By Anthony Hockaday, Director of Omnichannel Services
If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that there is no “predictable” in retail anymore. Yes, peak season forecasts a surge in demand, but unexpected events can also cause unprecedented lows. Scalability is the only way to be sure that your eCommerce business will be able to respond to whatever happens every day of the year—and key to being able to scale is your order management system (OMS).
What is an Order Management System?
An OMS is a digital platform that handles every stage of your order fulfillment process—from order entry and inventory management to fulfillment, shipping, and after sales service—your order management system is essential to keeping customers happy.
Customers expect to be able to move across different channels, have visibility into inventory, get notifications on order status and delivery expectations, and be able to easily return merchandise. With supply chain delays and disruptions, numerous partners, and multiple omnichannel fulfillment options, having a centralized view of the entire order management process will ensure you can meet customer expectations.
A modern, cloud-based order management system enables streamlined internal processes and lets everyone work from a single source of truth. From a customer experience perspective, it ensures customers have an exceptional buying experience no matter when, where, or how they order. It also enables companies that operate with multiple divisions or entities to present a single “brand” face to customers—which builds loyalty and trust in customer relationships.
Do You Need to Upgrade Your OMS?
Ecommerce businesses depend on order management software to deliver on their promises to customers. Over the last couple of years, these systems have been strained by the sudden need to scale and adapt to constantly fluctuating changes across the entire retail industry. How do you know if you need to upgrade your OMS?
Here are some potential signs:
- No real-time, accurate view of your global inventory in stock, in transit, and current demands
- Lack of automatic customer order notifications
- Inadequate order, fulfillment, and return capabilities
- Limited fulfillment options or difficult shipping processes
- Lack of flexible business rules to manage various fulfillment and reserve inventory processes
- Shortcomings due to on-premises hosting, instead of cloud-based (SaaS)
- Difficult to use with manual processes
- Does not easily integrate into customer relationship management (CRM) systems or other key systems
- Inability to scale to meet spikes in demand
What a Modern Order Management System Offers
A cloud-based OMS makes it easy to migrate or begin using since there is no installation or development work that needs to be done. From an IT perspective, a modern OMS offers automation and API integrations to your eCommerce platform, enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, CRM, third-party logistics, and other partners. It optimizes the entire order fulfillment process.
From a user perspective, it offers a single platform that is intuitive and easy to use, streamlines workflows, delivers the data needed to assist customers at any point, as well as offers real-time dashboards and inventory tracking with full visibility into every part of the supply chain.
A modern order management solution should provide your online store with the ability to:
- Quickly and easily setup the system
- Rapidly adjust to client and market changes, including scalability to optimally manage higher and lower volumes
- Fulfill multichannel orders from any location
- Integrate with any front end and back end providers (e.g., Quickbooks, NetSuite, eBay, Amazon, and your apps)
- Reconfigure inventory sources in minutes, track orders from point of sale (POS) through the entire process
- Change routing in real time
It should also offer the following functionality across the order lifecycle:
- Order orchestration: Intelligent order routing, sourcing, fulfillment constraints and order splitting, preorder, backorder and exception management, order monitoring, returns management, remorse period holds, single order repository, and more
- Enterprise inventory: Real-time visibility of global inventory, inventory allocation, in-transit visibility, stock levels, warehouse management, available-to-promise, safety stock, and estimated delivery date across channels
- Customer care: Order information and SKUs lookup; order history; order capture, modification, and cancellation; reorder, appeasement; zero-cost reships; refunds and credits; case management; and returns management
- Business intelligence: Comprehensive insights with multiple standard reports; sales-trend dashboard with visibility into sales channels, sales orders, purchase orders, order volumes, etc.; ad hoc custom report builder; and automated report distribution
Overall, your order management system should help drive profitability, increase sales, improve inventory utilization, deliver a seamless customer experience, provide more accurate promise dates, maximize customer satisfaction and revenue, minimize shipping and expediting costs, and enable you to quickly leverage new fulfillment strategies.
Learn how Radial Order Management can support you with a modern OMS experience for your eCommerce business today.