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Why Your OMS Needs UX To Be the Focus FTW

Why Your OMS Needs UX To Be the Focus FTW

Order management allows brands to be agile, address market dynamics, and empower users.

Luke Ball is vice president of product management for Order Management in Commerce Cloud at Salesforce.

The global pandemic fundamentally changes the way we shop. As more consumers use ecommerce for everything from groceries to loungewear to holiday gifts, we want to receive items quickly and on our own terms. At the same time, alternative options like curbside pickup or same-day delivery have not only become a lifeline for retailers, but a preferable option for many consumers.

We’re all beginning to understand that what happens after the “buy button” really matters.

Think about Amazon Prime; odds are you’re a Prime customer. And while we may love Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the heart of its stickiness is their two-day delivery, complete order visibility, and hassle-free order servicing. Like Amazon, brands need to understand what consumers want and find ways to empower business users to meet those expectations. 

That’s why user experience (UX) is now emerging as a key consideration for every part of your order lifecycle. From the ads that drive awareness, to the look and feel of your mobile app, to the intuitiveness and efficiency of your checkout, every step of the journey with your brand can build — or break — trust. Truly great brands build a cohesive, delightful experience every step along the way.

So what does UX have to do with your order management system (OMS)?

Your OMS is really the backbone to your customer’s post-purchase experience. When orders are delayed, or your agent can’t locate an order status because of a complicated system, that diminishes the experience for the customer; you can lose them forever. When deliveries work as estimated, when a customer can easily access their order status, when a service agent can easily help with an issue, those experiences build trust, and delight in your brand.

Before becoming a product manager, I spent 12 years as a UX designer. I believe great products are grounded in great experiences. And I know great UX and great OMS go hand-in-hand. 

How to apply basic UX principles to OMS

Use a design thinking approach

Traditionally, OMS was considered a “back office” system that just needed to work. Most were designed by engineers with an engineering mindset. Since the engineer knows the inner workings of the technology, they no longer were typical users and that means the inmates are running the asylum.

But, as ecommerce, supply chain, and store teams come together, anyone who sits in front of your OMS console should feel empowered with an intuitive and efficient user experience. Let’s apply some design thinking to the challenge.

Who is using your system?

The first step of solving any design problem is knowing who you’re solving for. In UX, we often talk about User Personas. Personas are composites representations of common roles and tasks of our real-world users. This includes the consumer shopper, but also the people who implement, maintain, and innovate on the OMS itself.

What motivates them? What gets them out of bed in the morning? Our entire R&D team (not just the designers and researchers) rallied around understanding and serving these personas. Along the way, we spoke to hundreds of people from dozens of companies about their OMS needs.

Understand what problems are your users trying to solve

When you understand your user’s problems and their motivations, you can create tools that help them. What stands in the way of their success?

What frustrates a shopper when they can’t handle common service requests themselves? What common implementation challenges will a developer face? What are the barriers to success an operations manager faces day-to-day? What happens when a customer service rep has to “swivel chair” between multiple systems to do their job? If you really understand your users’ problems, you’re well on your way to solve them. 

Ideate, test, and repeat

From there, it’s about feedback and iteration. We played with numerous designs for common tasks. We put them in front of users to test them for efficiency and learnability. We formed customer advisory boards, and traveled onsite to get insights about what was working and what wasn’t. Through experimentation and iteration, we were able to validate the good parts of our approach, weed out things that seemed promising but weren’t, and hone in on the best solution to solve our users’s problems, from the shopper to the admin.

The result (so far)

We kept these design thinking principles in mind when we designed and built Salesforce Order Management. Visual workflows simplify processes within the system and are more agile to maintain. Any user can update their business processes, extend their channels channels (including store pickup), and even change the page layout of the OMS in just a few clicks. We’re proud of what we built with our users, but one thing’s for sure: we’ll continue to iterate and improve, based on our users’ feedback.

Get started: Learn about customer-first order management

In the face of continued COVID-related shipping delays and the risk of capacity exceeding 5% globally between the week before Cyber Week and Boxing Day, brands need to stay one step ahead with simple and clear tools. 

To learn more about how OMS helps you better connect with customers, check out our new guide, Beyond the Buy Button.

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