Online commerce product catalog

Preparing for Online Store Launch

Operational Role-Play: Inventory Management and Customer Service Scenarios


This role-play activity is designed to simulate real-life operational challenges in inventory management and customer service that e-commerce businesses often face.

Participants will engage in role-play scenarios to practice problem-solving and decision-making, discussing potential challenges and identifying practical solutions.


  • Divide Participants into Teams: Assign roles within each team, such as inventory manager, customer service representative, supplier liaison, and customer.
  • Scenario Briefs: Prepare briefs for a variety of scenarios that could realistically occur in an e-commerce setting, including stock shortages, shipping delays, product defects, and customer complaints.

Scenario Examples

  1. Inventory Management:
    • Stock Shortage: A popular product is suddenly out of stock, and there’s a delay in the next shipment from the supplier.
    • Overstock: An overestimation of demand for a new product has led to excessive inventory.
  2. Customer Service:
    • Shipping Delay: A customer’s order has been delayed due to logistics issues, and they have contacted customer service for an explanation.
    • Defective Product: A customer received a defective product and is seeking a replacement or refund.

Role-Play Instructions

  1. Scenario Assignment: Each team is given a scenario to role-play. Team members assume their assigned roles and act out the scenario, aiming to resolve the issue effectively.
  2. Problem-Solving: The team works together to address the challenge presented in their scenario. This includes identifying the root cause, considering the impact on the business and the customer, and deciding on the best course of action.
  3. Discussion: After the role-play, the team discusses the approach taken to solve the problem, exploring alternative solutions and preventive measures for the future.
  4. Presentation: Teams present their scenario, the solution they implemented, and any additional insights they gained from the role-play to the rest of the participants.

Guidelines for Effective Role-Play

  • Stay in Character: Adhere to your assigned role to make the scenario as realistic as possible.
  • Communication: Practice clear and effective communication, both in resolving the issue and in explaining your approach afterward.
  • Creativity: Encourage creative solutions to operational challenges, considering both short-term fixes and long-term improvements.
  • Reflect on Real-World Applications: Consider how the lessons learned from these scenarios can be applied to actual e-commerce operations.


  • Shared Learning: Discuss key takeaways from each group’s presentation, highlighting effective strategies and common pitfalls in inventory management and customer service.
  • Best Practices: Compile a list of best practices for inventory management and customer service based on the solutions proposed during the role-plays.
  • Feedback: Provide constructive feedback on the teams’ problem-solving approaches, emphasizing the importance of proactive and customer-centric operational strategies.

This role-play activity offers hands-on experience in tackling operational challenges, fostering teamwork, strategic thinking, and customer-focused problem solving.

Participants leave with a deeper understanding of the complexities of e-commerce operations and the skills to navigate these challenges effectively in their professional roles.

Legal Checklist Activity: Preparing for Online Store Launch


This activity is designed to guide participants through the essential legal and administrative steps required to launch an online store.

By creating a comprehensive checklist, participants will gain an understanding of the regulatory, compliance, and procedural tasks necessary to establish a legally sound e-commerce business.

Instructions for Participants

  1. Divide into Teams: Participants are divided into small groups, each tasked with creating a detailed checklist for a specific aspect of legal and administrative preparation for an online store.
  2. Research and Discussion: Teams research their assigned topic, discussing the relevant legal requirements, best practices, and common pitfalls. Resources such as government websites, legal guides for e-commerce, and expert articles should be utilized.
  3. Checklist Creation: Based on their research and discussions, each team develops a comprehensive checklist covering all necessary steps, documents, and considerations for their assigned area.

Checklist Categories

  1. Business Registration and Structure:
    • Choosing a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation)
    • Registering the business name and obtaining a business license if required
    • Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes
  2. Trademark and Intellectual Property:
    • Conducting a trademark search for the business name and logo
    • Filing for trademark registration to protect brand identity
    • Understanding copyright laws related to website content and products
  3. Online Business Compliance:
    • Complying with online privacy laws (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) and creating a privacy policy
    • Adhering to e-commerce regulations, including consumer protection laws and advertising standards
    • Ensuring website accessibility standards are met
  4. Tax Registration and Compliance:
    • Registering for sales tax collection and understanding nexus regulations
    • Understanding international tax obligations for selling overseas
    • Setting up accounting and tax reporting systems
  5. Product Regulations and Safety:
    • Identifying any regulations specific to the products being sold (e.g., FDA approvals for food or health products)
    • Ensuring product labels and descriptions meet legal requirements
    • Implementing quality control and product safety measures
  6. Website Terms of Service and Policies:
    • Drafting clear and comprehensive terms of service and return policies
    • Creating a shipping policy that includes delivery timelines, shipping methods, and international shipping guidelines
    • Establishing clear procedures for handling returns, exchanges, and refunds

Presentation and Feedback

  • Group Presentations: Each team presents their checklist to the rest of the participants, explaining the importance of each item and how it contributes to the legal and administrative foundation of an online store.
  • Peer Review: Following each presentation, allow time for questions and feedback from other participants, encouraging discussion on any additional considerations or alternative approaches.
  • Facilitator Feedback: Provide professional insights and feedback on the checklists, highlighting any missing elements and offering advice on navigating legal and administrative challenges.

Creating a legal checklist is a crucial step in ensuring that an online store is set up correctly and compliantly.

This activity not only familiarizes participants with the legalities of launching an e-commerce business but also emphasizes the importance of thorough preparation and due diligence in avoiding potential legal issues.

Through collaborative research and discussion, participants leave with a practical understanding of the legal and administrative groundwork required for a successful online store launch.


E-Commerce Platforms

  1. Which e-commerce platform is known for its strong SEO capabilities and customizability for small to medium-sized businesses?
    • A) Shopify
    • B) Magento
    • C) WooCommerce
    • D) BigCommerce
  2. What is a key feature of using Amazon as an e-commerce platform?
    • A) Exclusive access to Amazon Prime customers
    • B) Open-source software
    • C) Built-in blogging platform
    • D) Automatic tax calculations based on buyer location

Market Analysis

  1. What tool is most commonly used for keyword research in e-commerce market analysis?
    • A) Google Trends
    • B) Ahrefs
    • C) Facebook Insights
    • D) Google Analytics
  2. Which metric is crucial for understanding the competitive landscape in e-commerce?
    • A) Bounce rate
    • B) Customer lifetime value (CLV)
    • C) Market share
    • D) Page views

Product Selection

  1. What is a dropshipping business model in e-commerce?
    • A) The retailer holds stock and ships products directly to the customer.
    • B) The retailer sells products on behalf of a third party, who handles inventory and shipping.
    • C) The retailer manufactures their own products to sell online.
    • D) The retailer buys products in bulk from a wholesaler to resell online.
  2. Which factor is not typically considered when selecting a product to sell online?
    • A) Product weight
    • B) Branding potential
    • C) Color variations
    • D) Supplier reliability

Operational Planning

  1. Which of the following is not a common payment gateway used in e-commerce?
    • A) PayPal
    • B) Stripe
    • C) Shopify Payments
    • D) Microsoft Excel
  2. What is the significance of fulfillment in e-commerce operations?
    • A) It refers to the process of optimizing website speed.
    • B) It involves choosing the right e-commerce platform.
    • C) It is the process of storing, packing, and shipping orders.
    • D) It deals with creating engaging product descriptions.
  3. Which strategy is essential for reducing cart abandonment rates in e-commerce?
    • A) Offering free shipping
    • B) Reducing the number of product images
    • C) Limiting payment options
    • D) Increasing prices at checkout
  4. What is the purpose of A/B testing in e-commerce?
    • A) To compare two different shipping carriers
    • B) To test the market viability of two different products
    • C) To compare the performance of two versions of a web page or element
    • D) To determine the best pricing strategy for a product