Order fulfillment is one of the most crucial and challenging aspects of supply chain management for e-commerce websites, brick-and-mortar shops, B2B marketplaces, and other online sales channels.

As demand grows, many wholesalers, retailers, and e-commerce businesses struggle without an up-to-date and customized OMS.

The order fulfillment process covers receiving, processing, updating inventory, and shipping. With an Order Management System (OMS), these information systems are linked to the physical process of order fulfillment for smooth processing.

Many e-Commerce businesses are jumping aboard this solution system, so why not you? 

Below we have explored the 4 top reasons why utilizing a custom OMS is worth considering. 

Top 4 Order Management System (OMS) Features Worth Knowing About

Process Automation

Staying competitive in today’s market comes down to implementing the proper automation process. There are massive time-saving benefits to order management software, such as AI, that will constantly check your data. It will flag errors and make sure the whole process is running smoothly.

The order fulfillment process requires automation and customer self-service abilities through streamlined, innovative technology. And businesses cannot acclimate to this without first adopting modern and custom software.

Managing processes for printing labels, packaging products, and entrusting deliveries to a shipping company can be exhaustive and complicated, particularly when considering the thousands of customer orders, the multiple shipping companies, and the different expected shipping times and destinations.

A custom OMS can offer fallout management that resolves the processing of a failed order from impacting the order process flow. For instance, though an item may be missing from the order, this process will resolve the issue without causing disruption. This automation process takes over from the start of an order entry to its delivery.

A custom OMS can run two types of fallout management programs; A soft point-of-no-return allows for amendments to the order while also notifying the customer of these changes and possible extra charges.

And a challenging point-of-no-return program prevents the processing of another order until the existing order is resolved (no order changes can be made during this).

An order management system that doesn’t have integrated automation processes is quickly becoming outdated. But by updating your OMS with it while also customizing it, your business will be taking leaps and bounds towards a practical and modern future.

Smart Technology for Tracking

Gone are the days of customers simply trusting that their products have been shipped; nowadays, it is also a business’s job to assure customers of its legitimacy and reliability.

These days, businesses are expected to update customers with their orders as soon as possible. However, both retailers and customers want to see traceability and transparency in their shipments.

With innovative technology, such as GPS and Barcode/RFID tags, both parties can access updates on orders at any time and from anywhere. This allows customers to feel secure in their purchases and for businesses to keep a trackable supply chain and manageable history.

Other tracking features include O2C (Order to Cash), the tracked sequence of taking the sales order, processing and preparing it, confirming the delivery, invoicing the order to the customer, and collecting payment.

This structured feature brings organization to the otherwise complex process of fulfilling an order. The tracking process offers ease and a documented history for all businesses, offering more time and the ability to view their techniques and make improvements retrospectively. Such features are advantageous when it comes to business expansion.

Overall, if a business isn’t competitive and organized with shipping, especially with international order fulfillment, the chance of having dissatisfied customers (and negative reviews) becomes more and more likely.

Self-Service Enablement

Another must-have feature of the next generation of order management software is self-service enablement. Self-service enabled order management software is vital in giving consumers the ability to know their entire account and order status. Tracking orders, looking at order history, and quickly returning unwanted products should be a smooth process for everyone involved.

Self-service is an ideal customer-centric strategy for businesses in many ways. Firstly, it ensures that customers are happy with a streamlined process from start to finish.

Secondly, it saves time and money as team members do not need to be at the forefront of manual processes like initiating returns or answering billing questions, offering clear communication of a business’s procedures and policies.

Present-day customers are always on the move. And though this may seem like a hindrance, businesses can stay connected to them through technology. This is achieved by making information, such as orders, tracking, updates, and refunds easily accessible from multiple platforms like apps, emails, and accounts.

A business’s customers need to have a quick and easy way of getting updates. Importantly, they want to do it on their terms and when they want to. Including custom self-service features is critical in making purchases easy and the experience with your business a positive one. Such a strategy creates more loyal customers while also building a positive reputation.

Integrations

No matter how great an OMS is, it still doesn’t benefit a business unless it can easily integrate with other systems already being used.

Here are 4 systems that any custom order fulfillment system should seamlessly integrate with:

Shipping Service Platforms

Once a package leaves a warehouse, both customers and businesses alike want to ensure that the package gets smoothly delivered to its destination. Integration with shipping services like UPS, FedEx, and USPS can allow both parties to monitor the shipping process to ensure everything arrives as planned.

Integrating a custom OMS makes all the difference with this. A reputable developer can tailor your software to the specific shipping services you use, ensuring they are shaped around each other for effective communication and results.

E-Commerce Platforms

E-Commerce platforms have become the primary way of making orders. This has drastically increased the demand for order fulfillment software capable of integrating with some of the top e-commerce platforms, including Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify.

Having client orders automatically populate in order fulfillment software helps create a streamlined process that allows businesses to quickly and accurately fulfill orders from the e-commerce platform they use.

If customized, this centralization of data can be viewed and stored however your business chooses. In other words, you can decide just how the software deals with your data.

Accounting Software

Access to up-to-date financial data is necessary for businesses to stay ahead in today’s ever-changing world. No longer can companies rely on manual entry of sales records as they do not offer AI-informed decisions about financial matters.

There must be integration between order fulfillment software and accounting software, such as Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Sage. With this custom software, a business can keep track and prioritize financial growth while also maintaining its history for reference.

Other than accounting software, many custom integrations are available that improve the security and fluidity of business processes—features such as fraud check services or order management systems that support multiple payment options.

There are clear benefits from providing a wide range of payment services to complete transactions. If your business wants to offer its customers freedom and choice, pay attention to the order management systems that support multiple payment options.

Point of Sale Systems

Simply put, a POS is what a customer uses every time they complete a purchase. This feature is well worth the integration as it saves time spent on manual entries and the possible errors that come with it. Merging sales, inventory management, payment processing, and customer management, this feature allows for multiple factors (that all businesses need to deal with) to be handled effectively and all in one place.

A recent study shows that (with a custom POS) some businesses saw an increase in sales by 200%, which is by the reporting feature alone. Though upgrading your system can seem daunting, as it is a fundamental part of any business, it offers so many benefits that it is truly worth serious consideration.

The introduction of mobile point of sale systems means that businesses can charge customers anywhere with internet connectivity. This technological advancement is shaping the natural landscape of other business software programs.

From POS systems, e-commerce fulfillment systems can track inventory and update consumer accounts according to real-time information. Without such software, businesses lack the advantage of customer insight and knowledge of critical data that could aid their business’s growth.

Shopping Platform Integration

Shopping platform integration is at the forefront of UX as it deals with the cart process of your business’s e-commerce website. In the face of your ordering and delivery services, this integration needs to be refined and up-to-date as it plays a vital part in making a positive impact on your customers.

The majority of e-commerce businesses use off-the-shelf cart platforms instead of custom-built ones. Though it is a quick and easy fix, such pre-built software lacks personal adjustments and the ability to be customized.

The Custom Route

e-Commerce businesses need order management system solutions that are flexible, easy to use, and integrated with other software.

In answer to this, “Custom” has become the new norm for retail businesses everywhere. 

In other words, if you run a retail business (on any scale), integrating customized features that cater to your unique business and operational needs is necessary. It will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your software solution and that your day-to-day operations always run smoothly.

Sure, an off-the-shelf OMS like QuickBooks Commerce, Brightpearl, Veeqo, Magento offers the essential features needed to ensure that the order fulfillment process runs smoothly. However, with a custom OMS, your business is given custom-tailored, personalized tools that can make an enormous difference in the ability to grow and compete in today’s market.

Getting a reputable developer to build you custom software is one thing but trying to get them to customize an already built one is a whole other ball game. An off-the-shelf software creates several issues down the line, and there are quite a few reasons why you would be better off getting customized software that’s built from scratch.

If you wanted a developer to try and re-vamp such outdated software, they would be up against multiple obstacles. Obstacles such as finding the system’s core and learning how to extract the data from it, maintaining each platform integration (as they would not be custom and centralized), and all of this would require specializing developers with a high fee.

So, although getting a custom software upgrade does seem daunting when all the pros and cons are weighed, custom wins by more than just a mile.

The Emergence of MOMs

First seen between 2005 and 2015, Multichannel Order Management solutions (MOMs) were created to tackle all e-commerce businesses’ challenges, from consolidating and servicing orders to multiple sales channels.

A B2B (business-to-business) software built to be used specifically by e-commerce-based businesses addresses two modern-day concerns. Firstly, it combines all order data from across all channels your company operates and centralizes them into one primary access point. And secondly, it makes sure to keep all your channels updated with the same information.

For instance, if a product’s price changes, this solution will update wherever your business has it listed. If that wasn’t enough, there are even some MOMs integrations that go beyond this and act as complete e-commerce management solutions.

Though it may seem like a minor addition, this solution can create waves of positive impact within a business. Due to flexible APIs, an off-shoot of OMS, MOMs can be integrated and adapted to commerce and e-commerce software. With customizable features, developers can incorporate this solution into your OMS to add that little extra to your software’s e-commerce span of capabilities.

Growing with Demand

Since COVID-19, customers have become more comfortable and familiar with e-commerce platforms and what they offer. Developing software to grow with this increase in demand provides customers with the best UX available. While also assuring businesses that they will effectively cope with this increase and adjust smoothly to the reliance on e-commerce fulfillment systems.

There are many more reasons why retail business owners should implement a software solution that incorporates ALL of the essential components needed to maximize customer satisfaction and ease of use. But hopefully, the top 4 we chose to explore here were enough to get you thinking about what tools are available to aid your business in its growth.

Whether you’re the proud owner of a small mom-and-pop shop, e-commerce website/storefront, big-time wholesaler, small-time retailer, or anything in between, opting for a customized approach to your software solution is always the ideal choice.

Think about when you required a custom-made item, whether it was a piece of jewelry or a tailored suit from a top clothing designer. Perhaps at the time, you felt a bit more “special” or “pampered” than you usually would if you’d gone shopping at the clearance rack at your nearest department store or, dare I say it – thrift shop!

Nowadays, many businesses, big or small, are taking the “custom” route when shopping for software solutions. So, why not yours?

With all the advanced features, a custom OMS is an absolute MUST if you want to rise above today’s market. No longer are these features just convenient add-ons. We’re not just talking about a luxury purchase here. This is a strategic business move worth consideration and investment.

Author

Dave Wood is an industry expert within the supply chain and logistics technology landscape. He has worked at Chetu since 2013 and has since built a reputation as a thought-leader within the IT community. As the Director of Global Sales at Chetu, Dave plays a critical role in assisting companies with their supply chain, retail, marketing, and media related software projects. He offers commentary on changing tides within logistics and how inventory and warehouse management systems can propel all facets of retail and supply.