Why Omnichannel Retailers Need an OMS
As technology continues to advance and the pressure to compete with mega-retailers increases, customer expectations and shopping habits continue to evolve as well. Today’s omnichannel shoppers expect a convenient, consistent, and personalized shopping experience. Providing this experience can be particularly difficult for multichannel retailers. However, if retailers fail to meet customer expectations, it’s easy for them to turn to competitors like Amazon, putting merchants at risk of going out of business.
Fortunately, there are omnichannel solutions available to help multichannel retailers meet the expectations of their customers. Order management systems (OMS) provide retailers with accurate, real-time data, by breaking down data silos between sales channels which prevent them from operating in an omni channel capacity. This blog will cover how this data visibility improves the customer experience by meeting expectations regarding convenience, consistency, and personalization.
How Does an OMS Make the Shopping Experience More Convenient?
Shipping – There’s no argument that Amazon has set the standard when it comes to shipping expectations, providing free and same-day delivery options. Today’s customers expect the same shipping convenience when making purchases from other retailers.
An OMS provides visibility of inventory and supply chain data, as well as order logic capabilities. This data visibility and order logic allows retailers to locate inventory for an order, and ship it from whichever location is most efficient, whether it be a nearby store, warehouse, or dropship location. This automated process ensures that the order gets to the customer quickly, and in the most cost-effective way. It also reduces out-of-stock items, because more inventory is exposed due to complete visibility of inventory across the entire retail organization.
In-Store Pick up – Customers love the convenience of shopping online, but sometimes they like to have the option to pick up their order knowing they’ll already be making a trip to the mall, or if they want to try on the item.
Through their OMS, retailers have access to inventory data and can identify that the product is available in a nearby store location and give the customer the option to pick up in-store. Not only is this option convenient for customers, but it’s beneficial to retailers as well by increasing foot traffic to their store, thus increasing the likelihood of additional purchases.
Returns – Managing returns from multiple channels can dramatically complicate the returns process. However, customers still expect the returns process to be free and convenient. They want the ability to return orders in-store if they purchased online, or vice versa, without having to worry about inconveniences like shipping fees.
An OMS comes equipped with return management tools, enabling retailers to set up customizable work flows, so the returns process can be planned out and mapped accordingly. Customer and inventory data is automatically updated to reflect the return, and the item can be relisted automatically allowing retailers to capitalize on new purchases.
How Does an OMS Make the Shopping Experience More Consistent?
Products – Customers expect to see product consistency across all channels. That includes consistency in product availability as well as product information. If a customer sees an item in-store and then goes to the retailer’s website to search for the item, they expect the product to be available for purchase online too. Similarly, when they find an item on a marketplace like eBay, Walmart, or Amazon, shoppers expect the product listing information to be the same across all of the marketplaces.
Different images, pricing, or product descriptions for the same item across various channels can be confusing to customers when shopping online and may result in lost sales opportunities. Pricing inconsistencies can be particularly harmful. Not only can they reflect an inaccurate representation of quality, but customers might feel as though they’ve been ripped off if they find out they’ve purchased an item in-store for $60 but it’s available for sale online for $40. These inconsistencies hurt the brand image and could result in lost business.
An OMS provides product information management (PIM) tools to help retailers avoid these inconsistencies. Using a PIM system automates the product listing process while ensuring consistent listings, facilitating a seamless brand image and a convenient shopping experience for customers, regardless of channel.
How Does an OMS Make the Shopping Experience More Personalized?
Shoppers want to be treated as individuals, not part of a segment. For example, if a customer has purchased women’s apparel in-store, they are probably not interested in receiving emails about an online sale on men’s shoes. Recurring situations like these could cause retailers to lose business.
Unfortunately, retailers are often stuck in data silos and can’t recognize an individual customer across different channels. With an OMS, retailers can capture customer data, providing a clear, holistic view of each customer, no matter how or where they interact. This customer data can be used to make the shopping experience more personalized and convenient, like helping shoppers with things such as online reorder purchases. Additionally, the data can be pushed to a CRM system for personalized marketing campaigns.
As shoppers interact with retailers through more channels, retailers need order management software that allows them to view and manage all inventory, order, supply chain, product, and customer data. With this data intelligence, retailers are equipped to meet and exceed customer expectations regarding convenience, consistency, and personalization.
Want to learn more about how order management systems can help retailers achieve omnichannel success? Find out how our client Zumiez was ranked #1 Omnichannel Retailer by Total Retail.
– Guest Post By Nicole Hahn, Marketing Specialist, SalesWarp
SALESWARP is a distributed order management solution designed for retailers at every stage of growth. As the premier engine for omni channel selling and fulfillment, with built-in business logic, SalesWarp helps retailers manage operations and data more efficiently across their entire organization. Unmatched in scalability and performance, SalesWarp’s cloud-based software gives retailers the ability to meet both current and future customer demand, while optimizing operations to drive business growth and profitability.