by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 4 March 2013
Successful online retailers understand that selling online is about selling of course, but it's also about everything that happens once an order is placed in their shopping cart or marketplace. Managing orders from multiple channels and inventory management can be a complicated thing. Besides the fact that it involves a mix of online data and offline efficiency, it is a function of multiple systems, processes, and third-party applications that, taken together, can confuse and cost valuable delivery time.
This week we will look at a solution that aims to simplify the backoffice of your online sales. In this Ordoro review we look in details into this web-based order and inventory management solution. We will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
Jagath Narayan, founder and chief executive officer of Ordoro, is a seasoned expert with more than eight years' experience in the supply chain and logistics space. While attending business school at the University of Texas, Narayan came across a project that required him to apply his work in supply chain management to streamline a client's back office operations and inventory management processes. Realizing that there was a shortage of available market tools to streamline operations, Narayan conceptualized and developed the idea for a web-based order and inventory manager that would help merchants manage inventory and process orders quickly.
Naruby Schlenker, co-founder of the solution, lays out a utility-based case for Ordoro.
"Every online retailer needs to do something with the orders they receive from online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay." Regardless of whether they intend to ship the order themselves or route the order to a supplier for dropshipping most online merchants use email and spreadsheets to manage their inventory and order processing, according to her.
The problem with this approach is that it is not scalable. "Soon, online merchants can find themselves shipping orders out late or losing track of orders or running out of stock," she says. Added to this are the complications and confusion of multiple accounts and what one customer described as 'login hell'.
According to Schlenker, Ordoro is the solution.
"Ordoro brings all of their shopping carts, marketplaces and shipper accounts together in one place, with one login," says Schlenker. In other words, Ordoro functions as a one-stop shop for an online retailer's shipping needs. It performs an assortment of tasks related to shipping including aggregating orders from multiple storefronts, creating and printing shipping labels, automatically routing dropship orders and keeping inventory in sync across multiple channels.
Schlenker says Ordoro packs serious functionality (such as inventory syncing and product kitting) into a very easy-to-use interface that anyone can start running in a "couple of minutes." "Our customers use Ordoro to create and print shipping labels, to dropship their orders to their suppliers, and to keep their inventory in sync across multiple channels," she says.
Ordoro follows a simple and basic workflow. Import your orders, categorize their mode of shipping, compare shipping rates between shippers and create and print labels. Within this workflow, the company has integrated enhancements to account for multiple contexts and situations.
Orders are automatically imported during the registration process itself. The functionality is quick and efficient. Your SKUs and inventory levels are also imported from your sales channel and then you can update your inventory to multiple sales channels with one click using the Products tab. In effect, this means that your incoming orders are synced with existing inventory levels and the difference between the two (which is your available on hand quantity) is updated in all of your sales channels.
Inventory management is mostly focused around the Products tab. The interesting thing about the tab are the available sub-options within the tab. Thus, you can view products that are low in stock or need resupply or, even, products that are parts of assembled kits.
Processing your orders is very easy and can be done in batch or one at a time. Orders and shipments have a one-to-many relationship. An order can have multiple shipments, which are physical manifestations of orders, associated with it. Labels are created using associated shippers or can be configured using shipping presets. You have the option of using thermal and desktop printers for printing. The final step consists of printing packing lists for each shipment which can also be done in batch.
As I mentioned earlier, Ordoro has several options configured within its workflow. For example, one of the more interesting shipping options available is Dropshipping. In case you didn't know about it (and I certainly didn't, before I wrote this review), dropshipping enables you to ship products directly from a supplier. Thus, when a customer places an order on your site, you can use Ordoro to route it directly to the supplier, who will then ship the order from his or her facility. Whilst this is standard practice, Ordoro enables you to create packing lists for dropshipping with your partners. Thus, the order is shipped with your packing list inside the box.
Similarly, Ordoro also has a Rate Check feature that enables you to compare shipping rates between multiple providers and choose the best available option. In addition, you can configure a mixed model of shipping. This means that you can ship parts of an order from your own warehouse and the remaining parts from a supplier's warehouse.
One area where the solution could do with some improvement is in integrating analytics. Currently, Ordoro offers a limited analytics data set. However, improvements are already on the way.
"We are actually starting to experiment with richer analytics ," says Schlenker. At the end of last year, the company sent its customers a year-end snapshot of their business that included vital statistics related to their business. You can see the report below. "The nature of our business and the data we collect allows us to provide comprehensive reporting that merchants would have a hard time compiling from different sources," says Schlenker.
Ordoro distills the complexity of order and inventory management into a simple, intuitive interface. Performing complex tasks such as mapping storefronts or managing inventory can be accomplished with little more than a click or selection of appropriate options from drop-down lists. There are five tabs that take care of the essentials required for order management and shipping. Within each tab are several options that enable you to customize the flow according to your business.
Ordoro also features a comprehensive support center with a fully-stocked knowledge base arranged by topic, including order management, shipping, inventory management and tips and tricks.
You can use any medium including Twitter, email or phone to get in touch with them. Schlenker tells me that they have also implemented a suggestion feature linked to the Support Center. This simplifies the support experience by enabling you to search for the appropriate support term. For example, typing "ebay" offers results that span setup options to configuring specific fields within eBay using Ordoro.
Definitely. The solution works in a supply chain niche that is often ignored. However, the most compelling reason to use Ordoro is its focus on simplifying order and inventory management and enabling commerce over the Internet for small businesses.