The U.S. ecommerce market alone represents a $1T+ opportunity in 2023, driven by accelerating consumer preferences for free shipping and delivery within 1-2 days, regardless of where an order is transacted.
While consumer expectations have changed, legacy logistics operations have been slow to adapt, leaving brands and retailers to contend with systems and processes not built for the modern omnichannel business.
At the same time, customer acquisition costs are skyrocketing – rising more than 200% in the last decade per some reports – making retention and repurchase from existing customer bases a priority for generating revenue and scale.
To stay ahead of the competition, ecommerce brands need to provide a top-tier customer experience—from online checkout to final delivery. An order management system is a critical part of any ecommerce business and is how brands can provide that amazing shopping experience.
Five Order Management Trends for 2023 and Beyond
Like any other area of ecommerce, there are order and inventory management trends that brands need to be prepared for. Implementing an order management software can allow brands to act on rising omnichannel order management trends and ensure a top-tier customer experience. Brands need to look for a provider that addresses these five trends.
1. Ability to manage and allocate inventory across fulfillment locations to enable fast, affordable shipping.
For many brands, tracking and managing physical inventory levels is the most important, impactful process that impacts the bottom line. When brands start selling through multiple channels and storing and fulfilling inventory from multiple locations, the task of tracking and managing inventory becomes increasingly complex.
The Flowspace platform provides real-time insights and inventory forecasting recommendations to help brands make smarter inventory management and allocation decisions. Inventory accuracy is important to ensure the optimal stock level to fulfill customer expectations and demand without wasting resources on overflow storage and excess inventory. Actionable inventory data can help you make informed safety stock decisions to avoid an out-of-stock situation.
2. Accessible data that empowers customer service teams to proactively communicate events within the supply chain.
With real-time order processing and tracking, customer service team members can access order-level information at-a-glance, empowering them to proactively communicate events within the supply chain, from delayed shipments to order and delivery status updates, before a customer ever has to ask.
Flowspace’s OmniFlow Visibility Suite offers brands real-time visibility into inventory, orders, and fulfillment activity across all channels, providing access to the predictive insights and data needed to anticipate consumer and market demands to ensure that end-customers receive their purchases as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter the order source.
3. Open platforms that facilitate quick, seamless integration of new sales channels across the omnichannel ecosystem.
The ecommerce market is fast-growing and ever-changing. The ability of an order management software to keep up with that growth and allow brands to integrate new channels is critical. The last thing a brand needs is to find out that the brand new marketplace they want to sell on isn’t supported by their current software partner.
Flowspace has a history of integrating with all of the popular marketplaces, and in 2022 was named the official North America fulfillment partner supporting Mirakl-powered marketplaces nationwide. Mirakl is the world’s biggest marketplace platform, powering over 300 marketplaces for major retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Kroger, 1800 Flowers, Macy’s, and more.
4. Capability to activate a physical/in-store footprint for micro-fulfillment.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, retail stores had to quickly pivot to offering or improving online shopping and order pick-up. Now people are heading back out to physical stores, but many are sticking with online shopping, and that’s where micro-fulfillment comes into play. What is micro-fulfillment, you ask? Micro-fulfillment is the use of small, localized storage and fulfillment facilities, including store locations, that are in close proximity to the end customer to improve delivery times and reduce shipping costs.
The core benefits of a micro-fulfillment strategy include inventory optimization, an improved last-mile delivery experience for customers, and the flexibility to scale. Brands need to find a software that can handle the micro-fulfillment order management trend and even stay ahead of the most nuanced order management challenges. Flowspace’s software allows brands to create an ecommerce fulfillment solution that works best for their specific needs—including micro-fulfillment, buy online, pick up in-store/anywhere (BOPIS/BOPA), and ship from store (SFS).
5. Network recommendations to optimize fulfillment locations based on priorities like shipping cost, transit time, and environmental impact.
Customers expect fast, affordable shipping from ecommerce brands these days, and that expectation isn’t going anywhere. Brands need to be able to deliver fast, affordable shipping to ensure customer satisfaction. One of the best ways to do that is to optimize the order fulfillment network and move the product closer to the end customer.
Reducing the distance a product travels is also a great way to increase a brand’s sustainability, which is increasingly something customers are looking for. A 2021 MIT study found that built-out fulfillment logistics networks can reduce transportation-related emissions by 50%.
Utilizing sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning processes, the Flowspace Network Optimization algorithm identifies the optimal fulfillment centers for every brand and can be customized to emphasize the elements that matter most. Flowspace can prioritize anything from minimized transit times to reduced total shipping costs to identify the best fulfillment locations for a brand. By identifying the optimal fulfillment centers closest to a brand’s consumers, the company can reduce transit times and the emissions created by single long-distance shipments.
- eMarketer. US Ecommerce Forecast 2022. https://www.insiderintelligence.com/content/us-ecommerce-forecast-2022
- MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab. Retail Carbon Footprints: Measuring Impacts from Real Estate and Technology. https://realestateinnovationlab.mit.edu/research_article/retail-carbon-footprints-measuring-impacts-from-real-estate-and-technology/