“What is Order Management?”, you may ask. Well, there is a typical definition – Order Management is organizing and tracking orders, managing data between the fulfillment process, partnerships and customer database.
In a nutshell, Order Management is an ecosystem that encompasses everything involved with taking, filling and transferring orders.
Many wholesalers may find Order Management as a challenging task with a lot of potential risks.
So, why do we find Order Management hard?
There are two main reasons:
- First, you haven’t got a clear image of the Order Management Process yet. (most of the B2B startups meet this problem)
- Secondly, you know your Order Management Process. However, you are stuck in thinking the solution for Order Management.
Now, let’s solve these two main problems. First and foremost, you need to clarify the Order Management Process
What is Order Management Process?
The Flow of Order Management Process will be like the image below:
Besides, this flow will be repeated continuously, which will create an Order Management Cycle.
In this process, what your order management system needs to do is:
- Save new customer orders
- Sort orders
- Track the stocks in warehouse
- Manage vendors’ contact
- Manage packing and checking process
- Deliver to customers
- Manage payment
- Save and Analyze Customer Order History to get the right marketing strategies
As a wholesaler, you may see a lot of balls to keep in the air. Don’t worry! Here will be tips for you to organize and manage Order Management effectively.
How to Improve Order Management Process
1. Use Order Management Software
A lot of B2B Advisors can give you this solution as the last one. However, we recommend you apply the technology solution first.
You must have heard a lot of strategies to improve Order Management Work. Most of those strategies now can be automatically done by Order Management Software.
What can the Order Management Software do?
The app can tie all disparate staffs, processes, partnerships, and customers together.
All data around Order Process will be centralized in one system so that wholesale businesses only need to access a single source to manage and analyze all data and process around Order Management.
As well, B2B managers can streamline the taking, filling and delivering purchase requests to customers or vendors.
Better still, with the best Order Management Software like Retalo, the sales reps can boost up sales ordering process by writing orders on their mobiles or allowing the company to take orders directly from the customer via B2B eCommerce Portal.
The Order Data will then automatically sync in the back office systems.
What will wholesalers gain from the Order Management App?
Firstly, you can reduce time of redundant work, such as entering same data in different system, or moving from a system to another to track the same order.
Besides, B2B companies can maintain happy customer relationships by eliminating lost or incorrect orders, which can help to drive more revenue and profitability from ordering process.
2. Integrate with Vendors (Suppliers)
After getting your own Order Management System, you need to think about integration with your vendors.
Why do we need to integrate with Vendors?
Nowadays, many B2B companies sell products online (together with offline). The majority of these products are sourced from distributors, drop shippers or directly from the manufacturer itself.
In most situations, establishing a good working relationship with Vendors is essential.
Having a good reputation and close relationship with your suppliers will benefit wholesales, especially when something goes wrong.
Once you get the integration between your ordering system and your vendors’, you will be able to provide your customers with excellent service and faster delivery.
How to integrate?
- First, you need to get a software that can manage, and contact vendors whenever you need. This can help you run the business nearly hands-off
- Secondly, when hunting for suppliers, make sure that their systems can integrate easily with yours. You can save a lot of headaches if you work on this step
- Finally, ask them to integrate and do it! This is as easy as it sounds (in most cases)
3. Increase Inventory Visibility
When fulfilling orders, it is essential to see all your inventory across all locations. By doing so, you are able to figure out which inventory can be delivered on time based on delivery times and the customers’ location.
Besides, it will be a big bonus to your customer relationship if customers can track orders and receive notification in real-time about the status of their orders.
Without the Inventory Visibility, you may lose orders or fail to meet the customer’s demand, which leads to chargebacks and penalties.
Thus, it is beneficial if you have access to not only your but also the vendors’ catalogs, inventory and order fulfillment processes (between you and your vendors). That way you will know if your vendor is running low of stock, so you can change to other vendors who still have stocks.
To increase inventory visibility in B2B, the best Order Management System you can choose must meet these two conditions:
- Have an Inventory Management system that can help you check all warehouses in one system everywhere
- Integrate with your vendors to actively check if they have the stocks or not
4. Boost up Shipping Service
In the B2C business, incorrect delivery obviously leaves customers angry. But just with a simple coupon, worth a few dollars, can save the customer relationship.
However, when it comes to B2B, once you fail to meet your order promise, you will face with chargebacks or canceled contract.
Moreover, a single customer in B2B can be worth a significant percentage of the whole business, the delivery mistakes can be more catastrophic to B2B retailers.
To succeed in this terrifying task, you should:
Get a clear communication with your customers
Perhaps, you still use traditional communication method, such as emails, texts, phone calls, etc. However, these kinds of communication contain many potential risks. For example, sometimes the emails that your customers send you may stay in the Spam Box and you ignore it.
The solution to the communication method is building a place to communicate with all of your customers, which can be known as an App.
Your customers can access the app, and send you order with their requirements. Then, your team will receive this and update order status to your customers via the app.
Allow customers to access helpful data
A lot of companies do not want customers to check how many stocks they have or what order fulfillment step they are in.
Unfortunately, this action can easily create a vague atmosphere for your customers. It means customers cannot totally trust in your business.
Thus, show your customers Inventory Visibility, Order Fulfillment Process, Shipping Dates and Shipment Costs. If can, you must show them how you calculate the shipment costs.
5. Let your customer order easier
Imagine that you are your customers. When you want to order something, what will you do? You may need to find the contact (mostly email). Send an email and wait for more than 1 hour to receive a reply. Then email, and wait for a reply until you receive your orders. Is it right?
Whatever it is, this process takes too much time and will make order management seem more complicated.
Therefore, as mentioned above, you may need an app (for example, Retalo App) to simplify customers’ ordering process and your order management works.
The Mobile Order App can help your customers check the price and product information to each group of buyers with customized catalog and pricing. Your customers can place an order online 24/7 no matter if you are awake or not.
Then, the order will be automatically synced to your back office. It will show your customers if you have worked with the order yet, and when they can receive their order.
This tip can help you engage long-term customers and increase your reputation among the B2B business.