Online Retail Ecommerce Consulting
Online Retail Ecommerce Consulting
Looking back at eCommerce
ECommerce refers to trading carried out by buyers and sellers over an electronic medium like the internet. Ecommerce stands for electronic commerce but it is the shorter version that is extensively used. The buyers and sellers could be customers, businesses, governments, and non-profits, etc.
ECommerce shrunk the geographical barriers between buyers and sellers. This was possible with digital accessibility and remote control over trading and transactions. What buyers cannot get in their local markets can now buy it from another state or country. This is true for all types of buyers.
Ecommerce meant huge for large and small businesses. With eCommerce, it became possible for businesses to cater to wider markets – local, domestic, and foreign. But it also called for building the necessary business systems and supply chain management. It also meant that there will be more competition and a greater need for creating unique value propositions. It also invited many new challenges in understanding and planning for business operations and IT systems. Customer experience and their shopping journey were also different from the traditional forms of retailing and trading.
Overall problem statement in the eCommerce sector
Since the beginning of eCommerce, the challenges for online business enterprises and online consultants (businesses providing online business consulting services) have kept on evolving. Some of the prominent challenges faced by online retail businesses in varying degrees are elaborated below.
Transparency is one of the biggest virtues of eCommerce for customers. Because of the internet and various online media platforms, service quality and customer experience no longer remain concealed from the public. Customers do not hesitate to share their experiences or reviews and feedback online. With such degrees of transparency, any poor product or service experience gets quickly exposed. ECommerce players simply cannot afford to leave any part of their operations to chance or make any mistake.
Speedy service is the hallmark of eCommerce. If delayed deliveries become common, it does not take much time for customers to associate such delinquency with brand identity. The same is true for any other instance of deviation from the promised value. To ensure smooth and flawless operations, the primary requirement is streamlined processes. The second is automation. It is only after processes and standards have been defined and mapped could a business implement automation.
Business Model Validation
A business model is based on assumptions. It assumes what constitutes a value-based offering and how that value is going to be created and delivered. These assumptions must be checked with utmost scrutiny and brainstorming supported by facts and figures.
If there are flaws in the business model, everything else done thereafter would deviate from the business objectives.
The challenge with business model validation is its subjective nature. Relevant experience and expertise are critical to take important calls on a business model.
Competition is an important consideration in business modelling. Businesses seek to be different by trying to make offerings as unique as possible. Because competition has intensified in eCommerce, it is becoming difficult for businesses to excogitate unique value propositions and assume a niche position.
Marketing and branding
There used to be a time when catchy advertisements on radio, television and print media easily caught people’s attention. It was easier then. With exposure to endless creative content on social media and other digital platforms, now it has become more difficult to attract attention. General approaches no longer work in marketing and promotions. There is a need to be specific to target segments.
Secondly, creativity alone can no longer propel marketing and branding activities. Businesses need to use data analytics as well. The digital marketing campaigns must consider the aspirations of the individual target segments. For example, safe online payment standards are an important consideration in online shopping. So, a common-for-all digital marketing campaign will work here. But if online payment is not yet popular in a region, businesses will have to think of incentivising customers to opt for digital payments. They must also emphasise digital safety.
Data strategy has emerged as a specialised field of business management. It defines how a business plans to collect, manage, analyse, and report business data contributing to planning and strategy formulation and operational decision-making. The idea is to see data as a resource or asset and formulate a strategy to manage and use it. Despite using data analytics, many online businesses struggle to make the best use of it. The problem is the lack of a data strategy. If there is no vision and roadmap to use data for business improvement, tools and technologies are reduced to being just processors. As an analogy, this is comparable to not having HR strategies and yet believing that workforce management is going great because there is an HR department in place.
ECommerce business models
Before starting an online business, convergence with the popular business models is essential. Here, a business model indicates whether the buyers are businesses or individual customers. This is from the perspective of the seller or the service provider facilitating the trading. Business and marketing strategies are affected by the business model that is followed. In eCommerce business models, readers should not get misled by the word ‘consumer’. It does not refer to the entity that consumes but an individual (or appearing as an individual).
- Business To Consumer (B2C)
B2C is the most common form of eCommerce business model. Products/services are offered to consumers over any eCommerce platform directly or via an intermediary platform. Businesses selling their products and services via another business entity also fall in the ambit of B2C. Thus, B2C also includes online marketplaces and aggregators.
- Business to Business (B2B)
B2B is one business entity selling goods and services to another business entity. For example, mobile devices manufacturing companies purchase parts and equipment from various suppliers. The business model of the suppliers would be B2B. But the smartphone brand offering to sell its products directly to customers over their website or app would be following the B2C model.
- Consumer to Business (C2B)
In C2B, it is customers who offer to sell their products and services to business enterprises. Globally, C2B generates a massive trade volume but because individual sellers are dispersed, they usually do not appear in organized forms until an individual registers as a sole proprietor. Also, C2B is more common with services. Freelance professionals would be a good example here.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
When two individuals offer to sell products or services to one another, it constitutes C2C. Because we are talking about eCommerce, the transaction must be taking place. There are many eCommerce brands for C2C transactions serving the role of an intermediary service provider.
The hybrid eCommerce business model is a relatively new concept than the ones discussed above. Here, the lines between the online and offline channels begin to get blurred. Businesses that adopt this model try to bring the best of both worlds. With online technologies, they seek to provide an easy and comfortable shopping experience. And with offline channels, customers are offered what can be better delivered in a physical environment. Take for example an online furniture store. Customers would be more comfortable if they could find some sort of physical validation for the products or the brand they are dealing with. Online furniture businesses could go hybrid. They may also open experience stores or design studios in potential market regions. And we have delivered online business eCommerce consulting services to a large number of clients. We have observed that such measures cover up a lot of perceptual gaps between customers viewing products online and actually making a purchase decision.
How YRC can help: a glimpse to our eCommerce business consulting services
We are a boutique retail business consulting firm. We have an experienced team of retail and eCommerce business consultants. We have served over 500+ clients in more than twenty verticals. YRC views its association with its clients as a long-term partnership for mutual growth and sustainability. We believe in working with close coordination with periodical review meetings and reporting. Our support services for online business eCommerce consulting are available round the clock. The service design and delivery is carried out by a team of expert retail and eCommerce consultants. Highlighted below are some of our services that have proved to be rewarding for our clients.
Business Model Development and Validation
Business model development and validation is one of the foundational services delivered by YRC. We have a team of experienced retail eCommerce consultants. Business modelling is a critical activity. It sets the tone of planning for many other important areas of work including business plans and business strategies. YRC explores, identifies, and defines the right value proposition for its clients. We also call it UVP or Unique Value Proposition. This is followed up by defining and mapping the value chain activities and the network of internal capabilities. These are required for creating and delivering the intended value to the market. In business model validation, our team of online retail & eCommerce consulting experts undertake the same process but with an approach of rigorous scrutiny and analysis to identify areas of rework.
CX Strategy and ECommerce Personalization
In retail and eCommerce consulting, we always maintain that the experience delivered to customers is a make-or-break factor. Even a small deviation in the core services could create a negative halo effect on the overall customer experience. With the presence of social media platforms, it does not take much time for the proliferation of customer experiences. Sometimes online marketplaces or their registered retailers resort to control the feedback mechanism. That is another blunder they commit. Instead, the focus should be on building business systems and strategies that strive to live up to the expectations of the customers. As expert eCommerce consultants, our goal is to formulate razor-sharp CX strategies that help clients make necessary operational adjustments and deliver a superlative experience to their customers in their shopping journey.
ECommerce is known for its transparency and quick and hassle-free services for customers. As experienced eCommerce consultants, we always stress that online businesses must hold these standards consistently. To achieve this, they must ensure that they have robust eCommerce business operations. Every process and operational activity should stand planned and mapped. Leaving any scope for error means leaving scope for brand tarnishing. And the tool to define and map business processes and operations are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). In our online business consulting services, our team of SOP experts and eCommerce business consultants follow planned and proven processes for mapping every operational activity. Our aim is not only to help clients run their business on robust and guided lines but also to make their enterprise process-oriented.
After the business processes and operations are defined and mapped, the SOP-IT integration must take place. The business software and SOPs must be synchronized. Otherwise, it will become impossible for the process owners to follow the SOPs using the business or functional software. That could prove to be catastrophic for any eCommerce business. As a part of our eCommerce consulting services, our role here is to define the requirements and specifications for SOP-IT integration. Within the ambit of our online business consulting services, if the assessments call for, our retail eCommerce consultants may suggest customizations in the software functionalities and relevant adjustments in the SOPs.
The criticality of talent management cannot be undermined in any organization. Talent management is a crucial part of our online business eCommerce consulting services. In eCommerce consulting, we also design organograms, carry out staff analysis and succession planning, draft HR policies and procedures. Our team of expert retail eCommerce consultants also help clients with organisational change management.
To know more about our online retail & eCommerce consulting services or if you have any service-related queries for our marketing consultants or retail eCommerce consultants, drop us a message and we will get back to you.
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