Posted by Fred Lizza, CEO, Dydacomp
Online sales are continuing to account for a larger part of total retail sales in the U.S with online growth outpacing total retail sales. The National Retail Federation predicts that online sales will increase between 9.0% and 12.0% in 2013 vs. 2012. This is certainly good news for retailers that sell through online channels, but this increase can also pose some challenges for your order management process that you need to be aware of and ready to address.
As online sales increase so do business and operations issues that can prevent you from providing an ideal customer experience and growing your revenue. One of the biggest issues is that SMBs are still moving data manually across different systems which often leads to countless disconnects and lost business.
These manual processes, which typically require rekeying critical order information, invariably lead to errors. For example, an order comes in through your eCommerce store. The order information is then printed out and the data is rekeyed into your separate inventory management system. The details then need to be rekeyed yet again when completing the shipping information and may also need to be entered again into your accounting system for billing.
These repeated manual processes can slow down the business and open the door to human error, leading to delayed shipments, missed deliveries and unhappy customers. The costs of the errors themselves and then correcting the errors begin to pile up. They can impact all areas of operations, including customer service, purchasing, receiving, warehousing, fulfillment, accounting, management, and marketing. Larger businesses have more resources to address these issues while smaller and medium sized businesses tend to experience a far greater impact. To compete with the bigger merchants, SMBs must focus on making sure their order management systems are capable of keeping up with the double-digit growth in online sales expected in 2013.
Order Management is the business hub for SMB retailers. It should be used to eliminate the manual steps between processes as the business grows and should enable you to integrate and automate all order management processes including eCommerce, phone/call center, customer service, payment processing, shipping and 3rd party fulfillment, accounting, tax and billing systems and customer information management.
Don’t let cumbersome, stand alone or outdated order management processing get in the way of growing your business. Be sure that your back office processes can keep pace with your online store across all key functional areas.
To learn more, click here to download our white paper Retail Trends – Is Your Back Office Keeping Up With Your Online Store? The Top 5-1/2 Reasons You Need an Order Management Solution.