In the beginning, business was all easy and well enough. Perhaps you can even remember intricate details when you made your first sale. It was merely filling out customer details and making the order directly easy-peasy. However, as the days waned, the magic of simplicity dwindled, realities of business challenges ensued. It was time to seek out additional help from an order management system. What is an order management system you ask? Well, read on and find out.
Before we can begin discussing order management systems, we need to have a basic understanding of order management. Order management is the order-to-cash (O2C) sales process wedged in deep in the heart of that sits at the heart of an eCommerce company. In simple sense, order management involves receiving and processing customer orders from the initial stages through to fulfillment.
Order management is not an isolated task in business. It relies upon the synergy within the departments. A good example could be: a customer makes an order, which is then received by the customer service sales department. Further on, it is processed by the accounting department then forwarded to inventory management. All through to packaging, it is sent to the delivery department. If mastered effectively, order management realizes smooth business operations. It guarantees customer satisfaction as well as build a positive company reputation among its peers.
Thus, an Order Management System is a software program that realizes order management in a business. It helps businesses manage their stock inventory and customer orders. In addition, it enables automatic and accurate inventory management and new entries. Moreover, it tracks sales through the various buying and selling platforms. Furthermore, it alerts the business owner of incoming stock deficits as we’ll see further.
From the top, we highlighted the key issues growing businesses face in relation to operation. An Order Management System steps in to address them by;
Manual spreadsheet processing is an arduous and tedious process. It also costs your business time and money. Why don’t you automate the process with an efficient OMS? Moreover, automation reduces risk of human accounting errors. In addition, it frees up operation time. This enables you to focus on other core business aspects and improve consumer guarantee.
The sudden need to check your orders gives one sleepless nights more so without an OMS. A cloud-based OMS will save you the unnecessary late night waking “business” anxiety. It grants you access to your business orders anywhere, at any time. Not only does it settle your “paranoia”, but also provide efficient data control. In addition, good order processing leads to improved customer service.
3.Room for Growth
As mentioned earlier, an OMS funnels all your sales channels into one platform. Leaving all these to run in the background lets you track, collect and analyze data. The invaluable free time acquired to do these tasks lets you plan for business growth.
4.Easy Inventory Management
Order management systems significantly improve inventory management. They do so by providing real-time information of sales aspects like items sold, returned or exchanged. Moreover, it can also provide information on goods produced as well as those out of stock. This efficient management helps prevent inventory “over-selling” or limited manufacturing. As you can note, this covers manufacturers, distributors as well as retailers. It is prudent that you seek out an OMS that is suitable to your business format.
As aforementioned, an OMS not only funnels sales channels into a single point but also allows management from a single point as well. The simplicity offered by centralization of business management is one to relish. A centralized operation protects your business from errors and delays which lead to customer satisfaction. Moreover, it prevents lost revenues, incorrect invoicing and cases of low inventories.
So, with the basics covered, how do you choose the best OMS for your eCommerce business?
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An eCommerce is a business model quite unique in its own way. It encompasses 4 major market segments i.e., B2B, B2C, C2C and C2B. The major denominator is that they all revolve around online and cloud-based networks. Therefore, the best order management systems in eCommerce should:
Your choice of OMS needs to seamlessly integrate with your eCommerce platform. Quite often, OMS will demand that you alter your website back-end structure. This can be an arduous task considering if you lack the technical skills. Fortunately, most eCommerce OMS are designed to seamlessly integrate into your eCommerce platforms.
Order management software ought to be shareable. An OMS should be accessible by the customer service department to the accounting department, all the way to warehouse and shipping. Moreover, as a business owner, you should have administrative access to your OMS. Quite often the best kinds have an app developed which allows for easy access on any device in real-time.
Consider the Supplier
When engaging with your supplier, an OMS helps with the complex supply chain procedures. Moreover, an OMS automatically updates your inventory and records.
Integrate Warehouse, Shipping and Fulfillment
In most instances, eCommerce businesses outsource these tasks. Therefore, an OMS should also integrate with the companies that outsourced these tasks. In addition, it should ensure the respective orders are checked and effortlessly carried out.
An OMS usually comes into play when a business is growing. Therefore, it should only make sense that the OMS itself ought to be scalable. It needs to handle it correspondingly as the capacity grows. Having a futuristic ideology of your business and its future needs would be ideal.
Different businesses have different management needs. Most OMS, if not all, provide most integrated functions. However, some operations may require some “personal” touch. Such operations may require one to gain access to the aforementioned API. The capability of tweaking the API of an OMS should be a factor to consider, for the benefit of your business of course.
Provide Reports and Forecasts
An OMS dutifully sends orders; receive payment and updates inventory information. Aside from these tasks, it should also provide a report on sales and revenue trends. Moreover, it ought to provide business forecasts i.e., issues like stock shortage, and manufacturing/production overload. Reports and forecasts enable the business owner to plan ahead of time.
As mentioned earlier, incorporating an OMS serves to automate mundane business operations. It ensures the tedious, time-consuming tasks are taken care of. Such tasks include: warehouse orders, sales reports updates, invoice generation and order tracking. Order management system also automates the order-to-cash process; from the initial customer order, through payment, fulfilment, shipment and to an extent delivery to the customer.
In essence, it shifts your focus away from the trivial yet, core business aspects to other areas. Moreover, it enables you to concentrate on growing your business.
eCommerce businesses serve the global market. With that said, it means there will be customers of different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds speaking different languages. In addition, various countries have different taxation processes, individual economies and currency strengths. An OMS, therefore needs to help minimize all the ensuing effects of the said differences. An efficient OMS supports numerous languages, and has updated currency conversion rates for a better customer experience.
As noted, effective order management enables a business to have quality business workflow, subsequently in repeat customers. It is without a doubt that selecting the ideal and best OMS for eCommerce can be an arduous task. However, it is a task that shouldn’t be treaded lightly, lest you want to cripple your business. Most businesses have paid the ultimate price in terms of revenue loss, inventory stock-out, delayed deliveries and more. It would be prudent to get an understanding of your eCommerce i.e., B2B, B2C, C2C or C2B and choose the appropriate order management system.
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