A lot of companies, whether they’re a B2B a B2C seller, have the inclination to sell their products on digital marketplaces such as Amazon, Overstock, and eBay. By selling their products on these platforms, organizations are able to grow their revenue outside of traditional selling channels. This is especially beneficial for companies with very niche product offerings or an assortment that isn’t easily marketable. By tapping into new eCommerce markets through marketplaces, businesses are both expanding their revenue streams and growing their brand value.
For companies to reap the benefits of selling on digital marketplaces, they need to have an order management strategy. Order management systems (OMS) can seamlessly integrate with these marketplaces on the back-end to create improved inventory visibility, increase revenue, and provide an exceptional customer experience. By using an OM platform to handle these tasks, you’re able to reduce the margin for error and automate many of the fulfillment processes.
A Seamless Integration to Reduce Operational Costs
Listing products on these marketplaces is effortless when using an OMS. After the system has logged your inventory and is up-to-date with product data and information, you’re able to upload your offerings across all marketplaces in real-time. If product information, pricing, or features change, your OMS can easily communicate those updates across all selling channels.
When invoicing comes into play, an OMS is equipped to handle that as well. For instance, if payment for an Amazon order is complete, you as the supplier need to send an invoice to the marketplace. Your OMS will have a view of all shipments and payments, and can create invoices in real-time as orders are shipped. No manual paperwork or processes are required, making it less hassle for both you and the marketplace.
A Complete View of Inventory
Once listings are live on these marketplaces, it’s imperative that you have a complete view of your inventory and up-to-date product data, including stock availability, location, and descriptions. You don’t want to under or oversell, but overselling is what poses complications when listing on marketplaces.
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Once someone places an order for your product on one of these digital marketplaces, you’re committed to fulfilling that order. When you’re unable to fulfill orders on time, as promised, or even at all, you’re failing to meet the customer service-level agreement (SLA). The poor customer experience then reflects negatively on both you and the marketplace. Marketplaces don’t want their reputation tarnished when you fail to provide a positive customer experience, so they put contracts and restrictions in place for sellers. If you cannot meet the SLA imposed by these marketplaces, it can mean severe penalties for your organization.
To avoid underselling or marking items “out of stock,” an OMS can be programmed provide an available to promise (ATP) report periodically to the marketplaces you’re selling on. Because your ATP changes when someone buys your product, your available stock needs to reflect that. Your OMS can track incoming shipments, so even when your product is out of stock, marketplaces can still take your product orders and adjust the promise of availability.
Additionally, marketplaces are always trying to offer the best price for a product on their site. That means negotiations with you as the supplier to increase their margin. It’s important for you to maintain revenue growth, and an OMS can help you do so. By fulfilling shipments based on location and lowest shipping price, an OMS can reduce the cost of fulfillment and increase profit.
An Exemplary Customer Experience
Inventory visibility is imperative to meet your SLA, but it’s also necessary to provide an enhanced customer experience. An OMS integrates with marketplaces to provide real-time order statuses once your product has been shipped. That way, customers can receive shipping confirmations and order updates at every step of the fulfillment process.
Marketplace customers have certain expectations when they’re shopping. For example, Amazon is known for its lower prices and quick shipping, and it has gained a large and loyal customer base with this strategy. Consistent customer experiences drive loyalty, so you need to meet the expectations associated with whatever marketplace you’re selling on. A robust OMS can ensure your fulfillment process meets these requirements and continues both your brand’s and the marketplace’s pattern of exceptional customer experience.
Returns and exchanges are very important to the customer experience. The process of returning or exchanging items occurs through the marketplace platform rather than your own. Marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon have started opening return centers so customers can return their items in person. This can be rather complicated for suppliers and manufacturers when the order is more complex or discount codes were used. An OMS tracks the order information and can provide the correct support for any return or exchange scenario. By integrating an OMS on the back-end, you can create a seamless return and exchange experience for your customer.
Expanding to offer your products on marketplaces is a great way to grow your revenue channel and your brand value. But to ensure success, businesses need to have a clear inventory view and provide a good customer experience. An order management system can provide these support functions and more, and can do almost everything at a reduced cost. An OMS can manage extensive data and automate the complex processes, so you can focus on your business and your product.
Wondering where to start in improving your order management process? Contact us to learn about our Order Management IQ Assessment.