Customers’ expectations for order fulfillment have intensified as technology has advanced. Nowadays, customers want to receive their orders rapidly, and most will not pay high shipping fees for the service. As many as 25% of US online shoppers believe that offering a “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) option is essential for retailers, and 26% have already used that type of service (Forrester). Retailers who are leaders in the area of order fulfillment have put in place processes and tools to enable them to deliver what their customers want quickly, efficiently, and at the lowest possible cost (for both the retailer and the customer). Here are four secrets to successful order fulfillment:
1. Understand Your Omni-Channel Challenges
Customers now have countless options to choose from, including the ways in which they choose to shop and receive their orders. With drones, the whole fulfillment process can take as little as 30 minutes, making the e-commerce experience even more convenient than before. The order fulfillment process needs to be quick and efficient and is best implemented using a fulfillment optimization engine to address different order types.
2. Always Keep Your Promises to Customers
How many times have you seen the perfect item online and added it to your basket, only to discover that they were out of stock in your size or favorite color by the time you were ready to complete the purchase? For retailers, not managing inventory levels efficiently can have disastrous consequences, ranging from losing a sale to forever losing a customer. To overcome these challenges, retailers should use Available to Promise (ATP) inventory to their advantage, as it is the best way to ensure that adequate stock is available whenever and wherever needed.
3. Invest in a State-of-the-Art Distributed Order Management (DOM) System
Unlike disparate and legacy systems, a distributed order management system offers the competitive advantage of a unified channel commerce hub to master order orchestration. This centralized approach to order fulfillment also enables retailers to never lose sight of a channel with real-time visibility of their inventory. Customers can buy and return products when, where, and however they wish. By accepting in-store orders for out of stock products, retailers can effectively enable an endless aisle, whereby they never need to lose a sale or disappoint a customer.
4. Make the Most Out of Your Distributed Order Management System
While investing in a powerful distributed order management system is an important step towards successful order fulfillment, using it effectively is just as crucial. To thrive, retailers need to integrate their distributed order management system (DOM) with their other solutions, such as e-commerce, POS, and ERP. The order management system lies at the core of the customer order management process, and its functionalities need to evolve to meet customers’ ever-changing needs. Retailers who use DOM expertly will audit their systems on a regular basis, ensuring that they are using all of its capabilities effectively.