The growth of ecommerce changes everything — from customer expectations, shipping times, and where (and how) a sale is made. What’s one way to tackle it all and make the biggest difference for your customers? Order management. If brands fail to deliver (literally), nothing else matters. But even if you know your company’s order management system (OMS) needs improvement, it can be hard to know where to start.

 

Your guide to better order management

Our team of customer success experts hear about brands’ OMS challenges all the time. With their experience helping companies achieve better order management and fulfillment, their biggest piece of advice: start on the right foot. To that end, here are five questions your team should ask before you take order management to the next level.

 

1. What are the key business drivers for your transformation?

For example, maybe your customer service agents struggle to gain a full view of the customer across the order lifecycle. Or perhaps your highest priority is more flexibility to define new order workflows. Or are you considering a new shipping service partner? Understanding key drivers will help you focus efforts.

 

2. How do you get leadership on board upfront?

Digital transformation starts at the top (and not just with IT). Order management impacts marketing, service, development, security, and more, so it’s important to evangelize the effort across functions. Collaborative executive leadership provides direction, guidance, and enthusiasm, all critical for success. Gain that buy-in first.

 

3. What does your OMS look like in one year? In three years?

It’s important to design your future experience strategy — using your key business driver to lead the way. Make sure your roadmap focuses on the ideal post-purchase experience (and includes both technical and business considerations). It should also incorporate all areas of the impacted business. Although it’s impossible to know how your system or budget will look in three years, this prevents you from embarking on one project that seems to be the most important, only to realize later starting elsewhere may have more of an impact on your customer experience or bottom line.

 

4. How do you communicate updates and results?

Using your roadmap and a list of the teams impacted by this project, create a regular communication cadence, and notify stakeholders of updates as early as possible. Keep in mind — what will their experience be before and after this project? Where does their expertise lie? Will you need these stakeholders’ help for success?

 

5. What roles do you need to execute your plan?

Your team will need to include:

  • A strong project manager. Someone to lead the team and be the coordinator across internal groups and partners.

  • A technical architect. Someone who knows your current state systems and data model, someone to help define the architecture and data migration.

  • Order, fulfillment, and customer service SMEs. Folks on the front lines with customers, those who know your internal business processes, how things currently work, and existing pain points.

  • Prioritizing these steps is the road toward better order management. But this isn’t a once-and-done exercise. Throughout the process, it’s important to revisit these steps and make adjustments as needed.

 

Good order management doesn’t live in a vacuum

You may have read about Salesforce’s approach to order management. Modern systems need to be flexible enough that teams can meet customers’ expectations - whether it’s flexible shipping and delivery options, transparent order status, or self-service order status and returns.

Something else to consider when building out your order management strategy: brands need to create exceptional post-purchase experiences across channels. It’s no longer just about digital versus physical — it’s digital and physical. In fact, 59% of shoppers have purchased a product online for in-store pickup. Similarly, 67% of shoppers have bought something else while returning something in-store. Being accessible via a mobile app, desktop, or physical store is vital to the overall customer lifecycle.

To break down these barriers, focus on delivering fast and secure shipping, transparent order statuses, and hassle-free returns at-scale, regardless of channel. To help enable this, we work with partners such as Mad MobileNewStore, and PredictSpring to bridge the gap between digital and physical.

 

Takeaway

  • Do your due diligence in understanding the types of experiences you need to create for your customers

  • Connect commerce and service for a single view of customer cases, orders, and more

  • Give customers the power to self-serve, check order status, cancel or initiate a return

  • Let reps manage returns, cancellations, and other services from a single screen

  • Execute complex orders, including split or partial shipments, across several addresses

  • Gain instant payment capture — no manual generation and settling of invoices


Are you ready to make a difference for your business (and your customers) through improved order and fulfillment? Salesforce Order Management — a single platform for managing orders, customer records, fulfillment, and payments — can help.