September 14, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read
Once the customer clicks on the Buy Now button and makes a purchase, the order management process starts. At its most basic, the order management process is when the customer places an order and the staff update the inventory records accordingly.
The process doesn’t look like a task when you have just started a business. You get few orders every day, and you can fulfill them quickly. But as your business grows and more and more orders pour in, it becomes tiring to manage the orders. And at the same time, keep the inventory records updated. The best way here is to take the help of an order management system.
Traditionally, order management was only a crucial step for the internal process. Today, customers are also kept in the loop. For example, many online sellers show the items remaining in stock on their product page to persuade the customers to purchase faster.
Not just this, customers too want to know everything. They want to know multiple delivery options. They want to be updated on the movement of their order and the exact delivery window. They want regular updates on their order. With demands like these, the order management process is no more transactional. It is seen as a value-added process for a business. It can make a huge difference in the over customer experience.
What is Order Management Process?
Order management is the process of receiving an order and tracking and fulfilling it. The process begins when you receive an order and ends when the customer receives his package.
When you scale your business, it is crucial that you automate the process to streamline it with the help of an order management system. It helps you keep a tab on all the orders and manage them in one place. You can use the system to automate and streamline the entire process of the retail supply chain. This means you can track the entire order journey – from receiving an order to delivering it.
In short, an order management system helps organize and automate everything to provide a pleasant experience to the customer and help your business grow.
Steps in order Management Process Flow
The following are the three crucial steps in the order management process:
The first step is when the customers place an order using your website or other sales channel. Here, the customer goes through the catalog, chooses the product, and pays for it. During this process, the customers might also need your help – they might have some concerns or questions.
Once the order is placed and the payment is made, it is updated in the system. Ensure that the payment gateways are trustworthy and that your customer’s data is not compromised. Customers’ experience with you very much depends on this.
It is also equally crucial to update the fulfilled orders quickly to avoid all possible errors.
Customers who order multiple items or orders with considerable value deserve special treatment. So, highlight this to the warehouse to ensure these orders are fulfilled on priority. You can also offer special discounts or offers for a pleasant customer experience.
Inventory management steps should be completely automated. When the customer places an order, the inventory should be updated automatically when the order is processed. For instance, you have 100 shoes in stock, and you receive an order for two pairs. The inventory left after the order is 98, and it must be updated automatically in the system. It helps in knowing and planning when you must re-stock the inventory.
In the inventory management system, the following are included:
- SKU number
- Product name
- Description including size and dimensions
Upon failing to update the inventory on time, your orders can be delayed, and you can lose some customers. Assigning SKU numbers and barcodes helps in automating the process and easy tracking. Giving SKU to the product helps assign an identifier to the product, making it easy to find and track them.
Order fulfillment is the last step of the order management process flow. Here, the order is placed, inventory is adjusted, and the order is now being processed.
Now, the order goes to the warehousing unit, and the experts process it further. Typically, they perform the following steps:
- Once the order is received, the warehouse employee locates the SKU in the warehouse and picks it.
- After picking, he packs the order and attaches all relevant bills and shipping labels.
- The courier agent next picks the order from the warehouse.
- Finally, the order is shipped and delivered to the customer.
- In the case of return, the customer raises the return request, and the seller raises the RTO request with the courier company.
- The courier agent picks it up from the customer and delivers it back to the warehouse.
- Finally, the returned order is updated in the inventory as well.
The entire order fulfillment process can be sped up by using an order management process, preferably the one that integrates with your sales channel as well.