The Forrester Wave™: Order Management Systems, Q2 2023

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Shopify Plus: 4 signs you need an Order Management System (OMS) to unlock growth

Get the inventory visibility and control over fulfillment workflows you need to scale your business with confidence.

As a Shopify Plus customer, you’ve already proven you have what it takes to grow. Now it’s time to take your business to the next level.

By Nicola Kinsella

Feb 17, 2024

Shopify Plus. Who uses it? Fast growing organizations. Ones that have hit the limits of the basic Shopify ecommerce platform and need more. But as business scales, so does the complexity of managing inventory availability and orders. While Shopify Plus is a great solution, even its more robust feature set has limits. But luckily, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new commerce platform (loyal Shopify Plus customers rejoice!) Often you just need to augment your tech stack with new capabilities. Ones that can be provided by a dedicated Order Management System (OMS). Let’s look at four signs your business could benefit by adding an OMS.

1. Too Many Canceled Orders or Short Shipments

Typically, as your business grows, so does the number of fulfillment locations. You might ship from Distribution Centers, 3PLs, and stores. All in a quest to ship from a location closer to the customer, so you can reduce delivery times and cost. The challenge is, to make this work you need to see what stock you have across all systems and locations. Accurate inventory visibility is critical. Otherwise you’ll end up having to cancel orders, or items in an order. Which results in a poor customer experience. How can an OMS help?

An OMS is designed to consume inventory data from all systems and locations… fast. It provides you with a single, aggregate view. And lets you control what you make available to each channel, market or region. It also runs sourcing logic before an order is placed, so you can make stronger promises to your customers. Which is essential, because trust in inventory is key to increasing conversions. What’s more, an OMS lets you promise against future (inbound) inventory. Whether that’s stock that will be available quickly, or stock you want to make available for pre-order or backorder. But there is another challenge of more fulfillment locations…

2. Optimizing Order Routing to Reduce Split Shipments

How many line items are in an order? How many locations do you ship from? The more you have on average, the more likely that some orders will need to be split. And when split shipment rates start to rise, so do delivery costs. So what can you do? Optimize order routing. How does an OMS help?

It provides workflows and rules that you can configure and extend to manage your sourcing logic. Which is important. Why? Because routing orders is complex. Just how complex? 

If you ship from 100 locations, and an order is split into two shipments, there are 4,950 potential ways you could fulfill that order. That’s a lot. Have a different number of locations or want to set a higher maximum number of split shipments? Check out the Delivery Complexity Score Calculator to see how many ways you can fulfill an order.

Speaking of complexity, what else gets more complicated as you grow? Exceptions.

3. Automating Exception Management

Manual intervention during the order life cycle costs both time and money. Time that would be much better spent providing a higher level of service to your customers. But as business grows, so does the volume of exceptions you need to manage. This may include manual fraud checks. Rerouting orders to a different location if they can’t be fulfilled from the first. And manually verifying stock availability before rerouting the order. Exception management can be a time-consuming and error-prone task. Luckily, many processes can be automated using an OMS. How?

Rules and workflows can be configured to automatically reroute orders in the case of an exception. They can also trigger events in other systems (like fraud check solutions). And receive events from third party systems to trigger the next step in the process. This not only reduces the burden on your operational team but boosts order accuracy and customer satisfaction. What’s one more growth factor to consider?

4. Selling globally

This is a big step. Whether you’re planning to ship from your home country, or establish a fulfillment location locally, your processes will change. You may need to accommodate local fulfillment processes, norms and rules⸺like when payment is captured. What is the local expectation? At the time the order is placed? Or when it ships? Do you plan to ship across borders? What are the customs rules and requirements? Do they vary by country? Are there restrictions on what you can ship where? Or any rules around returns?

Once again, an OMS can help you navigate this complexity. Firstly, it lets you control what stock you make available to each channel, market or region. So you could, say, test a single category of stock shipped from a single location, before opening up a larger range.

Secondly, you can copy your fulfillment workflows (use them as templates) then tweak them to support unique regional needs. In short, an OMS gives you a better way to manage the complexity of global sales and fulfillment, and position yourself for successful expansion.

Summary

As a Shopify Plus customer, you’ve already proven you have what it takes to grow. Now it’s time to take your business to the next level. Investing in a dedicated OMS will help you do just that. Reduce canceled orders, optimize order routing, automatically manage exceptions, and get the control you need over inventory availability and fulfillment processes to sell globally. It’s a strategic choice. One that will empower you to scale your business⸺with confidence. Ready to learn more?

Contact Us today! Or, if you’re still exploring, check out the Psycho Bunny Case Study to learn how they achieved 30% in incremental revenue with Shopify Plus and Fluent Order Management.

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Shopify Plus: How an OMS powers growth


Investing in a dedicated OMS will help you take your business to the next level. Register for the webinar to learn more.

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