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If you own an online store, you will know that whenever a person orders a product from your store, a lot of logistics need to be handled to be able to deliver the product to the buyer on time. First, your store needs to accept the order and process the payment, then you have to generate invoices and update the account system, then you also have to deal with transporting the goods to the buyer as quickly as possible.

After that, you have to update your inventory levels and practice inventory forecasting based on the data you have so you will know how much you need to re-stock. All these things I have mentioned are part of order management which is simply defined as all the activities and logistics involved from the time a customer makes an order till the time it is delivered to them.                             

Order management is a complex job that requires pretty much all the departments in a business working together. It is something that is almost impossible to do manually, that is why order management systems exist. An order management system is simply a software that is designed to handle all the activities involved in order management and it does so quickly and efficiently.

An OMS does most of the heavy lifting and allows businesses to keep track of their orders, sales and inventory a lot easier. There are many order management systems out there but there are some that are far better than others. Below are some of the things you should look out for when picking one for your E-commerce store.

INTEGRATION

One of the most important things you need to know before getting an order management system is if it will work well with your current operations. Remember that the OMS is going to be handling multiple things at the same time so you need to find one that will work seamlessly with your E-commerce platform.

Each order management system has its integration capabilities and limits, and you’ll want something that can handle all of your sales channels and logistics. Look for only the integrations you require, as the cost of the system will rise as the number of connectors you require grows.

 If you get a system that does not work well with your business, it could affect your whole operation and you will not be able to meet up with orders. You shouldn’t have to change the whole structure of your website simply to accommodate the OMS. Luckily, there are many order management systems that can integrate easily with many different E-commerce platforms.

MAKE SURE IT IS USER-FRIENDLY

The whole purpose of getting an OMS in the first place is to make it a lot easier and more efficient for your business to manage orders. Getting a system that is difficult to understand and use beats its purpose and it could even hinder your business. You are looking for a system that will make your work easier and will allow you to track all the important metrics without breaking a sweat.

If you get a system that is difficult to use, you might have to hire someone to manage it for you which will incur more costs.

AUTOMATION   

You should also find out the limit of the system’s automation. As I said earlier, the OMS is meant to manage tedious tasks like generating invoices, updating inventory, tracking orders and so on, so that you can fully focus on the running of your business.

So, you should know its limitations so you will know the tasks that it will handle and the ones that will be handled manually. Of course, some order management systems have more limitations than others, so you have to decide which tasks you are willing to handle by yourself and those you want the system to handle.

REPORTING AND FORECASTING

You should definitely look out for an order management system that reports data and statistics and also handles demand forecasting because those two activities are very important. Demand/inventory forecasting is a business practice that involves using past data, trends and certain events to try and predict changes in demand so as to prepare for them.

Having a system that is able to accurately report on data metrics and predict future demand hikes is a huge bonus. Reporting and forecasting are two activities which, when done right, can prepare a business for anything. Not all order management systems have these features so you should definitely look out for the ones that do.

Apart from sending orders and updating new information, it should definitely be able to record sales and identify any issues so that you can adequately prepare for them.

LOOK FOR ONE THAT CAN ADAPT TO CHANGES

There will come a time when you will change your mode of operation so you definitely have to find an order management system that will easily adapt when that time comes. For example, during holiday seasons, you might want to do something different, like cutting prices on certain products or offering customized products to customers.

You should go for a flexible system that can easily adapt to changes in your production flow. An OMS that is not flexible could hinder your business and make you lose customers and profits.

FREE TRIALS AND DEMOS

You can look out for free trials which many order management systems offer, so that you can at least test them to see the ones that can work for you and the ones that can’t. This is a good feature that you should definitely try out before picking any system.

CONCLUSION

Order management systems are a must-have for any E-commerce store. It makes your work a lot easier and effective. With an OMS, you will be able to focus on growing your business while it handles all the mundane and tedious tasks. Before you begin your search, you should first look at all the areas your online store needs improvement in and look for a system that can assess all those problems.  

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