02 Mar Your eCommerce buying experience needs a solid order management system
by Kim Georgeton
You’ve worked hard to develop a reliable brand that attracts customers, and you’ve taken bold steps to create a pleasant buying experience for your customers. So what could go wrong, right?
A sure sign that an eCommerce company needs to update its order management system is volume. Yet often a company will try to navigate an increase in sales using old processes. And that is when some companies hit the proverbial wall.
“Everything brands have done in the customer relationship management (CRM) lifecycle — awareness, marketing, site experience, consideration, acquisition, conversion, and more — leads to this one moment,” says Luke Ball, VP of product management at Salesforce. “In fact, this is the most important moment of value exchange. If brands fail to deliver on their end of the value exchange (money for goods and services rendered), does anything else that came before really matter?”
A seamless delivery and unboxing experience doesn’t happen by chance. Frankly, you shouldn’t leave it to chance, either. Instead, it’s the result of a customized, fully-automated system designed to execute the sentimental custom details and the personal touches that help define a brand in the most efficient and accurate way possible. And that comes down to a reliable order management system.
There are two main parts to an order management system:
- Order management capabilities
- Order fulfillment options
And both work together to create an extraordinary buying experience for your customers.
Order management system
This is the automated piece, and its capabilities empower the customer to customize their buying experience. As an eCommerce company, what options are you providing for your customers?
For example, once the deal is made, what payment options are accepted? Is this purchase a gift? If so, does your company offer a gift bag, enclosed card, or special packaging for the occasion?
More importantly, is the product in stock? The last thing you want to encounter when you are trying to expand your eCommerce business is a depleted inventory. Studies show that 98.1 percent of shoppers say that delivery impacts their brand loyalty. So it’s safe to say that pretty much everybody wants to know that the product they want will be available for shipping when they want it.
Does your order management system account for custom items? For instance, if your company designs custom cross-trainer shoes or tennis rackets, can your automated system keep track of those custom orders to ensure they don’t get lost in the order fulfillment phase?
Once a customer completes the order with their desired options, it’s time for your company’s brand to dazzle in the order fulfillment process.
Order fulfillment system
There are two main buyer experiences to focus on in the order fulfillment phase:
1) When will the order arrive?
2) The unboxing experience
Where is my order?
The most common issue an eCommerce company faces is “Where is my order?” Studies show that 73.6 percent of consumers reported delivery is most important to the overall shopping experience, and 43 percent of shoppers want retailers to reward their loyalty by personalizing the delivery experience.
What do customers want when it comes to shipping rates and delivery times? That can be summed up in two words: fast and free. “Many consumers now consider shipping costs even before getting to the checkout page, with 65 percent saying they look up free-shipping thresholds before adding items to their online shopping carts,” says the National Retail Federation. “Consumers also want their products fast, with 39 percent expecting two-day shipping to be free, and 29 percent have backed out of a purchase because two-day shipping wasn’t free.”
To stay competitive in a market that expects fast and free delivery, it’s more important than ever to have an order management system that is efficient, accurate, and dependable.
What can customers expect upon arrival?
In some cases, the need to know how an order will look upon arrival is based on practical reasons. For instance, an order that arrives in the manufacturer’s box may require the customer to make arrangements to avoid the package being stolen or exposing a holiday gift for someone living in the household. Being able to share that information with a customer during the order process is important in supporting that relationship.
But along with offering timely shipping, order fulfillment is key to setting your brand above the competition. The latest order management software isn’t solely focused on enterprise mass shipping and assembly-line order fulfillment. Instead, it’s catering to smaller businesses who need to control volume but want to add a personal touch to the buying experience.
If you want to delight your customer with your product wrapped in signature-colored tissue paper or packaged in a custom box, an automated system can arrange that. This is your last chance to make a positive, lasting impression on your customer. “If you aren’t leveraging your brand’s unboxing experience to the fullest, you’re missing out on a brilliant opportunity to express yourself,” says Beth Owens.”If you were a customer who ordered something online, which is going to make you feel more valued: your purchase arriving in a generic cardboard box, or in attractive, bespoke packaging? And the good news is that innovation in order management makes it possible for you to add those personal touches without compromising efficiency.
Making a name for your company in the eCommerce space is hard. But using an order process that tracks each step of the buying experience shouldn’t be. You’ve made your eCommerce company a success. Now you deserve a reliable order management system that takes care of the essential details. We can provide the technology to make it happen, so you can focus on creating an unforgettable buying experience for your customers.
Kim is Simplus’ Managing Director of Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She leads a team of 24 architects, developers, designers, administrators, and specialists on all things Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She has over 20 years of experience working in retail ecommerce, marketing, and merchandising. Kim is an expert on digitally scaling businesses of all sizes and industries.