The Forrester Wave™: Order Management Systems, Q2 2023

See the Results

Extend the life of your commerce platform with enhanced inventory availability and order promising

Add value in just 8 to 22 weeks

Enhance your customer experience without a big project

By Nicola Kinsella

May 10, 2024

Commerce digital transformation projects can take a long time. And in today’s market, a fast return on investment (ROI) is essential. So if you’re a direct to consumer brand or retailer, how can you enhance the ecommerce experience for customers without a big project? How can you add value in just 8 to 22 weeks? With enhanced inventory availability and order promising, provided by an order management system like Fluent Order Management. Let’s take a look at some examples.

Real world use cases

  • One large European retailer’s first project with Fluent Order Management was to get an accurate, unified view of inventory across all their backend systems and locations. This enabled them to safely expose more inventory online. The result? Double digit millions of pounds in additional sales in just a few months.
  • A specialty men’s apparel brand in North America was able to roll out Fluent Order Management in just 16 weeks. This resulted in a 93% reduction in canceled orders, a 50% reduction in split shipments, and a 33% reduction in time to deliver – all huge wins for the customer. And a big reduction in costs for the brand. But more importantly, it contributed to a 20% increase in sales.
  • A tier one global luxury brand saw a 166% increase in online sales as a result of increased inventory visibility and accuracy.
  • A European electronics retailer was able to offer 30 minute pickup of online orders, and reduced the average time to deliver orders from over 7 days to less than 3. As a result, the number of customers canceling orders because they took too long to arrive has dropped to almost zero⸺so they capture more sales.

And the great thing about Fluent Order Management, it’s not a ‘big bang’ project.

Start focused, then expand

The best approach is to start with your biggest pain points first, then iterate over time. That means you can add value to the business faster. And build confidence in the rollout to help fund additional phases. After phase one, other examples of customer expansion projects include:

  • Expanding globally (several customers now operate in 30+ countries)
  • Offering both pickup and delivery on a single order, or
  • Showing live (not cached) delivery and pickup availability for multiple items on the Product Listing Page

And a modern order management system, like Fluent Order Management, opens up other opportunities to drive business value too. Sometimes unexpected.

Enhance other systems with inventory data

What if you could share data with other systems, like:

  • Commerce Search – To further optimize search results by having real-time inventory availability.
  • Demand Forecasting – Share digital demand signals you can’t get anywhere else, like the number of product availability checks for each item, and whether the item was in stock, out of stock, or available locally. Why? Because the ratio of product availability checks to orders can vary a lot. This means it can have huge predictive value that could potentially drive a 5-20% improvement in digital demand forecast accuracy.
  • Product Information Management (PIM) – Display inventory levels, SKU velocity and return rate in the PIM so users can prioritize which products they update first.
  • Ad Platform – Share inventory availability data with your ad platform so you can start optimizing ads to show the stock you have or need to get rid of and increase inventory turns.

It turns out, inventory data can be pretty powerful. And because inventory itself is a huge cost, accurate inventory data can help you optimize how much inventory you’re carrying and how it’s deployed.

Future inventory optimization

While Fluent Order Management isn’t an inventory optimization solution per se, by capturing all your inventory data in a single enterprise hub, it can help you answer key inventory questions in the future, such as:

  • What locations or SKUs are at risk of going out of stock?
  • What is the optimal safety stock level for each SKU?
  • How often am I shipping from the ‘ideal’ location? (e.g., closest to the customer, most profitable, or most sustainable)
  • What are the 10 items with the highest excess inventory at each location?
  • Which SKUs have the worst On Time In Full (OTIF) rate?

Get more value from your commerce platform

In short, enhanced inventory availability and promising can help you get a lot more value from your commerce investment. And in weeks or months, not years. So if you’d like to learn more about how Fluent Order Management can help you boost sales and enable future growth, contact us today.

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