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    Ecommerce Consulting

    Ecommerce Consulting

    eCommerce Strategy Consulting

    Starting out with an online business is certainly not easy as it sounds and does involve a lot of planning, preparation along with a sound understanding of the ground realities of the business. An entrepreneur who is serious about embarking on the journey must be equipped with the knowledge and wisdom for launching a business online in the most seamless manner.

    This can only happen when an entrepreneur establishes contact and takes helps from experts or consultants who are conversant with ecommerce business as a speciality. Consultant for an online business come with the knowledge and expertise for launching an ecommerce business in the most streamlined fashion by providing foresight on crucial aspects that go into making an ecommerce venture a success. Ecommerce website consultants or internet business consultants come with exposure to online businesses in various niches and categories.

    This write-up seeks to interest readers, who are keen on starting an ecommerce business, and want to engage consulting agencies or are already active names in online space and seek consulting services. Online business consulting services of YRC are known to implement ideas and streamline existing online business processes. The effort here is to list out challenges that a typical online business entrepreneur is likely to encounter when launching their online venture. We have tried listing out these challenges one-by-one below:

    Business Ideal Validation

    In the beginning, an entrepreneur is faced with the daunting task of validating his/ her business idea in regard to the demand of their products, lucrative geographies where the products would do well and adoption of specific short and long term business strategy that would bring results.

    An entrepreneur who is equipped with answers to these questions would be in a better position to transform his ideas from a vision into reality. Moreover, pertinent answers to such questions would allow a business to adopt effective strategies in the right direction. The challenge posed by such questions can be effectively answered by e-commerce market research, which can be an integral component in getting business off the ground.

    IT Infrastructure/ IT Solutions Planning

    Any entrepreneur who is keen on setting up an ecommerce business is faced with a dilemma when it comes to technology adoption. Today, the market offers a range of options for an entrepreneur to choose from and making the right decision is not an easy task. Also, there is a host of technological solutions that need to be integrated into an ecommerce platform that includes order and inventory management, CRM tool, digital performance management along with analytics, various marketplaces and so on.

    At times, you would even have to involve multiple vendors to get all your IT needs to be fulfilled. In the end, it becomes a little unsettling in getting all the vendors aligned to a common goal. The answers to such a situation lie in partnering with an e-commerce consulting firm like YRC, which come with expertise in defining IT business infrastructure and service level agreements for IT vendors along with their scope mapping.

    We short-list the best-fit solutions for your business and streamline the integration of multiple IT systems together to implement a robust back-end IT infrastructure for your e-commerce business. Besides, YRC offers a comprehensive IT system integration in the form of articulate SOPs that can drive the entire IT needs for the business.

    Hiring In-house Team v/s Agency

    One of the most pertinent questions when it comes to setting up a business is with regard to the team you are assembling. An effective team can make a difference between making or breaking a business. This would require an entrepreneur to look at hiring options and ideally select an agency to fulfil his/ her hiring needs.

    The agency would have to be communicated about the team size you have in mind and the kind of qualifications you are looking for in a team member. Also, being a start-up you would have constraints with budget and would be even looking at employing freelancers. Here you would have to select processes that could be outsourced and decide the quantum of payouts for the selected freelancers.

    All such decision-making in regard to hiring and recruitment need not be done all by yourself. You can partner with YRC which can define the organisation structure for your ecommerce business with scope for freelancers and in-house team members/ employees along with their roles and responsibilities. We define KRAs and KPIs and work closely with the recruitment agency in getting the right candidate selected for the job. At YRC we are known for our services for defining organizational structure and HR consulting.

    Implementing Best Practices

    While starting a business you would have a close eye on the potential competitors and would want to implement best practices that have become the norm within your industry.

    We at YRC can help implement industry best practices by defining SOPs across business functions which can include order and inventory management, Customer Care, CRM, accounts management and procurement or production. At YRC, we believe that ecommerce can be best served by implementing well-defined and articulated SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that serve immediate and long term business interests.

    Ecommerce Project Management

    For running an ecommerce business, you would be closely associating with multiple teams and agencies. It can include services such as website development, digital marketing, content development, branding, photography, courier agencies, designers and so on. Selecting the right agency, defining their SLA (Service Level agreements) and scope mapping of work can be a formidable task by all counts. Not to mention the job of coordination and getting the work done.

    By partnering with YRC, you can be assured of the agencies not being unreasonable with their work ethics and the overall work delivery along with the completion of the project happens within stipulated timelines. We offer specialised services called Ecommerce Start-up consulting specially aligned to the needs of ecommerce businesses.

    Go-to-market & Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

    Almost all the major ecommerce marketing strategic initiatives are closely aligned to digital marketing. Plus effective online marketing plays a major role in the successful launch of an ecommerce brand. At YRC, we have a specialized in-house team provides in-depth consultancy and implementation of digital marketing initiatives, and we have a specialized E-Commerce strategy consulting team of experts that helps online e-commerce brands to get the best ROI and desire performance from marketing campaigns.

    Pre-launch Planning

    Various events have to happen concurrently for the successful launch of an e-commerce brand. Starting from online marketing campaigns for traction to UAt testing and fixing the website for bugs/ errors. All have to happen in a seamless manner to ensure the brand can deliver a first-in-class experience from day one. We at YRC come with experience in launching ecommerce brands in the most visible & functional manner to ensure the customer gets the best value proposition.

    Business Automation

    Ideally, an ecommerce brand should be able to deliver the best customer experience with the least number of customer concerns. However, in reality, not many brands can deliver along these lines and most of it has to do with the lack of standardization of processes which limits the scope for automation.

    Our in-house experts from YRC are conversant with various automation strategies that can easily be implemented based on the standardization of business processes as ecommerce solutions. Implementation of process automation can go a long way in streamlining various aspects of a business that are known to cause customer concerns.

    Conclusion

    Ecommerce consultants or online business consultants at YRC (Your Retail Coach) come with specialized knowledge and expertise in helping online business entrepreneurs from ideation to execution. We have in-house capabilities to assist online businesses right from the launch of the brand to help streamline day-to-day business operations. In addition, if you are already active in the online space as an ecommerce brand, we can help you implement the best industry practices which can prepare you for the automation in business processes and enhance your customer experience (CX).

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    We work only for Visionaries.

    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.