The pandemic has driven many ecommerce indicators into higher gears. Many brands and retailers have witnessed record online traffic, all-time conversation highs, and heavy boosts in online sales.
An economy that is driven by digital heats up the importance of an order management system that is able to handle the heavy weight of demand.
Occasional scenarios leading from OMS errors — such as the delay of an order, or an incorrect delivery — are going to be compounded by higher levels of buying customers, which may lead to new customers into buying their first and last purchase from your brand, or casting doubt into formerly loyal customers.
A well-oiled order management system with regular health checks will maintain your readiness for spikes in demand and your ability to provide customers what they want.
Here are some of the fundamental OMS changes worth keeping in mind.
The pandemic has brought with it a bundle of vocabulary that has quickly settled into our everyday language: quarantine, social distancing, contact-free delivery, curbside pickup etc.
Curbside pickup became a lifeline for companies who had to completely rethink their operations if they wanted to remain open to business. If this were a single event, the newspaper headline would read: Curbside Pickup Saves Sales for Stores.
It has become a popular method of getting goods for customers wanting to keep as protected as possible while carrying on their shopping habits. But from the brand’s perspective, it also eliminates worries over the current capabilities of delivery services to fulfil the final mile.
Added to this is further doubt regarding the short-to-mid term status of physical stores, given that many states that had reopened have closed doors again. Curbside pickup is a method of delivery that remains unaffected by periodic reopening and closing.
Secondly, the large increases and spikes in online traffic and record digital sales place a heavy weight on order management systems that struggle to fulfil orders and throttle inventory networks. This leads to poor inventory counts, incorrect orders, lost orders, annoying out-of-stock descriptions, and ultimately, damaged brand reputation.
Many companies have either been using homegrown systems or ERPs to fulful orders, which are extremely limiting, lack comprehension and receive delayed feeds, and ultimately not built for scale — certainly not when your site witnesses huge spikes in traffic and your site can’t handle the pressure.
Investment in an order management system, such as that of Salesforce B2C Commerce, which can provide all of the above is going to place yourself in a much stronger position.
Finally, the growth of order delays and complex returns has meant businesses need to do more to offer openness and customer control. When delays occur customers want to know what is happening. Providing self-service capabilities, which is simply enabled in Salesforce B2C Commerce, allows them to check their order status along the entire journey.
And because returns have become complex due to the pandemic — with concerns over visiting the store or post office — extra self-service capabilities can enable you to guide your customers step by step in the returns process.
All of these shifts in order management systems are going to be around for some time to come — and may even become part of day-to-day ecommerce operations. So investing in one that enables essential scaling and comprehensive functionality may be the difference between you barely surviving the pandemic and thriving from difficult situations.