Updated: Jan 19
"One order management system, one database, one inventory. Without these, you will never seem seamless to your customer."
Andy Laudato, COO at The Vitamin Shoppe
Global retail sales in 2020 are equal to over $23 tr. As seen,the competition in retail is perhaps one of the toughest. The market is crowded with stores, and everyone tries to attract as many customers as possible. Analysis of trends in recent years allows us to conclude that business focuses on communication. So, it doesn't matter what you sell. It matters how you do it. Let's find out what an order management system is and how a company can cover a dozen processes at once with such a versatile product
The usage of several communication channels provides a retailer with a broad audience. But uncomfortable, messy communication is unlikely to make clients happy. Companies need something that can make the interaction consistent, more comfortable.
The order management system (OMS) perfectly deals with it. This product's definition is limited to its functions. So, it's a tool that allows businesses to track sales, orders, stocks, maintain partnerships and provide a fast path of goods to the end customer. The system is often a set of services for supporting ERP, regulating communication with customers through different channels, displaying updated information on cost and delivery in the product catalog, etc.
Features Of Retail Order Management System
A retail order management system is necessary for every medium and large representative who grew up with a monolithic ERP system and Excel spreadsheets. Its functionality is divided into several categories depending on the objects of interaction.
It is no longer news that the system allows attracting an audience. Sure, when a company masters e-commerce, the number of its buyers will increase. 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. So, the order management system enables retaining them that way. It provides a personalized approach, regulating the correctness of communication.
It's one of the core functions, which works as follows. A customer orders a TV from an electronics store. Until the order finalization, its data is placed in an order management system. After the final confirmation, the information is instantly transmitted to all systems involved in the order processing: logistics, ERP, CRM, warehouse and staff management, etc. An order management system looks like a middleware that generates up-to-date information and helps different systems to interact.
The system distributes tasks to related software. For example, it notifies the HR management system about the need to send a craft worker to a client and helps to order goods to replenish stock. OMS also determines the company's transport resources availability. If they are not available, the system integrates with contractors (mail, courier, delivery services, etc.
A high-scalable system allows proceeding with thousands of requests simultaneously and provides seamless real-time data transfers. Employees communicate with customers following a variety of scenarios supported by the system. The likelihood of staff errors within communication is minimized.
The order management system allows dealing with requests of any complexity. Following Statista, 61% of U.S. customers prefer to use phones to resolve customer service issues. The system helps employees to build the conversation. It generates all the necessary information in one window and gives out the needed messages. Talking with the customer, the employee enters the buyer's request into the system. The last one transmits data to other back-office software to ensure a quick response.
Businesses face various challenges, like:
Employees burnout. They must switch between dozens of tabs to maintain a conversation with clients.
Low productivity. The staff does not have time to process many requests because of the above issue.
Low level of upsells. Mainly when the retailer operates with a large assortment and has a complicated loyalty system.
Lack of well-organized work between systems. Without the necessary level of integration, any customer problem solving can take weeks, while a company's quick response to any complaint is required.
ERP system load. It's challenging when the system is monolithic. So, it's arduous to make it flexible and highly scalable.
Relevant data absence. This issue significantly reduces the loyalty system effectiveness and the customized approach quality.
So, what does OMS mean in retail? Based on its peculiarities, it makes the business custom-centered and supports omnichannel. The system regulates communication with clients at different levels as well as organizes the back-office systems' work to satisfy the audience demand rapidly. The order management system should have a one-stop-shop interface to facilitate employees' activity. Due to this feature, the staff can operate with automatically generated information and stop doing routine tasks. It also helps sell promotional products and allows employees to offer customers items they might be interested in. Moreover, the product is capable of updating all data in real-time.
As seen, such a solution is indispensable to keep up with innovations, automate processes, and accelerate the digital transformation.
Web And Cloud-Based Order Management Systems: Distinctions
Like most other software, retail order management systems are of different kinds, like cloud-based and web-based ones. What's the distinction? -you might ask. Yes, they are so similar. Both types are popular among business representatives and use cloud technologies. But the first OMS category refers to ready-made vendor products such as TradeGecko, Stitch Labs, and Orderbot. Here, all data is located on the provider's remote servers. It's convenient as the user does not have to worry about component updates and general system support.
On the other hand, web-based systems are not necessarily located on the provider's servers. The data may be hosted on the company's ones. In this case, the retailer should take care of product support. Of course, ready-made products are hugely popular. Business likes minimum costs and maximum effect. But for large chains of non-grocery stores, such solutions are not suitable. They don't cover non-standard processes. If a company can boast of these, it should consider a custom OMS buying. It means this system can be placed either on the contractor's servers or own ones.
The Bottom Line
Thus, OMS is irreplaceable in retail. Due to its nature, the system can solve some business issues, such as low productivity/sales level, bad internal systems integration, new employees' onboarding complexity, burnout of existing ones, the company's slow response to requests, etc. Choosing an order management system, a retailer should focus on its current situation as well as on the following software capabilities: scalability, data transfer speed, level of interaction (both internal and external), omnichannel direction support, and delivery efficiency.