Many retailers, 3PLs and distributors are still not entirely clear on what qualifies as a distributed order management system (DOM). Additionally, there is confusion about how or why to use them. Distributed order management is the key part of making a customer’s shopping journey seamless, easy and natural. Selecting the right DOM solution is going to be one of the most important partnerships for your business.
To start, I’m answering a few frequently asked questions and at the end you can take a short quiz to help determine if you have the right solution for your business.
Are Unified Commerce and Omnichannel Retail the Same Thing?
Technology vendors are always trying to differentiate their product. It’s the smart thing to do. But, you have to be careful about crossing the line of ‘truth’ and fiction. Several traditional order management vendors are taking liberties to step over that line. There are quite a few meaningless references to unified commerce being more advanced than omnichannel retail. This makes it sound as if one is the new thing, and the other is older. That just tells us the vendor does not really understand what these are.
Unified commerce is an enabling technology. Omnichannel retailing is a customer expectation. How the two relate is that unified commerce enables omnichannel retailing. They are two different sides to the same coin. No wonder so many vendors get confused and think that one is a replacement for the other.
At the heart of unified commerce is the distributed order management (DOM) system. It interconnects with the entire retail technology stack and full supply chain to make omnichannel a reality.
What is the Difference Between DOM and OMS?
Any system that processes orders can be called an order management system (OMS). Most e-commerce platforms provide order management functionality. This includes being able to accept an order, process the payment and generate an invoice.
On the other hand, a DOM provides many additional features in order to distribute how an order is fulfilled across the supply chain. It is able to work with an order across multiple channels, invoices and shipments. In addition to basic order management functionality, a DOM provides features like:
- Complex order routing.
- Configurable order orchestration workflows.
- Provide real-time inventory visibility.
- Provide Available to Promise (ATP) quotes and lookups.
- Enable returns in-store and at distribution centers.
- Seamlessly interconnect multiple channels (sales channels).
- Integrate with full supply chains (warehouse management systems, drop shipping, 3PLs, etc.).
Ultimately, DOM technologies orchestrate the systems and processes needed for optimal fulfillment of orders. Unifying both front and backend systems provides a seamless buying journey for shoppers. That means a better customer experience for the brand using these systems effectively.
What Does “Distributed” Mean in Distributed Order Management?
The distributed features of a DOM are what allows it to process an order at a very granular level. A basic order management system will typically see an order as a single unit — the entire order is authorized, captured and shipped at once. A DOM sees an order at the line item level and can transact and ship individual lines in any number of combinations as it determines fit based on available inventory and the routing configuration.
Why Care About Multi-Tenant vs. Single-Tenant SaaS OMS?
Multi-tenant systems provide significant cost and scale advantages compared to single-tenant systems as well as a much faster release cycle and effortless upgrades. Multi-tenant systems emphasize configuration and extensibility over customization since the product must work for many different scenarios and customers without the need to customize the platform code base.
Most single-tenant systems have long release and upgrade cycles — often measured in years. Multi-tenant systems have frequent releases that are deployed to the entire customer base ensuring that all customers can access new features quickly without the need for upgrading their environment and customizations.
Is Your System Helping or Hindering Your Ability to Deliver on Your Brand Promise?
Complete this 17 question quiz to find out if you have the right solution for your business.
Related: Retail Order Management
The post was originally archived and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.