What is Order Management?
When eCommerce businesses start out, every new order is an exciting occasion that you personally, or your small staff, can handle. Things can’t go on like this forever, though. Once your brand takes off, it’s important to have the right streamlined systems and automation in place so that you’re not overwhelmed by an increasing number of orders and your eCommerce business can sustainably grow and then scale.
Your ability to succeed in these areas comes down to quickly mastering the new disciplines of: warehouse or fulfillment center management, inventory management, and order management.
Order management refers to the entire process of receiving, tracking, and fulfilling eCommerce orders. The process begins when a customer places an eCommerce order with an online retailer and then concludes when the customer receives that order.
Why is eCommerce Order Management Important?
Entrepreneurs don’t dream small; they don’t settle for comfortable stagnation either. Entrepreneurs dream BIG and they want to push their businesses to develop. As that growth takes place, without strong order management systems and softwares, you could start to fall behind as you try to take care of each eCommerce order on a hands-on individual basis. Order management solutions mean:
Fewer Mistakes on Orders – Once your eCommerce business is booming, you can’t be expected to hand pack and ship every order yourself. By this time you should have gotten a 3PL fulfillment provider (like ShipMonk) involved to take your business to the next level. The streamlined order management solutions that 3PLs provide handle high volume and complex orders in a seamless, synchronized way. Your eCommerce inventory is in good hands through the entire journey from order to delivery. All the while you and your customers have complete transparency regarding order status, delivery updates, and the post-purchase experience. This reduces your stress as a business owner, better protects your brand’s reputation, and keeps trains running on time, so to speak.
Reduced Overstocking and Understocking – Overstocking could lead to spending extra money on storing products that do not have a high turnover rate and just sit gathering dust, utilizing valuable warehouse space. Understocking can lead to backorders, split shipments, or lost sales and, thus, negatively impact customer experience and profit. ShipMonk’s sophisticated inventory and order management platform gives eCommerce businesses incredible, real-time data and complete visibility so they are empowered to make the best decisions for their stocks and SKUs.
Ability to Make Data-Driven Decisions – There are so many platforms, suites, softwares, and so on for today’s eCommerce business owner that sometimes sorting through all the info and making a decision can be more overwhelming than walking into a Baskin-Robbins in mid summer and choosing between 31 flavors!
That’s why 3PL fulfillment providers emphasize seamless integration throughout our approach to order management. Real-time data tells you everything you need to know about your inventory housed across our eleven strategically-located fulfillment centers, purchasing trends, delivery statuses, and more. Additionally, our reporting dashboards allow eCommerce merchants to make swifter, informed choices and spot/resolve issues faster, which can create substantial positive ripples in your bottom line and the optimization of your supply chain.
Saving Valuable Time – eCommerce business owners have A LOT on their plates. As your business grows, you need to focus more on high-value tasks relating to your grander vision, branding, growth, and scaling. The nitty gritty of fulfilling individual eCommerce orders should not weigh you down. Our job as a 3PL fulfillment provider is to handle order management—everything from inventory management to picking and packing orders to shipping—so you can focus on the “fun” part of being an entrepreneur, fine tuning strategy and building your brand while those trains run smoothly.
The eCommerce Order Management Journey
As mentioned, order management solutions oversee your products from the moment a customer clicks “Buy Now” until that order arrives at his or her front door. Order management systems streamline and safeguard every aspect of this process so your inventory flows smoothly, your business can grow, and you have the visibility to adjust quickly and make empowered, data-driven decisions. But what are the exact steps that an order management system covers? There are seven main steps in the order management cycle that 3PL fulfillment provider platforms take care of.
1.) Placed – Customers place an order from an eCommerce merchant’s website.
2.) Received – eCommerce order info is processed by our 3PL fulfillment centers, assigning the order to one of our eleven locations.
3.) Picked – A 3PL fulfillment center employee or AMR picks the ordered good(s) from an eCommerce merchant’s available inventory.
4.) Packed – The eCommerce order is carefully packed at one of our 3PL fulfillment centers either with our own packaging or an eCommerce merchant’s custom packaging.
5.) Shipped – The eCommerce order leaves the 3PL fulfillment center via one of our trusted shipping carriers, initiating tracking via our sophisticated online system so eCommerce merchants and their customers always know the status of their package(s).
6.) Delivered – The eCommerce order reaches the end customer.
7.) Followed Up – After delivery, the eCommerce merchant follows up with the customer in some way to gain feedback about the order, perhaps in the form of a review, so the merchant can gauge customer satisfaction in various areas. Additionally, the eCommerce merchant makes it easy to file any claims if there is something wrong with the order via a user-friendly post-purchase suite.
Importance of an Order Management System
As a business owner, it’s natural to feel compelled to touch every part of the process. However, the difference between a business that survives vs. thrives long-term is putting the right people and systems in place so you can focus on running your business while trusting that reliable entities ensure success across all channels.
Order management solutions are a key part of that. Like at ShipMonk, the technology we put in place for order management is dedicated to accuracy, transparency, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. The automated flow of our 3PL fulfillment centers ease processes and keep your supply chain from getting bottlenecked.
It’s true there are a lot of order management systems out there. But if you want to entrust your growing eCommerce business to a system that is consistently reliable as your sales increase, SKUs expand, and channels and customers rapidly multiply, go with an order management system at a 3PL fulfillment company driven by technology, innovation, and data-empowered decisions. Go with ShipMonk.
No matter your goals, our order management system will be there with you each step of the way—taking care of every single aspect of an eCommerce order’s journey so you can get back to being the boss of your brand and expanding your vision. Contact ShipMonk now to get started!