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    From 1st July 2017, India has stepped into the much-awaited GST regime (country’s single largest tax reform since independence). GST will integrate country’s economy which is roughly worth $2 trillion and a vast customer base of 1.3 billion into one common market. GST is applicable to all businesses (supply of goods and services, trading, profession, vocation etc). It is time for businesses to gear themselves up to this new indirect tax environment. Major overhauls will be required in business processes, IT and ERP programs, staff training and marketing to incorporate the new taxation rules and regulations so that businesses are equipped to avail the benefits of and comply with the GST regime which will eventually lead them to remain competitive and compatible with its environment.

    GST Registration

    Under GST, a person or a business entity which is already registered in a state under any existing law will have to migrate to GST. Similarly, unregistered entities will have to get themselves registered under GST as per the given provisions. Having a PAN is mandatory for GST registration. Non-residents can apply for GST registration by other documents as notified by the appropriate authority. Separate GST registration shall be required for each state of operation and for each business vertical in a state. Persons and entities liable to get registered or migrated to GST are mentioned below.

    Under GST, a person or a business entity which is already registered in a state under any existing law will have to migrate to GST

    1. Every person with a turnover exceeding Rs.20 Lakhs (Rs.10 Lakhs for the North-Eastern States including    Sikkim) in a financial year.
    2. Interstate supplier of goods and services
    3. Casual Taxable Person
    4. Non-Resident Taxable Person
    5. Agents who act on behalf of supplier
    6. Persons required to pay taxes under Reverse Charge Mechanism
    7. Distributors or Input Service Distributor
    8. E-Commerce operator and persons who supply through an e-commerce operator
    9. Aggregator
    10. Any person supplying online information and database access/retrieval services from outside India to a     person or entity in India (other than a registered taxable person)
    11. Any person who is required to deduct TDS under GST.

    Note: Person includes Individuals, HUF, Company, Firm, Society, Trust etc. GST is not applicable to Agriculturists. Agriculture includes floriculture, horticulture, sericulture, cultivation of crops, grass or garden produce and does not include dairy farming, poultry farming, fruit gathering, plant rearing etc. GST registration is crucial because it is mandatory (as applicable) and will entitle businesses to avail various benefits under GST. GST-registered businesses will be able to avail to input tax credit. Timely registration will help businesses avoid attracting penalties from tax authorities. Persons and entities registering under GST will be assigned with a unique GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number.

    Input Sources – (1, 2, 3 & 4)

    Changes in Accounting and TAX Treatment Under GST

    In the erstwhile taxation system, businesses had to maintain separate accounts for VAT, CST, Service Tax etc. Various accounts required to be maintained by businesses before GST is given below (8):

    • Excise Payable a/c
    • CENVAT Credit a/c
    • Output VAT a/c
    • Input VAT a/c
    • Input Service Tax a/c
    • Output Service Tax a/c
    • CST a/c

    Post-GST, the existing indirect taxes will be subsumed and brought under GST. Some of the important accounts required to be maintained under GST regime are (8):

    • Input CGST a/c
    • Output CGST a/c
    • Input SGST a/c
    • Output SGST a/c
    • Input IGST a/c
    • Output IGST a/c
    • Electronic Cash Ledger (Recordkeeping on the authorized GST Portal)

    The tax rate applicable will depend on the product/service and the type of GST (CGST, SGST and IGST) applicable will depend on the source and destination of supply of goods and services. Businesses can now offset their input tax (with purchases) with output tax (from supply/sales). For interstate transactions, IGST is applicable and for intra-state transactions, both CGST and SGST will be applicable.  

    Tax Collected (Output Tax Liability)

    Taxes paid (Input Tax Credit) – Setting off orderBalance

    CGST

    CGST, then IGSTTax payable
    SGSTSGST, then IGST

    Tax payable

    IGSTIGST, CGST, SGST

    Tax payable

    For accounting purposes, businesses will have to follow GAAP under GST and books of accounts have to be maintained for five years from the due date of filing the annual return of the particular year.

    Input Sources – (8)

    Changes in Business Process – Finance and Accounts, IT and Logistics

    Under the erstwhile taxation system, indirect taxes were levied on the manufacture or the sale of goods and services. But with GST, the taxation will be based on the source and destination of the supply of goods and services. This will affect and will require changes in various business processes like finance, IT and logistics. The new rules and regulations will have to be incorporated in the finance ERP so that businesses can process its financial transactions like purchase, sale, billing, invoicing, claiming input tax credit and comply with the provisions of the new GST regime. Under GST, a normal taxpayer will have to submit three monthly returns and one annual return. Similarly, different persons registered under different provisions of GST (e.g. casual registration, composition scheme etc) will have to furnish different returns as per rule. There are altogether 11 main types of return forms (GSTR 1 to GSTR 11) for different persons or entities registered under GST for filing different information to the tax authorities subject to the given deadlines.

    The new rules and regulations will have to be incorporated in the finance ERP so that businesses can process its financial transactions like purchase, sale, billing, invoicing, claiming input tax credit and comply with the provisions of the new GST regime

    The aforesaid returns have to be filed online which makes it important for businesses to incorporate the necessary changes in its IT infrastructure and information systems. It also becomes imperative for businesses to make sure that the returns are filed on time to avoid penalties. With the subsuming of Octroi, businesses will also experience smoothness in its logistics and interstate supply of goods. Companies may also have to adjust and reposition their supply chain and logistics network to make the most out of the GST framework. SOPs can give a competitive edge to organizations in this transitional phase. Finance and Accounts SOPs can significantly help companies smoothly incorporate and execute the GST provisions applicable to their businesses. Because GST is new to everybody including the employees deputed in the finance, accounts and purchase department of a business enterprise, by integrating the working provisions and the compliance requirements of GST with the existing SOPs in the affected departments, the concerned employees will be in a much better position to execute their GST-affected duties and responsibilities like invoicing, filing returns, claiming input tax credits etc. This will help ensure that the regular flow of business operations is not affected, deadlines are not missed and other compliances are duly fulfilled. Hence, it is important for businesses to redefine their SOPs especially for the accounts & purchase department.

    compliance requirements of GST with the existing SOPs in the affected departments, the concerned employees will be in a much better position to execute their GST-affected duties and responsibilities like invoicing, filing returns, claiming input tax credits

    Input Sources – (5)

    HR: Staff Training

    The new set of rules, regulations and compliances will also bring changes in the business processes, operations and activities of an organization especially in the finance/accounts, purchase, logistics/supply chain and marketing. The resultant changes in the business processes will have a bearing on the job descriptions and job specifications in the affected departments of a business enterprise. Employees, at all levels, have to be educated and trained on incorporating and executing the GST guidelines and provisions. Every business enterprise has to make sure that their accounts team is updated with GST rules applicable to the products and services.

    The resultant changes in the business processes will have a bearing on the job descriptions and job specifications in the affected departments of a business enterprise

    A brief layout of the GST tax structure for different products and services is presented below.

    Tax Rate

    Goods and Services

    0% (No Tax)

    Salt, Milk, Eggs, Curd, Lassi, Unpacked Food grains. Unpacked Paneer, Jaggery, Natural Honey, Fresh Fruits & Vegetables, Flour, Besan, Bread, Sindoor, Kajal (not sticks), Bindi, Bangles, Handloom, Judicial Papers, Printed Books, Cereal Grains, Hotels & Lodges with tariff below Rs.1000 etc.  

    5%

    Sugar, Tea, Edible Oils, Domestic LPG, PDS Kerosene, Cashew Nuts, Milk Food for Babies, Fabric, Spices, Coal, Life-Saving Drugs, Apparels < Rs.1,000, Footwear < Rs.500, Skimmed Milk Powder, Branded Paneer, Coffee, Spices, Frozen Vegetables, Medicines, Insulin, Postage & Revenue Stamps, Railways, Airlines, Small Restaurants etc.

     

    12%

    Mobile Phones, Business Class Air Tickets, Non-AC hotels, Butter, Ghee, Cheese, Almonds, Apparels > Rs.1000, Frozen Meat Products, Packaged Dry Fruits, ketchups, Fruit Juices, Bhujia & Namkeen, Spectacles, Ayurvedic Medicines, diagnostic kits and reagents, work contracts, Colouring & Picture Books, Exercise & Note Books, Umbrella, Sewing Machines, Ketchups & Sauces, Work Contracts etc.  

    18%

    AC Hotels that serve liquor, Telecom Services, IT and Financial Services, Software, Trademark, Goodwill, Branded Garments, Footwear > Rs.500, Biscuits, Pastries, Mayonnaise, Jams, Steel Products, Aluminium Foil, Curry paste & Salad Dressings, Mineral Water, Ice-Creams, Cameras, Speakers, Monitors, Printer, CCTV, Swimming Pools, Hair Oil, Toothpaste, Soap, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Soups, Room Tariff between Rs.2,500 to Rs.7,500, Restaurants inside 5 Star Hotels etc.  

    28%

    Small Cars, Consumer Durables – AC, Fridge, Washing Machines, Vacuum Cleaners, Water Heater Shavers, Dish Washers. Five Star Hotels and Hotels with room tariffs above Rs.7,500, Cinema, Deodorants, Shaving Creams, Aerated Water, Sunscreen, After Shave, Hair Shampoos,  ATM, Automobiles and Two-Wheelers, Chewing Gums, Pan Masalas etc.  

    Input Sources – (6, 7)

    Realignment of Marketing Strategies: Pricing, Competition and Arrangements 

    With the removal of the cascading effect of taxes, prices of products and services are expected to come down. GST might unleash competitive price wars as businesses under GST will get some space to play around with their profit margins. Also, with a uniform taxation environment on goods and services across the country which bring tax-neutrality and with lesser compliance hassles, businesses across the country will seek to explore new markets in different states. With an increase in competition and surge in pricing competitiveness, businesses will have to revisit their pricing and marketing strategies in the light of the new tax regime. Also, contracts and agreements with suppliers, distributors and clients may have to be renegotiated and modified to absorb the impact of GST on the parties involved in the value-chain process.

    With an increase in competition and surge in pricing competitiveness, businesses will have to revisit their pricing and marketing strategies in the light of the new tax regime

    While GST brings in a host of benefits for the business community in the country, it also brings certain obligations on the part of the business organizations to get themselves registered with GST and comply with its provisions. With the new set of rules and regulations of taxation, businesses will have to address their tax positions and accounting procedures from the GST perspective. And with these changes in effect, organizations will have to uplift their business processes (Finance, IT, Logistics etc) so that they remain in compliance with this new regulatory framework. The opening up of the market floodgates with GST presents a sea of opportunities for companies and business enterprises of all sizes to revisit their marketing strategies and fiercely pursue business growth and expansion. The simplified and uniform tax mechanism is a motivating incentive for budding entrepreneurs with dream retail projects.

    YRC Related Articles: How to Write SOPs for Marketing?, 6 Ways To Grow Your Business, How to Start a Retail Business in India, Business Expansion Plan for Small Entrepreneurs, Six Steps to Writing a Great SOP for Retail, How to write SOPs for an Apparel Brand?, How to Develop SOPs for Quick Service Restaurant?, How to write SOPs for Furniture Showroom

    Author Bio

    Varun Shah

    Chief Finance Officer

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      PROCESS AUTOMATION

      The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

      In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

      Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

      Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

      YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

      VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

      No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

      Photography includes the following steps:

      • Cataloguing your products
      • Cataloguing your images
      • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
      • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

      DIGITAL MARKETING

      Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

      Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

      These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

      Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

      This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

      IT INTEGRATION

      Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

      YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

      IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

      This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

      Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

      WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

      • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
      • Where should your Warehouse be located?
      • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
      • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
      • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
      • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
      • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
      • How much space do I require for warehouse?
      • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

       

      At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

      We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

      Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

      UI & UX DESIGNING

      This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

      Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

      From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

      Part 2: UX Designing:

      “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

      UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

      “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

      An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

      Part 3: UI Designing:

      UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

      A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

      The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

      If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

      At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

      SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

      This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

      In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

      Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

      Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

      Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

      Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

      Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

      Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

      PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

      Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

      Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

      • In-house Design Team
      • Freelance Designers
      • Outsourced Design Team
      • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

      At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

      These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

      If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

      Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

      BRANDING

      Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

      Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

      It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

      ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

      Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

      SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

      At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

      CRITICAL PATHWAY

      Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

      CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

      CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

      At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

      BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

      Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

      Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

      Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

      YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

      MARKET RESEARCH

      Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.