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    Millennials have gained repute for their inclination to prioritize experiences over products. A study by Harris Group found that about two thirds of the youth surveyed would rather like to spend over experiences such as a rejuvenating trip or a wholesome meal in the city’s newest restaurant over buying physical products. Consumer behaviour is thus, changing when compared with past trends wherein consumerism was more or less linked to buying material products such as apparel, housing, cars etc.

    What has led to this change? The rise of social media is definitely one of the main reasons that have pushed people to indulge in experiences that they see their peers enjoying. There is this inexplicable need to constantly compare your life with others’ and try to keep up.

    Financial assistance for travel

    There is a growing number of young Indian population that has opted for taking personal loans or customized holiday loans, to satisfy the wanderlust in them. In most of these agreements, the loan amount acts as a safety cushion so as to enhance the full experience of a destination and helps travellers truly explore places without worrying about the expenses.

    Some of these loan borrowers have also confessed that travel loans help inculcate in them a discipline to travel, which is otherwise considered a luxury. They plan these holidays the same way that one would plan an investment. Customers who have opted for this rather new way of travel, feel it reduces the financial burden while they get to truly enjoy with their family. Recognising the growing demand in this sector, travel companies have started tying up with financial institutions to offer custom-made unsecured travel loans.

    Growth of B2B E-commerce

    B2B e-commerce is set to be the next big thing, especially in India with large entrepreneurs pouring in resources to leverage on this opportunity. Known as one of the biggest economies in the world, India is geared up to enrich the e-commerce experience so as to make it more attractive for investors around the globe. The country’s GDP is set to reach USD 3 trillion by 2020. Out of this, USD 39 billion was contributed, solely, by the e-commerce market in 2017. This number is predicted to rise to USD 64 billion by 2020.

    Another noteworthy point is that India has allowed 100% FDI for B2B E-commerce traders thus making interested B2B business owners to establish business on the country’s soil without paying for any investment or establishment cost.

    Besides, large players such as Make My Trip and Uber have also announced business-friendly versions. MMT has launched a specialized app called “MMT for Business” to cater to corporate entities. Uber has introduced special features for businesses wherein employees and customers can request rides from the Uber app and can expense or charge them directly to the company’s account.

    Personalisation is the key in Travel E-commerce

    In the face of cut-throat competition today, in the E-commerce market, personalisation is the key to make your business the better choice for your customers. E-commerce personalisation refers to the creation of personal interactions and experiences on your website by dynamically showing media, product suggestions or content based on a customer’s browsing behaviour, purchase history data, demographics and psychographics.

    To integrate a system of advanced e-commerce personalisation in your website, data such as type of device, location, recently viewed products, abandoned carts, past purchases and past email interactions must be captured.

    Similarly for travel businesses, the company’s website or mobile application must be able to attract customers through targeted Google, Facebook and Instagram ads that can identify prospective customers based on their past searches. The app and website must also be programmed to personalise user experience.

    For instance, MMT shows you hotel recommendations based on the flights you searched. It also shows you travel destinations based on your past bookings and your search history. Wandertrust is another travel website that offers customised travel packages wherein the destination is a surprise for you. It makes a curated holiday for you by collecting specific information from you such as past destinations visited (so those will be excluded), whether you like adventure or leisure, type of accommodation preferred, etc.

    Research before starting-up

    Starting-up a new business can be exciting, but you need to do a thorough preliminary research before taking the leap. There is a lot of data available that could help you find statistics and information related to the sector you are planning to venture into. You’ll also need to study consumer behaviour with respect to the sector you want to venture into. Companies like Skift help you to analyse your business venture through various research data such as news articles and recent reports or surveys.

    Business Process Excellence

    Business process excellence is about so much more than just process improvement techniques. It’s largely about learning how to solve problems and manage change, performance, and the company’s work culture to align with overall business strategies.

    These are some steps that are involved in implementing Business Process Excellence  in your Travel E-commerce business

    – Customer is indeed, the king

    The Lean principle is to employ your resources into what adds value to the customer and do your best to refrain from doing anything that doesn’t. From this basic idea, books, business plans, and training programmes have been created around the idea of finding out what’s useful to the customer and what isn’t. It helps to have a good dialogue with customers to get their feedback about what you’re doing, and focus on resolving pain points without changing the things that customers love about your company.

    – Know what you’re doing

    You need to have a thorough understanding of what happens within your business, from bottlenecks in your supply chain, to how your invoices get generated and paid. If you eliminate waste from the system, you pave the way for greater efficiency. For example – imagine auditing your business processes and finding that there are two teams employed to do the same task. One team completes the task much faster than the other. Find out the reasons behind this, and delegate all the tasks to the faster team. Give another set of tasks to the other team.

    This is also known as ‘process mining’ and can help you find efficiencies throughout the organization that may affect the roles people take on, the technology being used, and even the structure of the organization itself. Process mining can help you improvise on what you are already doing, pass on best practices within the organization, and reveal further opportunities for change.

    – Change what you’re doing

    If you want visible results when it comes to Process Excellence, you might have to have to change quite a few things about the way your company is working. If you’re not prepared to do so, you’re not prepared to change for the better. Of course, bringing about change is easier said than done.

    – Motivate your people

    People aren’t machines, and won’t do what you tell them to do unless they are motivated from within. You need to understand what drives people and use that information to bring out the behaviour you want to see. It can help to know what drives individuals within your team: some of them will be solely motivated by money; some may want more time off. Research shows that one of the most effective ways that has proven to engage employees is to involve them in the decision-making roles of the business.

    – Rely on outsourcing

    Outsourcing processes and Robotic Process Automation have been two of the biggest trends in recent years. Both ideas involve getting expensive processes done elsewhere at a better cost. RPA is a revolutionary technology that is able to perform the repetitive, predictable tasks that humans find monotonous. Robots can be quick, powerful, and accurate in the right roles.  There is some debate over whether RPA will be able to overtake outsourcing. However, tasks that require skill and human touch will be difficult to automate and will require manual outsourcing.

    – Use tech-based solutions

    Things are constantly changing – artificial intelligence is teaming up with bots to make them more and more accurate and powerful; there’s a tech-based solution to many previously intractable business problems, and they are getting more affordable and accessible every day.

    – Don’t be afraid to fail

    Sir Ken Robinson has quoted, ‘If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.’ Innovation and failure are both a part of any business and the trick is not to avoid failure, but to avoid repeating the same mistake. Failure is just an opportunity to test processes to their best limit – and then to work at maximum capacity. It has been reported that 50% of startups fail in the first 4 years of launching, mainly because of their inability to improvise or learn from previous mistakes.

    Your Retail Coach has been known as a trusted business consultancy service. They have a team of experienced professionals that can help implement business process excellence in your company.

    YourRetailCoach provides SOP, Market Research and Business Plan consulting. To connect, you can drop a mail at [email protected] or call at +91-9860-426-700.

    YRC Related Articles: How to Write SOPs for Marketing?, 6 Ways To Grow Your Business, How to Start a Retail Business in India, Business Expansion Plan for Small Entrepreneurs, Six Steps to Writing a Great SOP for Retail, How to write SOPs for an Apparel Brand?, How to Develop SOPs for Quick Service Restaurant?, How to write SOPs for Furniture Showroom

     

    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.