Omnichannel Software Checklist: 7 Features Every Omnichannel Platform Needs
- Written by Mike Glover
Omnichannel can truly make your retail business stand out from the crowd.
The seamless, integrated experience it brings is something highly craved by today's modern consumer. And it makes a world of difference when up against Amazon, Walmart and all your other competitors.
But omnichannel also brings a lot of moving parts with it.
Multiple online and offline sales channels. A variety of fulfillment options. Integrated, fast returns. And all this happening simultaneously with customer demands coming in from all angles.
So it's essential to utilise a high quality omnichannel retail software. Something that sits under the hood of your business and powers your omnichannel operation forward.
In this post, we'll take a look at some of the key things to look out for when choosing this software for your business.
SEE ALSO: Omnichannel Retailing: How to Make it Work in Your Business
Want a one-page checklist of all these key aspects for choosing omnichannel management software? Click the button below and enter your details.
- Provides an all-in-one solution
There are three crucial, pillar aspects going on 'behind the scenes' of any omnichannel operation:
- Orders and inventory syncing.
These are the three things your management software needs to handle in order to be effective. And it should do it directly, in an all-in-one fashion.
The experience you offer your customer needs to be consistent. So tying various systems and applications together to handle certain key areas of your operation is just not the way to go.
Something that manages orders, but needs a third-party app for shipping isn't a true omnichannel solution. Same if it handles shipping, but doesn't sync inventory in real-time. Or is amazing at returns, but needs an add-on system to run your warehouse fulfillment.
You end up with a confusing patchwork of several different systems, with multiple login areas.
And it always ends up impacting the bottom line experience for customers.
- Has a quality platform integration
An omnichannel operation needs a high quality ecommerce platform or shopping cart software in place. And your management software needs a strong, reliable connection to it.
To provide the best experience for your customer, it's best to opt for the best platforms out there.
So we recommend most retailers to look into Shopify Plus, BigCommerce Enterprise or Magneto Enterprise.
And then implement a system that automatically syncs orders, inventory and products. With Magento, for example, appearing like this:
Any marketplaces or sales channels you use on top of this (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc) should also be directly pulled in to appear alongside every other order.
- Connects your offline stores
Any offline sales channels (i.e. physical stores or pop up shops) should also be easily integrated into any omnichannel management software you use.
This means connecting the POS system used to process in-store payments. Effectively creating new offline orders in your management software along with all your online ones:
It should also allow you to:
- Sync inventory between online and offline channels.
- Ship online orders using inventory from physical stores.
- Give online customers the option to collect from a physical store.
- View reports on offline sales alongside all your online channels.
Make sure to use a platform like Veeqo to connect POS channels like Vend and Shopify POS systems. This will make it super simple to unify your on and offline operations into one.
Veeqo connects to both the Vend and Shopify POS systems. Making it super simple to unify your on and offline operations into one.
SEE ALSO: 2019 State of Omnichannel Retail Report
- Integrates directly with shipping carriers
Shipping is one of the most fundamental parts of an ecommerce operation, so it's crucial that your management software directly integrates with the carrier(s) you use.
This means being able to literally connect your shipping account straight into the system:
And then ship any order from inside the software using the carrier account of your choice:
When you're shipping hundreds (or even thousands) of orders a day, it's also crucial that your shipping software allows you to:
- Print labels in bulk.
- Track all shipments in one place - without needing to log in to your carrier account.
- View a range of live shipping quotes so you can select the best one for each order.
(You guessed it - Veeqo will handle all of this, and even allows you to automate many of your daily shipping and printing tasks too.)
- Syncs inventory in real-time
A pillar aspect of 'being omnichannel' is that you make every relevant customer touchpoint shoppable.
But this makes inventory almost impossible to manage manually.
So an absolute mission critical component of any omnichannel software needs to be inventory management.
Meaning you have clear figures on total, assigned to be shipped and available inventory levels that are pushed up to sales channels in real-time:
A key phrase in all this is real-time.
Needing to go in and manually press a button to sync your inventory (or even if it happens automatically but only every hour or so) is no good for a company making regular sales. And can lead to major operational problems.
So being able to reflect your real inventory figures for all products and warehouses up to each sales channel is key.
- Streamlines your warehouse
Going omnichannel will play a key role in growing your retail business.
But these changes can (and likely will) put extra strain on your warehouse operation. And not being able to back up your sleek omnichannel buying process with accurate and fast fulfillment can be detrimental to overall customer experience.
Your omnichannel software simply cannot neglect this aspect.
It needs to be able to turn your warehouse into a fast moving, accurate, digitised operation so it can cope with the new demands placed on it.
The key areas that need looking after are:
- Warehouse organisation (e.g. setting bin locations for specific stock)
- Booking in new stock.
- Stock takes/inventory counts.
Digitising and automating these aspects takes the strain off your team and speeds everything up while removing the risk of human error.
Meaning your omnichannel customers get their orders on-time and in the right condition every single time.
- Handles your returns smoothly
Omnichannel encourages you to embrace returns in your retail business.
You should be thinking about going beyond the standard one-dimensional returns. And to offer a multitude of options to provide a top quality customer experience.
But this can make it extremely complicated to manage on the back-end.
So a final core part of your omnichannel software is to have a solid returns handling system built-in.
This means allowing your customer service, warehouse and finance teams to quickly complete their individual tasks in a return within a single platform:
Omnichannel is an exciting opportunity for any retail brand.
But doing it properly is impossible without a quality software to back it up by handling the multitude of operational tasks involved.
Use the checklist created in this post to make sure you choose the most effective option option for your business.
The great news is that Veeqo has been built from the ground up to handle all the challenges faced by omnichannel retailers.
Want to see if Veeqo is the right choice to handle your omnichannel operation? Start a free trial today and we'll show you first-hand how it can help.
Already a Veeqo Retailer? Log in to your account now to start using your omnichannel features.