At SkuNexus, we get a lot of questions. Prospective clients have reached a point in their eCommerce journey where major change is required, and they need help.
Executing a major change is never easy, but recognizing that it’s necessary is a critical first step in the right direction.
When it comes to order management, many merchants use technology that performs well enough when business is light. As sales orders pick up, however, they find that same tech incapable of handling the expansion.
Others may employ manual processes to route and track orders. After one-too-many headaches, it occurs that there must be a better way to do this.
Whatever the situation, a vast array of order management solutions exists to help put your business back on a successful trajectory - finding out which one is right for you means doing some homework.
To help with that, we’d like to present 5 frequently asked order management questions we get at SkuNexus. These are fairly general and a good starting point to consider before digging deeper into the specific issues of your unique circumstances.
1. What Can You Integrate With?
This is arguably the first question you should ask of any management solutions provider. If their systems cannot seamlessly integrate with your entire tech stack, any number of potential problems can occur, and each one will cost time and money to fix.
On the other hand, having systems that do speak to each other yields singular and reliable information, maximizes ROI, saves time, and eliminates human error.
In addition to connecting to your eCommerce platform, a worthy order management system (OMS) should be able to communicate with ERP, POS, PIM, BI, and marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, etc.
Integrating with a wide range of software is crucial, however it must be stated that performance matters, as well.
Information sync is a critical function that ensures the same data exists between disparate systems. This does not just happen automatically, and lags can affect things like inventory accuracy. This, in turn, might delay the order fulfillment process, postpone delivery and negatively impact customer satisfaction.
SkuNexus allows information flow between any integrations in real time. By continually pulling data as quickly as connected software provides it, 100% inventory accuracy is maintained across sales channels.
Integrations with your technology are a necessary feature, certainly, but an OMS should integrate with other platforms as well. Namely, shipping companies. This ensures immediate access to delivery information about any order in the system while also providing the ability to rate shop between different carriers.
2. How Do You Automate Order Management?
The concept of automation can be difficult to grasp. We get that. All too often, images of warehouse robots and wheeled drones come to mind when one hears the word in relation to the eCommerce backend.
When we talk about automation at SkuNexus, it involves our systems performing tasks and making decisions using the wealth of information contained within. This functionality greatly increases efficiency and productivity, and opportunities for automation abound within the realm of order management.
Order Collection & Organization
This corresponds directly with the need for software integrations. Omnichannel orders will come in from a broad field of sources, and attempting to manually collect and sort them would inevitably be marred by human error.
A powerful OMS can not only receive order information from an ever-increasing number of sales channels, but will also be able to organize a coherent structure for merchants to begin processing.
When an order is received from a sales channel, the OMS leaps into action and checks inventory against the shipping address and fulfillment method, as well as any other special considerations. It then routes that order to the correct location for processing.
In SkuNexus, should the system determine that order would best be fulfilled via dropshipping, for example, a purchase order is generated automatically and submitted to the vendor.
Automating order routing shaves significant time off of the process, greatly reduces errors, and allows employees to spend their time performing other non-automated tasks.
In SkuNexus, an unlimited amount of order decision rules can also be set up to further enhance order routing. With this option, merchants are given supreme control - the OMS will route orders based on any criteria they wish.
Once the system has routed an order for fulfillment, a merchant must have the ability to continually see its status for any number of reasons.
At the most basic level, sending out periodic updates is an excellent business process to optimize the customer experience. In more advanced scenarios, an order may need to be adjusted mid-fulfillment. Without proper controls in place, locating it might be an exceedingly difficult maneuver.
The OMS can perform order tracking functions passively. As an order moves through fulfillment, the OMS is receiving data on its location, status, etc.
For example, perhaps 3 of 5 items in an order have been picked and packed and had a shipping label generated, and the other 2 items were routed to a dropshipper. Not only should the OMS know that the 3-item parcel is in the shipping department awaiting pickup by a carrier, but it should also be able to communicate with the dropshipping vendor and provide detailed information about the other 2 items.
3. Do You Support Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store and Ship-From-Store?
Online retailers with physical stores have a significant opportunity to leverage those stores by merging them into their eCommerce operations. An OMS built for omnichannel is needed to make this happen.
Shoppers have spoken and the message is clear - they love BOPIS. In order to offer it as a fulfillment option, your brick-and-mortar stores will require a transition. Floor sales associates may need to be armed with barcode scanners and double as pickers. Your layout could require a separate area dedicated to order pickup.
From a SkuNexus perspective, BOPIS is not a radical departure, but simply the addition of inventory and fulfillment center(s). Because our platform allows for unlimited expansion, it is perfectly suited for a merchant who wishes to offer this option.
Ship-From-Store is a great way to maximize in-store inventory by using it to fulfill online orders. Once your physical stores are added to the OMS, SkuNexus will incorporate them into routing decisions just as it would any other warehouse.
4. Can I Vary Access Between Different Employees or Teams?
This can be a necessary feature for a variety of reasons. Clearly defined user roles control what employees can see and do so that only information relevant to their work and responsibility level is accessible. In addition to fostering data security, it helps ensure employees will not be distracted by unnecessary material.
As with other key components of our system, SkuNexus makes managing user roles as simple as possible for the administrator. It is as easy as going through a list of items in the software, checking those items you want your user to see and which functions you’d like them to be able to perform.
5. What Is Your OMS Pricing Structure?
Transparency is critical to establishing (and maintaining) trust in any relationship and truth in pricing is a bedrock of any business.
SkuNexus has multiple tiers of pricing/features based on the requirements of its users. Unlike many available software solutions which charge a % of revenue or on a per item/per fulfillment basis, we do not. This means that you will never be penalized for your growth.
We can accommodate merchants fulfilling a hundred orders a month to those doing a hundred an hour. Regardless of the size of your business, you will receive customer-centric service aligned with our core values.
Undoubtedly, you will have more questions to ask as you interview prospective management software providers. Your business goals, your products, your personnel, and a host of other factors make what you want and need highly specific.
At SkuNexus, we believe that knowledge is power. We look forward to hearing from you so we can learn about your business and share as much of our knowledge as possible.
If you're enjoying our content, feel free to subscribe to our blog.
Better yet, go here to schedule a demo.