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Order management refers to the process of managing the different stages of customer order processing, which include the following:
Order confirmation: Check item availability and provide customers the expected delivery date and time.
Payment processing: Accept customer payments at the time of order or delivery.
Item tracking: Track the real-time location of an item.
Shipping management: Schedule self-owned or third-party transportation services for the dispatch and delivery of orders.
Managing these many tasks manually can be cumbersome, especially for a small business with limited employees. An order management system automates this process and lets you track orders more efficiently. This helps you respond instantly in case of emergencies such as delays in order delivery or inventory shortages.
To help you find the right solution for your business, we’ve created this guide that provides the necessary information about order management software. In this guide, we’ll cover:
Order management software is a tool that manages all the stages of the customer order process, from confirming an order to delivering the product. The software manages orders from multiple channels, checks product availability, handles order shipping, and collects payments. You can also manage backorders and return orders for online products.
There are two deployment options for order management software. We’ve listed the characteristics of each option below:
Cloud-based deployment: Hosts your data on the vendor’s servers and lets you access the solution from a web browser or mobile app. These systems are usually priced on a per month basis or according to the number of users per month.
On-premise deployment: Hosts your data on your own servers, which requires you to invest in network equipment and servers. Some businesses host the data on third-party servers, for which they pay a monthly or annual fee. This type of deployment option charges you for each user license. You’ll also need to pay for software upgrades.
GetApp.com recommends cloud-based deployment for small and midsize businesses. Compared to on-premise systems, cloud systems don’t require you to purchase servers and network infrastructure. These also don’t require an upfront investment, which allows you to switch to a different solution if the current system doesn’t suit your needs.
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Considering all the costs such as for equipment, training, implementation, and migration, what is your product’s total cost of ownership (TCO)?
To ensure the successful deployment of an order management solution, check whether it offers the essential features. You need to know about the common features so that you can shortlist vendors accordingly.
Order entry: Captures customer orders, including the ones related to return orders and backorders. Lets you search for the orders by name, location, and item.
Order entry in NetSuite
Order tracking: Lets you track the real-time status of customer orders on a dashboard. You can filter orders by items, location, and status.
Order tracking in QuickBooks
Inventory management: Tracks inventory levels so that you are aware of the availability of products at the time of order confirmation.
Inventory tracking in Orderhive
Shipping management: Lets you assign shipping consignments to your transport team and third-party shipping providers. You can track the real-time status of your orders and inform customers in case of any unexpected delays.
Shipping management in ShipStation
Returns management: Allows you to manage return orders and refund the right amount to customers. This feature also takes into account the product condition, warranty, and repair costs while calculating the refund amount.
Returns management in Netsuite (Source)
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: Based on my business needs, what are the features that your product offers?
We referenced the following documents while creating this guide:
GetApp order management software catalog (Date accessed: 04/17/2019)
*Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.