The Covid-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed eCommerce. By April 2020, the industry experienced ten years’ worth of growth in three months resulting from a shift in consumer spending habits.1 The unprecedented demand for online goods stressed supply chains and forced retailers to reevaluate their operations. As the online shopping trend continues, competition among online retailers has never been greater.

Brands must be resilient and agile to compete against retail giants like Amazon. To offset the difficulties caused by an online-only ecosystem, retailers must find new sales channels and marketplaces to broaden their reach. However, a larger digital footprint and increased sales channels result in a complexity that can be overwhelming when combined with already steep customer expectations.1 An order management system (OMS) is essential for a business to grow, embrace multi-channel retail, and compete with other online retailers while communicating effectively with customers.

What is an Order Management System?

An OMS is software that enables an eCommerce store to manage the order fulfillment process more effectively. It collects data such as order information, customer data, and inventory levels which allows for the management of critical business areas.2 An OMS streamlines the process by unifying data and making the fulfillment process as cost-effective and automated as possible. OMS systems allow operators to manage orders coming in from multiple sales channels and process them from multiple fulfillment points.2 An effective OMS can help with various processes and tasks to ensure a business stays in sync and fulfills its promises to its customers. 

Key Benefits of Using an OMS

OMS tools are critical because they are more than just a means for shipping orders. Most eCommerce brands cannot grow without an effective OMS in place.3 These tools keep critical business processes organized and running smoothly as a business grows. Having a good OMS in place will also reduce human error, an enormous time and money waster for businesses. Reducing manual tasks will create time for solving complex customer problems, focusing on big picture projects, and optimizing the brand experience.4 An effective OMS is essential for sustainable growth and a smooth customer experience. 

Customer Satisfaction

Customers have grown accustomed to personalized, efficient, and cost-effective order fulfillment. As a brand grows, systems will be tested, and inefficient processes can result in negative customer experiences and potentially lost profits.5 Since order management systems are automated and integrated across every step, brands can ensure a consistent customer experience across every channel. From logging orders to organizing fulfillment to managing invoices and returns, an effective OMS covers each step of the order process.6 The goal of the OMS is to get the product to the consumer as efficiently as possible. This is accomplished by managing the journey of each item in the customer’s order from the moment the product goes into the shopping cart until the product arrives on the customer’s doorstep.7 A good OMS will integrate with fulfillment centers to keep customers updated on the status of their orders.8 By optimizing each step in the process, an OMS reduces shipping and overhead costs and increases the quality of data collected. 

Managing Product Availability and Inventory Insights

Selling products across multiple platforms can make it difficult to unify sales data. An OMS can integrate with each platform, collect all sales data, and bring that information together in one accurate and accessible place. Over time, this can provide insights into customer behavior and identify popular products and SKUs.9 Based on the collected data, inventory management decisions like what to order from suppliers and which fulfillment locations need new stock are simplified. 

Other Considerations

The eCommerce landscape changes rapidly, so a good OMS should provide the flexibility and functionality necessary for a business to grow. It should be intuitive and easy to use by non-technical retail and marketing staff and integrate with existing company technology and infrastructure. Opening new fulfillment options, changing promotions and pricing, and setting up workflows should be straightforward.10 The ideal OMS will fit seamlessly with the eCommerce system to enhance customer experience and meet business sales goals. 

Order Management Systems are the way of the future in the eCommerce world. This innovative software can simplify and streamline every system and process within the supply chain by reducing human error, enhancing delivery speed, simplifying multi-sales management, and forecasting future trends. In the competitive world of online retail, an OMS that optimizes the speed and accuracy of order processing across channels can positively affect the customer experience and give your business an edge over competitors. A seamless order fulfillment process provides an opportunity to enhance brand reputation, provide a positive customer experience, and grow revenue.11 Adopting modern, integrated OMS software is the only way for businesses to keep up with the competition and customer expectations by streamlining the entire virtual business process.