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    The importance of market research should not be undervalued or overlooked, especially if you are planning to start an online e-commerce business. To create a strong and firm ground for your business, market research proves to be very beneficial. From exploring potential competitors to preparing the business for any threat, you always have an upper hand and a competitive edge.

    Starting an online e-commerce business may seem a little overwhelming, hence performing market research can make your business a success as you will have all the information you need to grow your business. If you do not spend time conducting marketing research, you might not have enough information on how to start an ecommerce business. Studies reveal that 90% of e-commerce startups fail in the initial 120 days. Thus, market research is important to validate your business model and avoid the probability of failure.

    Importance of Market Research in E-Commerce

    If you have doubts as to why market research is so significant, read below to know why it must be at the top of your checklist for starting an ecommerce business.

    • To Know Your Customers

    Before starting any business, you need to ensure there are customers for you to sell your products. Market research will enable you to know your audience and their needs. For instance, if there’s a low demand for the products or services you are selling, you should analyse your business plan once again and then move things forward in the best possible direction. Also, if you found promising demand in the audience for your products and services, you can make better decisions on how to increase sales.

    • To Understand How to Sell 

    Understanding how to sell your products to the audience should be the priority in any new business. This is especially important because customers keep changing and evolving with time. With a better knowledge of your audience, you can not only know whom to sell, but how to sell as well.

    For example, if you know that your target audience is home-makers, then you must focus on the market on platforms where they are usually on the net, for example cooking videos, etc. By doing extensive market research, you can get a clear idea about the best platforms to sell to your customers. Learning how your customers’ shop can be very helpful for the success of your business.

    • To Identify Your Competition

    It’s necessary to know your competition when starting an online e-commerce business. If you are aware of your direct as well as indirect competitors and their business foundation, you can work upon issues that may threaten your business. Moreover, you will remain ahead in the competition race by being proactive in promoting your product with the shared audience.

    Online market research will always give you the upper hand. By knowing your competition, you can plan business decisions strategically to keep your products in the limelight. Customer’s loyalty keeps changing and hence without knowing your competition, you can find yourself feeling like a tiny fish in a pond.

    • To Lower Business Risks

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of the businesses do not survive for more than five years. If you want to ensure that your business runs successfully for a longer duration of time, you need to streamline your sales and customers.  For this, market research is needed!

    To minimize business-related risks, meeting the needs of the audience is important and regular market research will be your way to keep track of the same. If you have plans on changing on updating your products, you should experiment with it on the smaller section of the audience before going all-in with it.

    ECommerce Market Research Tools

    There are two ways to conduct online market research, you do it yourself or you hire someone else to do the job. While using paid market research tools for analysis is great, focusing on tools that can provide relevant information is the key. If you are wondering how to get started with the market research process, here are some of the tools you can use (and should use!).

    • Google Trends

    Google Trends is a really fun tool that showcases an array of information related to any search query you insert. For example, if you are keen on starting a clothing business and want to know if the audience has an interest in vintage dresses, all you need to do is enter the term in search to check the trends.

    This Google-powered tool is free and easy-to-access, hence e-commerce startups having budget constraints can make use of it. Google trends can help you identify what people are searching online and you can then analyse the data accordingly to gain insights.

    • Google Keyword Planner

    Another free and super-easy way to check your product or services demand is to conduct keyword research. Google keyword planner helps you keep track of how many people are searching for a product. Additionally, this tool can provide relevant keywords that you can use in your product names or on the website. Performing keyword research gives you a clear picture of what consumers all around the world are searching for!

    • E commerce Research Paper

    Many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of E Commerce market research reports. Searching for market data based on the specific industry before starting a potential business can be very helpful. By just performing some quick searches, you will have a better insight into the market opportunities. For e-commerce publications, Harvard Business Review, First Round Review, Inc, WWD, etc can be checked out.

    • Use Social Media

    Social media includes your most passionate audience and hence utilizing it for marketing research can be a great idea. By having a peek into various social media platforms, you can recognize how customers are reacting to a particular kind of product or industry.

    Learning the needs and demands of the target audience is the foundation of any business and social media serves the purpose. For example, you can utilise the Instagram search tool in the same way as Google Trends. You can also keep an eye on hashtags and check what’s trending at a particular time.

    • Know Who Can Help

    If you are wondering how to start a successful ecommerce business, you need to understand both marketing and sales inside out. The marketing tactics can be very confusing and may seem unclear especially if you have just started your business. In such a scenario, you should opt for professional support from the business expansion consultants like YRC for marketing research.

    Why YRC for E-Commerce Market Research?

    Getting started with an online e-commerce business is not a smooth process since there’s so much competition. If you want to fulfil your dream of starting an online e-commerce business and want to make sure that your business thrives, then (YRC) “Your Retail Coach” is the consultant you need!

    Your Retail Coach is one of the reputed market research companies and can help you make better and informed business decisions. YRC employs extensive market research tools and uses all the necessary resources to conduct e-commerce market research effectively. Our market research analyst then creates a research paper containing exclusive recommendations for your business.

    The research report prepared by YRC will list out short-term growth led strategy and a launch plan as well. All the suggestions in the research paper would be supported by a document that includes relevant steps and guidelines that can be followed. The market research exercise performed by YRC on your behalf will enable your business to grow with a better perspective. Implementing the recommendations mentioned in the report will offer you an unmatchable place in the market.

    Your Retail Coach (YRC) has experience working with an array of e-commerce startups closely and have conducted market research for a multitude of clients. We have the special expertise and knowledge required to perform market research for e-commerce business. Our team has hands-on experience in developing market research papers and other documents to offer recommendations to our clients.

     

    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.