Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Customer-Centric Order Management System

Top 10 Factors to Consider when Selecting a Customer-centric Order Management System

Ordering is critical to an exceptional customer experience, and a good order management system helps that promise. Getting an order wrong for any customer can significantly impact your bottom line. So how can an order management system help, and how do you select the right one?

An Order Management System (OMS) on the backend of your ecommerce business drives your customer's overall shopping experience and profitability. Customers demand a frictionless post-purchase process from checkout to delivery. They want to receive products on time and on their terms, including same-day shipping or picking up an item from a brick-and-mortar location. Your customers want visibility and real-time updates throughout their journey.

An OMS can help you expand to new markets, improve point of order tracking, and increase ecommerce sales by handling orders quickly and efficiently, providing an improved experience. A customer-centric OMS will also help you gain clear visibility into warehouse activity and reduce your business's time spent on the back end, saving you time and money. Here are five ways an OMS can help you meet customer expectations and the top ten critical factors you need to know to select an order management software partner.

Five Ways an OMS Can Help You Meet Customer's Expectations:

1-Simplify order servicing 2-Offer flexible shipping and delivery 3-Enable self-service options 4-Manage the entire order lifecycle 5-Streamline inventory

Order status

Nearby stores with in-stock product

Order modifications

Merchandise returns

Offer a variety of options

Offer visibility into ordering info

Check on orders

Modify or cancel orders

Receive updates on preferred channels

Customize business processes to ensure efficiency

Unlock a unified view of fulfillment processes

Gain data and insights to drive future purchases

Fulfill from anywhere with a connected backend across all networks and distribution locales

Improve post-purchase experience

Increase profitability and bypass inventory bottlenecks


10 Critical Factors on How to Launch a Successful Order Management Software Project

Learning to compete in the "new normal" of digital connectivity requires a keen understanding of how an OMS can impact your business so you can prepare your organization for growth. Here are ten key dynamics you'll want to consider:

1) Quantify benchmarks early in the OMS selection process. Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) and create a corporate dashboard for effective reporting of each function/department. Understand what kinds of analytics are offered "out of the box" versus the ones you need to write yourself. Keeping visibility on these metrics will ensure they get the proper attention. Agree on KPIs across teams and have a shared dashboard between all stakeholders.

2) Get input from your entire organization before selecting and implementing an OMS. Once you've assessed your current capabilities, you'll want to involve your executives to align your collective objectives and ensure everyone is ready to position your company for growth and better working relationships using an OMS. Deploy human-centered design methods to solicit feedback and prevent department sabotage.

3) Identify bottlenecks in your order management process before implementation. Once your team is together, spend time focusing on high-impact areas. A successful implementation encourages automation and successful process reengineering. You may need to make concessions in other areas, but you'll want to get this aspect right.

4) Find an OMS to help you address your most significant improvement areas. OMS refers to the entire cycle, from taking the initial order, collecting payment for product delivery, order exceptions, customer management, inventory management, and reverse logistics. Solutions may address some or all of this process. Reduce costs by reducing errors; improve cash flow by speeding up the entire process; and increase customer satisfaction by improving communication.

5) You must work from a single database for an effective order management process. As you upgrade systems and processes, ensure that the process results in a single database structure, which will minimize the amount of redundancy in the data set up. This single factor can help eliminate potential problems and improve efficiencies.

6) Rethink your workforce. Successful implementation of an OMS should free up your workforce to concentrate on business growth. Otherwise, the ROI will likely not be realized. Review labor-intensive processes to ensure OMS simplifies your process flows.

7) Minimize the number of times orders are touched by your team. The fewer touches of the order and the product itself (no matter how 'inconsequential' the touch), the lower the total order processing and fulfillment cost. An effective OMS manages exceptions and pushes those exceptions to the right person for proper handling. Errors and delays increase when touches aren't minimized.

8) Customer management is just as essential as any back-office logistics. Customer follow-ups, including order changes, tracking inquiries, cancellations, and returns, are costly even if the CSR looks into multiple systems with inconsistent data. A single database is necessary for an effective OMS (see #5 above.)

9) When customizing software, make sure it's worth the effort. Customizations can increase costs and potential uncertainties to a project. While changing a department's procedures can also be risky, it can often be handled easier than customization. Think about how to change your processes before customizing to ensure it's worth it.

10) Continually look for ways to improve and optimize your use of your OMS. Companies typically only utilize 25-35% of a system's functionality following implementation. An executive-sponsored roadmap combined with training is the key to improving your adoption rates. Remember to review performance with the OMS team and the selected partner 60 to 90 days after implementation to find other ways to improve performance.

Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Customer-Centric Order Management System image

Which Order Management Tops Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce List?

Salesforce brings its global expertise to Salesforce Order Management (SOM), so your business can deliver flexible, omnichannel order management anywhere. Salesforce has invested heavily in drag-and-drop (low-and no-code) tools incorporated within optimization workflows.

SOM also supports a wide range of APIs for marketplaces and does not require their ecommerce platform to implement an omnichannel order management project. Here's a look at what Gartner considers Salesforce Order Management's top strengths:

  • Technology reusability: Salesforce enables clients to connect and reuse Salesforce products, functionality, and data. Leveraging the B2C Commerce platform, clients can share products, content, inventory, and loyalty across commerce sites, including those created by B2B Commerce on Lightning Experience. Both B2B platforms include personalization, search, and loyalty functionality.
  • Global coverage and localization: Salesforce has a global presence, including Japan, and maintains a partnership with Alibaba as an exclusive provider of Salesforce products in China, including the three digital commerce platforms, although that offering has yet to launch. It offers robust localization capabilities supporting more than 100 currencies. B2B Commerce on Lightning Experience offers more than 100 languages and integrates with Salesforce Experience Cloud for both translation management and the use of the translations. For B2C Commerce, SOM offers certified integrations with translation and internationalization providers via its AppExchange, initiating, automating, controlling, tracking, and completing all facets of the translation process.
  • Commerce accelerators: During COVID-19, OSF Digital worked with Salesforce to launch Quick Start Commerce Solutions for D2C Consumer and Essential Goods, Buy Online and Curbside Pickup, Grocery and Food Service, and Quick Start B2B. These solutions, brought to you by OSF Digital, combine digital commerce with payments, implementation, three months of managed services, and one annual contract.

What to Look for in a Respectable SOM Integrator

1-Credibility: To evaluate the experience with similar projects and customers, you can investigate the awards or industry recognition the prospective vendor has earned in integrating Salesforce Clouds? A second credibility factor is their overall count of certified Salesforce professionals on their team and the length and depth of their global SOM experience. You can also ask about their SOM Customer Service rating.

2-Proven Order Management Experience: Although the household names of the ecommerce implementation world talk about their ability to go broad, find a systems implementation partner that goes deep instead of broad. You'll want a global partner experienced in understanding the complexities of rolling out new initiatives of an order management platform to meet your revenue goals.

Deep experience translates into faster implementation times, like offering curbside pick up as fast as just two weeks, so ask to look at the roadmaps and timelines of some of your potential partner's recent projects. (Let's face it, everyone claims to be fast, but can they back it up with data?) Along the same lines, you want an implementation provider who has unique Salesforce connectors to solve problems—in other words, direct integration without middleware.

3-Personalized Attention from a Globally Diverse Team: You don't want to be the last on a big system implementor's list. And the right culture and language fit are just as important as any technology skillset. Look for a SOM implementation partner that speaks your language and matches your company culture, who can prioritize your business, give you personalized attention, and the order management solution you need. Look for a globally distributed team that is experienced working with international brands yet can be agile to any local demands if you are rolling out an enterprise order management software project.

4-Commerce Innovation: Look for a partner who can provide efficient order management workflows to respond fast to market demands. You'll also want innovative out-of-the-box order management connectors that complement and extend SOM capabilities to provide an exceptional customer experience.

5-Long-term partnership potential: It's common for vendors to focus on getting you in the door with a one-time deal—which may be cost-effective in the short run but painfully expensive over the long haul. Look for a systems implementation partner with a holistic approach: Even when implementing SOM in a strong economy, you need a good working relationship to future-proof your model to stay competitive and protected during lows and highs.

What OSF Digital's Partnership with Salesforce Means for Your Order Management Integration Project

Given the critical nature of OMS functionality in improving your omnichannel success, you'll want to embark on the journey with a systems integrator who can avoid common pitfalls and deliver your OMS implementation on time and within budget.

OSF Digital, a top digital transformation specialist and leading global commerce solutions company, has a deep understanding of omnichannel journeys and proven expertise in building OMS roadmaps, including Lightning OMS. OSF Digital has enjoyed more than a decade of partnership with Salesforce, has more than 1,000+ Salesforce certifications, and works directly with the Salesforce Product team. OSF is a Salesforce Navigator Expert in Commerce Cloud (B2B and B2C) in retail and consumer goods. As a global company with 49 locations across five continents, OSF Digital consistently develops innovative out-of-the-box commerce solutions that extend SOM capabilities.

Conclusion: Order management is at the heart of a great customer experience, and the functionality it brings can be the heartbeat of your successful digital business. From handling the entire cycle from buying to cart to fulfillment to carrying out your brand promise and building customer loyalty, order management keeps your business seamlessly running to remain competitive. Getting an order wrong on a first-time customer can result in bad reviews and negative recommendations. To future-proof your organization by providing innovation and loyalty your customers deserve, start with a best-in-class OMS technology like Salesforce Order Management.

Dive Deeper into OSF Digital's SOM Expertise
OSF Digital partners with some of the world's biggest brands by using their expertise to help get businesses on an OMS roadmap to provide a unified omnichannel experience for customers. Take the first step towards centralizing your systems to deliver personalized omnichannel experiences across all digital channels by learning how SOM works:

Roxana Matei

Author: Roxana Matei, OMS Technical Director, OSF Digital

With more than a decade of global technology experience, Roxana helps international brands achieve full omnichannel capability with best-in-class OMS solutions. Roxana’s background in building large-scale software applications and OMS solutions includes application development, solution design, and architecture on Salesforce and Microsoft technology stacks. As Technical Director, OMS Principal Solutions Architect at OSF Digital, Roxana plays an integral role in helping scale rapidly growing organizations to integrate technologies and business processes to future-proof their brands and maximize profits. Roxana’s passion for commerce solutions is demonstrated in numerous professional accreditations, including Salesforce Order Management Administrator, Salesforce Process Automation, and Salesforce Order Management Developer.