July 16, 2020

As an ecommerce business or other retail business, your company relies on properly filling customer orders through one or more sales channels. For your business to thrive and grow, the order information needs to be accurate. Preferably customers and the business have access to real-time information on stock levels.

Large or high-volume businesses can’t exist without some kind of order management software, but it’s important for a small business to.

What is an order management system?

Broadly, an order management system is a software tool or ecommerce platform that tracks and helps process inventory and fulfillment; it allows customers to find and order what they need, and for partner companies to help manage the process. Drilling down, order management software handles order entry and incoming orders at the point of sale, takes credit card payment or addresses other invoicing solutions, organizes the order fulfillment process, and integrates with shippers.

Order management software also enables ecommerce customers to see their order status, their order history and their order tracking. It makes the supply chain management process easy for the retailer, whether selling via multiple sales channels like eBay, Shopify and Amazon, or only having Google send customers to the main company site.

It’s helpful to the ecommerce business as well, as order management solutions provide business intelligence in terms of analytics to understand real-time inventory visibility and inventory levels. And it provides a single platform to help with catalog management on the backend. This helps reduce backorders which can negatively impact the supply chain and lower customer satisfaction.

If you’re a small business using Excel or a legacy system not built for omnichannel sales orders, consider how this may impact your growth and business processes.

How to choose an order management system

When choosing an order management system, the company stakeholders should first define their priorities. Understand the components of what you think you need, and see what various order management systems provide. They’re not all the same. Consider the “nice to have” features as well as the “must have” features. These are some features of order management solutions:

  1. Multichannel integration for sales channels like Google, Shopify, eBay and others to track volume and shipping numbers

  2. Product information

  3. Inventory tracking and updating SKUs and inventory levels across systems and sales channels

  4. Customer order capabilities (positive customer experience for ordering, tracking numbers, processing returns and refunds)

  5. Payment (credit card, invoicing and handles multiple currencies)

  6. Tracking order processing and purchase orders

  7. Routing orders to warehouse management or third-party logistics provider based on shipping information and customer location, for order fulfillment

  8. Integration with shipping like FedEx, UPS, USPS and regional carriers

  9. Integration with accounting software or business management software like Netsuite, QuickBooks or Xero to help on the backend

  10. Supplier integrations for purchasing and receiving

That is a lot of functionality that an order management system can provide. It’s important to look holistically at your supply chain, to ensure that the various nodes are connected through this business operations software. Automating many of these internal processes can increase customer satisfaction and help your small business scale and grow. It reduces the manual work involved and lowers the human error rate.

Compare your order management process with the solutions you investigate to see which would fit best with your needs. Ensure the order management system integrates with your warehouse management or third-party logistics providers so you’ll all be working from the same page. Stord offers a simple EDI or API integration that makes it easy for you to track what you need, across multiple warehouses and carriers. Let us know how we can help.