You have a beautifully designed, highly functional website, an original logo, an inspiring mission statement and all the energy in the world to invest in your new online business. Then you slowly start to feel more stressed as orders start coming in and it’s not just the website, social media and the rest of marketing you need to take care of. Now you actually have customers eagerly awaiting their orders and ready to complain if they wait longer than expected or receive less than what they paid for. With customer numbers rising up, you start to feel overwhelmed and face the risk of burn out as you can’t do it all on your own.
Luckily, there are new technological order management solutions even for small, home-based businesses. You don’t have to own a vast inventory or even your own storage to benefit from automating your order management process. First, you need to understand the stages involved in processing an order from your online store to decide whether you’d like to implement a time-saving and efficient solution for your business or plan for its implementation in the future.
- An order comes in – as soon as your customer confirms their payment, the order is officially registered in your chosen Order management system and is processed according to pre-set guidelines.
- The order is processed by a software – most order management systems are seamlessly integrated with your accounting or inventory management software, or even offer an all-in-one solution, so that items are entered in your accounts as well as written off the inventory.
- Order is forwarded to either drop-shipper or warehouse – depending on whether you are using drop shipping, your own storage or a fulfilment service, the shipping point receives instant update on the items that need locating, packaging and shipping.
- Customer is notified of successful shipment – once the processed order hits the road, the information is registered in the order management software, which automatically updates the order’s status in the customer’s online profile or sends him or her another type of notification.
- Order reaches customer – this is usually the final point of the order process unless there is a problem with the shipment or the customer decides to return the product. Some advanced automated order management systems are “trained” to handle return orders, while simultaneously updating the accounting information as well as inventory data.
Even if not all of these stages apply for your business, it doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from an order management system. The price of most of these types of software is adjusted depending on order volume, and you can affordably and safely implement one for your home business needs in order to concentrating on perfecting your product as well as your marketing efforts and online presence. Some modern systems even synchronize across your devices so you can track your orders even while you are on the road. You will also ensure that all your payments to suppliers are completed on time and that there aren’t any hanging unfulfilled orders you have forgotten about.