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B2B order management and fulfillment are major components of successful supply chains for both large and small businesses alike. However, modern businesses deal with many challenges when it comes to successful order management and fulfillment. These challenges include an explosion of order and delivery channels, complex global supply chains, and rising expectations of customers and consumers. And, when it comes to managing sales, ensuring uniformity across different channels can quickly turn into a nightmare.
One way to help your business is to introduce an order management system for your B2B customers. This way, your wholesale customers can create orders online directly, based on what your salespeople have preemptively set.
Whether you’re unfamiliar with order management systems or need a quick refresh, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll answer, “What is an order management system?” We’ll also highlight the benefits and provide tips on choosing the right one. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about order management systems, or use the links below to skip to the sections that interest you.
What is an order management system?
An order management system is a tool that helps execute customer orders in a secure, efficient, and affordable manner. This software automates and streamlines ordering, reducing time spent on burdensome tasks, and improving the overall ordering experience for your customers. From order tracking to inventory management and order fulfillment in one centralized hub, an order management system can provide order optimization for businesses like yours. It’s something all business owners should take full advantage of.
An order management system, also known as a trade order management system, has different functions to make managing your business easier. Here are some of the ways it can help:
- Process payments, returns, and refunds
- Manage customers, inventory, suppliers, or third-party logistics (3PLs)
- Create invoices and purchase orders
However, an effective online ordering system produces more than just an electronic invoice. It’s a point of communication that wholesalers should consider implementing to create a seamless, end-to-end order management and fulfillment lifecycle.
Benefits of an order management system for wholesale businesses
If you just started your business, an order management system may seem like another expense. It may be tempting to manually track orders and inventory levels to reduce costs, but it’s not quite as efficient. That said, here are five ways that an order management and fulfillment system can improve your wholesale business.
1. Saves valuable time
Every minute your B2B sales team spends on manual business processes is another minute they could spend on nurturing leads and closing deals. Handling sales orders over the phone is a time-consuming process that isn’t necessary. By using an order management solution, your team can focus on selling and spend less time on repetitive order entry. This can help increase both employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
2. Minimizes mistakes caused by human error
With sales coming in through various e-commerce channels, it can be easy to lose track of orders. Improve business operations with an online ordering system. You can have better inventory control, and wholesale customers can have direct access to information about your current stock levels—preventing them from purchasing an item that’s out of stock.
3. Consolidates real-time information across multiple sales channels
With multiple salespeople working a range of different sales channels, it’s important that internal information is accessible in real time. The last thing you want is for two different customers to buy one batch of stock.
Because dealing with wholesale customers involves much larger volumes of inventory, having access to current stock levels and pricing in real time is essential. This can make all the difference for clients who make their ordering decisions days or even weeks after their last conversation with a salesperson.
4. Offers customizable experiences for each client
There are few things that can substitute the feeling of a personalized shopping experience. For clients, knowing that their business partner is building a relationship with them, as opposed to solely focusing on a short-term transaction, can help ensure repeat business. This is the lifeblood of any successful business.
With innovative solutions on the rise, B2B buyers expect companies to make great strides in technology that simplifies sales and service. This means forward-thinking wholesale retailers need to be planning out how to provide a better, more personalized experience today using B2B online order fulfillment technology.
A sophisticated online ordering system will allow salespeople at your business to customize the order fulfillment process for each individual customer. Setting up discounts ahead of time, for instance, will allow the client to instantly see the amount they’ll pay.
5. Increases transparency between the business and each client
For many businesses, transparency lays the foundation for trust. As businesses become increasingly complex, it’s integral that wholesalers maximize transparency and share information with firms they work with at different points along the supply chain.
Order management and inventory management software encourages transparency in the sales process by allowing your wholesale customers to have constant access to their order information, both historical and current. Ultimately, this trust can lead to a better customer experience overall.
If you’re still on the fence about using an order management system, take a look at the following order management process pain points to see if it’s truly something your business needs:
- Receives and processes more than ten orders a day
- Operates multiple sales channels, including web stores and online marketplaces
- Fulfills orders with more than one supplier or 3PL
- Is subject to various errors, such as shipping incorrect items or routing orders to the wrong address
- Processes orders late, causing slow delivery times
An order management system is crucial to prevent the issues mentioned above.
Choosing the best order management system for your business
If you’ve decided to implement an order management system at your business, great! There are numerous order management software systems to choose from, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each business has unique requirements that need to be met by the order management system.
To help you, here are a few factors you should consider before choosing an order management system:
- Your business needs: Your priorities may differ from another business, so it’s important to evaluate what objectives you want an order management system to accomplish. Consider making a list of your must-haves for the present and the future. Who knows, you may want to try cross-docking later on.
- Price: If you manage a small e-commerce business, saving money wherever you can is crucial. However, choosing an order management system simply because it’s cost-effective could become an issue later on. Make sure that it meets your price point and all of your needs to prevent potential headaches.
- Integrations: An order management system that integrates with multiple platforms and application program interfaces can support multi-channel sales and create a seamless business process.
Improve order management processes with QuickBooks Commerce
An order management system that efficiently helps you stay on top of your clients’ orders is essential for every wholesale business. With the functionality of QuickBooks Commerce’s wholesale online ordering system, you can provide customers the same online experience that they expect from the B2C e-commerce sphere. Now, wholesale customers can shop at a custom storefront made specifically for them. They can view your wholesale offerings online and place an order themselves. So you can say goodbye to friction caused by time-consuming ordering processes.
QuickBooks Commerce also integrates with top e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, so you can effortlessly manage your multi-channel business in one place. In addition to managing order processing from multiple sales channels, you’ll also be able to:
- Have real-time inventory visibility by leveraging the power of automation
- Increase your forecasting capabilities and improve inventory allocation by receiving valuable data-driven insights
- Create purchase orders, shipping labels, SKUs, and backorders
- Ensure product listings are up to date across the board
Get started with QuickBooks Commerce today for a robust order management system built for wholesale growth.