Order Fulfillment Software – 12 Must-Have Features
Today, more and more businesses are searching for ways to reach more customers by offering their products online. But if your business wants to set up an e-commerce website and sell online, then choosing the right e-commerce software is part of the solution. There are other essential elements that you have to consider. These elements are usually hard to implement if you haven’t optimized your order fulfillment services yet. Your end goal should be to make your entire customer experience fast, hassle-free, and seamless transaction as much as possible. Optimizing your order fulfillment process with an e-commerce order fulfillment software will lead to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty in the long run. Which brings us to the question.
What Is an Order Fulfillment Software?
Unlike other business software terms, an e-commerce order fulfillment software does precisely what it says. This kind of automation helps streamline a portion of the order fulfillment process to provide a more efficient experience overall.
With an order fulfillment solution, you’re able to significantly reduce errors in order entry, improve order visibility, automate invoices, manage returns, and so much more. This order fulfillment functionality is usually found as a part of a bigger supply chain software management system. Now, listed below are the must-have features of an e-commerce order fulfillment software. Remember that your overall success will depend on the features that you’ve picked.
1. Order Management
When looking for features that are related to an order management system, you have to ensure that the solution that you’ll pick could do the following.
- Create, view, edit, or look for orders.
- Show you all the incoming orders for various channels (e-commerce, store, phone, marketplace, and so on).
- Track your orders (as well as its related inventory) and shipping.
- Communicates the shipping updates to the customer.
- Manages your customer information.
- Accepts return orders, as well as manage and verify the Return Merchandise Authorizations. (RMAs)
2. Order Fulfillment Software – Automation
Automation is your biggest time-saver, so it’s an essential feature that you need to look for. It streamlines processes, helps you save time, and significantly reduces human errors for e-commerce businesses. As a result, the fulfillment process is significantly accelerated by a large margin. That’s because a lot of day-to-day decisions are usually based on pre-programmed rules instead of employees.
Keep in mind that not every e-commerce order fulfillment software solution offers automation as part of its features. So it’s one feature that you need to explore thoroughly before committing to the software of your choice.
3. User Notifications
Ideally, you want to have a feature that notifies you and gives you a heads up should important situations happen. The specific types of situations in which users are notified are different depending on the business’ needs. Your e-commerce order fulfillment software of choice should alert you if
- Your inventory is out-of-stock.
- You have incomplete or inaccurate shipping and tracking information.
- You already have low inventory(depending on the quantity that you set).
- There are shipping, system, and integration errors.
4. Order Fulfillment
Fulfillment functions must ensure that each customer receives the right products on time, while simultaneously reducing the company’s shipping costs. That means the order fulfillment company that you need to work with must include the following features.
- Has in-store fulfillment.
- Makes and prints shipping labels.
- Choose which shipping method to use.
- Automatic calculation of shipping fee.
- Automatic estimation of when the product will arrive.
- Integrates the shipping providers that you’re using (or want to start using).
- Streamlines the entire packing, picking, and shipping process.
- Automatically sends the shipping and tracking information to the buyer, the platform, or both.
5. Warehouse Management
Whether you’re working in a single warehouse or multiple locations, the software you choose must be capable of managing various locations. This helps improve the visibility of your products. It’s also crucial that your software assigns precise locations for your products in every warehouse-like bins, rows, aisles, and so on. You might also need to pay extra for an additional system if the order fulfillment system that you choose couldn’t do any of these things.
- Assigns and switches product locations.
- Manage different locations.
- Make multiple user types for admins, employees, and managers.
- Prints pack, pick, and ship lists that have optimized routes.
6. Order Fulfillment Software – Reporting
With an advanced in-depth reporting, you’re able to better keep track of the whole logistic process of your online business. The reports usually include the forecast revenue, breakdown of expenses, sales of orders, sales of channels, and so much more. On top of that, it should also have advanced filters that would allow customers to make better purchasing decisions.
7. Inventory Management and Control
Managing your inventory is perhaps one of the most vital (yet difficult tasks) for the majority of online merchants. That’s why your order fulfillment system must work well with your inventory management solution. As you go on receiving and processing orders, your inventory levels should be updated in real-time as well. That way, you can consistently and accurately view the quantities of your stocks.
That’s why you have to ensure that you get a system that lets you
- View your inventory levels in real-time.
- Add, view, and edit your existing inventory.
- Accurately forecast your inventory.
- Manage your purchase orders and then receive your incoming inventory.
- Allocate a significant portion of your inventory when necessary.
- Incorporate with multiple sales channels and marketplaces.
- Bundle products for discounts.
8. Order Fulfillment Software – Integrations
An order fulfillment software streamlines processes and helps you save time. However, if you’re using one that isn’t compatible with other systems, then you’re creating more work for you and the rest of your team.
That’s why it’s essential that your order fulfillment system easily integrates with other systems that you use or plan to use such as
- Point-of-sale (POS) systems.
- Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
- E-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
- Accounting software such as QuickBooks.
- Shipping providers such as FedEx and USPS.
- Electronic data interchange for partners like Walmart and Target.
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like SAP and Netsuite.
9. Multichannel Order Management
One of the most efficient ways to maximize your sales is to list your items in as many channels as you can. However, sometimes, as soon as your sales pick-up, you still have to monitor and then process a pile of orders through a collection of various stores that can easily get disorganized real fast.
Manually keeping your store synchronized is already a full-time job itself, and can give you headaches. If you want to sell on a variety of channels, then you might have to utilize a multi-channel order management system which will consolidate your orders automatically from all stores in a single place. This will help save you a lot of time, as well as prevent uncomfortable oversell situations.
10. Order Fulfillment Software – Order Tracking
If you’re in the B2B, B2C, or a combination of both, you’ll know that customers are even more demanding when it comes to getting their orders quickly. Chances are, you’ve come across an impatient customer who won’t stop calling or emailing you, inquiring about their order. Answering their questions can be a real time-sucker for you and your team, especially when an issue comes up while the product’s shipment is already underway.
To remedy the situation, you need to come up with a system that allows your customers to track their orders in real-time. You can do so by placing the tracking number on the confirmation email, together with the online receipt and estimated delivery date.
Alternatively, you can also consider working with a developer who can add this feature directly to your site. That way, you can spend more time taking calls and answering inquiries, and more time to get the actual orders processed.
11. Following up with Impeccable Customer Service
An effective way to avoid bad experiences from getting worse, as well as build a loyal customer following, is to follow up every order with highly responsive customer service. Excellent order fulfillment systems give you the ability to send out automated emails to customers as soon as their orders arrive. The content of the email could be as simple as asking them if everything within the order is correct.
Not only does this show your customers that they’re dealing with a brand that truly cares for them, but it also serves as an excellent stepping stone that will help nurture your customers towards their next order. You must do your best to eliminate any worries on the side of the buyer, and answer their questions even before they’re asked.
12. Review and Feedback Gathering
Reviews are more important than ever. In fact, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do with personal recommendations. Ideally, your order fulfillment software should send automated emails to buyers that ask them to rate and review your store. If ever they have a bad experience, then you should invite them to respond directly to the email. That way, you can directly address the situation before they leave you with a negative or damaging review.
Order Fulfillment Software – Over to You
Why is it essential to use an order fulfillment software? Some people think that the moment the customer clicks the “Buy Now” button, and confirms their order, they have already achieved their goal. But this is actually where order fulfillment ‒ the most important process ‒ starts. Knowing how to do it quickly and professionally increases your chances of turning your buyers into loyal customers. It supports your website, reduces operation costs, and grabs the attention of your target audience. But this is often easier said than done.
You need to be notified about ordering in a timely manner, check the warehouse if the item is still available, and work out a process for quick delivery. Things get even more complex as the number of orders grows, especially if it’s coming from various sales channels. That’s where an order fulfillment software comes in as a solution for all of these problems. Its services have become an indispensable element to a lot of online stores, especially those who have experienced a large volume of sales.
We’ve highlighted the most important features your order management software needs. As people who shop online are increasing in number, your ability to stay on track in terms of customer care and efficiency will be the difference between success and failure. If you stick with an order fulfillment software that’s outdated, then you’re surely going to be left behind.