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Online and Multi-Channel Retailers: Selecting The Right Business Software

By Dan Lawson, E-commerce and OMS Expert at Access Mintsoft

As the e-commerce boom continues, it’s no secret that online retailers and multi-channel sellers are struggling to fulfil orders as quickly as needed to keep up with customer expectations. Technology such as an order management system (OMS) can help to streamline and automate certain processes, allowing e-commerce businesses to be as efficient as possible when it comes to picking, packing and getting orders out the door. 

Automating fulfilment helps to increase productivity, reduce operating costs and improve product and service quality. But whilst there are many benefits to investing in automated fulfilment software such as an OMS, there are also many considerations too. There may be some features that you hadn’t thought of or simply didn’t know could be taken care of by an order management system. What features and functions should you be looking out for when onboarding an OMS?

Cloud-based capabilities

Opting for a cloud-based system makes managing the whole despatch process a lot easier as it will allow you to consolidate all your orders in one place, from anywhere. Cloud-based systems are also easy to scale and are highly configurable, which is an important aspect to consider as your business grows. 

It is also a lot easier to set-up and get going with cloud-based software as opposed to locally hosted software as it removes the need to install complicated software on computers or other devices used to run your e-commerce business.

Cloud-based order management software also helps to drastically reduces errors and helps to make informed data driven decisions, allowing users to deliver a more responsive and consistent service by automating unavoidable admin tasks and saving your business time and money.

API Integrations 

Another functionality to consider when implementing e-commerce order management software is whether it allows integration with other channels and systems. By opting to invest in an OMS that easily connects with marketplaces, ecommerce platforms, major carriers and inventory systems will make fulfilment a lot easier. 

Not only does it remove the need to log in to multiple platforms and constantly check for orders coming in, managing your orders from one centralised platform also means that accuracy and speed of orders will be enhanced – saving both time and money in the long run.

The systems talk to one another, which will give you a complete view of orders and data and help to reduce errors by putting all the information you need into one accessible place – based on real-time data. Look for multiple global marketplace integrations out of the box.

Dropshipping capabilities

Contrary to their name, order management systems can actually take care of a lot more than just managing orders. One such element is dropshipping.

There are various OMS solutions, but the key is to find one that offers visibility of all your order streams for a full understanding of what you are selling and what’s been sold, all in one central place. In addition, you need the ability to sell on platforms (perhaps like eBay and Amazon) and get the order details to the company holding the products without having to log into each platform, download forms, print them, and then send emails on.

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If you rely on a dropshipping business model, the best order management systems have the ability to set up lists of dropship products and suppliers to automatically split out products from orders you do not fulfil yourself.

Order tracking

When the warehouse picks, packs, and ships products, your order management system should send a notification to the customer that their order has shipped, so the ability to track and monitor orders may be the most important basic function of an OMS.

Your OMS should also have the ability to provide information about when your customer can expect their order, based on their shipping address, and order information. This is a really important feature to look out for, with customer demand anda expectations at an all-time high. Offering a streamline customer experience with regular updates is key to ensuring repeat orders and a loyal customer base. 

Inventory management

Many order management systems can predict how much stock you’ll need to avoid over- ordering, or worse, over-selling. This can be especially important during peak times and helps with optimising existing warehouse space 

An OMS with strong inventory management functionality also gives you automated insights to product information at your fingertips, so you know the best place to store it, and how to handle certain stock.

Red flags to watch out for

With so many order management systems on the market, it can be challenging to find the perfect OMS to meet all your needs. In addition to things to look out for, here are some of the challenges you may run into:

  • An order management system that doesn’t integrate with your existing systems, or provide the option to scale up on additional marketplaces or connect with multiple couriers 
  • An order management system that doesn’t continually adapt and release regular updates based on your evolving needs
  • An order management system that involves complicated implementation –  always look for a vendor that offers a demo, video tours and ongoing support
  • Consider implementing a cloud-based order management system, as this allows users to check on orders anytime, anywhere

Overall, there are many systems available for order management and each has its advantages and drawbacks. 

It’s important to remember that the right OMS for you is one that offers automation and eliminates as many manual processes as possible from your fulfilment process – saving precious time and effort. 

Determine which tasks are taking up a lot of time – or causing a lot of errors – and invest in an OMS that can efficiently automate these features.

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