The Forrester Wave™: Order Management Systems, Q2 2023

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11 Questions to Ask to Find the Right OMS For Your Business

Only those who ask questions will get the best results.

With the right OMS, your business can optimize fulfillment processes, enhance customer service, and more.

Reviewed By Michelle Soriano

Mar 29, 2024

Order management systems (OMS) are one of the most important investments as your business grows. As the name suggests, an OMS assists retail businesses in managing orders, but they  also do so much more. With the right OMS, your business can optimize fulfillment processes, enhance customer service, and improve buy-online-pickup-in-store and related experiences. 

You will find many order management solution providers in your research. So, you’ll want to pinpoint the best choice for your bottom line. The following questions will help your team choose an order management system that meets your needs.

1. What features/functions will help achieve your goals?

Every retail business is unique. You can’t assume every order management system has all of  the features to meet your requirements. For this reason, functionality is a top consideration when choosing an OMS.

To begin, examine existing business processes. Analyze your order management process to determine the business functions it accomplishes. Then, determine the tasks an OMS could improve.

Prioritize the features you need over the ones that would be nice to have. This can shorten your list to the OMS platforms offering optimal functionality. It also helps you stay within budget.

2. Does the OMS integrate with other systems?

You may already have systems in place when you consider an OMS. Ensuring the order management software will integrate with these systems is paramount. Examples of systems your OMS should integrate with include:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
  • Shopify and other point-of-sale (POS) software
  • Business intelligence (BI) software
  • Accounting software
  • Inventory management systems

The order management system should also communicate with major marketplaces like Amazon. 

Software integration promotes efficiency and leads to a better return on investment (ROI). Consider an OMS with pre-built integration or the option to integrate. Assess how these options affect performance. For example, a platform that supports the flow of information between integrated systems in real-time strengthens inventory accuracy.

3. Is the OMS scalable?

One of the main reasons retailers consider an order management system is that current manual processes can’t keep up with growth. The existing technology might be sufficient for light orders. As customer orders increase, order management becomes more challenging.

Scalability is a key consideration when choosing an OMS. As your business grows, your order management needs will follow suit. Several situations demand a scalable solution. Your number of orders may increase. You might require more integrations. You may open new physical locations. New geographical locations. When these changes occur, you need an OMS that grows in tandem and can handle the complexity of a growing business

Before shopping for order management systems, evaluate your company’s current capacity and the recent rate of growth. This information will help you choose an OMS that meets your scalability requirements. But also think beyond what you see now—you don’t want to replace your OMS again in another year or two because it can’t handle the growth.

4. Is the OMS user-friendly?

When business leaders introduce new systems, they need to train employees on how to use them. Some adjustments are ordinary. But a more complicated system will take longer to understand. This means frustrated employees who might be reluctant to use the OMS. If the system is especially complex, you may need to hire new talent to manage it. This will increase costs.

A user-friendly OMS not only increases buy-in from employees but can also prevent human error since the system is easier to navigate. That said, even the most accessible system will require providing at least one training session or resources to ensure a seamless transition.

5. Will the OMS streamline order management?

Automation involves the OMS analyzing data from within the system to support greater productivity. The following are three areas when automation enhances order management:

Order collection/organization

As the number of sales channels grows, so too does the likelihood of error with manual collection. An OMS that automates order collection and organization offers a streamlined structure. This optimizes omnichannel order processing.

Order tracking

Continual monitoring of orders during fulfillment is crucial for retailers. Many ecommerce platforms send updates during the fulfillment process. This enhances the customer experience. It keeps customers updated about order status. Retailers need the right OMS features to respond to complex challenges with order fulfillment. 

Automation helps with tracking inventory. It collects data throughout the fulfillment process about details like order location and status. This helps the retailer provide accurate order updates. 

Order routing

Automated order routing powers an OMS to review inventory against key information. This includes the customer’s shipping address and preferred fulfillment method. Then, it routes the order to the proper location for processing. This feature provides the following benefits:

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Reduced errors
  • Increased efficiency in the order management process

6. Can the OMS be tailored to fit my needs?

Understanding the flexibility of a prospective OMS is essential. Prioritizing a modern, flexible system allows you to tailor the features to your needs—accommodating unique processes and workflows. You will also be able to more easily adapt as business requirements and market demands evolve. Unlike rigid ‘out of the box’ solutions, a flexible OMS empowers your business to stay agile and competitive in dynamic environments. Ultimately, the ability to customize and adapt quickly makes a flexible order management system key for optimal business performance and growth.

7. Does the OMS support buy-online-pickup-in-store/ship-from-store? 

Research finds that buy-online-pickup-in-store is becoming increasingly popular. To offer this service, retailers need to bridge physical locations and online stores, and an OMS that supports multichannel sales makes this possible. Learn what features the OMS offers that will make the transition to BOPIS and related services like ship-from-store easier.

8. Does the OMS allow for access control?

User roles determine what different employees can access based on responsibilities. Access control can increase productivity because workers see only the information they need to do their jobs. More importantly, it enhances data security. An OMS allows for various levels of access between different employees and departments. This helps protect sensitive data.

9. What’s the cost?

Determining how much you should spend on an OMS requires examining the budget. Most service providers are aware that budgets can be tight and offer multiple pricing plans. Understand that the number of features you need, your business’s capacity, and the system’s speed can all impact the overall cost. Set up a meeting with key decision-makers at your company to assess your needs and consider discussing possible custom options with the provider.

10. What is a phased rollout approach?

An order management system has many moving parts, so the method by which your prospective partner rolls it out is important. Phased rollouts are important to help you stay laser-focused on your main priorities—perhaps it’s your ROI or your business’ biggest pain points. Whichever priority you choose to start with, a phased rollout can help you achieve time-to-value, fast.

11. Is support included with the OMS?

Using an OMS is supposed to streamline operations. However, it can create more work for your business without the right support. The best OMS providers offer ample support. Sometimes, providers factor in the amount of support each client receives by including it in their pricing models. For example, charging based on the number of hours/tickets. Consider the support you may need and choose a support plan that best reflects those needs.

The Right OMS for Your Business Is Here – Fluent Order Management

By asking the right questions, you can find an order management system that meets your needs. For a deeper dive into this topic and to equip yourself with a comprehensive list of questions to help with vendor selection, check out the eBook: 43 Smart Questions to Ask a Vendor. 

Fluent Order Management helps your company gain the digital agility necessary to scale with confidence. Contact us today to learn about our solutions. Or schedule a free demo to learn more.

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