Ship from store, in-store pick-up and returns, fast/free delivery… Offering a range of omnichannel fulfillment and delivery options isn’t easy – or cheap, as a special report in the June issue of Internet Retailer acknowledges.

Utilizing a sophisticated order management system (OMS) can definitely makes the process more manageable, however, Steve Congro, Saddle Creek’s director of omnichannel fulfillment technology, explains in one of the report’s featured articles.

Following is an excerpt from the article…

A Robust Order Management System Offers Retailers a Competitive Edge

Consumers expect to be able to purchase from multiple channels, and they want their products to arrive at their door faster than ever before. The table stakes are now providing real-time information on product availability and order status; a seamless, personalized shopping experience across all channels; and a variety of cost-effective delivery and return options.

In response to these trends, many e-commerce companies are moving toward a multi-site distribution model—distributing from, and delivering to, non-traditional locations such as retail stores and parcel lockers.

“They’re strategically expanding their fulfillment network to get closer to the end customer, move products through the supply chain faster and minimize transportation costs,” says Steve Congro, director of omnichannel fulfillment technology at Saddle Creek Logistics Services, an omnichannel supply chain solutions provider. “This distribution model requires more sophisticated order management capabilities.”

Retailers must be able to view inventory across their entire enterprise, fulfill orders from multiple sources—including warehouses, stores, drop-ship vendors— and satisfy customers’ demand for detailed information about product availability, order status and shipment tracking. “They want to view orders as soon as they’re placed all the way to the end customer and back, if necessary,” he adds.

Retailers need more sophisticated omnichannel technology and order management systems to accommodate their increasingly complex supply chains, Congro says. For instance, their order management systems (OMS) need to manage all aspects of an order’s lifecycle to help e-commerce businesses provide consumers with more information, seamless service and faster, more cost-effective deliveries.

“Robust omnichannel technology helps retailers to address product visibility, inventory management across multiple locations, order-processing speed, reporting and analysis, seamless services,” he says.

To learn how outsourcing omnichannel technology can help optimize distribution networks, read the full article on page 78 of the June issue of Internet Retailer.