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10 Best Practices in E-commerce Order Management

Aman Chopra
April 16, 2024

Ecommerce order management is the process of tracking and fulfilling online orders. It covers everything that happens between your customer making a purchase, right through to the point that item is delivered to them. In fact, ecommerce order management can even stretch beyond this point to also cover your return and refund processes.

In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to take a look at what makes efficient ecommerce order management so important and then share ten best practices to help you achieve it in your business.

Why efficient ecommerce order management is important

Because it involves such a large number of individual processes, getting ecommerce order management right is essential for providing a smooth, satisfactory shopping experience for your customers, while simultaneously reducing the stress and financial burden placed on your business.

Efficient ecommerce order management allows you to accurately monitor your inventory, meaning that you only advertise products for purchase that you actually have in stock. Once a product is ordered, the order can be shipped more quickly, with the purchases shipped out in a timely manner.

Practicing efficient ecommerce order management also allows you to carry out omni-channel selling. Having a realistic, real-time picture of your inventory means that you can offer your products across multiple channels, maximizing your audience and your sales.

The Best practices in ecommerce order management

Here are ten of the top best practices that will help you carry out efficient and effective ecommerce order management.

1. Optimize order processing efficiency

The speed at which you can process orders directly impacts how quickly your customers receive their items, and how satisfied they are as a result.

On average, customers expect their products to be delivered in around two days when they shop online, meaning that ecommerce retailers have a high benchmark to meet if they want to provide a great customer experience.

average delivery times by product category

Image source

You can use software solutions to help you optimize your order processing efficiency. For example, order management software (OMS) can help to streamline the processes involved in order management, employing automation to help reduce the manual workload of your sales and distribution teams.

These platforms also provide a centralized system from which you can track and process all your orders. Not having to log in to several disparate systems to track and fulfill orders saves your team further time and effort.

The faster you can process and dispatch your orders, the quicker your customers will receive them, and the more satisfied they’ll be.

2. Master inventory management

Keeping track of your inventory helps to make sure that you only offer your customers products that are available to buy, reducing the likelihood of you having to cancel orders due to stockouts.

Order processing software for small businesses can help you to achieve this. This tool allows you to track your inventory in real-time, providing you with an accurate, up-to-date view of your stock levels.

This means that you can carry out order replenishment effectively, helping you to avoid stockouts, and the lost sales that would occur as result. You’ll also be able to avoid overstocking products, which will help you to save money on waste and warehouse space.

3. Improve order tracking and communication

Providing your customers with detailed order tracking, and communicating clearly with them about the progress of their order, are key factors in delivering a great customer experience.

Allowing customers to track the progress of their order helps to offer them peace of mind, and gives them greater control over the buying experience. This is especially important during the delivery process.

Rather than sitting in and waiting all day for their purchase, customers can go about their business safely in the knowledge that they won’t miss their delivery. This greatly improves the customer experience, and contributes to brand loyalty.

real time order tracking

Image source

Providing your customers with clear and consistent communication also helps to improve the customer experience, especially when shipping products internationally.

For example, consider sending your customers a notification that their order has been accepted, followed by a dispatch notification when it leaves your warehouse, and a delivery confirmation notification once it's been delivered. A reliable shipment-tracking software solution can help you automate and streamline all these tasks.

4. Ensure order accuracy and quality control

Nothing is likely to annoy your customers more than if they receive a faulty product, or the wrong product altogether. Guaranteeing order accuracy and quality control, then, are also vital factors in reducing the number of returns and refunds you have to process.

To boost order accuracy and quality control, make sure that you have strict quality control procedures in place to make sure that every product you ship is in mint condition. It’s worth training staff to look for common quality control issues during the picking and packing process, and how to double-check orders before they’re shipped to make sure they’re correct.

Using order management and inventory management software can also help you to improve your order accuracy. Streamlining your order processing workflows and utilizing automation during order processing reduces the likelihood of human errors occurring during picking and packing.

5. Streamline returns and refunds

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your customers need to return a product and receive a refund. In these instances, you need to make sure that your return and refund processes are as streamlined and stress-free as possible.

return experience for shoppers

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Not only will this improve the experience for your customers, encouraging a positive brand reputation, but it’ll also help you maintain accurate inventory levels and reduce overheads.

Many OMS solutions offer features such as automated return shipping label generation. This makes life easier for your customers, while also making sure that returns can be tracked and processed once they arrive back in your warehouse.

6. Secure payment processing and prevent fraud

If you want to minimize the financial impacts of poor ecommerce order management, you need to make sure that you take every step to prevent fraud, including offering secure payment processing.

Partner with reputable payment gateways that offer robust security features, such as PayPal. The solutions you choose should be compliant with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

You should also secure your website and any other channels through which you take payments, using security measures such as tokenization, device fingerprinting, and SSL encryption.

7. Prioritize customer service and support

Customer service and support should be at the forefront of every aspect of your ecommerce business if you want to reap the benefits of a great customer experience and brand loyalty. Over 90% of customers are more likely to make another purchase from a brand who offers a positive customer service experience.

service experience surveys

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Consider using an omnichannel contact center so that customers can contact you through their preferred channel. Utilizing AI chatbots as one of these channels is a great way to provide efficient customer service without increasing the pressure on your human support agents.

Additionally, FAQ pages and knowledge bases on your website help customers to carry out self-service support.

8. Leverage data analytics and reporting

Leveraging data analytics and reporting allows you to monitor the performance of your ecommerce business, and make well-informed, data-driven decisions on how to improve it.

You can use ecommerce order management software to access centralized reporting and analytics relating to your inventory, sales channels, and more. Consolidating all this data in one place gives you a full picture of your business, providing you with actionable insights.

Similarly, business management software gives you consolidated data for your spending and budgets, making sure that you never spend beyond your means. Using this type of software allows you to track spending against your budgets in real-time, based on variables such as department, vendor, location, and a host of other criteria.

This enables you to monitor variances and track trends, while providing you with a complete view of your spending from an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard.

9. Plan for scalability and future-proofing

Efficient ecommerce order management also helps improve the scalability of your business, providing a solid foundation that you can continue to build on as your business grows.

In contrast to manual ecommerce order management, OMS software can easily accommodate more orders as you start to receive them, without increasing the need for additional time or money to be spent on administration.

This enables you to push for growth in your ecommerce business, without the fear that the growing demand for your products will hinder your order management processes.

10. Nurture continuous process improvement

Building a culture of continuous improvement in your ecommerce business will allow you to further streamline operations, increase efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and maximize your profitability going forward.

continuous improvement

A key aspect of continuous process improvement is setting clear goals, and then measuring your effectiveness in reaching them by collecting and analyzing data for your key performance indicators (KPIs).

You can use other data sources, such as customer feedback, to help you identify pain points in your order management processes, and provide insights on how to address them.

Summing up

Efficient, effective ecommerce order management is essential for providing a great customer experience, while simultaneously reducing the time and stress involved in managing orders behind the scenes.

Use software to automate as many processes as possible. This will speed up your processes, and reduce the number of errors you experience. You can use software to improve your order processing, inventory management, and returns and refund processes.

Offer secure payment solutions, and provide first-rate customer service and support wherever it’s required.

Finally, leverage data analytics and reporting to continually track your performance, and keep making improvements as your business expands.

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