| Jun 26, 2023 | | 7 min read

Craft a winning ecommerce website proposal for your prospects


By 2026, digital channels will account for more than a quarter of all purchases across the globe, and the ecommerce market will total more than $8.1 trillion (Forbes). That’s one big pie, and you don’t need to be an ecommerce retailer to slice yourself off a piece.

Explore current tactics and tools to resell software solutions by downloading our guide, “The ecommerce ecosystem: A post-pandemic playbook” now.

Agencies that can craft winning ecommerce website proposals can leverage this growing industry to create a sustainable business pipeline full of prospects ready to convert. Find out more about how to write a comprehensive and engaging ecommerce website proposal below so you can convert more clients.

Researching the prospect

A strong proposal always starts with understanding the audience. While you can certainly build basic foundational starting points for these sales tools, you should ensure that every business proposal for ecommerce website work is customized to the preferences, audience, and needs of the prospect.

Identify ecommerce website features and functions to propose

Take time to understand what the prospect needs. When sales team members engage with the prospect at the top of the funnel, they should ask about the biggest pain points and most-wanted features for an ecommerce website. If you don’t have this type of first-hand data, gather as much information as you can by researching the potential client’s business and target audience.

Once you understand what the prospect needs, you can:

  • Make a list of the most essential ecommerce features likely to meet those needs
  • Create descriptions to help the client understand how each feature can support (or is even critical to) success with business goals
  • Map out the navigation and user flow of the website to help potential clients understand how each feature might work in a practical use case
  • Consider what resources you will need, such as a website builder for ecommerce, so you can build them into the plan

Create an ecommerce website development plan

Before you can take the information from the previous section and convert it into an ecommerce website development proposal, you must consider your plan for bringing the design and ecommerce site ideas into reality. Work with your team to develop an internal plan of action that includes:

  • Development timeline and process. Be realistic about how long it will take to create an ecommerce-ready website. Consider mapping out the timeline via a Gantt chart or similar tool so you can easily see dependencies and potential bottlenecks. Understanding where the development process might lag helps you set appropriate milestones with the client now and take proactive measures to meet client deadlines in the future.
  • Development resources and tools. List everything your team needs access to, including the right website builder for the ecommerce purposes of the potential client. Understanding the tools required helps you create more accurate pricing for your proposal. Don’t forget about human capital — define who you need on the project so you can avoid over committing or double-booking resources.
  • Development methodology and testing process. Ensure the entire team understands what methodology you plan to use if the client agrees to the proposal, as this helps you hit the ground running as soon as possible. Take time to create a formal testing process to debug as you develop and ensure the client site gets a full test before launch.

What to include in the proposal

If creating your ecommerce website proposal doc was a final exam, everything above is equivalent to the pre-exam study sessions. It’s what prepares you to ace the exam — or, in this case, the proposal.

Luckily, you can easily put all that “studying” to work, because you’ll find the answer key to what makes a good proposal below.

Map out the design, branding, and user experience

Your proposal should tell a clear and compelling story for the prospect about how your solution solves their problem. Do that with a combination of narrative and visual elements, backing your claims up with data when possible. Ensure the story includes:

  • Visual design styles. Describe the concept you envision for the website and tie it to the vision and values of the client’s brand. Speak in terms of comparison brands to help the client visualize the ideas, but avoid comparing your design concepts to the prospect’s competitors. It’s important the prospect feels you can deliver a unique, brand-specific design.
  • Branding elements. Provide details about how you plan to incorporate existing branding elements or create new ones to drive brand recognition and awareness for the client.
  • User experience design. Describe how users on the website will interact with it and what customer experience you plan to foster with the design.
  • Potential impact for the target audience. Be specific about the impact the design might have on your prospect’s target audience. Include use cases that demonstrate how your design will solve challenges for the audience.

Wrap it all up with sample designs and layouts to illustrate the proposed design and demonstrate the quality of your web design services.

Describe the website launch and ongoing support process

Every proposal for an ecommerce website should be future-minded. Prospects are more likely to become clients if they feel they can trust you to stick around and support the success of their website. You can foster this trust with detailed launch and post-launch support plans.

Start by describing the support and ongoing maintenance you can provide. Some questions to consider answering include:

  • Will you attend to details such as updating ecommerce WordPress plugins?
  • Do you offer data backup services to support business continuity?
  • Will you assist in marketing or search engine ecommerce optimization?
  • When and how can clients reach you for support?
  • Will you use tools such as a managed WordPress hosting, and who is responsible for those tools once website development is complete?

Create samples of service-level agreements you’re confident you can support. This helps clients understand what you can promise if they choose you as their ecommerce website development partner.

Breakdown of website proposal pricing and deliverables

Cost is almost always an important consideration for prospective clients. For many, it may be the top consideration. If you leave costs out of a proposal, prospects may not feel you’re being transparent enough.

Provide a detailed breakdown of what you can deliver and when as well as what each option costs. These final touches on your proposal might include:

  • Various pricing options. Detail all pricing options and whether the client can choose from à la carte features or services. Use tables or charts to make the data easy to compare, or offer a pricing matrix the client can use to calculate the total cost of different options.
  • Payment plan details. Let the prospect know what payment options are available and when payment is due. Explain any SaaS options, being clear about the cost per user per month and per year. Detail how you expect payment to be made and whether you will issue invoices.
  • Deliverable milestones. Include a project timeline with clearly marked milestone deliverables so the prospect knows what to expect from you if they move forward. Let the prospect know what is negotiable in the project timeline and what is not.
  • Definition of project success. Define success so everyone is on the same page about when the project has reached a potential end.
  • Proposed project management and communication processes. Let the client know about major tools you might use and how you will partner with them throughout the process.

Once you send the proposal to the client, maintain open and efficient communication lines. Prospects may use their experience with how you answer questions about ecommerce website proposals to draw conclusions about how you might support them during and after a website development project.

Frequently asked questions about website proposals

What does a website proposal typically include?

Always include the problems or challenges that the website solution will solve and how it works. Include elements such as visual design and branding, key features of the proposed website, how long the project might take, and detailed information about costs. Anticipate major questions the prospect might have and try to answer them in the proposal.

How can I use an ecommerce website proposal to close more deals?

Make your proposal as prospect-centric as possible. If you can change a few words or names in a proposal and present it to another client, the proposal isn’t specific enough. Be solutions-minded. Consider the top pain points and challenges the prospect faces and ensure your proposal clearly communicates how you can solve those issues.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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