Consumer habits have undergone a sea change in the past two years thanks to the pandemic and are now in a state of flux again as the cost of living crisis hits. So how can you best operate in this dynamic environment? jonathan mauer offers some order management tips.
The last two years have transformed consumer behaviors. Whether they’re comparing prices on different sites, arranging for a pickup for an item they’d like to buy, or arranging for delivery of a purchase, consumers have started to take advantage of online platforms more than ever.
According to a study conducted by Google, it is clear that the The online shopping habit of consumers is here to stay.. In the fashion sector alone, 57% of shoppers expect to shop online in the next six months.
Additionally, a variety of popular retail giants have already started leveraging these advanced systems to enhance the omnichannel experience for consumers.
Consumers are now turning to a mixed approach to shopping: some prefer to review the product online and then buy in person, or buy online and pick it up in store, while others are comfortable conducting their transactions entirely digitally. As consumer demands continue to evolve with technology, retailers must use next-generation order management to meet consumer requirements and avoid potential pain points along the customer journey.
The recent increase in the cost of living will only make consumers more discriminating in their purchasing decisions. In what has become a difficult time for many consumers, retailers must continue to address consumer habits and preferences to personalize and deliver the desired experience. Whether it’s faster returns or an overall smoother shopping experience, optimizing order management can improve the customer experience. In an era where consumers have become quite selective about their purchases, a high-quality customer experience can serve as a powerful tool for retailers to retain customers.
Simplification of order management
E-commerce has been growing for years, but the market has seen more exponential growth specifically since the pandemic. Although through their own e-commerce platforms, retailers initially saw an increase in sales, in today’s fierce competition it is not enough to have a standard website and app. Retailers must ensure that their services in these applications are simple, fast and consistent. Lack of efficient order management can lead to delivery delays or even out-of-stocks, resulting in a poor consumer experience. The question remains how can retailers avoid this?
This is where the role of technology comes in: brands can take advantage of order management systems (OMS) to automate the entire process. OMS can be connected directly to a retailer’s e-commerce platform for automatic shipment generation, with an assigned location. All this is possible thanks to the use of real-time data that not only saves time, but significantly increases accuracy, creating a much more efficient workflow than if the task were performed manually.
To close the gaps and maintain accuracy throughout the sales process, it is essential to keep track of different areas, such as point of sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM), order management and inventory and analysis. Typically, each of these processes will operate independently of one another. Without full integration of each platform into an ecosystem, retailers risk creating friction at every stage of the customer journey and hampering the customer experience.
Today, retailers can take advantage of advanced platforms that allow the integration of multiple processes in one place. Through this integration, order fulfillment can be simplified and made more efficient. Additionally, the single-pane-of-glass view across these platforms can strengthen a retailer’s offering across the entire customer journey, providing real-time insights across all areas and enabling faster, more effective decision-making.
Drive customer loyalty
In an ideal world, retailers would have a minimum number of returns to process and manage. However, returns are an inevitable part of modern consumer buying habits. According to a survey of 18,520 consumers in more than 20 countries, 55% of consumers believe that an easy shopping experience (payment and returns) plays a vital role in keeping them loyal to the brand.
Consumers expect a seamless experience during the returns process, just as they expect when purchasing items. Faster returns with a variety of options like faster refunds or online exchanges have now become the stakes at the table. And consumers who have had a bad returns experience with a retailer are less likely to buy from the brand again.
Implementing the right technology to make returns as efficient as possible is key to gaining consumer trust. Modern platforms enable faster returns and automatically process refunds to consumers, regardless of the channel used for purchase. Brands can also take advantage of state-of-the-art software to generate pre-approved return codes that allow consumers to make returns or exchanges with minimal effort.
Preparing for the peak
An essential factor for brands to keep in mind is that by using the right retail software that provides an all-in-one solution, retailers can simplify their entire operation and create a much more streamlined experience for both the user and what’s more. important to the customer.
As we move into the second half of 2022 and begin the countdown to the festive season, retailers can be prepared to make the most of the upcoming key dates later this year by implementing advanced technologies that automate and streamline their operations. . In addition, the insights now gained from these technologies can also enable retailers to make effective decisions during shopping days, such as Black Friday and Boxing Day, to ensure maximum profitability at the most opportune time of year for retail. retail.
Jonathan Maurer is vice president of operations at teamwork trade