Creating an annual plan for your eCommerce business

Running an eCommerce business requires excellent planning and management to keep things on track and running smoothly. But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the holidays, events and dates. You can make all this easier for yourself by spending some time on properly planning things out ahead of time. Let’s dive into how to best do that as well as some useful tools to help you out!

Why Is Planning For eCommerce So Important?

There’s a few key reasons why planning out all the sales and promotions for your eCommerce store is a good idea. We’re sure you’re aware how important it is, but just to remind you, here’s why it’s worth to dedicate some time to planning:

  • Achieving goals: By setting clear goals and planning your promotions accordingly, you can increase the chances of achieving the results you want, such as increased sales, higher customer engagement, or improved brand recognition.
  • Maximising resources: By planning your promotions carefully, you can ensure that you are using your resources, such as time, money, and staff, in the most efficient and effective way possible.
  • Staying on track: A well-planned promotion timeline can help keep your team organised and focused, and ensure that all tasks are completed on time and on budget.
  • Measuring success: Planning can help you track the results of your promotions, allowing you to measure their success and make adjustments as needed for future promotions.
  • Staying ahead of the competition: By planning and executing effective promotions, you can stay ahead of the competition and differentiate your business from others in the marketplace.
  • Building customer loyalty: By offering promotions and sales that meet the needs and interests of your target audience, you can build customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.

How To Create An Annual Plan For Your eCommerce

An annual plan doesn’t have to be a specific breakdown of all the elements of each sale or promo your eCommerce store is going to offer. All it needs to have is information about the key dates and KPIs. So, here’s a step-by-step of creating your annual plan:

1. Make a list of key events and holidays

Start by taking a look at the calendar and figure out for which events and holidays you want to plan sales or special deals. Besides the obvious ones like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, think about any dates specific to your business. For example an anniversary of opening your store or a holiday related to your store’s theme.

2. Define your goals

Identify what you want to achieve through your promotions (for example increase sales, clear inventory, attract new customers, etc.). Defining your goals ahead of time will help you have a better focus when planning the details of each specific promotion. 

3. Define the target audience

Each sale or deal has to be targeted towards a specific segment of your target audience. This way you can make it more personal and increase the chances of success. So think whether a deal or sale is targeted towards existing customers or new ones, those who are returning customers or maybe people who made a single purchase a long time ago?

4. Choose the right channels

Decide on the channels you will use to reach your target customers. Of course this can be subject to change when planning the details of a sale but planning it ahead of time gives you a good overview of how much work and resources a campaign will need.

5. Decide on the type of promotion

Choose the type of promotion that will best achieve your goals (e.g., discounts, free shipping, buy one get one free, etc.). Again, this may change later on but it’s important to think of this ahead of time.

6. Set a budget

Determine how much you can afford to spend on your promotions. By looking at all of them from a bird’s eye view you can better plan your budget and decide which ones are more important to you.

7. Create a timeline

Your annual plan should include information on when the sales or deals will be running as well as information on how much time you will need to prepare everything for the campaigns. This way you will always know when to start working on the next campaign or event.

8. Define the KPIs

Measuring and evaluating the results of your promotions is crucial so that you can adjust your strategy as needed for future promotions. That’s why your annual plan should include information on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each campaign.

Tools You Can Use For eCommerce Planning

There are several tools that can be useful for planning sales and promotions for an ecommerce business but when it comes to an annual plan you need something that will help you look at the big picture. It’s important to choose a tool that your whole team can use easily and that integrates with other tools you may be using. But here’s some tools we recommend for yearly planning:

  • Tools like Asana, Trello, or allow you to create and track tasks, deadlines, and team responsibilities in one central location.
  • A simple spreadsheet can be used to create a timeline or budget for your promotions, and to track the results of your campaigns.

If you’re looking for an expert team to help you run and grow your eCommerce business - contact us and let’s get your project started!


Thomas is CCO in Frontkom. His background is from the agency industry with more than 20 years as manager and senior advisor within eCommerce. Thomas is an expert at building complex customer journeys for online stores. He writes about eCommerce, customer club, integrations and how to succeed with your online store.

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