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How to achieve flawless order management with Whiplash

Tracking your order status with Whiplash - a mobile phone showing the location of a package on a map, and a truck with an image of a package inside

Every time a customer clicks ‘purchase’ on their shopping cart, it sets a series of activities into motion that culminates in a successful delivery. It’s also where the hard part begins.

You might have scored a conversion, but you still need to prove to customers why you deserve their loyalty. This is where the power of advanced order management capabilities comes into the picture.

To impress customers, you need to be able to coordinate a seamless, well-organized process of shepherding orders through every stage of processing and fulfillment – and keep them in the loop along the way. 

But with a powerful OMS (Order Management System) like Whiplash, you’ll never have to worry about orders going astray. Here’s why.

What is order management?

Order management is how a business receives, processes, and fulfills customer orders before dispatching them for shipping and delivery. It’s the moment where the customer’s purchasing journey ends and the fulfillment process begins. 

How retailers choose to manage their online orders plays a major role in their ability to foster customer loyalty and repeat purchasing habits – especially as their business grows.

Why does order management matter?

In the so-called ‘post purchase’ phase, a brand’s job is simple; to increase customer satisfaction by ensuring that orders are handled as quickly and accurately as possible and reach the customer by the expected delivery date. But coordinating this end-to-end process has never been more challenging for merchants.

Today’s consumers have high expectations for their online shopping experience. With people more reliant on online shopping than ever before, fast, seamless shopping journeys have become the baseline for good service. According to a report by TalkDesk, 58% of consumers say that their service expectations are higher than they were a year ago – with just 14% agreeing that retailers are committed to delivering the best possible customer experience.

So, what can merchants do to ensure the very best experience for their customers? They can start with the basics. By ensuring effective order management, they can avoid situations that result in negative brand experiences:

Eliminate costly errors during the fulfillment process

Once an order has been placed, a lot of moving parts that need to come together for seamless processing and fulfillment. Orders need to be sent through to the warehouse without delay, with accurate information to prevent incorrect addresses or SKUs from being picked. Packaging needs to be carried out correctly to meet brand or shipping requirements, and the right shipping method chosen. As order volumes increase, keeping on top of quality control is a full-time job that requires proper sequencing and workflows.

Reducing the risk of stockouts or excess inventory

Customers shouldn’t be able to place an order for an item that’s no longer in stock, yet this situation frequently occurs in ecommerce. Usually, it’s because a merchant isn’t updating their inventory quickly enough after an order has been placed, resulting in inaccurate counts and disappointment for your customer. Likewise, excess inventory is often caused by poor order management practices that fail to identify when orders for a specific SKU are less than predicted. With good order management practices like monitoring sales activity, adverse situations like this can be avoided.

Saving valuable staff time

Managing an ecommerce operation is already a major undertaking without having to search for and update important order information. Spending hours pouring over spreadsheets because you don’t have centralized order management increases the risk of mistakes and lengthens the time it takes to solve customer queries.

Moreover, excess time spent managing orders takes valuable time away from other areas of your business, such as branding and marketing strategies. Longer-term, this can result in your business stagnating and missing out on key opportunities for growth.

The biggest challenges of order management

Although straightforward in principle, order management has only gotten more complex as the retail landscape evolves alongside customer expectations. It’s no longer just a matter of fulfilling and dispatching an order from a warehouse to someone’s doorstep. What happens during each stage of the order management cycle has a massive bearing on your ability to meet customer expectations:

CHALLENGE 1: Managing multiple selling channels and warehouses

Today’s ecommerce merchants aren’t just managing a single online store with a home delivery service. Many digitally native brands are now making the move offline into physical storefronts. The growth of omnichannel has led to the expansion of online selling into the likes of social commerce and third-party marketplaces, with alternative delivery methods such as BOPIS and curbside pick-up gaining popularity during the pandemic.

Instead of operating from one central warehouse, many brands are diversifying into multi-node fulfillment strategies to reduce fulfillment and delivery timeframes. With numerous selling channels and inventory locations at play, this has made order management more logistically complex than ever before. For success, merchants need to be able to match customer orders with the right fulfillment method and the optimal location for the fastest possible delivery.

CHALLENGE 2: Your business is growing rapidly

Order management is rarely a pain point for businesses that are just getting started. When you’re only handling a few orders per day, processing and fulfilling in-house is a relatively straightforward exercise – especially if you’re keeping inventory in the same location. 

But as your order volumes increase, this is where the problems start. More orders mean more personnel are needed to manage order processing and fulfillment. A lack of automation capabilities results in your time being absorbed by repetitive admin tasks, rather than making strategic growth decisions. This strain increases the risk of errors taking place during the fulfillment and shipping processes that could result in damage to your brand’s reputation. 

CHALLENGE 3: Lack of visibility over orders

A lack of real-time data on customer orders is a recurring problem within ecommerce, one which has been brought to light during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting pressure on parcel networks. But unless a merchant can quickly retrieve data concerning the status of an order, there’s no quick fix to the most common customer inquiry: “Where is my order?”

Without order visibility, it’s impossible for brands to be proactive in identifying issues or providing customers with regular updates. This is a major issue when transparent communication plays a key role in brand loyalty. According to DigitalCommerce360, 93% of customers want regular updates throughout the delivery process, while 47% won’t order again from a brand with poor delivery visibility.

SOLUTION: Invest in the right inventory management system

Merchants can overcome their struggles with order management by investing in an advanced OMS that streamlines and automates order processing and fulfillment. With the right technology on your side, brands can centralize all of their order information and gain access to valuable data insights that can be used to refine their workflows.

Enhance your order management with Whiplash

By harnessing the power of the Whiplash platform, merchants will be able to take full control of their order management and make strategic decisions that enhance the customer experience.

What are Whiplash Orders?

Whiplash Orders are a key component of the Whiplash platform where you can see all outstanding customer orders in one convenient dashboard. This intuitive interface makes it easy for brands to keep track of their orders – without the need for lengthy tutorials or advanced EDI knowledge.

Integrate directly with your selling channels. Whiplash offers native integrations with all major ecommerce platforms, including Shopify. The seamless, bi-directional sharing of order information ensures that your interface is always kept up to date with the latest insights – no manual syncing required.

Seamlessly search and filter your orders. The Whiplash interface makes it easy to search through thousands of orders with a single click via its detailed search filters. Search by destination, status, shipping method, SKUs, and more to find exactly what order(s) you want, then pause or update as necessary.

Give your customers precise updates through real-time order statuses. Whiplash uses over 20 unique codes to detail the status of an order, enabling businesses to track orders at the granular level and offer customers regular, real-time updates that alleviate delivery anxiety.

Set custom Order Rules to enhance the customer experience. Achieve flexible and responsive fulfillment with Order Rules. Set custom criteria for packing and routing, from the use of custom packaging to free shipping for certain destinations. 

Be proactive in identifying fulfillment and shipping errors. Whether it’s insufficient inventory or an unverified address, the Whiplash platform automatically flags potential order issues for your attention before they are discovered by your customer, allowing you to take action and demonstrate a high level of customer care.

Proactive order management means happy customers

Achieve high levels of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty by investing in a well-rounded order management solution like Whiplash. In addition to real-time insights and high-level customer care, Whiplash enables merchants to optimize their order workflows and identify issues before they result in disruption to processing and fulfillment. Manage your orders with precision and flexibility – every time.

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