Retail is moving faster than ever before, with ecommerce sales swiftly climbing across multiple sales channels. As consumers continue to leverage sales channels outside of brick-and-mortar stores to purchase products, blending physical and digital commerce is becoming even more paramount to creating a positive customer experience and a sustained competitive advantage.
Optimized distributed order management (DOM) systems and processes are critical for every retailer in order to keep their promises to customers and maintain a sustained competitive advantage.
What is Distributed Order Management?
If you’re asking yourself, “What is distributed order management,” we can help. Distributed order management is at the heart of all modern retailer and digital commerce flows, managing almost every function involved in the order to consumption process while optimizing customer service and cost. As ecommerce continues to grow, distributed order management is rising in prominence among retailers, from single channel to omnichannel, to orchestrate and optimize the balance of supply and demand.
An effective distributed order management system will have four distinct pillars: inventory, orchestration, fulfillment and customer care.
Every retailer needs available inventory data tracking capabilities. Inventory tracking has become especially important with the rise of buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) as a method of shopping. Inventory tracking may seem simple enough, but it can become complex for retailers servicing multiple channels. Whether your inventory lives in a brick-and-mortar store or you have several nodes across the globe, it is important to always have a pulse on your inventory availability. You should always know where your inventory is and where it can go in order to meet your SLAs. This is an essential part of maintaining an effective DOM system and maintaining good inventory visibility for your target consumers. The inventory management pillar of a distributed order management system provides the following benefits:
- Safety stock – Ensuring that you never run out of inventory in each node
- Available to sell – Providing visibility into what real-time inventory is available to which locations
- Future inventory – Preparing in advance for what inventory your nodes will require
- Inventory segmentation – Segmenting your inventory based on consumer demand and network strategy, as well as creating maximum inventory visibility for your customers
Having the right inventory in the right place, and having visibility into inventory levels at all times, is only the first hurdle of creating an effective distributed order management system. Once inventory is optimized, order orchestration is the next pillar of an effective DOM solution. Order orchestration is the process of ensuring that the customer order cycle, from in-store and online ordering, to order sourcing, are handled seamlessly and efficiently. Order orchestration within a DOM system should be able to optimize the following processes:
- Order sourcing – Pulling inventory from the right node to ensure optimized order fulfillment
- Event management – Maintaining communication during all touchpoints of an order
- Rating and scheduling – Defining price and time of delivery for quicker lead times
- Payment integration – Providing a seamless payment experience for the customer
Having a DOM system that can manage omnichannel fulfillment will maximize efficiency and cost during the process of filling the customer order and getting it to its destination. Optimal fulfillment planning is an essential part of any sales channel. The following features are key:
- Store portal – Providing a user-friendly system for managing orders during the fulfillment process
- Dropshipping – Leveraging the right nodes for lower shipping costs and efficient fulfillment and delivery
- Mobile picking – Offering a mobile point of sale system on which store associates can pick and pack single and batch orders from inside the store
In the end, the customer should remain the focal point of this entire distributed order management process. Having a distributed order management solution that is user-friendly for the customer and allows them to have the best experience from order to receipt is what will truly give your retail organization its competitive advantage. To help meet customer expectations, focus on the following features:
- 360-view of the customer – Maintaining full visibility into a customer’s order and history
- Order administration – Creating a seamless process for editing and monitoring customer orders
- Returns and exchanges – Enabling customers to easily manage their own returns and order changes
- Customer interactions – Ensuring a positive experience during every customer interaction
Why Your Retail Organization Needs Distributed Order Management
Every retailer, whether you have a single channel or several channels, needs distributed order management to ensure you can meet the expectations that you set with your customers. Single-channel retailers need distributed order management on a more fundamental level in order to optimize inventory tracking and customer satisfaction. For multichannel retailers, the need for DOM becomes even more apparent. This is where inventory segmentation, strategic sourcing and fulfillment and a seamless omnichannel customer experience come into play. Distributed order management streamlines all of these processes for a superior buying experience.
Get Started with Distributed Order Management System Consulting from enVista
With so much commoditization in the retail industry, the main source of your sustained competitive advantage is going to come from being able to go beyond fulfilling customer needs to actively anticipating their needs ahead of time. Distributed order management makes this possible.
If you have questions about effective order management systems or are ready to get started implementing distributed order management into your retail organization, contact us today. We are ready to help you save time and money by optimizing your distributed order management software, systems and processes. We can help you with everything from warehouse management and implementing an effective unified commerce platform to vendor management and customer interactions.
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