Order management, once a back-end logistics discipline, has been pushed into the spotlight thanks to the pandemic. Subsequently, millions of shoppers are now keenly aware of which brands provide flexible fulfillment options.
The competition to excel at order management is now fierce, and not just because of giants like Amazon and Walmart. Out of the Digital Commerce 360 top 500, the number of retailers offering curbside pickup alone increased 500%. This growth is coming from customer demand. Interest in same-day shipping from web and store-based retailers has gone up from 2020 to 2021.
And even when life returns to normalcy, new shopping habits picked up in 2020 are not going away. More than two thirds, 68%, of new online grocery shoppers indicate that they plan to continue to buy groceries online.
Order management’s role in delivering the type of leading customer experience (CX) that today’s shoppers expect is clear. Consequently, it presents a great opportunity for companies to assess their current order management software, and to determine if it has what it takes to attract and retain customers.
Here’s a list of capabilities needed to deliver order fulfillment and post-sales experiences that keep customers coming back—again and again.
Real-Time Inventory Visibility
Upgrading to an order management system (OMS) that offers real-time inventory visibility helps companies operate at the speed of customers. Having a centralized, accurate, and up-to-date view of inventory is the best way to provide a great experience.
Real-time visibility comes with many other benefits, too. It helps avoid stock-outs and to expose inventory from different fulfillment points for better planning and pricing strategies. Further, real-time visibility helps ensure against overcommits to customers and unnecessary markdowns.
Kibo Order Management’s capabilities have helped Mizuno improve CX by surfacing local products online and providing an accurate representation of stock at time of purchase.
Smart Order Routing
Order management automation can take manual routing (or no routing) to the next level, creating increased fulfillment efficiency. More than anything, companies need to know that their order management technology is flexible and agile enough to support customer expectations while minimizing costs and complexities.
Smart order routing can reduce costs and improve delivery times. It can also increase fulfillment options for customers, who can then choose between offers like in-store pickup or same-day delivery. Your choice of order management technology should allow you to easily customize, add and change order routing in real time.
You’ll want to:
- Define & manage omnichannel fulfillment locations
- Represent, organize, and prioritize diverse inventory locations
- Optimize fulfillment in just a few clicks based on a number of variables
Flexible Omnichannel Fulfillment Options
The “last mile” of the customer experience can be the most important. That is to say, getting orders into customers’ hands holds supreme. A flexible fulfillment capability empowers companies to offer a variety of fulfillment options to customers, including contactless options like BOPIS and curbside pickup.
In addition to being able to easily add new fulfillment options, great oms systems make managing fulfillment easy. No matter how many touchpoints are involved, a standout order management system simplifies commerce complexity. Not every location needs to offer every fulfillment option. In addition, companies need the ability to turn on, turn off, and change fulfillment options quickly based on inventory availability, demand, and staffing. What’s more, having insights to understand the profitability and value of different fulfillment options at different locations can help companies determine if the investment is worth the cost and effort.
Unified View of the Customer
Increasingly, companies are emphasizing the need for a single few of the customer. Within order management, this is especially important for better customer care and order servicing. When customers enter a store to return an online order, or when they call a service line about an issue they had on the mobile app, having a single view of all customer activities, powered by unified commerce, is imperative to providing great CX.
Not only does a single view of the customer ensure you can deliver more relevant experiences to your customers, it arms your team with insights. Moreover, working from a single source of the truth increases the confidence, trust, and speed in which your sales associates or customer service reps can work.
For the best customer experience, teams across your organization should be able to easily:
- View customer profiles, order, payment, and shipping details
- Access and adjust inventory without disruption
- Manage, edit, and reassign items from orders
- Add custom order notes to track interactions with customers
- Create and process returns
- Complete sales
- Edit account info
Above all, great order management requires unified inventory and customer data. This foundation, along with flexible tech that ensures you keep up with customer demands, will deliver great CX.