Why you need an order management system to grow your business
This post was written by Linnworks, a trusted partner of OnBuy.
Global ecommerce sales are expected to grow to $6 trillion by 2024, up from less than $3 trillion in 2018, according to eMarketer.
To be part of the growth, you need to have the right tools in place. An order management system will help you grow your business. The unique thing about order management is how it functions as both a catalyst for and a prerequisite to rapid growth.
Implementing an order management system will make it easier for you to keep up with the increasing demands of a growing customer base across your sales channels. In fact, automated order management is becoming a necessity, especially for high-growth businesses.
While manually keeping up with orders might seem manageable in the early stages, it becomes more challenging when any facet of your business grows – whether that be customers, sales, channels or products.
Ideally, retailers should start thinking about implementing an order management system as soon as they see growth.
Manage All Orders In One Place
For the most part, the benefits of an order management system are self-explanatory. Order management systems allow you to view, track and manage all your customer orders in one place rather than spreading them out transaction-by-transaction.
However, the best order management systems are more than just a tracking portal. Some allow you to sync up your order management system and your eCommerce platform. This means that sales information can flow automatically through the supply chain as soon as your customer completes the purchase.
When used right, an automated order management system will take most of the work out of your hands. This allows you to process more orders in less time. Eventually, your customers should be receiving their products as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Automated order management also eliminates human mistakes that can end up being costly for a business. When you automate the management of processing, picking, packing and shipping, it removes the risk of error, such as packing the wrong stock-keeping unit (SKUs) for an order. People are much more prone to error than machines, especially when spread thin over an abundance of transactions. Getting the basics of order management right is a crucial part of increasing customer loyalty and making sure everything goes right from the beginning to the end of a sale.
Making the Most of Growth
Weak order management can harm your growth early on, preventing your business from fulfiling its potential. If your business has managed to grow without solid order management, there’s a big chance this added responsibility and pressure may catch up with you.
Why? Well, it’s impossible to maximise the potential of orders if you can’t effectively and thoroughly fulfil them.
Order management is key to offering a more convenient experience to customers. With nearly half of consumers claiming to be more influenced by convenience than price, customers are putting convenience on a higher pedestal than ever before, with 76% of customers saying convenience is a top priority when choosing a retailer, according to research from Linnworks. If customers have an inconvenient experience, it will negatively affect their image of your brand and potentially undermine whatever brought them to your business in the first place.
One of the best ways to guarantee repeat, loyal customers is to be transparent about shipping and delivery. Order management allows you to be transparent with your customers about their order status without lifting a finger.
Order management systems are also great for creating brand ambassadors. Happy customers will be more likely to leave positive reviews of your business online or wholeheartedly recommend it to their friends with no disclaimer. “I love this product and this company,” sounds a lot better than “I like this product, but it took too long to get here.”
Of course, there is much more to customer satisfaction than order management. However, getting the order process right could erase a potential barrier between your business and new or returning customers, ensuring that your customer base doesn’t dwindle as quickly as it grew.
More Than Managing Orders
A common assumption is that order management is all about product delivery. While delivery is at the heart of all online product purchases, order management can affect many other business processes as well.
In fact, a lot of order management software has the capacity to collect customer data and use it to make crucial decisions moving forward.
For example, some systems can show you the geographical distribution of your customer base. This can help inform you where to most effectively store your inventory – if 80 percent of your orders are coming from the East Coast, you will want to keep much more of your inventory there than in the South or the West Coast. Knowing more about your customers' whereabouts will help reduce shipping costs, delivery times and stock level miscalculations.
Order Management Will Help As You Expand to Marketplaces
Businesses looking to grow should be in the selling channels where their customers are already shopping, such as marketplaces like OnBuy. Linnworks calls this Total Commerce, conducting commerce wherever your customers are, on their terms.
The biggest perk of automated order management is the control it gives you over your order fulfilment process. If expanding to new online marketplaces seems too complex and challenging, an order management system simplifies the process.
Even if you’ve been growing without an order management system, automation is a great way to make sure growth continues. It’s difficult to keep up with — and be in — the many environments where customers are shopping, especially when controlling commerce in these channels simultaneously. Linnworks makes this easy by putting commerce control at the center of your organisation. Book a demo to learn about the Total Commerce solution that grows with your business.