How to Use Omnichannel Order Management to Strengthen Retail Operations

Allison Champion
6 min read
December 6, 2022

Customers’ shopping habits have changed. The path to purchase is winding, and shoppers are likely to experience numerous touchpoints with a brand before they complete a transaction, encompassing everything from physical store exposure to online ecommerce research to retargeted ads across platforms, to name just a few.

This new multitouch reality for ecommerce brands means providing a seamless experience on every channel is of utmost importance. Omnichannel order management is the way to provide that experience.

What Is Omnichannel Order Management?

Omnichannel order management is the process of managing inventory, customer orders, ecommerce returns, and data and reporting across every channel where a brand sells products. This can include physical retail stores, an ecommerce website, social media, and online marketplaces.

The ultimate goal of omnichannel order management is to offer customers a seamless, efficient experience regardless of which channel they’re using to purchase a brand’s products.

Benefits of Incorporating Omnichannel Order Management

A solid omnichannel order management process is key to providing the seamless experience customers expect from a modern ecommerce brand. Here are the five core benefits of using omnichannel order management.

Lower Shipping Costs

Omnichannel order management can make shipping products more efficient and, therefore, more affordable. An omnichannel inventory system accounts for shipping time, product shortages, and location and can prioritize shipping items from warehouses with excess stock or locations that are closer to the end customer. When retailers have a full view of their stock and warehouses in one place, they can make strategic decisions that lower the shipping costs for them and for customers.

Streamline the Return Process

Ever purchased an item on the website of a retail store only to find out that you can’t return it instore? Omnichannel order management ensures that customers never know that frustration again. Offering a seamless return process—for goods purchased online or instore—is critical to winning and keeping customers. More than 80% of consumers said a positive return experience encourages them to shop with that retailer again.

Simplify Internal Workflows

Integrating inventory data and sales from multiple sales channels manually can quickly become complicated and cumbersome for any brand. Omnichannel order management combines every sales channel into one place, which can drastically impact internal workflows. Omnichannel solutions can ensure incoming orders are fulfilled and shipped quickly, and returns are processed smoothly.  

Offer a Consistent Brand Experience

Omnichannel order management allows brands to provide the same experience to customers whether they shop instore, on the website, or through third-party channels. Presenting a unified brand across channels can increase customer expectations, loyalty—and, ultimately, sales.

Easily Scale Operations

Omnichannel order management brings together all of a brand’s sales channels into one unified system, which means that adding additional sales channels is easier than ever. And because a brand is already embracing the omnichannel strategy—providing a seamless shopping experience across channels—adding an additional channel is about tweaking the strategy rather than creating an entirely new strategy for a new channel.

Improve Inventory Oversight

Without omnichannel order management, the inventory management for distinct sales channels may be managed disparately. With omnichannel, all inventory—both in-store and in warehouses—is visible and traceable in one centralized place. Having a clear view of every piece of online and in store inventory available, and where it is physically located, can be critical to ensuring enough stock to meet demand without having excess inventory that will sit on warehouse shelves.

Personalize the Shopping Experience

Customers are increasingly expecting a personalized, unified shipping experience—whether they’re in a physical store or browsing an ecommerce website online. Omnichannel order management allows retailers to provide that because all customer data is under one roof, and insights take into account a buyer’s shopping preference online and in stores. Knowing a shopper’s preference helps brands provide a personalized experience that increases sales.

Improve customer satisfaction

Brands aren’t the only ones who appreciate lower shipping costs and a consistent brand experience. These are all things that customers, too, notice and appreciate and can result in an elevated customer experience. Customers love the freedom to shop where they want, when they want, and have a consistent, excellent experience no matter where they purchase.

Provide a Competitive Edge

Online-only businesses provide best-in-class ecommerce experiences that have been hard for retail businesses to match. With omnichannel order management, retail businesses can match the shipping speeds of only-only businesses while keeping the benefits of a physical store.

How to Employ an Omnichannel Order Management Strategy

Before brands can implement an omnichannel order management system, they need to audit their current strategy to pinpoint areas of strength and areas for improvement. Brands should also look at their current customer journey and the options available for omnichannel order management.

Audit Current Strategy

Brands need to look at every aspect of their current order management system, including how inventory visibility is managed and how new sales channels are added. Brands can identify which parts of the order management system are working and which aren’t. For example, tracking inventory on a spreadsheet just isn’t going to work for a growing ecommerce business looking to sell on multiple sales channels.

Map Customer Journey

Understanding how customers currently interact with a brand and identifying ways that journey could be optimized is a key step when implementing omnichannel order management. This includes identifying requests that customers have made that a brand doesn’t currently offer, such as returning online purchases instore or curbside pickup. These are all things that can be included in omnichannel order management.

Omnichannel Order Management Options

The last step of implementing omnichannel order management is finding a solution that works for a brand’s specific needs. There are several third-party logistics companies that offer out-of-the-box omnichannel order management and fulfillment software solutions. 

How to Choose an Omnichannel Order Management Solution

Just like every brand is unique, so are their needs when it comes to an omnichannel order management solution. The leading solutions on the market are both turn-key and customizable to meet the needs of a growing ecommerce company.

Here are four key features to consider when selecting an omnichannel order management solution:

1. Inventory Management

Having a clear view of inventory across channels is key to any successful omnichannel order management strategy. Flowspace offers professional services like OmniFlow Visibility Suite that provide centralized visibility and reporting across every sales channel. This allows brands to stay ahead of low inventory and provide visibility from order fulfillment through delivery with platform-level transparency. 

2. Data access

One of the key benefits of having a central place for data is the ability for brands to pull out insights and make smarter business decisions. The Flowspace OmniFlow Visibility Suite provides real-time insights, and predictive customer analytics empowers inventory forecasting with confidence. Build customer retention and improve customer satisfaction by ensuring optimal inventory levels.

3. Order Management

One of the primary reasons omnichannel rises above traditional order management is the ability to bring orders from every channel into one place. Brands need to ensure that any omnichannel order management solution they’re considering integrates with their website and any third-party marketplaces they sell across, as well as with retail stores. This ultimately plays a role in avoiding any order management challenges from transpiring. Flowspace’s omnichannel order management solution allows brands to take control of orders from every channel and coordinate omnichannel fulfillment with ease.

4. Shipping Integrations

Just as important as making sure the solution integrates with everywhere a brand sells is making sure it integrates with any partners the brand uses for shipping. Flowspace’s breadth and depth of integrations allows brands to bring their shipping partners along as they grow, taking into account the ever-evolving order management trends.

To learn more about solutions for omnichannel order management, contact Flowspace today.


Doddle. A Positive Returns Experience is Critical to Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Written By:

flowspace author Allison Champion

Allison Champion

Allison Champion leads marketing communication at Flowspace, where she works to develop content that addresses the unique challenges facing modern brands in omnichannel eCommerce. She has more than a decade of experience in content development and marketing.

Table of Contents