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Written by Derrick Weiss

Omnichannel Order Management Primer

There's no denying that omnichannel is massively important. But how does omnichannel create a good customer experience, and what tools do you actually use to make it a reality? We dig into the backend of operations to see how fulfillment and inventory management can create a fantastic experience.

The change in the e-commerce landscape in the past decade has been phenomenal, but while everyone is talking about the next "big" thing in online commerce, the order management system often gets overlooked.

While there's no denying that omnichannel is important, not every merchant is prepared to implement it correctly.

According to Forrester research, less than one third of commerce professionals believe they have a mature omnichannel strategy.

This means that while ecommerce is still lagging behind for many companies, the OMS is pushed even further onto the back-burner.

Finding an order management system that supports, and furthers, your omnichannel goals is the only way to achieve excellence in omnichannel.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Order Management - which covers everything you need to know to delight your customers after they've placed an order.

Even though only 1/3 of professionals are comfortable with their omnichannel strategy,  according to Forrester Analyst Peter Sheldon, “52% of eBusiness professionals ranked omnichannel integration as a top technology investment priority.”

That's because customers expect to be able to shop anywhere, any time and get their items in a quick manner with flexible options for shipping.

With services like Amazon Prime making two-day shipping the norm, and retailers like Walmart offering same-day in-store pickup, mid-market and enterprise customers are struggling to compete with the power these shopping behemoths have.

The New York Times* reported that Amazon sales grew by 23 percent in 2014, thanks to that year marking major changes in the merchant’s order management and fulfillment capabilities. 

What do you look for in a strong order management system that will put the vital operations “finishing touches” on your end-to-end omnichannel strategy?

Let us know in the comments!

Omnichannel Inventory and Order Management Essentials

Expedited picking, packing and shipping is the main goal of any warehouse - inventory gets moved quicker with less overhead, and customer satisfaction increases with on-time and accurate orders in their hands. 

“The average inventory on hand for businesses of all sizes has risen 8.3% in the past 5 years. As a result, businesses keep $1.43 of inventory on hand for every $1 of sales, which means a lot of capital is tied up in inventories.”


A system that automates fulfillment sources and generates warehouse-layout efficient pick-pack lists can reduce the amount of time (and costs) warehouse sitting in inventory generates. 

Reducing the cost of inventory and order management can be achieved by integrating an impeccable omnichannel e-commerce, mobile commerce and in-store strategy, but only if the warehouse and fulfillment system is capable of delivering a matched excellence in back-office functions. 

Expanded Fulfillment Capabilities

A study of over 250 retailers and 1,500+ customers* explored the revenue-driving benefits companies have realized by enabling expanded fulfillment capabilities like ship-from-store, in-store fulfillment and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS). Check out the stats from the survey below:

  • 77% of surveyed retailers who cited that enabling ship-from-store had reduced their fulfillment costs.
  • 88% of surveyed retailers who cited that enabling ship-from-store had improved their customer satisfaction KPIs and metrics.
  • 50% of consumers expect to buy online and pick up in-store.

An efficient omnichannel order management system creates a single source of truth from every channel and all information sources, allowing merchants control and visibility through all channels and enabling more productivity.

Fulfilling those orders is a bigger challenge than it may seem. 

Omnichannel features like these are no longer pipe dreams only accessible by big box retailers with deep pockets. :

  • in-store fulfillment
  • buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS)
  • real-time inventory visibility
  • in-store kiosk orders

It is easy to see why these features are becoming the new norm, enabling all inventory for selling will bring a significant lift across all key performance metrics like average order volume, repeat customers and most importantly – revenue.

With so many “must-have” features in today’s customer-dominated retail landscape, what are the strongest considerations for the business as a whole when evaluating a potential order management system?

Top Three Features to Look for in an OMS:

1. In-Store Fulfillment

Brands that have both brick-and-mortar and online operations are seeking tools to let their store employees fulfill online orders directly from store inventory at the point-of-sale system.

Customized processes need to be implemented into legacy POS systems to support store fulfillment in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner, and they are looking to their OMS vendors to offer this to them.

Enterprise Inventory

An effective order management system needs to centralize inventory in accurate, near-real time from all channels and disparate systems into a single, accessible view of inventory across the entire business.

This is naturally important because selling inventory that you don't have can get you penalized on certain marketplaces, and is generally misleading and detrimental to customer happiness.

Customer Service

E-commerce has presented unique challenges for customer service representatives. Whether an order can be cancelled or modified is often out of their hands – usually unbeknownst to the customer.

An order management system with real-time visibility into the order life cycle from fulfillment through shipping is the most efficient way to help your customer team provide the best experience to your shoppers.

Transitioning to Omnichannel Order Management

Re-platforming a system as critical as the order management and inventory management system does not have to result in major disruptions for your internal teams or drops in service levels provided to your customers.

According to Forrester’s Building a Business Case for Omnichannel in Retail*, the most common reasons for failure when implementing a new system or combining legacy systems are:

  • A lack of internal support and communication
  • Too little stakeholder and C-level buy-in and confidence
  • Inadequately defined requirements
  • A failure to understand customer expectations
  • Inaccurate project cost estimates and timelines
  • Incorrect understanding of the potential impact enterprise-wise

Enabling omnichannel across the enterprise requires a willing investment in time, resources, and technology.

Before beginning the project, it’s important to understand the consequences (both positive and negative) of on-boarding a new system.

Building your business case and roadmap to define who, what, where and when with defined timelines and milestones for each business unit across is crucial to implementing your system on-time and on-budget.

Working with a trusted partner is imperative to a smooth project implementation. If you are one of 50%+ of eBusiness professionals that are beginning to evaluate your omnichannel strategy, or are already in the process of searching for a new OMS – check out our Data-Driven Guide to Omnichannel.

Data driven omnichannel order management


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