An online store is an analogue of a regular outlet, only it does not require such high costs, risks, labor and investments. Online trading attracts many precisely because of these properties. However, this does not mean that success in this field is guaranteed to everyone.
Business plan for an online store: an example with calculations
There are many reasons for the attractiveness of online trading, among which we should especially note the relative ease of starting and low costs. But this does not mean that this type of business is available to everyone. Some basic knowledge is required. The question of how to open an online store is of interest to many aspiring entrepreneurs for a reason. Information required. They can be obtained from this material.
If there is no experience, but there is only a desire to work and earn money, then this is also not an obstacle. In order to rationally assess your own capabilities, identify the strengths and weaknesses of a potential business, you should study the main points of the organization. They are based on the experience of others,who regularly share their experience and knowledge on the Web.
Calculations and costs
The main condition for drawing up a business plan for an online store with calculations is related to financial investments. It is a mistake to believe that an Internet business does not require investments. But the fact that the size of investments is much less than for starting a regular business is a fact. Various offers on the Web that offer huge earnings without investment are nothing more than a primitive advertisement designed for those who are wondering how to open an online store with absolutely no investment.
An entrepreneur must take care of the following expenses:
- Website development - $300 and up.
- Shop promotion - monthly from 5000 rubles and more.
- Site support - monthly from 10,000 rubles and more.
- Buying a domain and registering a website is about $300 a year.
- Registration of the form of ownership as an individual entrepreneur or LLC - from 200 to 500 dollars.
- If LLC, then accountant services monthly - from 10,000 rubles and more.
- Pay for Internet services.
- Other marketing activities.
- Delivery services - individually, depending on the region of delivery.
These are basic expenses. Additional funds may be required depending on the specifics of the business. At the stage of planning a business plan for an online store from scratch, you should also determine the sources of financing: will there be enough own funds or will you have to take a loan from a bank.
Several arguments in favor
To see the prospects, an entrepreneur must first clearly present the algorithm of actions. If we talk about the benefits or prospects, then the following facts are obvious:
- The share of online shopping in the country is steadily growing year after year. For example, Russians made 106% more purchases in 2016 than in 2015. The total volume of online trading in 2016 amounted to about 850 billion rubles.
- The number of Internet users in all countries is only growing.
- The cost of the Internet is decreasing, in particular mobile Internet.
- If in Russia the share of online commerce is 4% of the economy, then in the UK these figures are 12%
- According to experts, the Russian online market is almost empty.
These are general arguments that need to be mastered at the stage of relevance of the question of how to write a business plan for an online store. Online trading has advantages that make it much easier to do business at all stages. For example:
- You don't need to have a physical product to run an online business: you don't have to produce, buy in advance, or even check the quality of the product yourself. All these issues are resolved at a distance.
- No need to rent a marketplace. The whole territory for business is a convenient website.
- No need for logistics and transportation. This paragraph does not apply to all types of online trading. We are talking about dropshipping when an entrepreneurbuys in bulk and sells in bulk at a distance.
- Having ways to promote at minimal cost.
- A small amount of work.
- Low cost.
- Great prospects.
- The infinity of the region of action.
- Available worldwide.
Where to start?
Thinking on paper is a habit of successful people. Start by identifying the product to sell: will it be original or consumer goods? The business plan of an online store should clearly answer this question. There are several key questions that an entrepreneur must know the answer to before embarking on their plan.
This is the following:
- What will be on sale?
- Where to get goods?
- What advantage over competitors?
- Who will be sold? In which country?
- Shop interface.
- Methods of promotion.
- Payment methods.
- Delivery order.
Despite their apparent simplicity, some items can be difficult to implement. Unlike real business, outsourcing comes to the rescue here. Which parts should be outsourced and which parts can be done independently should also be determined when drawing up a business plan for an online store with calculations.
Find a niche
According to world experience, the basis of online trading is mobile phones, accessories for them and other gadgets. Gifts follow. But home appliances andclothing varies by region. The project will be implemented successfully if the price for these goods is high in the country of the entrepreneur. Food and other perishable products have their own specifics. They are good to sell within the same city. The main emphasis in this case should be on the speed of procurement and delivery. The business plan of an online store should also consider such aspects.
Goods in general can be divided into two types: exclusive and for general consumption. What is valued on the Internet? First of all, people buy something that is not available in their region or is too expensive.
Successful stores are those that offer exclusive products at an affordable price. For example, there are many English-language resources that specialize in the wholesale of stock clothing from global brands. Other local online stores buy from them in bulk for retail.
The biggest source of consumer goods is the production of China. Almost all of their products are sold through the Aliexpress global marketplace. You can also find wholesalers there. This type of business is called drop shipping. The system is suitable when it comes to a business plan for an online clothing or technology store from China, which is able to win at low prices. But there is too much competition in this area.
It is possible to open your own online store based on Aliexpress products. To do this, register in the affiliate network of the brand and buy Aliexpress VPN.
Another option is to sell goods produced in your region.It is much easier than getting to know, verify and cooperate with Chinese or other foreign manufacturers. Such stores are called aggregators. They collect the best deals from different brands and offer in one place.
This item should also be worked out before writing a business plan for an online store.
Starting your own website today is a simple task. There are three ways:
- Based on a free template.
- Developing a unique design.
- Using constructors.
However, all options require some knowledge. If a ready-made template is chosen, then you need to install a large number of additional extensions and options to it in order to simplify the process of promoting and using the site as a whole. You will also need to install the CMS yourself, fill in all the product items, write a description for them and constantly monitor the availability of the page.
The stage of developing a unique design within the business plan of an online store requires financial investments. Unique design means that the design, interface, and overall order of the technical organization is different from any other resource. It should be borne in mind that this is not a whim, but a technical necessity. The bottom line is that search robots pay attention to the design of the site. For them, sites with a unique design and exclusive professional program code are the priority for display. Its cost starts from $300 and up.
But this does not mean that template sites are not deprived of the attention of search engines. Simply unique sites are preferred for display. If you decide to use a ready-made template, then you need to think carefully about its structure. For search engines, the preferred tree structure of the site, where the menu contains subsections by product groups.
The second important parameter for template sites is the product description, where key phrases for search should be used. This section of promotion is called SEO. Services of a specialist in this field start from 5000 rubles and more.
Constructor sites are more suitable for a personal blog or an online diary. In practice, it is impossible to imagine an online store based on a constructor - the functionality is too limited.
Promotion is a must for online businesses. The process is complex. This point should be taken into account at the stage of filling the site. But the good news is that there are many ways to promote, and among them you can choose options with minimal costs. Here is what should be included in the online store business plan template for the "promotion" item:
- SEO optimization. Should be organized before the store is filled with commodity items. It is a mistake to believe that descriptions for all products are written exclusively for customers. This is partly true, but the description should be made taking into account the requirements of search robots. The features of this work are well known to specialists who can be hired remotely or do the work themselves. In the second casethere is a huge amount of work to be done.
- Registration on aggregation sites. Aggregators collect relevant offers from all stores. The principle of operation is very simple: an aggregator is usually an already promoted online trading platform. Thanks to constant SEO work, it is visited by many users daily. The new online store is registered and fills out the form. The owner of the aggregator receives a set fee for providing the site, and the new online store will have a chance to get into the eyes of customers as quickly as possible.
- Sample online store business plan should consider using banner ads on other websites. Banners of various sizes should be prepared in advance. There are various sites where site owners gather to advertise. An entrepreneur can pay for a certain number of impressions on a third-party site or for a specific action by users.
- Context advertising. Placed on major search engines Yandex or Google. There are a lot of subtleties in this process, since filling out the default form can cost money and not give the expected efficiency. Therefore, you should entrust this matter to a specialist. The essence of advertising lies in the fact that short ads are formed that are shown according to targeted user requests. The ads are in the form of links that lead to the entrepreneur's website.
- Promotion in social networks. Social media is a great source of traffic for websites. First you need to create a group or a public page, where graduallytarget audience will grow. Offers are placed in the form of posts or in the form of direct advertising. Many social networks have special advertising tools that allow you to collect traffic based on various parameters: location, age, gender and other features.
Another important step in organizing a business plan for an online store is the establishment of a payment system. The choice depends on the coverage area of the online platform. If you plan to sell to foreign countries, then you should look at international systems. It is also important to consider the possibility of withdrawing funds in your own country. If we are talking about the nearest countries, in particular the CIS, then you can opt for systems such as:
- "Yandex Money". It provides great opportunities for both individual entrepreneurs and legal entities. You need to be authenticated in the system. To do this, the main documents for the company and for the entrepreneur are provided to the Yandex office. After identification, you can take the Yandex Money API and install it on your website. The system is convenient because there is a special fundraising form.
- Web Money. The system has often failed users in recent years. The reason is frequent checks and related periods when it is impossible to withdraw money. For use in business, you must pass a special certification.
- RBK Money. Easy to work. Connection occurs in less than a day with a minimum of documents. There is no limit on the turnover of fundsexists.
- Qiwi. Similar system. Funds can be withdrawn at any time.
- Pay U is a relatively bureaucratic system. It takes 5-7 days to connect. It can only be used by business entities that are residents of the Russian Federation. Money is withdrawn once a month. There is no need to provide a sample business plan for an online store here, you just need to take into account the terms of connection in it.
- Pay Online. It differs by minimal commissions, but the connection process takes an average of 2-3 weeks. Withdrawal of money is carried out within 6 days.
- Pay2Pay. The commission is 4%, and the connection period is about a month. Money is withdrawn twice a month.
Note that the more payment methods, the better. Widgets of payment systems are installed on the site last, after connection.
Uninterrupted operation is an important criterion for online stores. A testing phase should be provided for all types of online business, whether it is a business plan for an online toy store or a wholesale trade in appliances. During the testing phase, all interface options, the ordering system, the processing system, and the operation of payment systems should be tested. If deficiencies are found, they must be eliminated, as errors can be very costly. A dissatisfied client can write a negative review on third-party resources, and the reputation will be damaged.
Marketing campaigns should be continuous asthey are the ones who provide a steady flow of customers. Marketing channels vary depending on the type of product being sold. For example, it is good to sell clothes, cosmetics, household goods and for children through Instagram. Digital goods sell well through VK or Facebook. To find the best channel, you should study the experience of specialists or learn the basics through trial and error.
When the optimal channel is found, funds should be allocated monthly and an effective campaign should be maintained.
Regardless of whether the business plan of an online store of products or special equipment is being implemented, several factors are important for the development of increasing profits - constancy in promotion and the search for optimal ways to solve problems. It is this approach that separates successful companies from those 95% of companies that cannot survive even 2 years from the date of opening.