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In today’s world, enhancing shopping experience and understanding consumer demand is the key to stay on top the game. Depending on the situation, shopping experience must be fast and efficient sometimes, rich and experiential to others, and always accessible and intuitive. Consumers’ new expectations have emerged through COVID, which must be aligned with retail offerings and capabilities. Digitally enabled stores and a mix of physical and digital shopping journeys i.e. omnichannel approach are expected from brands and retailers. Additionally, customers want brands that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and purpose-driven.

An Omnichannel approach is here to stay

Online and offline shopping are no longer separate experiences. Retail consumers now use online shopping, in-store shopping, and mobile apps interchangeably, preferring to do everything. In other words, they want the freedom to shop however they find most convenient at the moment. A few examples of this are buying in-store and having it shipped/delivered to your home, or buying online and picking up the items at the curb. As per IBM, 27% of overall retail consumers and 36% of Gen Z use omnichannel shopping to make purchases – more than any other generation.

In the minds of consumers, omnichannel shopping has become a way of life and is definitely the future of retail. Hence, retailers should design buying journeys that are easy for customers to follow, no matter what path they take. Although stores are no longer the default mode of shopping, they remain essential to the customer journey. However, the store experience will have to be streamlined and digitalized for many companies, and digital and in-store experiences need to be integrated.

Sustainability is the key

COVID-19 has shifted consumer perspectives on sustainability. Consumers of all ages today look to brands and retailers for ways to shop sustainably. Numerous studies have demonstrated that consumers are aware of the current environmental crisis. 

Retailers and brands can consider this as an opportunity to create more profitable relationships with customers. Digitally savvy consumers of today are aware and focused on finding brands that align with their values related to sustainability. Businesses will need to raise the bar to pass muster since consumers are demanding more across the board. As well as allowing consumers to live their values through the products they buy, companies need to ensure that the products are sourced, manufactured, and delivered according to the customers’ values. The millennial generation is leading the charge, but every age group indicates that sustainability, the environment, and/or personal wellness are factors when choosing brands. Consumers acknowledge that sustainability and wellness are intertwined and they are even willing to pay a premium for products that meet their priorities.

Consumers are willing to pay more for the following attributes: non-toxic products, greater health benefits, organic ingredients, and environmental responsibility. Moreover, it’s not just the wealthy who say they’re willing to spend more, in fact, retail consumers, regardless of their income level or age group, are interested in supporting sustainability and health. IBV research shows that almost 3 of 4 (72%) food companies are working to eliminate hunger, 68% of personal care companies are enhancing health and wellbeing, and 63% of apparel and footwear brands are tackling climate change. To say it all, developing a back-end sustainability strategy that is connected to the customer experience is the future of retail and is crucial to a company’s long-term sustainability.

Customers are purpose-driven

Traditionally, cost, convenience, and value drove shopping behaviour, but the pandemic changed this paradigm. Today, purpose-driven consumers are the largest segment of global consumers, choosing products based on their alignment with their values. The purpose-driven consumer is willing to pay more for products and services aligned with their values and change their buying habits to reduce environmental impact. Consumers who buy for a purpose are also more engaged, shopping more frequently than those who buy for value, which makes them attractive to retailers and brands.

Purpose-driven customers often introduce their friends and family to new products and brands more often than value-based consumers. Hence, brands must align their business practices with the values of purpose-driven consumers so as to gain the trust of these consumers, from product development and design to after-sale support. For instance, as recycling is a large part of daily routine, brands should embrace the circular economy and retailers should empower purpose-driven retail consumers by offering resale, reuse, and recycling options. A brand’s or retailer’s extra effort to connect with purpose-driven consumers could be well worth it. Companies that make shopping simpler for these consumers are rewarded in terms of more sales and profits.

Trends of Retailing 2023

Brands that streamline the shopping experience and provide product clarity by using AI and intelligent workflows to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time will have a great opportunity to win over retail consumers. Here are some of the common trends of retailing to look for in the year 2023:

Streamlined hybrid shopping

As consumer retailing demands digitally-enabled stores, retailers are adapting to meet their needs. Integrated digital and physical operating platforms enable companies to deliver experiences that maximise the strengths of each channel.

Shift with your shoppers

Be prepared to make changes in real-time as customers’ needs change and identify which digital and in-store touchpoints are most important to them. Data platforms are required that can collect and analyse information from internal and external sources to enable retailers to take necessary steps.

Upgrade the experience

Make your stores feel special to retail consumers by investing in the areas that keep them coming back again and again. By customising each store to the needs of the local community, the shopping experience can also be made more personalised.

Elevate store associates

In the changing world of retail, store associates still play a vital role. Besides stocking shelves and ringing up sales, they can also serve as a source of information, support, and engagement for customers. There is a unique opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to differentiate from their online competitors through their store associates.

Establish clear standards

Consumers can make more confident purchases with standardised, easy-to-use product information verified by reputable parties. However, transparency does not just come from tracing a product’s source materials and highlighting its environmental impact, but this information is only valuable if consumers can understand it and compare it with other brands.

Make sustainable shopping easier

Translate technical terms into language consumers can understand, and inform them about tradeoffs between price, service, and environmental impact, so they can make their own decisions easily and conveniently.

Appeal to personal preferences

Consumers are looking for ways to improve their lives as well as protect the environment. Brands can make sustainable choices more appealing by emphasising the health and wellness benefits of their products. “Good for the planet, good for me” can be the USP of the products.

Go beyond the product

Many consumers are looking for ways to align their purchases with their values. Make it easier for customers to understand how a product supports sustainability, including how fulfilment, transportation, and packaging impact the environment. Basically, the key to influencing retail consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions is clearly communicating what makes a product sustainable.

Become an open book

Retailers and brands need to adapt to the purpose-driven consumer, aligning every aspect of their brand with their values. The key here is to create propositions that go beyond price, selection, and convenience. The purpose-driven consumer expects brands to be clear, honest, credible, and open about their offerings. The purpose-driven consumer is also prepared to engage with brands, so be prepared for dialogues, which will lead to powerful ambassadors who will spread the word about your brand.

Know your customers’

Retailers and brands need to identify what their customers want and find authentic ways to fulfil their needs. In order to stay relevant, they may have to change their entire operating models-and those who fail to adapt risk being left behind.


When choosing where to shop and what to buy, consumers are looking for retailers and brands that reflect their own values, such as sustainability, health, and social responsibility. Comparing options quickly—using trusted insights—and making a confident decision is of paramount importance to them. To align their products with their customers’ preferences and values, brands need to understand their customer base’s mix of purpose-driven and value-driven consumers. Moreover, they must integrate their stores into omnichannel shopping journeys in an elegant way, catering to the needs of a new generation of shoppers.

About YRC Consultants

The retail consumer behaviour is continuously changing. They use a mix of digital and in-person channels, hence it becomes essential for companies to get in touch with retail strategy consultants and experienced retail consultancy like YRC who can guide them at every step. YRC provides a wide range of services in the retail and eCommerce industries, which can help our clients offer seamless experiences to their consumers. If you want to know more about consumer retailing and trends of retailing, get in touch with YRC retail management consultants today.

Author Bio

 Nikhil Agarwal

Nikhil Agarwal

Chief Growth Officer

Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ retail e-commerce brands and companies from various sectors, since 2012, to define their growth strategy and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping brands achieve 10X growth.

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    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.


    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 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.


    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.


    • 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.


    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!


    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 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 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.


    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 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 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.


    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.