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    Apparel | Fashion | Clothing

    Apparel | Fashion | Clothing

    Apparel and Clothing Indutry Trends

    I) Challenges Faced by Fashion & Apparel Sector

    #1. International Competition:

    Setting up a fresh brand in an over-competitive and saturated marketplace, where foreign brands are heavily dominating the global fashion retail markets. The apparel industry statistics point to how global players are dominating the markets, through deep discounts and superior infrastructure. Their quality products and organized policies, procedures and systems have won over the shoppers. So, if you’re looking to grow your fashion label or expand your clothing business, starting an fashion brand is now all about innovating to meet international standards.

    The clothing and apparel industry especially for readymade garments is facing global competition and not thriving as against foreign brands.

    Top fashion retailers are also facing the e-commerce challenge, with international fashion brands like Burberry, Zara, and H&M offering online routes for purchase. The clothing and apparel industry is plagued by obsolescence in the face of international challenges steeped in advanced technologies and the latest trends.

    The added prestige value of wearing a foreign branded clothing or apparel is further fueled by aspirational buyers.

    Apparel Industry Competition

    #2. Retail Inventory Management:

    Another emerging hurdle for the fashion industry is the management of dead stock. Inventory management remains a critical concern, even as logistics and warehousing emerge as the top challenges, especially for smaller fashion and clothing businesses. Effective inventory forecasting and analysis is the key to optimal stock management. But due to lack of management, apparel and clothing brands are failing on this score. Fashion trends and technologies are constantly changing. For building a brand customer can relate to, effective stock and inventory management are mission-critical. Major retailers have realized that process manuals and standard operating procedure for fashion retail stores are absolutely essential. Those looking to start a fashion ecommerce business must consider effective supply chain, logistics and inventory management as an integral part of their business.

     Retail Inventory Management

    #3. Need for Advanced Technologies:

    Whether it is to minimize pilferage or manage stocks effectively, the need for advanced technologies is of paramount importance for the clothing and apparel sector. Use of obsolete technologies leads to poor quality fabric and inferior production standards as well. Modernizing and expanding operations remain a critical concern for the domestic apparel and garments companies. So, if you’re looking to open a new boutique retail or expand your fashion business, retail operations manuals or SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) are key essentials to organize & scale your retail business.

    #4. Lack of Organized Retail Operations:

    Unorganized and narrow, traditional way of running the business have impacted the clothing and fashion sector in India, in adverse ways. Massive restructuring of the apparel sector and large-scale modern production equipment investment is needed. With 93% of the Indian retail clothing and apparel sector falling in the unorganized sector and quality assurance is a problem for many clothing and apparel companies relying on obsolete textile mills with inferior production machinery, the problem of lack of organization and regulation is impacting this industry in negative ways.

    #5. New Players With Game-Changing Brand Power:

    Retail Technology Digital TransformationNew organized private label fashion brands overpowering old traditional brands add to the competition. In a market with massive potential, the organized and international clothing and apparel retailers are flourishing. Modern fashion retailers with exceptional quality management and standardized procedures are beating the unorganized retail sector hollow.

    With the right processes, systems and procedures in place, leading private label clothing line retailers are expanding their presence in global & national markets. The focus of these professionally managed brands is to work on modernization and diversification, providing customers with an array of selections to choose from.

    #6. Devising Fashion Retail Strategy for Expansion:

    fashion firms and clothing retail sectors are being encouraged to diversify and differentiate their products. This will serve to improve product quality, productivity, and marketing efforts. Additionally, retailers will need to broaden its product offerings for global markets, including garments of manmade fibers.

    Access to fashion manufacturers with domestic or imported synthetic fabrics will serve to create a level playing field for the clothing and apparel retail sector. Brands looking to achieve growth need to move past substandard goods and ineffective marketing and organizational processes and procedures.

    Changing the product mix and working on warehousing, logistics, and operations can serve to enable apparel firms to achieve a winning edge. Due to the price-sensitive nature of high consuming Asian markets like India & Chain, apparel companies need to have competitive rates to sustain in such markets.

    Expansion can focus on generating value for the customer through modernization of operations and upgradation of obsolete production machinery. The global apparel market is expected to reach USD 2.6 trillion by 2025, with a projected growth rate of 4 percent. Key drivers of this growth are economies such as Western Europe, China, USA and India.

    #7. Retail Omnichannel Strategy

    An omnichannel approach is critical in the age of digital transformation. As mcommerce (mobile commerce) and fashion ecommerce models catch on, omnichannel approaches are becoming increasingly vital for the apparel and clothing industry. Traditional brick and mortar retailers must incorporate beacon technology and self checkout kiosks to facilitate the use of smartphones, while ecommerce retailers need to work on their traditional market presence as well. Helping businesses to bridge the divide is critical in this context.

    Omnichannel Retail

    II) How YRC Can Help Your Business

    YRC Fashion Retail Consulting is stellar when it comes to the back office, front office, order fulfilment and supply chain management consulting thereby enabling retailers to achieve rapid and steady expansion. As a management consultancy company staffed by thought leaders, retail industry experts, and strategists, YRC (Your Retail Coach) is a fashion consulting firm in india offering the right solution for expanding and growing your luxury and fashion business. For fashion retailers, capitalizing on the potential for growth in local or international markets is crucial for thriving. As experienced veterans in the retail industry, for clothing and apparel, YRC is the go-to partner fashion consulting company for tapping retail strategic expansion and growth opportunities for fashion and luxury retail sector. If you are looking for in-depth and insightful apparel consulting, talk to YRC Retail Consultants. YRC has been strategic partner for fashion business consulting to many retail startups venturing into physical retail stores and fashion ecommerce to define franchise business model and setup SOPs (standard operating procedures) across all functions. From the perfect garment manufacturing process optimization, online fashion retail setup and retail chain consultancy, YRC can help your retail business in many different ways.

    III) About Apparel, Fashion and Luxury Retail Industry

    The apparel, fashion and luxury retail industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. The apparel market is poised to grow annually by a CAGR of 4.6 percent from 2019 to 2023. According to research, the largest segment comprises of girls and women clothing line. Record revenue has been generated for this sector in 2019. The retail industry is growing at 15 to 20 percent average every year. Few fashion global brands like Zara, H&M and Marks & Spencer are clearly dominating the global apparel and clothing market with their competitive pricing, quality products, branding strategies and robust operating systems.

    The growth of consumer classes and rising disposable incomes has powered the demand for clothing and apparel products. Growth in young urban consumers and nuclear families and rising aspirations have fueled the fashion retail industry globally.

    The potential for growth is tremendous, therefore. Yet, so are the hurdles facing the clothing & apparel sector.

    Retail Stalwarts by YourRetailCoach

     

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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.