Most ecommerce retailers understand that without a streamlined process for gathering, processing and shipping orders, their operation would have trouble finding success. These companies already utilize software to make their online stores run efficiently. Why not do the same for their order management? It's crucial for Web-based businesses to implement order management system technology that will improve their entire procedure. Let's take a look at five of the most important features OMS should include for ecommerce organizations:
1. Customer database management
Ecommerce companies interact with a large number of clients on a regular basis. These customers input information including email address, phone number, credit card data and shipping address into a business's database for marketing updates, promotions and easy access for future transactions. With this information, however, comes the responsibility of making sure it's updated as often as possible. Consumers may forget they've already created a profile and start a new one, leaving a duplicate in an organization's system.
This instance, among many others, calls for proper management of the customer database. Ecommerce businesses need clean, updated data to ensure their efforts aren't falling on deaf ears and are actually reaching their intended audience. When choosing an OMS, companies should look for technology that includes this feature. Utilizing customer database management will save online businesses time and money in the future, making their operation more efficient.
2. Inventory integration
It's difficult for businesses to sell their products without an accurate idea of what's available. While having a separate inventory management system is wise, it's important for online retailers to integrate that solution with their OMS in some way. As a result, employees have an updated picture of the amount of a product left in stock or the availability of a certain service, according to Practical Ecommerce. By joining the two types of technology together, regular workers won't have to constantly communicate with order management staff to find out inventory details. Instead, both parties can look at a centralized database that is consistently updated with correct numbers.
Furthermore, this integration will help make the reordering and reporting process easier for business owners. Merchants can receive an alert when an item is running low, along with a price for the cost of the new order versus what they paid originally. Both inventory and order management systems will allow retailers to attain comprehensive reports detailing high and low selling periods, popular products and customer buying trends. All of this information – a result of the integration – can help ecommerce stores improve their functionality and consumer satisfaction.
3. Returns processing
Although neither the customer or online company could have foreseen it, there are times when certain products or services don't work out. At this point, people look to return the item and get their money back. There are many factors to consider when it comes to returns processing, as every ecommerce retailer has its own procedure for taking things back from customers. Every company will have its own time-sensitive policy along with case-specific guidelines to follow.
An OMS should have returns processing capabilities, following the stipulations set out by the Web-based organization and ensuring the relationship with the customer remains in tact, according to ecommPoint. The technology should have a procedure in place for reentering returned merchandise into the inventory, reimbursing customers and dealing with challenging circumstances. Implementing an OMS will take some of the stress of returns processing off the shoulders of merchants and place it in the hands of a team of professionals.
"PCI compliance will keep consumer data safe."
4. PCI compliance
Consumers want to trust their favorite ecommerce retailers. Transactions between the two parties usually occur using card-not-present payments, which can leave customer information vulnerable if online companies don't have the right security measures in place. Perhaps the most important protection merchants can put into place is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. Complying with these guidelines means Web-based organizations are following the 12 most basic security steps as well as any other updates to the requirements the PCI makes over time.
These standards are altered fairly frequently to give business owners the guidance they need to protect their customers and their data from current security concerns. This feature is not mandatory by any means, but ecommerce companies looking to implement an OMS should locate technology that includes this essential.
5. Customer service
The four preceding OMS essentials – customer database management, inventory integration, returns processing and PCI compliance – all fall under the umbrella of customer service in one way or another. Treating consumers with care and understanding is a critical element of any ecommerce business, even when situations are difficult. Strong customer service is vital to keeping client relationships on track, gaining referrals and encouraging consistent purchases. Online retailers should look for an OMS provider that supplies their organization with the best level of customer service. This element can make or break an ecommerce business's success.