Whether they’re shopping from a smartphone, PC, an in-store kiosk or a catalog, 90 percent of today’s consumers expect a consistent customer experience across channels and devices, according to a global study by SDL.
A sophisticated order management system (OMS) is essential for delivering that optimal customer experience. It allows retailers to let customers know if an item is in stock online or available for pickup at a nearby store before they place an online order. It facilitates fast and/or free shipping as well as the options to buy online and pick up in store. And if consumers don’t like an item they’ve ordered, an OMS can streamline the return process.
Given its critical role, retailers should research their options for an OMS carefully. A wide variety of options are available, and it is important to find the version that best suits their unique needs.
Order Management System Checklist
The following characteristics help to ensure a robust order management system.
√ Cloud-based inventory management
A cloud-based system can be accessed from anywhere — a particularly important benefit when operating from a single inventory. It allows for faster implementation and greater scalability down the road. The cloud also provides built-in redundancy, disaster recovery and fail-over redundancy.
More and more retailers are opting for cloud computing. In fact, according to a study by 451 Research, retail is boosting its spending on cloud storage faster than any other industry.
√ Responsive, real-time fulfillment visibility
With real-time enterprise inventory visibility across all fulfillment sources, users can pull data whenever they want instead of waiting for it to be pushed to them on a scheduled basis. Retailers will know immediately if they have product in inventory or “available to promise,” so they can make commitments to their customers. As end customers’ demand for accurate inventory information increases, this will become more and more important. End consumers will also have the ability to track their order all the way through to delivery.
√ Centralized order processing
An order management system that operates on a single platform can integrate numerous systems to work seamlessly in real-time — receiving orders from various channels, managing inventory across multiple fulfillment sources and routing to the best fulfillment sources. This helps to ensure visibility and provide accurate information to the end customer.
√ Scalable systems
When selecting an order management system, retailers often focus on their current needs instead of looking to the future. However, it is advisable to seek out an OMS that is able to grow with their business and adjust to fluctuations in the sales cycle. As customer expectations continue to become more sophisticated, the system will be able to accommodate them more readily.
√ Intelligent order routing
An effective order management system will automatically route orders so that they are fulfilled from the most effective fulfillment source. This helps to optimize inventory management, increase efficiency, control costs and – ultimately – provide the optimal customer experience.
To learn more about leveraging an order management system to provide the omnichannel customer experience, read our new whitepaper “OMS: Key to the Optimal Customer Experience.”