If you still perceive sales as an interaction at a shop, you might as well belong to the age of the dinosaurs! Shops for that matter, are the last of a seller’s concerns with the shop owner being primarily responsible for retaining his clientele. Marketing today has gone omnichannel with channels being put in place almost on a daily basis. In fact, the latest online mode of sales has entire organizations coming up just to serve the digital space with practically zero presence in the real world!
That being so let’s look at home the entire order management system work while answering pertinent questions.
Why an order management system?
Sales in the 21st century and beyond shall increasingly have newer ways while retaining the traditional ways. While at one time sales meant interactions at a street-corner shop, these days it has moved to multiple ways including ordering online be it from sites like Amazon and Flipkart, or from a company’s website, or thru drop shipping, direct pick-up from a company’s own stores etc.
That besides, sales these days has gone beyond products to include the entire journey from knowing about a product to its procuring, using, satisfying, giving feedback to ordering once again (if the scope so exists). All these activities take place that clearly bring out customer preferences- channel-wise and need to be recorded and analysed to make the entire interaction richer and more worth a second try.
With the increase in touch points (usually brought about by extreme and never-ending digitization), there is a need to make each touch-point more interesting, arresting and worthy of a warm smile. But to make it that way, a marketer needs information about regular use, reasons why customers come back (or don’t) and what can be done better to make the interaction richer. All this is very efficiently captured by the order management system.
Inventory has to be allocated across touch-points and means of sales while having information on the speed of turnaround under each option so as to avoid stock-outs. Knowing inventory status vs what is expected under each head gets done at the speed of light with the use of the right order management system.
What are the constituents of an OMS?
An order management system is a complete suite that facilitates and captures details across the entire spectrum of the sale transaction. Among others it helps with:
Capturing user data in complete details
Users come in all forms across every selling channel and leave as much information about their needs, perceptions and how they would want to be treated by the seller. Helping capture this data for better offers and assistance all year around is the work of the OMS.
Capturing inventory data, channel-wise
While multiple channels exist to facilitate the sale of a product, the product by itself might have very limited variations across channels. What this calls for is to make available every product being requested with equal ease and speed. Helping store information about inventory, the speed of movement, product-wise distinction on what gets sold when and why, location of inventory etc at one place on a single screen is the work of the OMS. It is thus the perfect source that reflects the status of inventory at any time.
Capturing supplier data, be it about products, services, storage or delivery
While sales channel might be many, the same applies to its suppliers who could be in large numbers to facilitate as seller’s needs to supply things to a customer. An OMS helps by having detailed information on every supplier, their specializations, USPs, unique terms and conditions, and all the possible information to make an informed decision.
Capturing data on prices paid by customers and refunds issued (if any)
While capturing data on products and customers is one thing, having information on things as important as prices paid and refunds are just as important to retain customers and get every transaction right. That besides, the whole things about prices and refunds are subject to every country’s taxation system that has to be perfect and accurate so as to capture just the right information at the right time so that the seller besides being close to customer, remains on the right side of the law.
Capturing data on status of package from the time an order is asked for including ordering for material, packing material, labels, pick-up and shipping
Order Management System is said to capture data on the status of the shipment from the time the booking (or reverse) takes place to the final delivery of the item that was ordered. It records every element and aspect of the shipment from pick and pack, to specialized packing, special handling, marking and numbering to delivery in promised time. The same to an extent applies to reverse logistics where such a thing is ordered by the customer. Making things easy for the 3PL/ 4PL provider is the perfectly meshed OMS!
Capturing feedback across transactions, and most of all collating the same to perceive user’s perception, and finding means to make things easier, faster and more fulfilling
It is one thing to supply as ordered, and quite another to gain a user’s feedback. With digital means making things faster and thus more satisfying, it has brought center-stage something that sellers never want. Competition. By not taking feedback on time, and in the right format with all details in place, the seller runs the risk of pushing customers into competition’s open arms. Knowing exactly what the customer things, how it can be improved and where the likely hitch can be, is said to make the transaction far easier while helping sellers relate to customers’ anguish.
Facilitating messaging to customers about every relevant aspect of the business
The digital age has taken messaging to the speed of light- in either direction. It helps retain customers by brining before them the latest there is in inventory, services, costing or any aspect that can make interactions better. Consolidating the best of messaging to make the same coherent and purpose-driven with the intent to improve the experience is the OMS. In the process, it also helps decipher customer needs, wants and pains for bettering the existing.
How does an OMS help a seller
Sellers aren’t mind-readers to get everything right from the word go. But with the likes of a great OMS, one can read the tea-leaves to understand which way the wind blows and provide products likewise to enhance the experience. This may seem highly unlikely in the absence of a system that is tailored to customer needs in every aspect.
What are the pains of a customer an OMS helps relieve
One of the biggest advantages of using an OMS from the customer view-point is that it consolidates information in one place and helps derive trends to make the right predictions. Imagine a systems that simply cannot take into account all the chatter that takes place between customers! Despite winning the marketer won’t be able to read the customers’ mind to make the correct moves to grab opportunities for growth.
OMS is thus not a fancy system for marketing and sales in the digitally connected world. It is in fact a need whose time has come.