Companies put a lot of effort into maximizing order management. Getting product into the hands of the right customers is critical. However, finding a way to do that across channels can be complicated and unnecessarily expensive.
Order management is a two-part process. On the one hand, you want to satisfy your customers and their evolving demands. On the other hand, you want to keep profit margins tight and your overall shipping system as compact as possible.
In the past, employees were the only ones who determined order management. In-the-moment critical thinking and a lot of training were required for an employee to be able to accurately dictate order fulfillment. But no one is perfect, even with proper training and a quick wit. Mix-ups happen. Employees are bound by time and the more minutes they spend managing orders, the less they spend with customers.
Omnichannel order management systems (OMSs) are a crucial component of modern retail tech stacks. Instead of relying on employees to calculate complex metrics – from nearest shipping locations and shipping costs, to order bundling and safety stock – OMSs can calculate all of these things instantaneously to provide customers with the quickest option at the lowest cost to the retailer.
So, how can an omnichannel OMS help your retail business save time and money – and maybe even a headache?
What is an Omnichannel Order Management System?
An omnichannel OMS, ideally, is a software system that allows you to access inventory across all channels. It also removes friction from order management – allowing customers to shop anywhere, and return anywhere.
Omnichannel OMSs are multilayered and manage much more than only order fulfillment. A well-rounded omnichannel OMS powers both your employees and your customers.
Benefits of an Omnichannel OMS
Below is a list of a few benefits, which we will expand on.
- Lower labor costs
- Lower shipping costs
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Employee empowerment
- Reduced shopping friction
- The power-to-compete
Lower Labor Costs
Order management used to be entirely powered by employees. They would look over various shipping methods, attempt to figure out which one was the best based on metrics and deliver that option to the customer.
An omnichannel OMS that uses cutting-edge technology and a powerful, intuitive UI removes much of the decision-making from the employee. Instead of asking the employee to route complex shipping methods, omnichannel OMSs do it instantly and provide suggestions to employees – freeing up their time to focus on things like selling and customer service.
Lower Shipping Costs
Simply put, omnichannel OMSs make shipping products more efficient. The system accounts for location, time and shortages, and ships product from overstocked locations to reduce discounting. It maps out suggestions based on metrics that are identified immediately and accurately. The end result is lower overall shipping costs for the retailer and a satisfying price for the customer.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The impact of an omnichannel OMS on customer satisfaction is unparalleled. It can be broken down into five core benefits.
- Faster shipping at a lower cost. The ability to utilize nearby distribution centers means customers get their products quicker, which is essential when the growing opposition is predominantly online.
- Multiple channels of purchase for the customer. Customers can shop online, shop in-store, buy online and pickup in-store, and so on. Offering various channels of ordering gives customers the options they want and need.
- Personalized experiences. Employees can provide customers with an experience that best suits their individual needs as a result of having a 360-degree view of the customer. Being able to see online orders and in-store sales makes the transition between the two channels seamless.
- Real-time inventory visibility. Cross-channel inventory visibility allows employees to provide customers with accurate information the first time, every time.
- Less friction during returns and exchanges. Having a complete picture of the shopper’s purchase history ensures a seamless customer experience from the beginning to the end.
With an omnichannel OMS, employees have the power to see real-time inventory, availability by location, and online shopper history. This helps employees cater to their customers’ needs more accurately and more thoroughly. Nothing is worse than not being able to answer a customer’s question or give them the information they need.
Reduced Shipping Friction
Let’s say a customer wants a pair of shoes that are out-of-stock at their current location. With an omnichannel OMS, nearby stores with the product are displayed, and suggestions are made based on inventory, bundling and other vital metrics. Goodbye shipping friction – hello happy customer!
One of the most challenging aspects of operating in the retail industry today is the competition from online-only businesses. Major competitors like Amazon and eBay have not only made the competition in retail fierce, but they’ve also made customers more demanding and less patient. With an inclusive OMS, you can deliver shipping and pickup methods that rival major online businesses, while retaining that in-store feel and experience.
Omnichannel order management systems give retailers a lot of power when it comes to product management. But most important is the power-to-compete in an age where shopping is customer-first and channel-agnostic.
Contact us to learn how we can help make omnichannel retailing work for you.