The new e-commerce canvas

Online retail The new e-commerce canvas

Published on 01.10.2019 by Michael Nussbaumer, Head of CAS Online Shop and Sales Management, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU)

Ever increasing customer requirements for online shops, rapidly rising complexity in online shops and it’s now also time for your e-commerce project. Uncertainty can arise but the e-commerce canvas brings structure and focus, and breaks down complexity.

New digital touchpoints between customers and companies are emerging every year. Customers can now contact companies and place orders via chatbots and WhatsApp. New devices with innovative functions hit the market every month. Customer expectations for companies are rising exponentially as a result.

The same applies for e-commerce projects. Continually growing customer requirements call for complex, technical solutions, but complexity within IT and organizations make such solutions difficult to implement. Corporate culture, too, rarely switches to agile mode as it searches for bulletproof solutions.

This state of affairs and the inherent complexity is leading to widespread uncertainty as to how e-commerce projects should be tackled. How well prepared is your company for change? What is your approach and what are the most important aspects to define? There’s now a model that systemically solves this dilemma: the e-commerce canvas.

The e-commerce canvas gradually and systematically develops the components needed for a successful e-commerce project in a simple way. Complexity is broken down into bite-sized pieces while the entire project team works together in a structured process. This results in a management tool that grows and develops alongside the online shop.

The e-commerce canvas: for successful projects

The e-commerce canvas is a matrix featuring two dimensions:

  1. The customer and their touchpoints to the company – the external perspective
  2. The units in the company – the internal perspective

The e-commerce canvas is structured in modules, each of which features a simple approach to incrementally define the most important topics per matrix field.

The external perspective

With the external perspective, the e-commerce canvas involves mapping out the individual steps of the customer as they shop, i.e. the customer journey. In theory, this is very simple to do: the visitor arrives on a page featuring product details or landing page after being led there by online marketing measures. Here, they look at the product closely and express their initial interest. Other products are recommended to the customer until a purchase is made. After purchasing, steps are taken to develop ties to the customer and make them a loyal, repeat buyer. These individual steps are then analysed and developed using the e-commerce canvas by focusing on customer needs. This results in a focus on customers.

The internal perspective

The requirements on the individual units of the company are defined using this perspective to ensure customer requirements are met. Which products should be offered and which interactions take place during the customer journey? How can progress be measured and which organizational structure and culture can assist the company further?

Michael Nussbaumer speaks on this topic at Connecta Bern.

Michael Nussbaumer, Head of CAS Online Shop and Sales Management, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU)

Michael Nussbaumer is a proven e-commerce specialist, lecturer and manager of the CAS Online Shop and Sales Management at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Managing Director & Consultant of M8 GmbH. For more than ten years, he has been involved in “digitization in sales” and has helped shape and implement online shops such as “” and “” and has also received several awards.

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