Good inventory management leads to good customer support. Learn more about some ways your inventory system can truly impact your customers'...
Go Beyond the SKU With ChannelApe’s Order Management System
Order management is where brands deliver on all the promises, benefits, and features they’ve promised their customers. Without proper order management, the moment the customer clicks “Buy Now,” the experience slips out of your hands, and you lose control.
Is your inventory management in tip-top shape? The right number of products, the right distribution across sizes and colors? All your SKUs are in perfect alignment? That’s great. Your accurate inventory is so important.
What about your order management?
Order management is where brands deliver on all the promises, benefits, and features they’ve promised their customers. Think of how much time, effort, and money goes into acquiring and converting each customer. Then think about this: Without proper order management, the moment the customer clicks “Buy Now,” the experience slips out of your hands, and you lose control. You have to trust that your systems, your 3PL team, and various shipping carriers will deliver your product to your customer quickly, correctly, and in a way that meets your brand standards. So, do you trust that this happens brilliantly all the time, every time? If you answer that question with anything less than a resounding “YES,” it’s time to fully manage the entire flow of your orders from start to finish in an efficient, even innovative way. It’s time for an order management system (OMS).
Beyond “Buy Now”
Don’t get me wrong: Accurate inventory is necessary, essential, crucial. But it’s step one of, like, 100 steps. The other 99 fall squarely under order management.
An OMS allows you to automatically fulfill your orders from the most efficient warehouse, if you use more than one, and lets you quickly split (or combine) shipments when necessary, such as when you’re offering pre-orders. It also gives your entire team visibility into the process to effectively communicate with your customers during the process. When your customers ask about their goods—and they will ask—you can tell them exactly where their order is, as well as how and when they can expect it. Without a modern and flexible OMS, you’d be in the dark. In a world where customers can directly and publicly contact brands, that’s the last place you want to be.
Consider the following scenario. Your customer browses your website and adds two items to their cart. They click our favorite button—“Buy Now”—and complete the checkout process. YAY! Your smart OMS kicks in and automatically determines, because the customer is based in North Carolina, your New Jersey 3PL warehouse is the best location for fulfilling this order. But, oh no! Only one of the two items is in stock at the New Jersey warehouse. Never fear: OMS is here. Your OMS applies logic to find the out-of-stock item in your Texas warehouse. It also determines, by shipping both items from the Texas warehouse, the shipping will cost less than it would to split the order into two shipments (plus it will emit less carbon), and the order will arrive on the same day to your customer (which you can tell them when they ask—and they will ask). OMS fulfills the entire order from the Texas warehouse, then sends all this information back to the sales channel for reporting and visibility purposes.
Everyone is happy: Your bottom line, the environment, your sales channel, and, most importantly, your customer.
Flexibility, Efficiency, Strategy
An OMS can and should be flexible enough for a brand to make adjustments throughout the year, particularly during busy periods, such as the holiday shopping season. With a robust OMS, you can make and set rules for how orders move through systems at every step, from “Buy Now” through arrival at your customer’s door. You gain complete visibility, control, and the ability to respond to your specific customer’s needs by setting up rules and logic for a myriad of order scenarios.
An OMS also meets the needs of internal stakeholders, including your marketing department. If your marketing team comes up with a great promotion and wants to bring it to life fast, you need an OMS that can support it. Whether it’s a spur-of-the-moment BOGO promo, a free shipping upgrade, or a discount on a future purchase, this information can be added to the OMS quickly, efficiently, and with a high degree of confidence.
Additionally, you can use the data you get from your OMS to make smarter business decisions, offer more efficient shipping options, plan better strategic promotional campaigns, and more. At the end of the day, a great OMS also increases brand loyalty, lifetime value, and conversion rates.
“Our order management system lets our brand partners think through their customers’ entire experience of how an order moves through their systems, how quickly that happens, and what communication is like,” says Mike Averto, ChannelApe’s founder and CEO. “ChannelApe’s OMS works in tandem with inventory and fulfillment management, ensuring our customers’ customers have a seamless, positive buying experience. It looks at the entire order process more holistically and broadens our customers’ perspective beyond the SKU.”