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    The retail sales numbers for 2019 are going to be robust according to a report which suggests that the numbers will touch USD 3.8 trillion in the U.S. alone.

    With the onset of technologies like smart shopping carts, Artificial Intelligence systems powered by smart machine learning algorithms and digital transformation trends like social shopping and chatbot-assisted shopping coming to the retail sector, the future looks exciting.

    To stay in touch with these trends, you should keep yourself at the leading end of the learning curve with the help of the latest and informative retail blogs.

    Given below are our top twelve picks.

    1- The Retail Doctor Blog

    One of the oldest blogs in the retail domain, The Retail Doctor Blog is managed by renowned retail consultant Bob Phibbs. The information provided by Bob is one of the best in the retail domain and he guides retailers through every aspect of retail business which includes blogs and articles related to retail training, branding, customer service, store design, retail trends, etc. As one of the most well-known blogs in the field of retail, The Retail Doctor Blog should be on your reading list if you are a passionate retailer.

    2- Retail Design Blog

    As the name suggests, the Retail Design Blog comes with a highly appealing visual experience for the readers. When you open the blog your eyes are greeted with images of beautiful shop interiors and retail displays. This is one of the pioneering retail store blogs which will help you in designing your retail store in an aesthetically appealing manner. You can reach the blog here.

    3- Forrester Retail

    This blog is managed by Forrester which is a reputed market research company. And as its name goes, it publishes blogs on retail research giving statistical insights and on retail technologies assessing opportunities and impacts. The blog is accompanied by in-depth research reports to substantiate their claims. It is a paid blog. You can have a glimpse here.

    4-Shopify Blog

    Shopify came into being as a website which used to sell snowboarding equipment online, but now it has metamorphosed into an online retail behemoth powering more than 500,000 businesses all over the world.

    You can brush up your knowledge on marketing, sales and customer experience skills by reading the informative content published on their blog. The blog gives nuggets of wisdom regarding how to manage your online retail store during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. They say knowledge is power and when it comes from one of the most successful online retail platforms then the power is amplified. The blog can keep you updated with the latest developments in the world of retail. You can reach the blog here.

    5- Insider Trends

    The guys at Insider Trends have established the reputation of being retail trends specialists. If you are a fashion retailer, you need to keep yourself informed of the trends in the fashion industry. This blog can help you gain insights into the latest and upcoming trends in the world of fashion.

    Renowned retail brands like L’Oreal, Nike and Chanel are some of its prominent clients. The blog deals with topics such as retail trends, technology trends, in-store experiences, experiential retail and concept mom and pop stores.

    6- National Retail Federation (NRF)

    National Retail Federation, the biggest retail trade association in the United States, is one of the oldest retail associations having lobbying congress for more than 100 years to support the retail industry.

    The blog touches on important subjects such as macroeconomic policies, consumer trends, retail technology holiday and seasonal trends, cybersecurity, employment, start-ups in transformation and connected commerce. You can reach the blog here.

    7- Blog Neil Patel’s Digital Marketing Blog

    Although not a retail specialist blog, Neil Patel’s Digital Marketing Blog deals with crucial aspects of online marketing. The blog is a must-read if you have an e-commerce store, as by reading Neil Patel’s blogs you can always have a head start against the competition by remaining updated about the latest trends in digital marketing, paid ads, Social Media Marketing, conversion rate optimization, email marketing, and Search Engine Optimization.

    Neil Patel is considered to be one of the most respected authorities on digital marketing. By reading his blogs you are likely to gain valuable insights about digital marketing. You can reach his blog here.

    8- Retail Week

    Retail Week has been providing quality retail content to its subscribers for years now. If you are interested in retail then you must add this blog to your reading list. The good thing about this blog is its content is focused on analysis, research, and data in various retail segments like grocery, fashion, health, entertainment, etc. The blog also has a video feature. You can reach the blog here.

    9- Retail TouchPoints Blog

    The Retail TouchPoints does not just blog about retail but posts articles written by senior executives who share their knowledge gained through practical experience. The blog is aimed at helping retailers better understand and improvise their customers’ experiences in today’s multifaceted retail environment. You can reach the blog here.

    10- A Better Lemonade Stand

    A Better Lemonade Stand deals with guiding retailers through the rocky waters of e-commerce retailing. Insightful articles are shared on various topics dealing with e-commerce like starting an online business, drop shipping, chatbots, online security, eCommerce sales and promotions, analytics, social media platforms, advertisements and much more.

    If you are an entrepreneur who is looking to expand his physical retail business into the online domain or a budding start-up online e-tailer, this blog will provide you all the necessary information required to succeed in the area of online retailing. You can reach the blog here.

    11- Fizzle

    From winning the mental game to finding your USP, this blog provides valuable insight for the crucial areas of your retail journey like the starting phase, products and services, managing business, leadership, tools and technologies, etc. The approach is what we found unique and appealing to this blog. You can reach the blog here.

    12- Your Retail Coach (YRC)

    You may also take a look at our blog section. Focus on the basics and simplicity in the presentation is the essence of YRC blogs. Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or already running a business; whether it is a restaurant or café, or apparel, fashion or footwear store, or a departmental store; whether your business is situated in a small town or a metropolitan city, YRC blogs are intended to help retailers tickle their perspectives of retail business and the retail world. You can reach our blog page here.

    Summing up…..

    Knowledge and information are power and living in an era of information leave no room for excuse. The right information at the right time can help us make informed decisions to take our businesses to new heights or prevent us from making poor calls.

    The blogs that we have listed above will serve you in good stead by providing you with rich doses of valuable information. Read these blogs regularly to gain a pole position in the retail game.

     

     

    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.