From the sales channels you choose to the moment orders are delivered, every part of the customer journey must meet increasingly high expectations.
To guarantee accurate and quick fulfillment and delivery, all platforms must be synchronized in real time at the very least with inventory and orders data.
A solid omnichannel order management solution is required if you sell across sales platforms.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know to set up an omnichannel order management system, as well as how to get started.
What is omnichannel order management?
A multichannel order management (MCOM) system is a method for tracking, processing, and fulfilling items across various sales channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce sites, social media pages, and internet marketplaces.
The aim of omnichannel retail is to provide a consistent customer experience across all sales channels, where customers may shop on their terms and in the manner that is most convenient for them. “Total Commerce” is Linnworks’ name for this consumer experience method.
Omnichannel order management examples
In practice, what does omnichannel order management or “Total Commerce” look like?
Let’s suppose a customer sees one of your items promoted on Instagram marketing. They click the link to learn more, but they’re not yet ready to make a purchase.
They return home, looking at the same product while doing errands in town. They go over Amazon customer reviews and pricing comparisons to confirm their decision. They buy the product through your Amazon item page after they are convinced.
Unless you are selling $5 impulse purchases, this multi-touchpoint approach is how most customers shop for products.
Let’s look at another example:
A client makes a purchase on your website. After making the purchase, they choose to have it sent to their home and then picked up curbside.
They discover that a component is damaged while setting up the product at home. The customer requests a return. They return the item via USPS instead of returning it to the store.
In each of these situations, the experience was smooth, inventory was recognized and updated in real time across all channels, and their consumer information was recognized online and in-store.
Inventory management is much easier when your products are available on a variety of channels. A product may be sold on one channel and inventory levels automatically updated across all channels with the use of a multi-channel inventory management system.
5 key benefits of omnichannel order management
A multichannel retailing strategy necessitates a robust order management system. Here are the top advantages of omnichannel order management.
1. Sell, ship, and return anywhere
Sales and returns are more difficult for bigger businesses with greater inventory. Sales and deliveries are more complicated for larger firms with a lot of products, since they must coordinate their operations across multiple channels. Omnichannel order management enables you to sell and deliver completed items from anywhere while also connecting consumers to their purchase history for a smooth buying experience.
If a customer wants to return or make an exchange, it is critical that you provide them with a simple returns procedure that allows them to do so in-store or through self-service tools.
You may suffer a loss on a return in the near term, but you can quickly gain a repeat client by performing it in an acceptable way.
2. Improve customer satisfaction
Customers want assurance that no matter where they are, your product will be accessible to them.
Implementing an omnichannel order management process that is entirely integrated improves consumer pleasure by allowing them to sell, deliver, and return products from any location.
It also ensures that all sales channels use the same real-time inventory data to minimize stockouts and backorders.
Omnichannel order management minimizes the friction in the purchasing and return processes.
3. Simplify logistics workflows
Not only does the client experience improve, but so does your internal logistics operation. It’s considerably simpler to handle your purchase, inventory, and returns when all of your purchases are kept in one location.
Linnworks and a 3PL like Launch Fulfillment make it simple to handle omnichannel orders.
From order management to retail fulfillment, omnichannel solutions give accurate inventory, order, and returns data across channels to guarantee that orders are completed and transmitted promptly.
4. Maintain a consistent brand experience
Another key advantage is the ability to maintain a consistent user experience across channels.
As a result, no matter what your customers’ preferred methods of purchase are, you may give them the same brand experience when ordering in-store, on your website, or through third-party channels..
This provides you a unified presence across several platforms and touchpoints, resulting in increased customer loyalty over time.
5. Scale operations with ease
When you have a system in place, it’s simpler to add new sales channels to your operations.
For example, adding a second sales channel to your existing plan rather than starting from scratch. You’ll be able to sell on the new platform right away, with no inventory management problems, fulfillment delays, or delivery issues.
How to define and level up your omnichannel strategy
Consider the following before you can start implementing an omnichannel strategy:
- Your current order management strategy
- Your customer journey, from brand awareness to last-mile delivery
- The available solutions and options for omnichannel retailing
Audit your current order management strategy
To begin, you’ll need to examine your current inventory and order management procedures in greater detail.
- How are you managing inventory and orders?
- Do you have a system that scales as you launch new sales channels?
- Is inventory synced between all of the channels you sell on, or is it siloed?
Do you keep track of your inventory using spreadsheets? As your company expands, this might be a costly mistake. Spreadsheets are time-consuming and prone to human error. They also lack the order management software’s real-time capabilities.
Because you must move the inventory in your spreadsheets throughout the fulfillment process if someone places an order,
When you expand your operations to more channels, the danger of costly mistakes rises. The sooner you implement a cohesive order management system, the better.
Understand your customer journey
Knowing how an omnichannel solution may fit into your company begins with knowing your consumer journey.
- Where do your customers go to purchase your product?
- Do you have physical locations? If so, do you customers want curbside pickup?
- Are customers asking to make returns without going into the store?
- Are they interacting with your brand through social media?
- Do you offer products on major marketplaces like Target, Amazon, and Walmart?
The more touchpoints and channels you have, the greater the need for an omnichannel order management system that links them all.
Consider the different solutions available to you
There are several options for omnichannel order management systems if you believe your ecommerce operation requires one to help you manage shipping and logistics across various platforms.
If you’re searching for a holistic order and inventory management solution, Linnworks can make it easier to enter new distribution channels and synchronized customer data, inventory, and order management across all platforms.
If you’re selling across several platforms and need to standardize delivery, you might want to look into partnering with a 3PL like Launch Fulfillment that offers direct integrations with popular omnichannel solutions such as Linnworks.
Choosing an omnichannel order management system: a turnkey solution
Fortunately, you won’t have to start from the ground up with an omnichannel order management system. Omnichannel order management software allows you to quickly set up a turnkey solution so that you can go operational..
Here are some of the key advantages and characteristics to think about while comparing prices.
Key benefits of using an omnichannel order management software to scale your business
The major advantage is the opportunity to manage and automate your retail and ecommerce activities from a single, centralized platform.
All of your brick-and-mortar, website, call center, wholesale, and third-party marketplace transactions and returns are now in one location. It also means less data entry for your team, more platform visibility, and the ability to study sales statistics and predict demand.
Another advantage is the fact that the system allows you to provide a consistent brand experience to your consumers. Customers may anticipate a uniform experience when making a purchase or interacting with your business, which reduces any friction when purchasing.
These advantages are critical to your company’s growth. You’d be looking at disrupted order processing, inaccurate inventory counts, and dissatisfied consumers without them.
Key omnichannel order management features to consider
While the features of omnichannel order management software you choose will differ based on your company demands, here are some must-have qualities to search for:
1. Inventory management
At a bare minimum, it should be able to keep track of your inventory across all of your platforms automatically. So, if a customer purchases something through an Amazon ad, the stock levels are immediately updated across all of your sales channels.
It should also include software that routes your orders to the appropriate warehouses and fulfillment centers, as well as algorithms that determine the best shipping choices for each transaction. During pick, packing, and shipment, inventory information should be useful.
2. Order management
You should have centralized workflows in place for managing all customer orders as well as any returns. You’ll also need to be able to access previous and existing consumer information, such as all transactions made across various channels.
3. Multi-channel listing management
Aside from that, updating SKUs and catalog management features is also important. nThe software you choose should make it simple to generate and update product listings (particularly price data) across all of your channels from one location, rather than requiring numerous manual adjustments.
4. Shipping integrations
Is the program compatible with all of the major shipping carriers (such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS) and your 3PL’s technology?
Shipping and fulfillment solutions are also integrated by many omnichannel softwares.
Linnworks, for example, connects with Launch Fulfillment’s technology to allow you to keep track of orders and shipments from a single location.
5. Business intelligence
Using omnichannel order management software might help you gain a better understanding of your customers and provide more detailed reports on their purchasing patterns.
You’ll have a comprehensive view of all of your sales channels, SKUs, order status, and other metrics. Linnworks’ insights technologies make it simple to track key metrics such as stock history over time and major channels by date or fulfillment partner.