con·sum·er : a person who purchases goods and services for personal use
The term “consumer” is quickly becoming outdated in today’s landscape. No longer is a “consumer” just a purchaser of products and goods. Today, a “consumer” is an extension of your company and someone you must reach out to and understand in order to receive the privilege of their business in return.
In the past, companies could almost solely rely on advertising and demand to sell their products. Now, these demands are changing. The average customer has become educated – a lot smarter and much harder to please. Whenever I shop for an item online, I check multiple sites for the same item to see which company will provide me the most value for my money.
From product customization to faster delivery windows, the options available to the modern day “consumer” are endless. Each “consumer” is different and has their own criteria they use to make buying decisions.
To survive in the market, companies need capable order management systems to meet the needs of their customers. These OMS systems allow your company to offer endless options to your customers and give your company a competitive advantage over other competitors in the market. Below are some of the demands the new age “consumer” has and how a top-of-class order management system can help you satisfy your customer and sustain business.
1. Multi-channel fulfillment
Customers have access to more fulfillment channels than ever today. The brick-and-mortar model that many retail companies were built on just doesn’t cut it anymore. Whether a customer wants expedited delivery or wants to pick up their item in a local store, your order management system needs to be able to handle all of these requests.
With a capable OMS, your customer has the ability to choose their delivery method (Ship-to-home, Ship-to-store, Pick up in store, or “Buy in store, deliver to home). The more options you can have to fulfill customer orders, the more flexible you can be for your customers which leads to a higher volume of fulfilled orders and happier customers.
Each new age “consumer”, wants and deserves a customized ordering experience. This includes everything from gift messages to having saved profile information to being able to customize the actual product you are selling.
Modern OMS systems have the flexibility to deal with all of these variables and can integrate seamlessly with your e-commerce website. These systems allow you to provide your customers with a custom shopping experience across all order channels and to offer more choices of products and added services that can provide further value to your customer.
A tailored ordering experience for each customer also establishes their trust in your company and makes them understand that you truly value their business.
3. Customer Service & Order Visibility
We live in an “information now” world, where “consumers” need instant access to their order information. They need to quickly be able to make changes to orders, obtain tracking information, and get details on products or services. Your customers expect this to be a hassle-free experience, so you will need to leverage your OMS to make it one.
I’ve dealt primarily with Order Management systems for the past few years and have seen first hand how phenomenal they are at providing supply chain visibility to employees, service representatives, and customers.
Recently I had an order I placed online and I needed to remove an item off of the order. I called into their Customer Service center and was greeted by a representative. They asked for my order number which I did not have, but it was not an issue. They then asked for my email address and were able to pull up my order immediately. Their system allowed them to see all of the details of my order and they were able to make my desired changes to the order.
It’s a simple example, but you can already see how an effective OMS system can increase the efficiency of your customer service representatives. Quick customer interactions will lead to shorter call times and overall better customer service.
4. Order Accuracy & Speed of Delivery
The term “Supply Chain” simplified is getting the right product to the right place at the right time. Every company with hopes of sustaining this idea with an increasing e-commerce/omni-channel presence, needs a capable OMS system for their foundation.
A great OMS system will consistently lead to accurate and on-time orders. Order management systems have built in tools for effectively maintaining inventory levels, allocating inventory to the best location, and releasing the orders to their fulfillment locations. All of these tools will help you get the product to your customer in the most efficient way possible.
The average “consumer” and their demands are evolving. You can already see some of the impacts these changes have had on the Retail industry as a whole. It is extremely important today to have an Order Management system that can handle these demands and deliver value to your customers. So, I urge you to take a look at the system you have in place today. Are you ready for the new age “consumer”?