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Do ‘Retail Order Management Systems’ fit with Today’s Merchants?

This is an archived post from OrderDynamics, now Tecsys retail division.
Do ‘Retail Order Management Systems’ fit with Today’s Merchants? Retail Order Management systems process orders from various different sources. A system then organizes, co-ordinates and routes the orders to optimal inventory locations. This is done to complete the retail-order to retail-fulfillment-cycle. Doing it well means using a fully integrated retail technology stack. Retail order management systems track incoming orders. These can come from POS, e-commerce, mobile commerce and other order taking systems. All these orders are then mapped to existing inventory positions. Stock accuracy comes from the fact that the omni-channel system monitors incoming and outgoing merchandise. Here, it is important to unify with backend technologies. On this point, too many vendors get this wrong. There is a presumption that unification means single platform. That's not the case, as good retail order management systems are built for stand-alone capabilities. So, they can integrate seamlessly with most of your technology stack. Examples are RFID, warehouse management, and transportation management systems. In effect, retail order management systems "fit" as the central processing brain in retail. It is the CPU within ALL unified commerce and omnichannel solutions.

Inventory Management & Routing

A key part of a retail order management solution (OMS) is real-time inventory visibility. In fact, it connects to all technologies in the retail stack that touch inventory.  As such, it gives retailers a single, enterprise-wide view of all available stock. Having this full view means the system can find the best location from which to fulfill orders. Then, it routes orders to that point based on business rules and priorities. But, how about the customer? Online, real-time inventory visibility bumps up your customer service levels. It lets customers know if their item is available in the color they want, at the store near them. Once the customer is convinced, the management tool aspect kicks into gear. After the order entry (customer purchase), the OMS software finds the optimal routing. This ensures the order's fulfillment is efficient and fast. Very concerning is that at the time of this writing, retail has been slipping. In fact, the Omni-2000 global research found that inventory visibility slipped 30.7%. What's more, Retailwire asked a pointed question of "What's holding back end-to-end inventory visibility?" Here, other unassociated studies came to similar conclusions. Chains have not invested in the right retail order management systems. That is concerning and simply must change for the good of the industry.

Key to Omnichannel Retail

Don't be fooled. Many vendors will tell you that only a singular unified commerce systems deliver omnichannel. This while others confuse technology (unified commerce) with the service offering (omnichannel retail). When you hear about this, be ready to call out their mistake. Retail order management systems are not the only element you need to make omnichannel a reality. But, it is the core technology that will help make it happen. Choosing a good cloud-based system is an important start. It helps your retail business with order processing. It connects your multi-channel environment together. Moreover, a good system is expandable and continually evolves. Add to this a focus on providing a user-friendly, NO CODING environment for systems administrators. Remember that a good system will be your main customer / order information source. As a system of record, it helps manage order information. In addition, retail order management systems are key to: Allow purchases to be picked up in store (BOPIS | Click & Collect) Let you ship from the store (to fulfill orders) Permit ship to store ('save the sale' efforts)

Legacy or Missing Technology

Today, we still have a problem with providing a seamless customer experience. Face it. It is difficult for most merchant chains. The Omni-2000 research shows us that only 27.5% of US retailers offer buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS). Western Europe is better at omnichannel adoption. In both cases, most retail chains either completely lack retail order management systems or are have old legacy systems. Beware too, that several large OMS vendors still sell these older legacy technologies. Don't get stuck with it. Check that your vendor isn't just selling old technology ported into the cloud. It's still old. Remember the saying about putting lipstick on a pig... It might be a prettier pig, but it's STILL A PIG! Focus on dynamic retail order management systems to tie into legacy technology. It will breathe new life into your existing infrastructure. It will let you manage customers, effectively. This while still giving you dynamic capabilities you did not have, before. A great example of this is the Dynamic Inventory Visibility. OrderDynamics technology makes it possible.

Unified Commerce

Unified commerce is often touted as the magic answer to all of retail's problems. Sadly, most unified commerce vendors push retail customers to rip and replace. That is, they pressure clients to throw away their current stack and forklift in a fully new system. Frankly, this is neither smart nor reasonable. It ends up disrupting the merchant's business. Sure you get a shiny new system. But, it takes 22-24 months to deploy and costs a fortune. Do you really need more long term pain? Will your career survive the intense executive scrutiny, and pressure to get it done faster? Oh, and don't forget the seven or eight figure costs. Remember, the more zeroes you add to this equation, the less likely an ROI is even possible. Consider instead that good retail order management systems integrate seamlessly with many technologies. That includes legacy and new systems. So, deploying best of breed technology can be one of the most practical solutions for a merchant chain. Not to mention that you can be up and operational with 2-6 months. Use this time to deliver hard results rather than excuses.

Advanced Retail Order Management Systems

Advanced retail order management systems technology connects your front and back end. Doing this solves so many of today's issues. Interconnect your own inventory positions (DCs) with 3PLs, and drop shippers. It extends your retail capabilities. Furthermore, retail order management systems streamline your entire network and ecosystem. Connect with us at OrderDynamics. Let's discuss how our DOM technology fits into your business and how it can help make your life easier. Let's discuss the solution that will help you build a career and a retail business! Author:  Charles Dimov is VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 23 years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.
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