How cross channel order orchestration, through an Order Management System helps you deliver on omnichannel experiences

As businesses faced pressure to go online, most established digital avenues for their customers to shop from, but is this enough to fulfil the exponentially increasing customer expectations of today?

It’s important to realise that consumers are not just secluded to either online or offline channels exclusively. They move across these channels conveniently to buy what they want, where they want, right when they want it.

Cross-channel orchestration through an Order Management System could be your first step in providing the omnichannel experience that your customers now expect. It also helps retailers achieve the right balance between cost, speed and efficiency

Receiving orders

Let’s consider Sandra, who is looking for running shoes at a sportswear website. She finds a pair of light blue trainers she likes, adds it to her cart and proceeds to check out.

A Deloitte study revealed that 69% customers want various delivery/pick-up options. 56% customers also expected the product to reach them within 3 days.

Since the sportswear brand uses a highly configurable Order Management System, Sandra gets the option to buy online and get it delivered to her home, buy online and pick it up from a nearby store or buy in-store and get it delivered to her home etc. Based on her convenience, she chooses to get it delivered and since she’s happy with the estimated time of arrival, she makes a credit card payment, confirming the purchase. A Deloitte study revealed that 69% customers want such delivery/pick-up options. 56% customers also expected the product to reach them within 3 days.

OMS gives retailers a single view of all orders, including Sandra’s, coming in from each customer touch point such as their ecommerce website, marketplaces or offline stores etc. Retailers also get a single view of all inventory, across all departments, from sales, operations to support. This eliminates errors, reduces costs and makes fulfilment a breeze. The sportswear brand could now maximize their existing inventory, reduce turnaround time and markdowns, enabling a faster cash cycle. Visibility into payments and reconciliation also ensures the customer’s purchase intent before the product is shipped.

Getting orders ready

Once a customer places an order, the products chosen could be located either at a warehouse or at a physical store. Depending on the configured rules, the OMS automatically calculates the fastest or most cost-effective locations from where these products could be picked up to be delivered to the customer. By treating offline stores as mini-distribution centres, retailers could optimise their real-estate investments, and even do without warehouses in some cases.

According to Direct Marketing News 46% consumers would stop doing business with a retailer if they were late at fulfilling an order.

According to Direct Marketing News 46% consumers would stop doing business with a retailer if they were late at fulfilling an order. The sportswear brand’s OMS found the shoes Sandra wanted at an offline store near her home, allowing a faster delivery time which was important for Sandra. The retailer also managed to reduce shipping costs involved, most of which was passed on to the customer. High shipping costs can account for more than 50% cart abandonments according to comScore.

Delivering these orders

Once the order has been placed and the optimal product pickup location is calculated, it’s time for the product to be delivered. With a single view of orders, Steve the store associate, could view Sandra’s order and pack the shoes ahead of time, keeping it ready to be shipped.

The Order Management System maps the best logistic partner available for fulfilment. Moreover, certain OMS come bundled with Logistics Management Software which helps with the optimal delivery routes from the first to the last mile, reducing costs and increasing speed.

Soon, Sandra’s shoes were picked up by Mark, the assigned delivery personnel, along with 2 other deliveries that were scheduled from the same store. With OMS, now Mark knew Sandra’s house was the closest to the store and left to deliver her package first.

Elevating post purchase experience

Sandra was anxious about the delivery and called support to enquire if her order would arrive at the specified time. A single view of all orders and delivery details to all departments, from store associates to support staff, enables them all to help the customer better. As soon as she mentioned her order reference number, the support rep, Lauren, informed her that her shoes were out to be delivered. As soon as she hung up, Mark had reached Sandra with her order.

Despite delivering the perfect order, the customer may not like a product and decide to return it. Infact, return costs can account up to 40% of all goods in some industries according to Deloitte. Optimizing returns management through physical and online channels is a must for profitability. When Sandra tried her shoes on, she noticed that they were a touch too big for her, so she opts for a replacement in a smaller size from the website.

Return costs can account up to 40% of all goods in some industries

With OMS, mapping all returns, replacements and reconciliations becomes very easy for operations executives. Though the original store didn’t have the size Sandra wanted, a nearby warehouse did. OMS mapped the order to the warehouse where Mark again, picked up the shoes and delivered it to Sandra while collecting the shoes Sandra returned at the same time. Sandra’s new shoes fit her perfectly and she was now ready to hit the gym.

Does delivering perfection make business sense?

Today seamless integration between various channels are a necessity to meet customer expectations, but putting an Order Management System in place could have other far reaching effects on your business too. Apart from increasing efficiency throughout the supply chain, OMS can also bring advanced analytical insights into the fulfilment process. Businesses can gain from enriched consumer data with a single view of each consumer and their preferences across channels. It also eliminates errors in fulfilment, mitigating loss in customer trust and loss of sale. With artificial intelligence, the automation OMS brings to cross channel orchestration can significantly reduce pressure on your workforce as well. Moreover, optimisation of the fulfilment processes results in significant cost savings across the board.

Kapil Raj
Kapil Raj has been writing about consumer behaviour, consumer businesses and technology in the fintech and IT space.