Most start-up companies just want to see that their marketing efforts are resulting in orders, using an order management system takes time to implement. At first, you’ll do fine with a manual process and spreadsheets, or using your shopping cart, accounting system or even a home grown database.
However, with any growth, in a short period of time you could find that most of your time and focus is spent servicing your customers with inadequate controls in-place. For example, let’s say you’ve been relying on your shopping cart to process orders and send them to an outsourced fulfillment company for shipping. Up to this point you have managed to keep pace with your order volume and you’ve added additional staff to keep up with the customer service activities. Now, you want to add other sales channels to your marketing plan for new growth. Suddenly you are using two, three, four or more methods to process payments and service your customers.
You guessed it, this is when everything breaks-down. Instead of increasing sales and profits, you’ve increased your overhead as too many mistakes are made and it takes too much time to manage all the exceptions and unresolved issues that drive away any efforts for product loyalty. It’s easy to put off important decisions when they involve investing precious time and money. But, the right time to add an order management system is when you have a marketing hit, but before you diversify your order channels.
Think of OrderLogix order management as your ideal manager. It is always working 24/7, and it always does as its told. OrderLogix order management automates the typical tasks involved in receiving and fulfilling sales orders.
Here are some of the typical tasks that will make an immediate improvement to automate your business processes.
- Receive orders in real-time from multiple shopping carts, call centers and IVRs
- Notify customers when their orders have shipped
- Track inventory and allow easy package tracking and returns
- Service your customers with one robust system that automates the flow of orders, payments, shipments and reports.
- Report on all aspects of your business; campaign performance, sales performance, payments, customer service, Inventory, and media attribution.
- I’ve put together some common signs that should alert you that your business had better start shopping for an order management system. If any of these issues exist, you should start to look at the benefits of order management and the ability for you control expand
1.) Too many mistakes
Errors in data entry, shipping, purchasing, reporting and accounting are too costly. As a direct response, e-commerce or catalog company grows in size, revenue or product count, its complexity increases, and so do the chances for making mistakes. What you don’t know is that these mistakes are keeping you from growing your brand and can even be putting you out of business.
2.) Payroll costs keep rising
Your immediate solution has been hiring more staff to handle the increase in sales, but your payroll costs are out-pacing your new sales revenue. The lack of a clear process and automation of routine tasks is also slowing down your ability to manage growth. Add up all those additional payroll costs and the time wasted on activities that slow down payments, shipments, and customer service inquiries. Now, compare those costs to an order management system, the investment may be less expensive than you think.
3.) Trouble keeping up with demand
Timeliness is essential for order processing and good customer service. How long does it take to process an order? How long does it take to respond to a customer inquiry about their order? Are employees spending more time chasing down information about fulfilled orders than handling new ones? When an order management system is implemented, order flow is automated, more time is spent on analyzing your business and less time responding to client inquiries or worse yet, complaints.
4.) Too many inventory surprises
Purchasing too much merchandise ties up funds and risks losing money on unsold merchandise, on the other hand, running out of stock can lead to lost revenue. Having a handle on your inventory is paramount to servicing your customers. A merchant needs full visibility into stock levels, plus a view on product history to track sales trends.
5.) Your merchant account is in Jeopardy
When you can’t fulfill orders in a timely manner and lack the ability to notify customers about delays or are unable to resolve customer service calls on the first attempt, your charge-backs are going to rise. You could find yourself having the best sales numbers ever and then boom, your merchant account provider, that all your orders use to process payment, suddenly keeps a huge reserve on your account or even worse, suspends your account. Your merchant provider also expects you to keep customer data secure including keeping the credit card information encrypted, masked, and providing only limited access for your employees. Review the Payment Industry, PCI standards, for more information on your responsibilities for keeping card holder data secure.
When you’re a startup, you do what you have to in order to get off the ground. But, recognizing when you need an order management system, and implementing it, will save you from your own success.