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Books | Stationery | Toys

Books | Stationery | Toys

I) Challenges faced by Books, Stationery & Toys Industries

#1. Changing Trends and Technologies

The international toys market is extremely concentrated. For books and stationary markets, too, the market is competitive and driven by leading brands. Leading companies are increasingly leveraging advanced technologies to refine their unique value proposition and gain a larger international market share. Numerous international Retail Leisure brands are partnering with regional and local players to expand business in emerging nations across the international market. Top businesses are utilizing factors such as smartphone proliferation and an amount of targeted media content for advertising products and a wider consumer audience within the global market.

Inclusion of new technologies like immersive virtual and augmented reality has a real positive impact on the international toys market, for example. Leading brands like Bandai Namco, Mattel, Hasbro. Funskool, Lego, Disney, and Zobmondo are advancing by keeping in tune with changing trends, retailtainment and technologies. Moreover, the arrival of organized players in the stationery business has redrawn the contours of the sector offering scope for development. Stationery retailing is no longer about filling shelves with notebooks, writing instruments, staplers or glue. It’s about offering the latest brands, retailtainment and keeping up with customer preferences to offer a blend of leisure, entertainment and retail.

#2. Changing Customer Profiles

Customer profiles have changed, with not just kids or parents with tight budgets looking to purchase books, or stationery. Business stationery has become a rage with items like exclusive digital diaries or luxury pens. Book sales are about offering multiple formats such as Kindle, eMobi and PDF besides the same old print versions. Toys are sophisticated and increasingly digital, moving past entertainment value to also offer educational value. Large and organized players are adding new dimensions to sales. Stores span several square feet, and serve as fun-filled shopping destinations, ideal for those seeking options for gifting. Consequently, customers are less price sensitive, but more quality conscious. Office products like stationery have gone national. Using new technologies and sourcing networks for quality products at reduced cost is the USP of hiring a retail business consulting solutions provider, if you are looking for the SOP for a retail store. Internet technologies have opened a plethora of opportunities for sourcing the right supplier and reducing production cost without impacting quality.

#3. Inventory Management

Books, stationery products and toys also require warehousing arrangements that are well formulated. Managing the inventories, return and condition of stocks is of great concern. As the toy industry is trend-driven, managing the inventory to ensure the inflow of new ones periodically must be well-planned. Inventory purchase must be system-driven and not choice-driven. Stock replenishment at the right time with the right quantities is a vital aspect. For this, SOPs for warehouse and inventory management, logistics and supply management are crucial.

It is also important for these warehouses to be distribution centers and not godowns, for the success of the book, stationery and toys industry. Such products are driven by the latest in the market, so processing time needs to be cut down from the generation of purchase order to the products actually reaching the shelves to minimum. Layout plans need to be optimized to ensure efficient flow of goods and reduction of operating costs. Further, the distribution center must be divided into different areas, each with a definite purpose and responsibility. At Your Retail Coach, process experts develop SOPs for warehouses right from inbound to outbound activities, including the distribution center layout planning & design.

#4. Cash Flow Management

Keeping a check on positive cash flows for each cost centers is essential. As inventories are huge, there is greater possibility of cash flow mismanagement. The purchase for each product category must be well-planned based on data analysis of previous sale period, stock movement analysis and customer demand forecasting.

#5. Operations

In case of Brick & Mortar, everyday operations, right from the display to the cash counter, from sales to housekeeping, security, maintenance, accounts, and inventory management, the entire operations need to be well defined. Companies urgently need process manuals, through designing standard operating procedures which helps in carrying out processes on daily basis and hold team members responsible, and accountable. Job profile, reporting structures and templates for each department need to be standardized and well-defined for running brands in an organized manner.

In case of Ecommerce business, daily operations, right from order receiving upto last mile delivery has to be system driven and not person dependent.

#6. Adopting an Omnichannel Approach

An omnichannel approach is geared to meet the challenges of a world where traditional and digital media are converging. Omnichannel approaches can help a business to grow in a digital age, while retaining brick-and-mortar channels associated with digital sales. Through a retail consultant with expertise in omnichannel development, books, stationery and toy retailers can grow their profit margins and generate value for their millennial consumers.

II) Your Retail Coach: Your Trusted Retail Consultant

At Your Retail Coach, we develop SOPs, help is developing the ideal layout for fast processing of goods & also develop strategies for cash flow management. As a retail management consulting service provider with a team of retail specialists and experts, process consultants at YRC are adept at helping businesses in this industry to grow from strength to strength. Retail business consulting services from YRC can help in developing the perfect SOP for the omnichannel retail business i.e. brick and mortar & ecommerce.

III) Books, Toys & Stationery Sector

Leisure Retail comprising the Books, Stationery & Toys industry has expanded to new heights over the past few decades. A steep rise in the influx of foreign brands in the industry marks a huge potential in the market for the growing middle-class population and increasing brand awareness. Kindles are replacing books. Mechanical toys are replaced by digital ones. Thus, the industry is rapidly expanding, though the way of doing business and the horizon of the products are changing.

As per recent research by Technavio, market research analysis shows the office stationary and supplies market in global countries will generate a revenue of USD 87 billion by 2021. A rise in industry automation and IT integration is impacting the growth of the market. This IT automation boom is reducing the use of paper-based products. The increasing use of Personal Digital Assistants, Laptops, Mobiles and other electronic devices in the office has changed the consumption patterns of paper-based notebooks, writing pads, and phone message pads.

According to market research, the global toys market is projected to reach revenues of more than USD 120 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 4% from 2017 to 2023. Growing dual income households and rise in disposable income has improved the purchasing sentiments of the global market. A development of economies in regions such as the Middle East, Latin America, APAC and the African continent lead to lucrative opportunities for top players operating in the market. Presently, the global toy market is characterized by niches such as instrument replicas, art and craft toys and stuffed toys. Increasing number of buyers, greater social media penetration and rising user engagement are factors contributing to the global market.

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    We work only for Visionaries.


    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.