Ah… Here we have one of those phrases that struggles to spark feelings of excitement, yet conceals a very powerful function within the whole ecommerce ecosystem, and is fundamental for your ecommerce platform. The order management system attempts to assure a smooth transition from the moment a customer clicks buy to the second they rip open the packaging of their product.
Elsewhere, we already spoke about which OMS works best with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. But here we are going to focus on the core essentials.
What exactly are the mechanics behind the order management system? And what are the basic cogs to get right if you want it to work like clockwork?
When a visitor enters your site and shops around — throwing items into their cart as they explore — they (hopefully) will go to the checkout and click “buy.” This triggers a complex chain of commands that are all necessary for the order to pass though.
Firstly, once an order is confirmed, it travels to your inventory, which makes sure that it is available. It’s fundamental for a company to keep an accurate and ongoing account of its stock in order to avoid sell-throughs, client breakups and the undesired growth of a poor brand reputation.
At this stage, shipping options are filled out, such as the origin — because if you’re a big company you may have multiple locations of warehouses, for example. Or even be split among a number of warehouses in more complex environments.
Once the inventory is confirmed, the order is routed, which figures out whether it’s a regular product, a customized product, or a special item that requires extra attention — perhaps the customer has asked for it to be specially gift wrapped, or for that football jersey to have their name printed on the back.
This is followed by shipping integrations, which means that in the twenty-first century you’ll require fast and flexible options — such as express delivery, fast-track delivery, rather than your standard 7-day delivery. Some customers are simply impatient for your product (or so desperate without your product that they need it to breathe!) so making sure you are fit enough for super speed is essential for building your brand’s loyalty.
There are many stats that back this up: 61% of customers were incentivized to shop with a brand again in which they had a positive delivery experience. And that 58% chose a brand over others because they had more delivery options.
Now that your customers have selected their delivery options, their products are then picked, packed and shipped. But that’s not the end of your responsibilities. Because customers want greater transparency, as well as greater control. One aspect of allowing this is to give customers the ability to check their order status and to receive updates on their own terms — give them to option for updates via text message or email, for example. Even if it’s bad news, such as an issue in transit, it’s much better if the customer knows, rather than being left in the dark.
Add to this hassle-free returns. We know, intuitively, you don’t want to make this particularly easy, but if customers become frustrated trying to send their product back, they’re, in fact, becoming frustrated at you and your brand. So make it seamless, make it self-service: so that they can print out their own return label, and choose where to return it. And it may even boost the respectability of your brand.
Order management systems are quite complex and powerful, and so when you use an ecommerce platform like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you’ll need to add an OMS “extension”, or as SF Commerce Cloud calls it, a “cartridge.” So when you find an OMS suited for you, you simply integrate it with SF Commerce Cloud.
In fact, Salesforce Commerce Cloud has recently released into the wild their very own Lightning Order Management, which we covered just a couple of days ago.
The order management system makes or breaks a brand’s relationship with a client. Much like a first date, if you arrive late, what are the chances that they’d return? Or even worse, what would happen if you had to change the date at the last minute?