Managing orders no matter which industry is a tedious task and will have to be monitored from the time an order is placed till the time the delivered product has to be followed – up for a review.
So, here in this blog we talk about retail order management with the steps involved in the order fulfillment processes, most used features, and suggestions on how to improve it. (Source)
First, let’s see what order management for retailers is?
Retail order management is a process where a customer’s order delivery leaves from the production or distribution centre to be delivered to the person who placed the order.
Order processing, packaging, and shipping of orders are all part of the order management cycle.
An efficient order management process allows easy tracking and will have lesser errors resulting in complete order fulfillment.
Also, providing customers with an order tracking ID enhances the trust in the brand and helps in better inventory management as well.
A detailed look at the order fulfillment steps
From the time a customer clicks on the buy button there is a list of processes that are followed to ensure that the order reaches the person.
1. Received Orders
A response to the customers placing the order will be done in the backend with an email reply assuring them of acceptance or confirmation of orders.
This email is an automated response sent with the order details to a customer containing an order ID with the order tracking link that updates in every part of the process.
This email that is sent to the customer is simultaneously mailed to the order fulfillment team to get your order ready within estimated time.
2. Order pick up
This step involves searching for the ordered product from the warehouse.
If the product is ordered from a large company with a huge warehouse facility, the CRM software does the job for the person.
But, if the product is ordered from a small start-up which processes just a few orders in a month, a person-in-charge goes to the stockroom to bundle or pack the product to be shipped.
Packaging remains to be one of the key elements that determines if the product inside will be in good condition when it reaches the customer.
A packaging space needs to have perfect boxes for the products to fit in and needs to protect it in the transit times.
Also, the effort taken to pack the product attracts good reviews and star ratings on the shopping platform or on the social media channels.
4. Product shipping
According to proship, 97% of customers expect the ability to monitor their orders throughout every step of the shipping process.
This is the final stage where the product leaves your warehouse or stockroom to reach the customer.
Here, to send the product as a shipment,
- The shipment needs to be ordered from the service provider.
- A shipping label needs to be printed and stuck on the product package.
- Finally, the order needs to be mentioned as “shipped” in the order management system.
5. Tracking the order
“87.4% said that real-time order tracking made their buying experience more enjoyable”.(Source)
Tracking orders is one of the most delightful experiences for a customer and is checked multiple times in a day.
So, when an order is shipped, a customer needs to get a confirmation email that contains the link to track the product orders.
Merchants using an order tracking software allows them to trail the order’s progress across the map with exceptions like a customer’s delivery times.
6. Product delivery
If the condition of the product, delivery times, and product features after the usage manages to impress the customer, then without a doubt a good review will be given.
These reviews will attract good attention and enquiries resulting in some conversions or referrals.
Late delivery times, or an unexpected delivery standard will end up in losing customers. So, maintaining a good impression is the key in the business.
7. Product follow-ups
An important aspect in any business is the customer satisfaction rates and making sure they are happy with the delivered product.
A follow up email with an online rating link and also a contact number or an email ID to reach out to in case of issues will get you all the appreciation from the customer.
These actions in every stage of the buyer cycle will surely bring in high customer retention rates and lead to referrals also.
Features of Retail Order Management System
A retail order management system that can fasten the management processes for retailers is a good replacement for old ERP systems and excel spreadsheets that were used for years.
This system has features that are based on the interaction points enhancing the overall customer experience.
1. Personalized Messaging
A message or an email that is addressed to each customer will make them happy and feel privileged.
Using personalized messages for feedback, follow-ups, and first interaction will show care and priority for customers.
This will also boost customer retention rates in the longer run and will increase referrals to the brand.
With a retail order management system in place, you can customize messages to be sent from the time an order is placed to the time a product follow-up mail or a message has to be sent.
2. Managing orders
One of the key purposes of the retail order management system is to streamline order processes and keep all the other systems such as logistics, delivery personnel, ERP, CRM, and warehouse in sync to deliver the product.
For instance, From the time you’ve ordered a mobile phone from an online store to the order processing time, its data is available on the order management system.
After the order is final, the details are sent to the other departments that are working to get the order processed sooner.
3. Assigning tasks
The order management system allocates tasks according to the needed resources and changes to the next resource automatically if the resources are unavailable.
For example: An order management system automatically identifies the concerned departments if the stock is finishing up faster for quick replacement of the same.
The system also keeps a track of the transportation facilities and updates the retail managers about its status.
4. A centralized platform
All the order related details, messages, tracking of the shipments and delivery agents can be done from the single window.
Features such as availability of mobile CRM systems, cloud- based storage and data access, and managing multiple outlets are the USPs of using a centralized system.
Having a centralized order management system makes management of product stocks at retail outlets much easier with maintaining an efficient delivery flow.
Advanced tools like Kapture have all that one needs from an order management system and many more to ease the retail manager’s processes.
Suggested reading: https://www.kapturecrm.com/blog/need-for-order-tracking-systems/
5. Customer requests and complaints
Responding to queries, requests, and complaints from one dashboard without a need to switch tabs is the best part of using an order management system.
Choosing advanced order management with new technologies like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning capabilities is the best solution.
One of the features that eases pressure for the retail managers is the auto message generating feature.
These messages are populated automatically according to the keywords in the customer messages helping them to maintain specific tonality in the message replies.
Order Fulfillment Automation
Using an order management system with an automated order fulfillment will reduce the errors and fasten the overall processes.
The automation processes will improve,
- Receiving and allocation of new inventory stocks
- Storage in a warehouse or the distribution center
- Customer order processing that involves picking and packaging
- Shipping and Logistics Tracking .
Adding to that, an order management system with advanced features will also automate the communication messages for customers.
Here’s how you can improve your retail order management process
Though using an order management system in an order fulfillment process will be efficient, here are some more tips to make the retail order management better.
1. Utilization of Zone Skipping Technique
First, let’s see what zone skipping in retail is.
Zone skipping is a technique of delivering the ordered product from the nearest warehouse to a customer instead of picking a warehouse that has maximum stock for the same product.
If your retail outlet is huge with multiple warehouse facilities, the zone skipping technique can lower shipping costs and fasten the delivery processes.
This technique can increase the customer satisfaction rates and raise the value of the brand in the customer’s eye.
2. Need for a time-gap between purchase and order fulfillment
One of the unusual moves that needs to be present between order processing and shipping processes is a time gap to lower fake purchases.
Merchants are quick to process the orders as soon as it is placed to satisfy the customer and receive good ratings.
But, instead implementing a two to three hour time gap to stop counterfeit purchases and completely sort out the right order to ship it to the customer would be ideal.
3. Lowering the number of steps in your processes
In an order management system, deleting or rectifying some processes that take up a lot of time like fully customized invoices and slow syncing processes should be primary.
Adding customized layers in the order management system would need approval and set in unnecessary delay in the overall output for retailers.
4. Training all your employees
Getting an order management system that people do not know how to use will be of no use.
So, setting up a training session for all your retail managers and all of the staff in the order management process would be beneficial.
Training your employees will help them be in sync with the order processes and work in unison to get the orders delivered on time.
5. Consider complete automation
Avoiding manual entry processes in retail order management will be a time consuming one and prone to mismatches.
With an order management system in place, you can automate everything from emails to tracking of delivery agents.
Also, no new employees or people will be needed to handle the workload when your business is growing and there will be a productivity rise compared to manual data management.
Omni-channel Order Management
Omnichannel order management are the systems that are in sync to make sure your customer purchases are efficiently and quickly handled, shipped, or prepared for delivery pick up.
An omni-channel order management allows the manager to access customer, order, and inventory information across any channel.
Tracking and managing orders from different channels will remove the stress off managers and streamline ordering management processes.
So, how do I choose an order management system?
Choosing a right order management system can be hard considering the range of options available in the market today.
Basically, an order management system with these listed features will completely assist retail managers.
- Streamlines order fulfillment processes
- Paperless invoice or report generation
- Helps in faster order processing
- Offers a single window for multiple channel communication
- Continuously syncs with the inventory
- Tracks orders on-field or in transit.
- Equipped with AI, ML, and NLP capabilities.
So, choosing an appropriate brand that offers you complete assistance in training and support for the order management system is also necessary.
Looking for an efficient order management software with advanced features?
Kapture’s order management platform makes managing simple for every order in a retail environment with a lot more features that further eases the processes.
Want to know more? Click here for a demo.
About the Author
|Sunith Ramachandra says, “Content writing is all about using the right words for the right audience”. At kapture he does exactly the same writing content to create conversations and conversions online.|