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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Distributed order management (DOM) is a key defining feature of a modern, cloud-based order management system (OMS). It could be described as an evolution of a traditional/legacy OMS technology, although the terms OMS and DOM are now sometimes used interchangeably. A DOM/OMS provides advanced functionality like inventory visibility, order routing and returns management. It is designed to solve the complexity of modern omnichannel retail fulfillment.
Customer service is the key reason retailers need distributed order management. It provides merchants with a host of capabilities; buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) services also known as click and collect, detailed and real-time inventory visibility (online and in-store), delivery savings and speed from best-location order routing and optimal fulfillment, shipping cost reductions from order consolidation and courier brokering, increased order accuracy with a customer system of record, and an improved returns experience (speed, receipt-free, full transaction information).
Every retailer wants an easy buying journey for customers. Omnichannel retail is all about blending physical and digital sales channels and distributed order management is central to this experience. The DOM optimizes the different phases of the buying journey. Online browsing (and seeing what’s available online and in-store), ordering (along with paying), collecting the order (whether at home, in-store or some other locations) and returning (either in-store or shipped back to the retailer) are all enhanced using core features of the DOM, which include inventory visibility, order orchestration, order routing, fulfillment and returns management.
Distributed order management provides a multitude of fulfillment options to retailers. The days of a single business rule (ship from a distribution center) are over. Modern retailers need intelligent fulfillment, which includes the ability to tap into multiple systems, integrate with drop shipping vendors, 3PLs, stores and marketplaces.
The answer is yes. The world of retail and technology changes so quickly and because of this pace, there is a need for reliable, scalable and robust DOMs. In addition, retailers need DOM systems with focused expertise backing them. Excelling in retail takes vision for the future of omnichannel fulfillment. It means adapting quickly while staying true to the brand values. Above all, it means keeping customers front and center. A big part of this is delivering on the omnichannel promise. Simply put, to do it well means retail needs distributed order management.