage do you believe the average buyer should have.

Paul LaPiana, Head of Product at MassMutual

"There are different approaches to determining how much life insurance you need. One is the 'human life' approach, which estimates the current value of your future earning potential. Another is securing specific coverage to pay off debts such as a mortgage or provide for the education of children. A comprehensive protection plan should provide the right amount of coverage over the course of your working life and into retirement."

Barbara A. Pietrangelo, Chair of Life Happens

"There is no one-size-fits-all life insurance policy because everyone is different. One way to get a rough estimate is to multiply your income by 10 to 15; another is adding $100,00 to that amount, should you have a child and anticipate college education expenses.

Your best bet is to talk to a financial professional or use the Life Insurance Needs Calculator on to analyze what's right for you."

Wykeeta Peel, Corporate Vice President & Market Manager African American Market Unit at New York Life

"As you consider what policy best meets your needs, it can help to answer four key questions: First, how much death benefit do you need? Second, how long will you need that coverage? Third, what is your budget (or how much monthly premium can you afford to pay?), and finally, what is your investment risk tolerance?

To determine how much death benefit makes sense, it's helpful to think beyond using life insurance to cover funeral expenses and consider whether anyone is relying on the policy owner's income to maintain a lifestyle, pay rent or a mortgage, or fund a child's education and for how long.

There are various rules of thumb regarding the right amount of Life insurance coverage. Some tips can be found online, but they only provide an estimate and don't necessarily factor in an individual's specific needs. In my opinion, human guidance, powered by technology, is required. Basically, it comes down to how much money your loved ones would need to remain on firm financial ground if your earnings were no longer in the picture and that is different for everyone."

What is the biggest opportunity you see for improvement in the life insurance industry?

"Increased accessibility through digital and other channels as well as through underwriting enhancements. Increased tailoring of products and features. And an increased emphasis on health and wellness programs."

"Having enough qualified insurance professionals to walk potential buyers through the multiple benefits of life insurance will be pivotal to the growth of the industry. Education is a key factor here, as professional agents also need to be able to explain life insurance and its benefits in an easy, digestible way, especially when there are so many misconceptions about life insurance."

"The need for life insurance is greater than ever. In fact, a recent New York Life Wealth Watch survey found that 37% of adults have been thinking about life insurance more often these days – and half of adults report that financial products that provide protection (50%) and reliability (50%) are more important now compared to last year. This may be especially true for middle-market and Cultural Market families.

Our organizational structure of having Cultural Market agents embedded in the communities where we live and work allows us to understand the needs of diverse communities and develop solutions that resonate with them."

What advice would you give to buyers who are debating whether or not to buy life insurance?

"It is difficult to say with any certainty how healthy you will be years from now. That's why securing life insurance, and insuring your insurability, today, when you are the youngest you'll ever be again, and perhaps your healthiest is a wise decision."

"Do you love someone? If the answer is yes, then life insurance is certainly something you should consider. Many buy gifts and experiences to express their love, but haven't considered that life insurance is just another way to say I love you. Nothing says support like ensuring your family's financial security and peace of mind."

"If you have someone depending on your income, you should consider purchasing life insurance. A death benefit from a life insurance policy can replace income from the loss of a breadwinner, ensure a family can stay in their home, fund educational or retirement expenses, address debt and so much more.

A life insurance policy can also help you grow your family's wealth over time. Once the risk of an unexpected loss has been managed, you can begin to think more broadly about your family's financial future. Life insurance can enable your mindset to shift from death to growth."

What's the most important thing buyers should look for when choosing a life insurance agent/company to buy from?

"With life insurance, you are securing a future commitment that may be decades away. Research the company behind the policy to ensure it has high financial strength ratings, longevity, and an excellent track record of paying claims."

"When looking for an insurance agent or company, be sure to do your research. When comparing companies, be sure to remember that the policy features that fit you and your loved ones best is the most important factor. Don't automatically assume you should buy from the higher-rated company.

If the policy from the other company has more of what you're looking for, it might be the better choice. If you're unsure where to start, try the Life Happens Agent Locator to find an insurance professional in your area."

  • "The insurers' track record: At its core, life insurance is protection - a hedge against the unexpected - and you are paying premiums in exchange for the promise that the insurer will be there when you need them, so the financial strength and track record of the company backing your policy is critical.
  • Customer service: Are service professionals available by phone and digital channels? Is there is an online dashboard where you can manage your policy? Beyond ensuring assistance is available after you purchase a policy, it's also critical to ensure you have access to trusted advice and guidance before you buy.
  • Flexibility in conversion: How easy is it to change? Life can be unpredictable and while term insurance can cover your loved ones through a critical period of time, you may decide that access to cash value is an important piece of your strategy.
  • Accelerated online applications : Online applications are convenient but don't replace human guidance. Keep in mind that accelerated online applications may have a maximum coverage amount, meaning that you may not be able to get all the coverage you may need exclusively through an online process.
  • A range of payment options: It's important to understand how often you're required to make premium payments and whether and how often you can change the frequency of payments."

Best Life Insurance FAQs

According to JD Power's 2023 life insurance study, State Farm is the highest-rated life insurance company when it comes to overall customer satisfaction. However, you still may want to shop around for quotes from various insurers if you're looking to purchase a new policy.

There isn't one best life insurance company, because the best option for you will depend on the type of policy you're looking for. It's best to work with a qualified insurance agent to help you find the best coverage. If you're deciding between multiple similar options, it's also worth consulting J.D. Power's life insurance customer satisfaction study . The latest study ranks State Farm as the top pick for individual life insurance, outpacing Nationwide by three points.

The best type of life insurance policy for you will differ from someone else's, as your policy should be tailored to your needs. The best policy for you will be affordable and will offer the benefits best suited to your situation. For example, some policies are only meant to cover end-of-life expenses such as burial and funeral arrangements, whereas others include living benefits like a cash value insurance plan , which you can borrow against during your lifetime.

Some life insurance policies are advertised as "no medical exam." This doesn't mean the insurer won't ask you about known conditions or look at medical records. Policies with no medical exam also tend to offer lower benefits with higher premiums. Most companies have a network of medical examiners, some of whom can come to your home. You can find our guide on the best no exam life insurance here.

Each situation is different and requires a knowledgeable life insurance agent to assess your best options. Bring all your questions and the coverage you're looking for to an insurance agent near you to explore your options.

business plan online shop example

  • Main content


  1. 9+ FREE Online Business Plan Templates [Edit & Download]

    business plan online shop example

  2. Your Online Business Plan

    business plan online shop example

  3. Contoh Proposal Bisnis Plan Online Shop

    business plan online shop example

  4. Print Shop Website Business Plan

    business plan online shop example

  5. Online Business Plans in Pdf

    business plan online shop example

  6. Business Plan Template For Online Clothing Store

    business plan online shop example


  1. How to write a business plan

  2. How To Write A Business Plan In 10 Simple Steps!

  3. Business ideas

  4. Business Plan Online Shop

  5. How to Make a Business Plan

  6. Blog Business Plan Template


  1. How to Write an Ecommerce Business Plan [Examples & Template]

    Ecommerce Business Plan Examples 1. Maple Ecommerce Plan. This sample plan, provided on LinkedIn, is for a fictional company called Maple, an online store that sells exclusive Apple products. Maple's sample plan is great because it provides easy-to-follow charts and graphics while highlighting the most important information.

  2. A Better-Selling Ecommerce Business Plan (Template, Guide, & Examples)

    Ecommerce Business Plan Example. Below is an example business plan that we've written for a fictional cookware business. You can see how it breaks down the most important parts of a business - overall business model, competitive advantages, messaging guidelines, target audiences, budgets, key personnel - in a highly summarized, accessible format.

  3. Ecommerce Business Plan (FREE How To Guide + PDF Sample Template)

    Why You Should Create a Business Plan. We know that starting an ecommerce 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 ...

  4. 7 Business Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (2024)

    7 business plan examples: section by section. The business plan examples in this article follow this template: Executive summary. An introductory overview of your business. Company description. A more in-depth and detailed description of your business and why it exists. Market analysis.

  5. How to Write E-commerce Business Plan + Template

    Define their role, responsibility, experience, expertise, and achievements to prove their suitability in your organization. Outline the organizational structure of your online store and explain how these people will be responsible for the smooth functioning of your business. 8. Outline your operational plan.

  6. Online Shopping Store Business Plan: Guide & Template (2024)

    Use our online shopping website business plan example created using Upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time. Before you start writing your business plan for your new online shopping website, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of clothing, apparel, or online store business plans. ...

  7. How to Write an eCommerce Business Plan + Template

    Executive Summary. Every business plan needs an executive summary. Usually, you write the summary last, after you've fleshed out all the details of your plan. The executive summary isn't a repeat of the full plan—it's really just a brief outline that should be 1-2 pages at the most. When you're getting introductions to investors, you ...

  8. How to Write the Ultimate eCommerce Business Plan

    Writing an eCommerce business plan is one of the first steps you should take if you're thinking about starting an online business. Whether you're opening an online-only shop or adding an eCommerce component to your brick and mortar store for an omnichannel retail experience, there's never been a better time to sell online.. The numbers don't lie: since 2014, the number of digital ...

  9. Free Business Plan Template for Small Businesses (2024)

    Our free business plan template includes seven key elements typically found in the traditional business plan format: 1. Executive summary. This is a one-page summary of your whole plan, typically written after the rest of the plan is completed. The description section of your executive summary will also cover your management team, business ...

  10. Business Plan Template for Online Shopping

    When starting an online shopping platform or e-commerce business, it's important to have a solid plan in place. ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Online Shopping provides all the necessary elements: Custom Statuses: Use statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do to track the progress of each section of your business plan.

  11. Ecommerce Business Plan Template: How to Make Business Plans

    There are plenty of benefits to creating a comprehensive business plan for your online store: Gaining a deeper understanding of your business - your blockers, biggest assets, and most lucrative opportunities.; Understanding the state of the market, and where you want to position your ecommerce store within it.; Planning for what's ahead - getting to grips with industry trends, and how ...

  12. 8 Steps to Write a Successful Online Store Business Plan

    Step 1: Write an Executive Summary. Your executive summary is the first thing that will be presented in your online store business plan. As the name implies, it acts as a summary for the entirety of your business plan, with high-level information laid out for readers to easily peruse. The importance of a concise and informative executive ...

  13. Free eCommerce Business Plan Template & Guide

    Initiating an eCommerce business involves several steps. Begin by conducting market research, selecting a niche, creating a business plan, registering your business, setting up an online store, sourcing or creating products, implementing secure payment options, and establishing a marketing strategy.

  14. How to Write an Online Boutique Clothing Store Business Plan + Example

    In your business plan, document how you will create a unique brand identity that sets your online boutique apart from competitors. This includes developing a memorable brand name, logo, and tagline, as well as defining your brand's values, voice, and visual style. Many stores offer customer retention incentives like loyalty programs.

  15. How to write a business plan for an online store?

    Planning. Writing down a description and the concept of your online store will give you a clue about how much time and money will you need, what is the scope of your company and what kind of resources will be needed from day one. Idea evaluation. Writing a business plan will also help you decide whether your concept has a chance to achieve success.

  16. Online Boutique Clothing Store Business Plan Example

    Finalize business plan — May 1, 2023. Secure funding — June 1, 2023. Launch website and social media channels — July 1, 2023. Procure initial inventory — July 15, 2023. Start sales — August 1, 2023. Achieve break-even point — December 2023. Expand product range — March 2024. Launch a loyalty program — June 2024.

  17. How to write a business plan for your online business

    Point 2: Your Business Description. Describe your business from your own point of view and discuss how you plan to grow. Explain where your profits will come from. Explain what kinds of customers you're going to target and how your products or services are going to help them specifically.

  18. Online Boutique Business Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

    Write your business plan with Upmetrics. A business plan software like Upmetrics is the best way to draft your business plan. This incredible tool comes with step-by-step instructions, customizable templates, and an extensive library of 400+ sample business plans to help you get started.. So, whether starting an online boutique or planning to grow an existing one, Upmetrics is the tool you ...

  19. Business Plan For Online Store: A Practical Guide

    Definition Of A Business Plan. A business plan is a document that describes a company, its products or services, how it will make a profit, its leadership and human resource, finance, operation model, and other details critical to its success. A great business plan helps companies set goals and strategies to achieve them and introduce them to ...

  20. How to Create a Business Plan: Examples & Free Template

    Tips on Writing a Business Plan. 1. Be clear and concise: Keep your language simple and straightforward. Avoid jargon and overly technical terms. A clear and concise business plan is easier for investors and stakeholders to understand and demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively. 2.

  21. How to Write An Attention-Grabbing Retail Business Plan

    A retail business plan includes an executive summary, market analysis, business description, organization and management structure, details of product or service offerings, marketing and sales strategy, financial projections and an appendix. It's a structured document that outlines your business goals and your financial expectations.

  22. Fashion Store Business Plan PDF Example

    Whether you're an experienced entrepreneur or new to the retail industry, this guide, complete with a business plan example, lays the groundwork for turning your fashion store business concept into reality. Let's dive in! The Plan. Our fashion store business plan is structured to cover all essential aspects needed for a comprehensive strategy.

  23. Ecommerce

    Identify a niche market, conduct competitor analysis, and create a business plan. Choose a Business Model. Decide whether to operate as B2C, B2B, C2C, or C2B based on target market and goals. Register Your Business. Choose a business name, register it, and obtain necessary licenses and permits. Select an E-commerce Platform. Choose a platform ...

  24. How To Start A Business In 11 Steps (2024 Guide)

    Learn more: Download our free simple business plan template. Come Up With an Exit Strategy. ... For example, "Mike's Bike Shop" is doing business as "Mike's Bikes." The legal name of ...

  25. What Is a Marketing Plan and How To Write One (+ Template)

    Use it to guide your marketing strategy, tweaking the template to meet your business needs. Download the template now. Types of marketing plans Digital marketing plan. A digital marketing plan is a specific type of marketing plan that revolves solely around online channels like social media, email, and search engines.

  26. How to Make a Membership Website With WordPress (2024)

    Next, we'll create a template for our membership page. To do this, we'll need to use the Theme Builder, along with MemberPress shortcodes, to display the content. Navigate to Divi > Theme Builder and click the Add New Template button. Click Build New Template. Next, scroll down, select All Memberships, and click the Create Template button.

  27. How to Write the Perfect Gym Business Plan

    A business plan serves as a guide, leading you through each stage of your venture. It helps you define your goals, clarify your strategies, and identify the resources needed to succeed. Whether you are looking for funding, attracting investors, or developing a marketing strategy, a clear and detailed plan is essential.

  28. Retail & Ecommerce Business Plans

    Children's Website Business Plan. Cigar Manufacturing Business Plan. E-commerce Internet Business Plan. E-Commerce Retailer Business Plan. E-Commerce Start-Up Business Plan. Ecommerce Fabric Store Business Plan. Fish Breeder Business Plan. Home, Garden Gifts Online Business Plan. Horse Reseller Business Plan.

  29. Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses of 2024

    The paid plan offers more competitive online payment processing rates, too (starting at 2.9% per transaction vs. the free plan's 2.9% + $0.60 per transaction).

  30. Best Life Insurance of June 2024

    Best Life Insurance for Customer Satisfaction State Farm Life Insurance. State Farm Life Insurance gets the best life insurance ranking in J.D Power's Individual Life Insurance Study, with a score ...