April 9, 2019 | Written by: Jasmine Glasheen
Categorized: Order Management
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“Improving the customer experience” has become a mantra for retailers lately. Everyone wants to bring in new customers. The average retail business spends over 4 percent of their annual revenue on marketing in an effort to welcome new customers–– that’s more than any other industry. Yet many of these same retailers are also running their business to the ground by trying to make things happen on an outdated and ineffective order management system.
Don’t be like those retailers.
Your order management system is the most important factor in your business’s ability to deliver a competitive customer experience every time. After all, today’s customers want to know what your store has in stock before they brave the elements to shop or pick up a purchase at a local store. A whopping 79 percent of US adults say it’s important that a retailer offers visibility into which items on their website are available in-store, and 34 percent of adults are less likely to visit a store if they can’t see the store’s inventory online.
Yet the demand for inventory visibility isn’t limited to physical stores. Customers want to engage with their favorite brands through email and on social media, and this is especially true for Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. However, a disconnect happens when consumers can’t find the products online that they found through your email or social media marketing, or when there’s a focus on marketing over supply chain, and the demand for products becomes greater than your ability to deliver.
Consumers’ desire for inventory transparency is why retailers such as Sears have struggled to get their supply chain up to par in recent years. Kohl’s has found that they could significantly boost margins by reducing inventory levels. Kohl’s CEO, Michelle Gass, recently attributed the company’s .5 percent increase in gross margins to the company reducing inventory levels by just 7 percent. [HOW DO YOU REDUCE INVENTORY? A thought to potentially add – by being more efficient with your inventory usage, you can reduce your safety stock inventory which improves your gross margins as Kohl’s did.]
Customer loyalty is ultimately built by having the inventory your customers want, where they want it, and as soon after they place the order as possible. And having an order management platform that’s integrated with your CRM and the rest of your supply chain management system is vital to making this happen.
Trying to take on too many new technologies too quickly can cause operational delays and set your business behind financially. Instead of diving into new technology all at once, first identify a problem in your organization that needs solving as step one, and then look to the available technologies for the solution. Forbes reports:
“Growth is a good thing, but not at the expense of your foundation breaking down. Can capital keep up with the growth? Are your people leading the change? Is the culture being sacrificed or transforming with the change? Are your “base business” customers still happy?”
Stay attuned to the attitudes of your staff and employees as you implement new technologies to gauge whether things are moving too quickly. If your business has issues with any of the below, then there is a good chance that your business would benefit from updating your order management system:
- order printing and packing
- automatic customer order updates
- completing tasks
- save the sale
In the end, only you can make the decision as to whether your business needs a new order management system. However, if it’s time for a fresh system, then everyone in your business – from your customers to the FedEx employees delivering your orders – are probably already trying to tell you to make the switch.
Bringing it all together
Customers expect a seamless ordering experience and, let’s be honest, most company’s order management systems show their customers a whole lot of seams. Supply chains can only live up to their full potential when they’re operating in tandem with an order management system that enables effective and efficient order processing. Like with Kohl’s, sourcing less inventory might be the answer to taking your margins to the next level, but you’ll never know unless you work with an order management provider that can give you the real-time insights you need to create positive changes.