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Ecommerce order management: Key to maximum efficiency

Versha Kamwal
July 27, 2021
7
mins read

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Online shopping has become the reality of the millennials and online orders have become the revenue drivers of ecommerce businesses.

Once online shoppers click on the “Buy” button, their order’s journey begins.

Picking, packing, and shipping orders might not sound too hard. But when these orders come in more often than ever, potential challenges can arise. When sales grow, sales channels multiply, and customer base increases—you need a streamlined system to manage your orders.

In this blog, you will learn what is order management, the process of order management, what is order processing, why your business needs an accurate order management, what is an order management system (OMS), how it can benefit your ecommerce business and how Eshopbox helps you to streamline order management.

What is order management?

Order management is the end-to-end cycle of receiving and processing an online order. It includes accepting the customer's order, picking, packing, shipping the order and finally tracking it until it gets delivered to the customer doorstep. Sometimes, it also includes handling online returns.

The order management cycle

The order management entails are all the steps and activities involved in ecommerce order fulfilment, including:

1. Order is placed

The first step is when a customer makes a purchase by completing the checkout process. Now, the orders have to be collected and consolidated in a single system as the orders can be placed by customers across multiple sales channels from different locations, at different times.

2. Order is received

Once the order is placed, the relevant order information is transferred from the ecommerce store to the fulfilment centre through automated tools, including order details, shipping details, delivery address, and more.

3. Order is picked

The order is assigned to the picking team—whether by human or robot. The pickers get a descriptive picking slip including the items, quantities, and storage locations to collect the products from their respective locations in the fulfilment centre and deliver it to a packing station.

4. Order is packed

The order is packaged with secure packaging material. Sometimes, ecommerce brands want to create a unique unboxing experience for their customers so they choose custom packaging for their orders.

5. Order is shipped

Orders are marked 'ready-to-ship' for the courier service that have to be picked up from the fulfilment centre. Then they are shipped to the customer’s location via one or more transportation methods.

6. Order is delivered

Finally, the order is delivered to the customer's doorstep within the estimated date of delivery.

7. Post-purchase experience and feedback

Following up and staying in contact with customers post-delivery, for their valuable feedback— positive or negative. As post-purchase experience can make customers feel that their opinion matters.

8. Management of returns and exchanges

If the customers are not satisfied with their order, they can return or exchange them. For that, the pick up of the product is aligned. After the returned product reaches the fulfilment centre, quality checks are performed to detect any damage and quick restocking of the product in the available inventory is ensured to make it re-sellable. And, the refund is processed. While in case of exchange, a new product is delivered to the customer.

You can track the efficiency of order management via ecommerce metrics such as order accuracy, picking accuracy, and more with qualitative feedback from your customers. This can help you improve the fulfilment process to increase customer satisfaction and cut costs at the same time.

Order management steps

What is order processing?

Order processing is the workflow of order management—from order placement to delivery. It is a key element of ecommerce order fulfilment as order accuracy and speed leads to customer satisfaction. Order processing involves manual operations and automated processed powered by best-in-class technology.

Now that you know what order management and order processing entails, let's see why do you need accuracy and efficiency in order management.

Why does your ecommerce business need accurate order management?

Some of the key challenges for an ecommerce business include human error and delay in order processing, process backlogs, inventory visibility, transportation errors, and poor communication. All this can impact order management adversely and affect customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here are the reasons why you need efficient order management:

1. Simplifies order management

The biggest benefit of having accurate order processing is that it makes the process of managing customer orders very easy. It not only saves you time but also money. As you start receiving more and more orders, accurate order processing helps to avoid the risk of human error by automating your order fulfilment operations, such as inventory management and prevents overstocking and understocking.

2. Maintains the brand image

It’s common to start making mistakes when you are dealing with high order volume. This can result in wrong products, wrong addresses, and delayed shipments. Ultimately, lead to damaging your brand image. That is why it’s so important to have streamlined order management. Things may still go wrong once in a while but rarely. This way, you will be able to scale your business without becoming overwhelmed.

3. Provides greater cost-savings

By streamlining your order management you not only eliminate costs associated with human error but can also benefit from further cost savings. With accurate order management, you’ll know what you have in stock and the pick-pack process runs more efficiently. This enables you to process more orders in the same amount of time with the same manpower.

What is an order management system (OMS)?

An order management system (OMS) is a tool or platform that automates the entire order management process by tracking and managing the following:

  • Customers
  • Sale channels
  • Product information
  • Inventory levels and location
  • Picking, packing, and shipping
  • Returns and refunds

An order management system gives you a unified view of customer orders and complete visibility of the entire process to help you manage them in one place. This means you can track the entire journey of a customer order, from the “Buy” button to delivery and even returns. Thus, an order management system organises and automates everything that needs to happen to ensure speedy order delivery while maintaining incredible order accuracy.

Now, let's see the advantages of having a robust order management system for your ecommerce business.

Benefits of an order management system (OMS)

1. Consolidates multi-channel orders

Selling your products across multiple online channels, like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, and more, is a great way to increase your sell-through rate. But without a proper system in place, you can oversell, miss TATs (Turnaround Times) or ruin the order accuracy. Moreover, it isn't easy to manually export orders from each sales channel into a centralised spreadsheet. However, with an order management system (OMS), you can automatically consolidate orders into a unified view. This will help you save time and eliminate errors.

2. Gives a real-time and centralised view

The order management system offers a single view of the entire order processing in real-time. For instance, how many orders are you have received, from which sales channel, which stage of order processing are they on, and more. This protects against order errors, customer dissatisfaction, or lost revenue due to common issues like low inventory, incorrect invoicing, or unforeseen transportation errors.

3. Provides greater inventory control

The real-time capabilities of an order management system benefit the entire inventory management. You can access order data including items sold, returned, or exchanged. This can help you minimise the chance of overselling.

4. Offers efficiency

An order management system operates on automation that can help you save costs on manual labour, decreases the risk of human error across invoicing and order data. Moreover, it also increases data security as there is less need for manual intervention.

5. Provides 24/7 access

You can access your order management system from anywhere at anytime. This means you can manage order processing remotely. This results in greater data control, better customer service, and more efficient order processing.

6. Enables focus on growth

Order management system creates a standardised process from one single platform, that enables you to extract and analyse data in order to leverage business intelligence for further growth and tackle any issues. It’s hard to make sense of data when it’s scattered across multiple platforms. Order management systems allow you to see all sales order data in one place, making it easier to analyze the available information and make data-driven decisions.

How to streamline order management with Eshopbox

1. Consolidated order management

Eshopbox’s technology platform automatically consolidates orders from multiple sales channels into a unified view. This means you can have a real-time view of the entire order processing operations such status of all your orders. With Eshopbox, inventory and order updates are instant, reducing the risk of overselling across every channel.

Eshopbox's dashboard
Eshopbox's dashboard

2. On-time order processing

Eshopbox's fully compliant and SLA-driven picking and packing service enables you to meet all the Service Level Agreements for every order and every channel, such as Amazon and Flipkart, without any breaches or penalties.

Moreover, you can enable priority pick and pack for orders that require faster turnaround times (TATs). Courier pickups are aligned for ready-to-ship orders to ensure timely delivery of your customer purchases.

3. Intelligent packaging logic

Every order processed through the Eshopbox Platform is automatically rated to maximise cost savings by considering the following factors:

  • Packing options
  • Product dimensions
  • Carrier options
  • Inventory availability
  • End customer destination
  • Custom business rules

4. Custom packaging options for a great unboxing experience

Eshopbox allows you to delight your customers with an exceptional unboxing experience to foster your brand image. You can customise packaging as per your requirement by setting flexible packaging rules:

  • Generate custom packing lists, invoices and labels that showcase your brand
  • Customise packaging and gift wrapping as per your needs
  • Add marketing inserts, samples and custom messages

5. Optimised reverse logistics

Eshopbox allows you manage returns effectively in the following ways:

  • Eshopbox automates returns tracking to help you stay notified, and auto-syncs your returns from multiple sales channels to the Eshopbox system. This improves the customer experience with hassle-free return labels.
  • Eshopbox handles returns by aligning a pickup for shipping the returned product back to the fulfilment centre. Then performs quality checks to detect defects and damage of any kind, refurbishes it, and restocks the product in your available inventory to make it re-sellable.

Bottom line

Ecommerce order management is the key process to ensure seamless order fulfilment. You can manage the lifecycle of an order with a robust order management system (OMS). It can help streamline the entire order processing, control costs and generate revenue by automating manual processes and reducing errors. Each step of the order management represents an opportunity to provide a great product and customer experience for your customer that can boost retention and revenue.

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