One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce businesses is managing their sales processes effectively and efficiently. As online shopping grows, merchants face increased competition and must provide their customers with a seamless, convenient experience. This cannot be easy to achieve without the right tools and systems in place. An order management system (OMS) can help eCommerce businesses overcome these challenges by centralising and automating their order management processes.
What is an Order Management System?
An order management system organises and automates everything that must occur for customers to receive their orders on time and in good condition. It is a management system that entails keeping track of customers’ orders and managing the steps involved in fulfilling them. It is the complete process of receiving, processing and fulfilling a customer’s order.
How does order management work?
The workflow involved can vary depending on the needs of the company, but a typical order management process involves three steps:
The order is placed by the customer using an automated form which is then verified before the order is confirmed.
A fulfillment center team confirms shipping information, generates an invoice and completes the order. The team pick, pack, and ship the correct products in the right quantity to a valid address.
Inventory levels are monitored as they change rapidly in response to business demands.
What is order processing?
Order processing is critical to order fulfillment because it ensures that customer orders are prepared and delivered to the correct location. Order processing can take place in a distribution center or fulfillment center where pickers, sorters, and packers work in tandem towards order fulfillment, depending on the size of a business’s operations.
What are the basic steps of the order management process?
Inventory availability is a crucial factor to consider in the order management process. Before an order can be fulfilled, it must be verified that the desired products are in stock and available for purchase. This may involve consulting inventory management systems or physically checking the availability of the products in the fulfillment center.
In the order management process, the customer can place an order through various channels, such as the company’s website, mobile app, call centre, physical store, or online marketplaces. The customer typically specifies the products they want to purchase, the delivery method and any relevant details, such as the shipping address.
Verification is the process of ensuring that an order placed by a customer is accurate and complete. This is typically done by a sales team member or an automated system, which will collect and record the necessary information for the order, such as the customer’s name, address, contact information, email, promotional codes, and other relevant data.
Inventory Association identifies and secures the products needed to fulfill an order. This is typically done by a system or team member, who will match the items in the order with the inventory available, ensuring enough stock to fulfill the order. If there is insufficient inventory available, the system or team member may need to arrange to obtain the necessary items from another source, such as a supplier, to fulfill the order.
Fulfillment is the process of delivering a product to the customer. This is typically done through a distribution channel, such as a fulfillment center or distribution centre, a store, or online. Depending on the product, it may be shipped to the customer, picked up in-store, or downloaded online. Once the product has been delivered, fulfillment is typically verified by the customer, who will sign off on the completion of the service.
Service is providing assistance or support to customers, often in the form of making appointments, scheduling installations or deliveries, or exchanging or returning products. This may be the first step in a new business process or associated with order management. Service is a critical part of the customer experience, as it helps ensure that customers receive the help and support they need to be satisfied with their purchase. A team of customer service representatives may provide service. The goal of service is to provide a seamless and satisfactory experience for customers.
The order management cycle
The order management cycle is a step-by-step process that starts when a customer purchases a product and ends with delivery and, in some cases, returns. Ensuring a smooth and seamless experience at every stage of the order management cycle is crucial for providing customers with a positive and cohesive experience.
The following are the stages of the order management cycle:
Customers place orders from different locations and at different times using various channels, making it necessary to have a multichannel or omnichannel order management system in place. This type of tool can automatically transfer the necessary information, such as order details, shipping information, and delivery addresses, from your eCommerce website to your order management system.
When an order is placed, the information is sent to the fulfillment center, where the order is processed. And order management software determines where it should be sent based on variables such as available inventory, customer delivery address, etc. This reduces transit times and delivery costs.
Order is picked
Picking is retrieving products from inventory based on a picking list and delivering them to a packing station. This is often done by dedicated teams of pickers working for third-party logistics (3PL) companies. Effective warehouse management is crucial in this process, as the inventory arrangement can greatly impact the time it takes to fulfill each order.
Order is packed
Once orders are delivered to the packaging area, they are carefully prepared for shipment in a way that minimises the package’s dimensional weight while still providing sufficient protection for the items inside. Some third-party logistics (3PL) companies allow their clients to provide custom packaging in order to create a unique unboxing experience for their customers. This helps to enhance the overall customer experience and can improve brand recognition and loyalty.
After items are packaged, they are shipped to the customer. Third-party logistics (3PL) companies often work with specific preferred carriers to ensure timely and reliable delivery and may also rate shops to get the best shipping prices for their customers. The carrier picks up the package from the 3PL’s fulfillment center and assigns it a tracking number. This number is then shared with the customer, either manually or automatically through software, so they can track the progress of their order. This helps to keep the customer informed and ensures that they know when to expect their package.
Once the items are shipped to the customer, they are delivered to the final destination. At this point, it is important to ensure that the right items are delivered and that they are delivered on time. Effective order management throughout the process can greatly improve the chances of this happening. By carefully tracking and fulfilling orders, retailers and 3PLs can help ensure that customers receive the correct items and that they are delivered as expected. This can improve the overall customer experience and satisfaction with the order.
Staying in touch with customers after receiving their orders is a way to provide good customer service and can also be beneficial for the business. By keeping in contact with loyal customers, retailers and merchants can learn more about why they keep coming back to their online stores and how to improve the lifetime value of each customer. In addition, identifying and addressing any recurring problems can create a feedback loop that helps the business improve and provide better customer experiences.
Measure what could have been improved
Customers who are dissatisfied with the return process are three times more likely to never buy from that store again. Identifying and addressing the root cause of customer dissatisfaction can help you avoid future returns and cut logistics costs. Order management should provide a comprehensive view of the entire eCommerce logistics process. By tracking strategic KPIs such as lead times or return rates, as well as qualitative feedback, you can improve the process to increase customer satisfaction while lowering costs.
BladePRO Order Fulfillment System
Developing a streamlined order fulfillment process is essential for retaining customers and maintaining your competitive edge. You must use the fulfillment model that is best suited to your business. It should adapt to your order volumes, customer locations, and sales channels. I-Fulfilment provides software to eCommerce merchants that allows them to track inventory, manage orders, and provide valuable data and insights from one system. BladePRO streamlines the order fulfillment process by;
- Easily integrating major eCommerce solutions, including Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
- Uses real-time inventory visibility and availability.
- Automatically accumulates items from multiple locations and sends them to the best shipping point.
- Automatically review a panel of carriers to find the best price for you.
- Processing orders can be done remotely and at any time. As a result, data control is improved, customer service is improved, and order processing is more efficient.
There are numerous order management systems on the market, and the best one for your company will be determined by its size, needs, and goals. I-Fulfilment enables merchants of all sizes to outsource the entire order fulfillment process, allowing you to dedicate more time to expanding your business. Let’s talk about the best solution for your business. Contact us today.