Today's guest post was written by Nicole Hahn at SalesWarp.
As online sales continue to grow, most online retail businesses rely on an order management system to streamline their ecommerce operations. Typically, most retailers take advantage of the order management features included in their ecommerce platform. However, as volume and order complexity increase, new marketplaces are added, and customer expectations continue to rise, it is crucial for retailers to have an advanced order management system in place that is equipped to support the complexities of a growing business.
In this article, we will demonstrate how integrating your ecommerce store with an order management system (OMS) will save time and resources, reduce errors, increase efficiency, and improve the customer experience. Although there are numerous ways an OMS can help retailers achieve these goals, we highlight three areas in particular.
Optimize Order Processing
Various steps must occur from the time a customer submits their order online to when it’s delivered to their front door step. An order confirmation is emailed to the customer, someone has to locate the inventory, print a packing slip, pick, pack, and weigh the order, print the shipping label and send it off to the carrier -- and that’s the most simplistic view of order processing. Not only is this a tedious process, but there’s a high risk of error, especially when handling hundreds of orders per day for multiple sales channels. An OMS can optimize this process in a few different ways.
- Automate simple tasks – Merchants can use an OMS to automate simple, but time-consuming tasks, like sending email notifications to customers or printing a return label for orders that are likely to be returned.
- Expedite pick and pack process – An OMS also includes inventory management and product management tools which simplify the pick and pack process. These tools make it easier to pick the order by notifying the picker of the items' exact location in a warehouse or retail store. Then using a barcode scanner, the item is scanned out of inventory. The OMS reflects this inventory update in real-time. These tools also provide information regarding product weight and dimensions, so employees can quickly pack the order in appropriate boxes.
- Ensure quick and cost-effective shipping – An OMS integrates with well-known shipping partners like UPS, FedEx, and USPS. These integrations allow retailers to rate shop so they can quickly choose the fastest and cheapest shipping methods. An OMS can then track shipments, enabling retailers and their customers to track the order until delivery.
Using an OMS to optimize this process not only saves your team time (which can now be spent adding value to other areas of your business) and money, but it also improves the customer experience by reducing the number of incorrect orders and speeding up time to fulfillment.
Accurately Track & Manage Inventory
Inventory management is critical for ecommerce businesses, particularly for merchants selling on multiple sales channels. When selling on multiple channels, retailers risk over or under-selling inventory. Mismanaging inventory can cost you time, money, and loyal customers. If an item is out-of-stock, your customers can quickly turn to competitors. If you accept the order and later find the item is no longer in-stock, your team will be tied up with customer service calls and processing refunds. Stock-outs also jeopardize your reviews and can even get you kicked off of a sales channel.
- Prevent over and underselling – An OMS equipped with real-time inventory management tools integrate with the other vital systems of your business: point-of-sale and accounting systems, warehouses, dropshippers, marketplaces, etc. These integrations ensure accurate and real-time inventory data across all sales channels, thus preventing over and underselling, and provide the data you need to execute a superior multichannel strategy.
- Expand fulfillment options – Inventory management systems provide complete supply chain visibility across your entire organization: multiple store fronts, ecommerce stores, marketplaces, warehouses, dropshippers, etc. Having the ability to view your whole inventory across all sales channels enables you to provide better fulfillment options for your customers, such as buy online pickup in-store, next-day delivery, or ship-from-store.
- Improve forecasting and analytics – Inventory management systems include advanced forecasting and reporting tools, allowing you to better predict future sales, which prevents costs associated with over-stocking and lost sales from not having enough on hand.
Efficiently Manage Multiple Marketplaces
It can become extremely challenging to manage multiple marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart in addition to your ecommerce store. Retailers often struggle to push out consistent (and updated) product listings and inventory to all of their marketplaces, while managing internal data regarding customers, orders, and shipping logistics. Without having the proper systems in place, it’s easy to oversell on marketplaces or exceed your promised delivery time. This is a growing problem for retailers as marketplaces are buckling down and penalizing sellers for late deliveries or overselling items.
- Optimize publishing process – An OMS equipped with product management tools allows retailers to push out consistent product information to all of their sales channels in real-time. Merchants can upload their product catalog into their OMS, and use a product information management (PIM) system to write product descriptions, create product attributes, upload product images, etc. Then merchants can simultaneously publish these product listings (and update when necessary) to all of their sales channels. Listing products simultaneously saves a tremendous amount of time, while also ensuring consistent product information, which provides a seamless shopping experience for customers shopping on your various channels.
- Provide competitive pricing – With repricing tools, sellers can update pricing in real-time on marketplaces like Amazon. This helps retailers win the buy box, remain competitive, and increase sales.
- Prevent stock-outs and improve delivery times – As mentioned previously, inventory management tools prevent over or underselling inventory. This is worth mentioning again because overselling on marketplaces like Amazon can have severe consequences, including revoked seller rights. These tools also prevent shoppers from turning to competitors if your item is out-of-stock. Having the tools in place for real-time inventory visibility is vital for marketplace sellers.
Additionally, marketplaces are holding sellers to higher standards when it comes to meeting promised delivery times. An OMS has intelligent order routing tools and rate shop tools, which allow retailers to fulfill orders based on the quickest and cheapest methods of delivery.
Looking To Integrate Your Ecommerce Platform with an OMS?
If you’re looking to upgrade your current ecommerce platform or integrate your existing systems with an OMS to manage sales channels more effectively, reduce errors, increase profits, and improve the customer experience, consider implementing SalesWarp and Zoey’s all-in-one ecommerce solution.
The new offering eliminates the need of having to use multiple systems to manage multichannel retail operations. With this all-in-one ecommerce solution, retailers can launch a modern ecommerce website, powered by Zoey, and efficiently manage their eBay, Walmart, and Amazon marketplaces. Regardless of the channel, retailers can manage all of their product, inventory, order, shipping, and customer data from a single integrated system.
SALESWARP is an advanced multichannel and omnichannel management solution designed for retailers and brands at every stage of growth. As the premier order, inventory, and operations management tool for modern retail, SalesWarp helps clients of all types manage operations, real-time inventory, and critical customer data more efficiently across their entire organization. Unmatched in scalability and performance, SalesWarp’s cloud-based software gives retailers the ability to meet both current and future customer demands, while optimizing operations to drive business growth and profitability.