6 Tips for Retailers to Enhance The Ease and Speed of Omnichannel Order Management

Retail businesses must optimize their business activities to stay competitive. One vital activity is fulfilling orders on time. This keeps clients coming back.

Team Hopstack
September 27, 2022
6 Tips for Retailers to Enhance The Ease and Speed of Omnichannel Order Management

In today’s day and age, it's a lot tougher to have a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors. There are so many platforms and avenues that businesses can utilize for trading their products and services. Be it a brick-and-mortar store or an online store, retail businesses need to provide the best customer experience on every platform to sustain. But being optimally competitive and consistently active on all the channels means a lot more work and less predictability.

This is where the Omnichannel Order Management System or "OMS" as it is commonly referred to, comes in. It helps businesses effectively handle and efficiently manage orders received from various sources.

Before we get into how OMS can help increase efficiency, let’s look at some of the challenges faced by retail businesses in current times.

Challenges faced by retail businesses

There are various challenges faced by retail businesses. However, in this article, we will stick with the ones that are primarily associated with order management.

Decreased in-store purchases and increased online demands

Approximately 85% people in US reported a shift in their buying behavior since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began. The pandemic forced not just the retail businesses but every business to shut down their physical offices and find new ways to do their business. As opposed to visiting stores, customers were forced to purchase online; and the forced experience has changed the buying behavior of consumers forever. What started as a precautionary measure during the pandemic times has now become the new normal, thereby decreasing the footfall globally. There is no turning back and businesses are struggling to adapt to this change in buying behavior. There are new retail players everywhere and the customer is just a click away to buy from a competitor. These create a major challenge in the form of managing brand visibility on various platforms and creating a seamless and consistent online buying experience.

Disrupted Supply Chain

The supply chain has gone through many changes in recent years and is constantly evolving. As mentioned above, customer buying behavior has changed forever and this plays a key role in the disruption of the supply chain function. A disrupted supply chain can cause problems for retailers due to the lack of control over inventory movement and shipping costs. In order for retailers to keep up with demand and compete with bigger e-commerce sites like Amazon, they must reduce shipping costs by taking advantage of more affordable options such as drop shipping or fulfillment by Amazon FBA. Delivery companies are investing in new ways to deliver packages to their customers, while stores are investing in new ways to ship items directly from the store. Due to this shift in supply chain management, there have been significant impacts on the retail industry and its consumers.

Omnichannel customer engagement

It's easier than ever for customers to choose between online and offline modes of shopping. This means that business needs to be flexible and should create a seamless shopping experience irrespective of the platform. The most challenging part of this is that all the customer data should be instantly available for the perfect and timely fulfillment of orders be it online or offline. Retailers today are challenged by a lack of consumer-based data and the inability to customize services based on consumer needs.

Now that we understand how the changed customer buying behavior is disrupting the supply chain and demands for a seamless omnichannel customer experience, let’s see how the omnichannel order management system can help retailers stay ahead of the competition.

Benefits of Omnichannel order management system

Demand management

An omnichannel order management system delivers a great experience to retailers by seamlessly bringing in order data from various sources, thereby saving time and efforts that go in if it had to be done manually. This helps plan for optimum inventory and deployment of the goods to various offline and online stores.

Retails sales expected to exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021

Inventory visibility

Thousands of products are constantly moving from manufacturing to warehouse and from warehouse to customer. Companies that have not implemented a complete inventory tracking system experience lack of inventory visibility even without OMS. An omnichannel order management system helps track inventory effectively; irrespective of the goods being in transit or laying in the warehouse, or out for delivery, or unpicked orders. OMS can track and provide 360 visibility in real-time and save much time and effort otherwise spent in manually calculating the stock.

Reverse logistics / Returns

Omnichannel presence means customers are buying and returning products from various channels and online stores. It is therefore important to learn how various platforms are performing. And not just understanding but also making sure returned goods are taken care of. On the other hand, customers are returned with their money. Think about doing this manually if you were getting 10 returns every day on 10 different online stores.

American consumers returned goods worth $428 billion in 2020

360 view of your e-commerce business

You can literally check how many total orders are received, which sales channel is performing best or worst, how the stock is available for order fulfillment, how much is in transit, and so much more in just a few clicks.

Operational Efficiency

Saves time by eliminating the need for manual work (happy staff, happy customers). Retailers can then focus on making better decisions instead of spending time trying to fix the operations, maintaining smooth and consistent inflow and outflow of goods and speeding up deliveries.

Overcome synchronization delay

Providing a shopping experience on various platforms, compounded with inventory management and order fulfillment from and to various locations translates into a lot of data synchronization. Delay in synchronization of data itself could translate to incorrect order placement, overstocked goods, delayed order fulfillment, incorrect delivery, lost customers, and the most common, inefficient supply chain operations in general. In fact, it's extremely difficult to calculate any of this manually as more human intervention means more operational inefficiencies. To be able to overcome this problem, every data from shopping channels to stocked goods in the warehouse and goods in transit should be in sync in real-time. An OMS efficiently integrates with all channels and sync data in real-time, providing visibility and relevant stock reports at a click of a button.

Optimized Delivery

Orders coming from different channels can create problems in streamlining transportation and estimating delivery time. The challenge is to place orders effectively and efficiently in the transport units. A good way to ensure a simplified order fulfillment process is to use the right technology. Selecting the right delivery method is essential for perfect order delivery and an OMS can assist in choosing the right delivery method and partner for retailers.

To enable a seamless customer experience, you can integrate your physical and online store in the most efficient way possible. A retail-based company that maintains an Omnichannel Order Management System will be able to capture the customer’s information and provide them with products and services that they have shown interest in. By optimizing customer experience across all channels in the most efficient way possible, these retail-based companies can achieve a competitive advantage over their competitors.

Get in touch with our expert to learn how you can implement Omnichannel order management system in your business.

Team Hopstack Author
Team Hopstack

Hopstack brings you the latest articles, guides and long-form explainers on topics relating to warehousing technology and automation, supply chain and robotics