Select Page

Online Retail Ecommerce Consulting

Online Retail Ecommerce Consulting

Looking back at eCommerce

ECommerce refers to trading carried out by buyers and sellers over an electronic medium like the internet. Ecommerce stands for electronic commerce but it is the shorter version that is extensively used. The buyers and sellers could be customers, businesses, governments, and non-profits, etc.

ECommerce shrunk the geographical barriers between buyers and sellers. This was possible with digital accessibility and remote control over trading and transactions. What buyers cannot get in their local markets can now buy it from another state or country. This is true for all types of buyers.

Ecommerce meant huge for large and small businesses. With eCommerce, it became possible for businesses to cater to wider markets – local, domestic, and foreign. But it also called for building the necessary business systems and supply chain management. It also meant that there will be more competition and a greater need for creating unique value propositions. It also invited many new challenges in understanding and planning for business operations and IT systems. Customer experience and their shopping journey were also different from the traditional forms of retailing and trading.

Overall problem statement in the eCommerce sector

Since the beginning of eCommerce, the challenges for online business enterprises and online consultants (businesses providing online business consulting services) have kept on evolving. Some of the prominent challenges faced by online retail businesses in varying degrees are elaborated below.

Ecommerce Operations

Transparency is one of the biggest virtues of eCommerce for customers. Because of the internet and various online media platforms, service quality and customer experience no longer remain concealed from the public. Customers do not hesitate to share their experiences or reviews and feedback online. With such degrees of transparency, any poor product or service experience gets quickly exposed. ECommerce players simply cannot afford to leave any part of their operations to chance or make any mistake.

Speedy service is the hallmark of eCommerce. If delayed deliveries become common, it does not take much time for customers to associate such delinquency with brand identity. The same is true for any other instance of deviation from the promised value. To ensure smooth and flawless operations, the primary requirement is streamlined processes. The second is automation. It is only after processes and standards have been defined and mapped could a business implement automation.

Business Model Validation

A business model is based on assumptions. It assumes what constitutes a value-based offering and how that value is going to be created and delivered. These assumptions must be checked with utmost scrutiny and brainstorming supported by facts and figures.

If there are flaws in the business model, everything else done thereafter would deviate from the business objectives.

The challenge with business model validation is its subjective nature. Relevant experience and expertise are critical to take important calls on a business model.

Competition is an important consideration in business modelling. Businesses seek to be different by trying to make offerings as unique as possible. Because competition has intensified in eCommerce, it is becoming difficult for businesses to excogitate unique value propositions and assume a niche position.

Marketing and branding

There used to be a time when catchy advertisements on radio, television and print media easily caught people’s attention. It was easier then. With exposure to endless creative content on social media and other digital platforms, now it has become more difficult to attract attention. General approaches no longer work in marketing and promotions. There is a need to be specific to target segments.

Secondly, creativity alone can no longer propel marketing and branding activities. Businesses need to use data analytics as well. The digital marketing campaigns must consider the aspirations of the individual target segments. For example, safe online payment standards are an important consideration in online shopping. So, a common-for-all digital marketing campaign will work here. But if online payment is not yet popular in a region, businesses will have to think of incentivising customers to opt for digital payments. They must also emphasise digital safety.

Data Strategy

Data strategy has emerged as a specialised field of business management. It defines how a business plans to collect, manage, analyse, and report business data contributing to planning and strategy formulation and operational decision-making. The idea is to see data as a resource or asset and formulate a strategy to manage and use it. Despite using data analytics, many online businesses struggle to make the best use of it. The problem is the lack of a data strategy. If there is no vision and roadmap to use data for business improvement, tools and technologies are reduced to being just processors. As an analogy, this is comparable to not having HR strategies and yet believing that workforce management is going great because there is an HR department in place.

ECommerce business models

Before starting an online business, convergence with the popular business models is essential. Here, a business model indicates whether the buyers are businesses or individual customers. This is from the perspective of the seller or the service provider facilitating the trading. Business and marketing strategies are affected by the business model that is followed. In eCommerce business models, readers should not get misled by the word ‘consumer’. It does not refer to the entity that consumes but an individual (or appearing as an individual).

  • Business To Consumer (B2C)

B2C is the most common form of eCommerce business model. Products/services are offered to consumers over any eCommerce platform directly or via an intermediary platform. Businesses selling their products and services via another business entity also fall in the ambit of B2C. Thus, B2C also includes online marketplaces and aggregators.

  • Business to Business (B2B)

B2B is one business entity selling goods and services to another business entity. For example, mobile devices manufacturing companies purchase parts and equipment from various suppliers. The business model of the suppliers would be B2B. But the smartphone brand offering to sell its products directly to customers over their website or app would be following the B2C model.

  • Consumer to Business (C2B)

In C2B, it is customers who offer to sell their products and services to business enterprises. Globally, C2B generates a massive trade volume but because individual sellers are dispersed, they usually do not appear in organized forms until an individual registers as a sole proprietor. Also, C2B is more common with services. Freelance professionals would be a good example here.

  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

When two individuals offer to sell products or services to one another, it constitutes C2C. Because we are talking about eCommerce, the transaction must be taking place. There are many eCommerce brands for C2C transactions serving the role of an intermediary service provider.

Hybrid ECommerce

The hybrid eCommerce business model is a relatively new concept than the ones discussed above. Here, the lines between the online and offline channels begin to get blurred. Businesses that adopt this model try to bring the best of both worlds. With online technologies, they seek to provide an easy and comfortable shopping experience. And with offline channels, customers are offered what can be better delivered in a physical environment. Take for example an online furniture store. Customers would be more comfortable if they could find some sort of physical validation for the products or the brand they are dealing with. Online furniture businesses could go hybrid. They may also open experience stores or design studios in potential market regions. And we have delivered online business eCommerce consulting services to a large number of clients. We have observed that such measures cover up a lot of perceptual gaps between customers viewing products online and actually making a purchase decision.

How YRC can help: a glimpse to our eCommerce business consulting services

We are a boutique retail business consulting firm. We have an experienced team of retail and eCommerce business consultants. We have served over 500+ clients in more than twenty verticals. YRC views its association with its clients as a long-term partnership for mutual growth and sustainability. We believe in working with close coordination with periodical review meetings and reporting. Our support services for online business eCommerce consulting are available round the clock. The service design and delivery is carried out by a team of expert retail and eCommerce consultants. Highlighted below are some of our services that have proved to be rewarding for our clients.

Business Model Development and Validation

Business model development and validation is one of the foundational services delivered by YRC. We have a team of experienced retail eCommerce consultants. Business modelling is a critical activity. It sets the tone of planning for many other important areas of work including business plans and business strategies. YRC explores, identifies, and defines the right value proposition for its clients. We also call it UVP or Unique Value Proposition. This is followed up by defining and mapping the value chain activities and the network of internal capabilities. These are required for creating and delivering the intended value to the market. In business model validation, our team of online retail & eCommerce consulting experts undertake the same process but with an approach of rigorous scrutiny and analysis to identify areas of rework.

CX Strategy and ECommerce Personalization

In retail and eCommerce consulting, we always maintain that the experience delivered to customers is a make-or-break factor. Even a small deviation in the core services could create a negative halo effect on the overall customer experience. With the presence of social media platforms, it does not take much time for the proliferation of customer experiences. Sometimes online marketplaces or their registered retailers resort to control the feedback mechanism. That is another blunder they commit. Instead, the focus should be on building business systems and strategies that strive to live up to the expectations of the customers. As expert eCommerce consultants, our goal is to formulate razor-sharp CX strategies that help clients make necessary operational adjustments and deliver a superlative experience to their customers in their shopping journey.

SOP Development

ECommerce is known for its transparency and quick and hassle-free services for customers. As experienced eCommerce consultants, we always stress that online businesses must hold these standards consistently. To achieve this, they must ensure that they have robust eCommerce business operations. Every process and operational activity should stand planned and mapped. Leaving any scope for error means leaving scope for brand tarnishing. And the tool to define and map business processes and operations are SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). In our online business consulting services, our team of SOP experts and eCommerce business consultants follow planned and proven processes for mapping every operational activity. Our aim is not only to help clients run their business on robust and guided lines but also to make their enterprise process-oriented.

SOP-IT Integration

After the business processes and operations are defined and mapped, the SOP-IT integration must take place. The business software and SOPs must be synchronized. Otherwise, it will become impossible for the process owners to follow the SOPs using the business or functional software. That could prove to be catastrophic for any eCommerce business. As a part of our eCommerce consulting services, our role here is to define the requirements and specifications for SOP-IT integration. Within the ambit of our online business consulting services, if the assessments call for, our retail eCommerce consultants may suggest customizations in the software functionalities and relevant adjustments in the SOPs.

Talent Management

The criticality of talent management cannot be undermined in any organization. Talent management is a crucial part of our online business eCommerce consulting services. In eCommerce consulting, we also design organograms, carry out staff analysis and succession planning, draft HR policies and procedures. Our team of expert retail eCommerce consultants also help clients with organisational change management.

To know more about our online retail & eCommerce consulting services or if you have any service-related queries for our marketing consultants or retail eCommerce consultants, drop us a message and we will get back to you.

Related Blogs

Q-Commerce: The New Front of Competition?

Q-Commerce: The New Front of Competition?

Q-Commerce is an abbreviation for Quick Commerce. It simply means quicker delivery timelines for purchases made online. The idea of ‘quicker’ here is to deliver an order within an hour of placing it. By that measure, shadows of quick commerce are already in existence....

read more
Reliance Gourmet Supermarket – “Freshpik” Case Study

Reliance Gourmet Supermarket – “Freshpik” Case Study

The fifth-largest and preferred retail destination globally, the Indian retail industry is one of the fastest-growing segments in the world. India is experiencing unprecedented growth with retail development taking place not just in major cities and metros, but also...

read more
How to Organize & Grow Supermarket / Hypermarket

How to Organize & Grow Supermarket / Hypermarket

Already running a supermarket store and wondering how to scale it further? Are you contemplating what should be your next steps to accomplish your vision to organize and manage multiple stores? If this is what you are looking for, then you are in the right place. Your...

read more

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.