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    Research | Analytics

    Research | Analytics

    I. Challenges faced by Retail (Brick and mortar, E-commerce) Companies

    Retail analytics consultants are accelerating the growth of retail organizations for the assessment of business operations such as supply chain, human resources and financial performance from the perspectives of consumers and enterprises.

    1) Increased Emphasis on Predictive Analytics

    The requirement of accurate forecasts and optimized business processes is acquiring increasing importance in a data-driven world. Most vendors have introduced applications to integrate statistics, forecasting algorithms and predictive analytics models into analytics apps, reports, and dashboards. But implementing business analytics for retail is not so simple.

    An SOP for this process from a reputed retail domain consultant can make the process easier. Further, predictive analytics in the retail sector offers customer interaction, along with management of backend activities such as warehouse logistics, CRM, data analytics, tracking, mobile support and more.

    Growth of Big Data and IoT has boosted predictive analysis in the retail analytics market. Retail analytics solutions allow analysis of multiple store functions, monitoring store performance, improving category management and increasing efficiency of marketing promotions, sales management, budgeting and operations.

    Retail organizations need to focus on store operations to access detailed reports in timely ways and make actionable decisions based on store performance management, labor planning, general ledger, store profitability, category management, sales, margins and inventory.

    Retail is among the oldest platforms for buyers to interact with sellers, long before e-commerce and m-commerce even emerged. The retail industry has relied on great displays of products, competitive pricing besides effective salesmanship to get the work done. With the growth of technology and many new avenues for acceleration of growth, the retail industry has to evolve. SOPs and training on Retail Analytics can help bridge the gap.

    2) Lack of Domain Expertise and Knowledge

    Another major challenge is lack of domain expertise on the part of the analytics development team, while coming up with the product. Lack of domain knowledge results in failure to suggest improvements or changes in products. Thus, training on Retail domain or having an retail domain expert team working on Analytics will give a better output and also reduce the turn around time of development.

    3) Issues in New Product Development

    New product development remains the biggest challenge, considering IT experts are programmers first and developers second. Lack of business knowledge can result in gaps between the technical team and the client’s requirements.

    4) Inability to Understand Consumer Needs

    Lack of 360-degree knowledge in building products suiting the client’s requirements is another hurdle. An understanding of applied statistics in management is tenuous at best. Pilots are commissioned using internal IT teams or vendors whose understanding of analytics is restricted to business intelligence. Some analytics vendors cannot bridge the divide between their analytics know-how and the specialists who are adept at maneuvering retail challenges.

    Retailers belonging to the traditional school of management cannot adapt to analytics and trust it to the level of useful, but not strategic data guided by teams and vendors possessing incomplete understanding of the retail business or applied analytics, or both. Ignoring the tremendous potential of analytics, retailers are resorting to me-too strategies and are late adopters of analytics, without realizing its true benefits.

    II. Benefits of working with Retail Domain Consultant YRC

    Retail Business Analyst from YRC have been working on predictive analytics for a wide range of retail clientele. They bridge the gap between their client’s requirements and the technical team. YRC Consulting further provides a market research perspective and retail operational angle to clients. Detailed analysis on various aspects of supply chain, customer relationship, sales and management as per the requirements of customers is now easy, with this exceptional retail consultant at your service.

    This enables effective design of strategies for analytics companies and implementation of the same by providing appropriate inputs to teams and constructing executable products. Value addition to client deliverables involve the use of product development experts at YRC for any type of retail product upgradation.

    a) Pricing: Now use predictive analytics to establish prices for retail products across various product lines and categories, through data science and machine learning. A predictive pricing model can yield optimal data on real-time sales information and optimization of prices at particular points in time.

    b) Recommendation Engines: Ecommerce can even be used in predictive analytics to make key recommendations for customers based on past purchases or activities in social networks. Real-time data can inform the recommendations of online sales teams. This type of recommendation approach can also extend to in-store experiences for brick and mortar retailers.

    c) Inventory Management: Poor inventory management incurs sales losses, painting an inaccurate picture of lower demand for specific items. This makes future order predictions based on previous data inaccurate. Smart retailers can use real-time data to move inventory where needed before it becomes late. Predictive analytics can also be used to decide how to stock products and the warehouse location, in association with data on regional differences in weather, preferences, etc.

    d) Smart Revenue Forecasting: Instead of forecasting revenue from shoppers seeking historical data, predictive analytics permits accurate forecasts based on predicted buying habits of new customers.

    III. About Retail Analytics

    The biggest factor driving the retail industry is the availability of extensive data, increased digital intervention and rapid social media adoption. New advancements in technology such as AI, augmented reality and beacon technology add to the use of data platforms for optimal data collection. The data is placed in an extensive analytics system, providing various matrix for driving sales, increasing stock turnover ratio and reducing overheads as well as increasing ROI and promotions.

    When companies are seeking expansion, retail analytics has become an inevitable factor. With analytics providing valuable insights associated with hard numbers, turning a blind eye to this tool is not advisable. Retail analytics can help business organizations to tweak business models, develop clientele solutions and expand in newer markets.

    Consumers have become principal drivers of growth and change in industries, more so in the retail industry. Further, decision making has become complex. Regardless of time or tech advancements, concerning and difficult decisions are always around. This includes how to retain valuable customers, how to price products to maximize profits, which customers should launch the next campaign and what should be the inventory to reach optimal consumers.

    While data, machine learning and statistics are essential for optimizing business decisions, analytics is the boon to a retail business model. In one survey, PwC found that close to 90% of respondents depended on analytics for better business prospects. The advent of cloud-based PoS, social media and mobile technologies has triggered an exponential growth in the volume of data generated and stored via retail organizations. As complex, statistical AI algorithms uncover latent patterns and predict future outcomes, the scope of analytics for retailers is expanding.

    Big data is helping retail organizations to change the way they make decisions and transitioning to big data requires a dedicated data insights SOP to make informed and strategic decisions. Use of specialized analyses, tools and techniques require skilled retail consultants and data analysts. Retail domain analytics can make all the difference. Some of the obvious benefits of such analytical solutions in relation to pricing and supply chain are the reason why ecommerce brands are venturing into analytics.

    For brick and mortar establishments, the focus is on the selection of store locations, optimization of store size and analytics for customer engagement. Ecommerce analytics also includes online business analytics for boosting customer loyalty and developing clientele solutions to be of utmost value. The global retail analytics market is projected to reach a value of USD 10.34 billion by 2023, registering a CAGR of 18.26 percent across a forecast period from 2018 to 2023. Retail analytics serves to predict a wide range of consumer preferences from unique tastes to simple demands.

    Organizations in the retail sector especially CPG retail brands are increasingly relying on BI and retail analytics tools such as Tableau analytics and Microsoft Power BI analytics. In areas such as customer intelligence, operational intelligence and merchandising intelligence, analytics in retail and ecommerce industry and merchant category analytics require SOPs for effective execution.

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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.