Unified Order Management Key to Seamless Omnichannel Experiences

Retailers enabling smooth omnichannel experiences allow customers to purchase when, where and how they want – unifying online and in-store shopping into one interconnected experience. However, delivering consistent, unified customer journeys depends on tackling complex backend challenges. At the crux lies order management – the systems processing orders across in-store, online and mobile channels. Unifying these into a single cross-channel order management system is key to true omnichannel success. 

Read on to understand why unified order management systems are indispensable to create seamlessly connected omnichannel retail.

The order management imperative 

The technology at the heart of unified commerce is unified order management. Order management refers to the systems that manage and execute orders across channels.

As omnichannel retail took off, these fragmented OMSes resulted in disjointed experiences. The stock displayed as available on a website would be unavailable for in-store pickup. Products returned in-store took days to be updated online. Pricing and promotions could have been more consistent across channels. Omnichannel was failing due to disconnected order management.

Unified order management provides the fix by consolidating all channel-specific OMSes into one system. This gives retailers real-time visibility and control over all orders in one place. So whether an order originates online, in-store or via an app, the unified OMS handles fulfillment and inventory allocation across the entire network. 

Using a single order management hub is the only way retailers can gain an accurate view of inventory and allocate it optimally to each channel. Without it, omnichannel falls apart due to order management chaos.

Benefits of unified order management 

Implementing unified OMS delivers a range of operational benefits:

  1. Real-time cross-channel visibility into orders and fulfillment
  2. Improved inventory accuracy
  3. Faster and more efficient order fulfillment
  4. Increased order orchestration and sourcing options like ship-from-store 
  5. Enhanced order flexibility, allowing changes between channels  

These capabilities add up to one thing: better omnichannel experiences. Unified order management directly translates into seamless shopping for customers. Intelligent omnichannel order orchestration allows retailers to seamlessly route and fulfill orders across channels, enabling capabilities like buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and Buy online return in store (BORIS) which require coordinating inventory availability and order delivery across physical and digital locations.

Seamless in-store pickup and returns

By centralizing order data, the OMS can instantly allocate online orders to the right stores for pickup. Out-of-stocks drop since all inventory is visible. Issues like being unable to find orders, long pickup queues and turns due to unavailable items are eliminated.

The same applies to omnichannel product returns through BORIS. Customers expect to return items purchased in one channel to any other – return an online order to a physical store, for example. Unified order management seamlessly handles reimbursement and inventory updates across all channels. Without it, processing returns and channel-to-channel inventory syncing involve significant delays.  

Consistent product availability 

One of the customers’ most significant pain points is items showing as available only to be informed later they’re out-of-stock. Unified order management prevents this. The single OMS has real-time access to the latest inventory across channels and incoming and outgoing orders. This ensures showrooming issues don’t occur – displaying inventory on a website or app already purchased in-store.

360 degree view of customer activity

Unified order management aggregates a customer’s entire order history across channels, giving agents a holistic profile during interactions. Without a unified view, customers get frustrated having to explain their issues repeatedly. Order management integration enables personalized service to recognise someone’s past purchases, returns, inquiries or issues.  

The road to omnichannel success

Unified order management paves the path to success for retailers aiming to deliver exceptional omnichannel experiences. Implementing a single scalable OMS lays the foundation to unify, optimize and personalize all sales channels. The operational efficiencies also drive down the costs of doing omnichannel business.  

The coming years will see unified order management become a prerequisite for relevance. Delivering this hinges on unifying order management across all sales channels. The time for retailers to make the shift is now. An integrated order management platform is the key to omnichannel excellence today and tomorrow.

Interesting Related Article: “The Benefits of Having an Omnichannel Contact Center