An order management system (OMS) is a tool or piece of software that consolidates and organises all the sales orders of a business into one place. It will usually track sales, inventory fulfilment and returns across multiple online and offline channels.
All this allows for easy viewing, editing and managing of the order process from start to finish.
What is an order management system in retail?
Almost all businesses need to manage sales orders at some level. But an order management system is particularly useful in retail - where a company may be dealing with large amounts of orders each month coming in from a variety of different stores, websites and marketplaces.
For example, a retailer may sell via a Magento website as well as on Amazon and eBay. Rather than logging into each individual channel to manage and fulfil orders, an order management system would bring them all into one platform.
Choosing an order management system
Different order management systems will have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some good fundamental aspects to look out for though are:
Integrations. The system should directly connect with and bring in orders from all the channels you sell on.
Order type. Can handle all the different types of orders you need. E.g. sales, wholesale and purchase orders.
Order organisation. Has easy-to-use tools like fast search, filtered views, customisable tags and internal notes.
Order history. Allows you to see every interaction your team has had with each order - like exactly when payment was taken or who picked it and when.
Automation. Removes the majority of manual processes with automated order rules and digital systems.
Cloud-based. Runs on the cloud and doesn’t require you to install complicated software on local computers and devices.
Inventory. Syncs inventory across your sales channels in real-time, and forecasts accurately to prevent stock-outs.
Warehouse. Routes orders to most appropriate warehouses, and provides digital solutions to streamline your picking and packing process.
Shipping. Directly integrates with your relevant shipping carriers to fulfil orders without needing further software.
Returns. Can manage any customer returns from start to finish - booking the stock back into inventory and updating order records.