5 Considerations When Creating Your eCommerce Plan for the Year

Wouldn’t it be simple if you could simply put your eCommerce store on autopilot? Set up your products and categories, enter your prices, and then sit back and watch the money roll in. Of course, like with any business, an online store needs constant year round tending. Fortunately, you can take steps in January to make sure that the rest of your year runs smoothly. (Or as smoothly as any business ever does!) How?

By creating your eCommerce plan for the year early, then planning aggressively.

An eCommerce plan is like a time-limited business plan and a marketing schedule all rolled into one. While every store will have a different yearly plan, here are a few factors all online sellers should consider:

  • Important Dates and Holidays – Sell ski equipment? Then obviously the first snow of the year will be a red letter day on your yearly business calendar. Most stores are diversified enough that they have plenty of red letter days throughout the year, so annotate all of those important dates and prepare, prepare, prepare!
  • Your Suppliers’ Off Season – Often your suppliers have an off season when they’re looking to offload excess inventory. Many specialty businesses are seasonal – plot your buying so you can take advantage of the off season.
  • The Holidays – Many eCommerce sellers start plotting and scheming for the next holiday season just as soon as the previous one has ended. This is just good common sense, especially since 2010 was the busiest ecommerce shopping year ever. Some online sellers start their dedicated holiday buying in April. That might sound early, but if you haven’t planned out your holiday season by July, you’re already behind!
  • Prep Time for Marketing and Advertising Campaigns – Once you’ve determined your important business dates, you can then prepare for marketing and advertising promotions. Start doing your research early and you will have plenty of time to research marketing campaigns – yours and your competitors’ – that have really hit it out of the park in the past. You’ll also have time to really polish your graphics, web site banners, advertisements and marketing copy to make the most of the promotion.
  • Last Year – Finally, don’t forget to look to the past and determine what worked and what didn’t. Did you find yourself scrambling at the holidays? Start preparing earlier. Did you end up with a warehouse full of widgets that just wouldn’t sell? Determine what went wrong so you don’t repeat the mistake with a whole new set of widgets.

Whatever you do, don’t let the day to day of running your online business stop you from planning out the year (or even the next few years!) Knowing what to expect next week, next month and six months from now will make your whole year run more smoothly.