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15 Jun 2021

How to Improve Ecommerce Order Management in the GCC

When your online sales business is small, your ecommerce fulfillment is simple and you can easily manage it. But as sales grow and your inventory range expands along with your customer base, the sheer volume of orders coming in can become challenging to handle.

Bottlenecks can quickly arise, causing delivery delays that will not help the reputation and standing of your enterprise. Before that happens, you might wish to think about steps to improve the capabilities of your B2B ecommerce business.

Among the solutions to consider, perhaps one of the most useful and beneficial would be investment in B2B order management software, linked to your online storefront or eCatalog via API.

If you’d like to know how to improve your B2B ecommerce order management using API integration with a dedicated software solution, you should find the following insights helpful.

Ecommerce Order Management Solutions: How They Work

As a first step towards improving order management, you will need to ensure that your ecommerce website is hosted on a platform supporting ecommerce fulfillment through application programming interfaces (APIs).

An API is essentially a code enabling data transmission between various software products. Examples of such platforms include Shopify, Magento, and OpenCart.

Once you have a suitable API set up, your software will execute the order management cycle autonomously. That cycle begins when a customer buys a product and continues until the delivery has been completed. It incorporates all the logistics processes necessary to take an electronic sales order and turn it into a successfully executed delivery of physical goods.

The Order Management Cycle – A Typical Scenario

1) A customer clicks the ‘Buy’ button on the ecommerce platform and receives an order confirmation. 2) The warehouse receives the order. The order management software assigns the product to the customer and issues an order number. 3) Warehouse workers pick and pack the order. 4) The customer receives a digital message advising that the product is ready for delivery. 5) The order is delivered to the customer.

An online ordering system for retail business can also be used to track and manage product returns, refunds, and exchanges.

What an Order Management System can do for You

The benefits of implementing a fully integrated ecommerce fulfillment platform are enormous and, due to the breakneck speed at which ecommerce technology is advancing, these solutions have become indispensable for companies wishing to survive in the online ordering maelstrom stirred up by the Coronavirus pandemic.

These are some of the capabilities you can exploit when using ecommerce software to manage your orders:

1. Customer experience improvements

Effective order management and customer service delivery go hand-in-hand. With integrated order management software, your customers can easily view your product catalogues and price lists online. They can also enjoy a simple, straightforward process for placing orders and, if needed, interact directly with you. The buying process is very intuitive—and alluring.

2. Better Tracking of Inventory Flow

Modern software allows you to track your inventory in real-time across all channels, thus reducing the chances of overstocking or, even worse, selling out-of-stock items to customers.

3. Reduced Order Mistakes

An increase in online shopping means more orders to fulfill, which, if tracked manually, will invariably open the way for errors to creep in throughout the supply chain. The fallout from payment disputes, missed orders, warehouse mispicks, or delivery snarl-ups under a manual system can be enormous. Order management software provides you with an immediate, detailed record of orders as well as the various stages in their fulfillment, reducing the risk of errors and increasing efficiency.

4. Better Customer Relationship Management

A B2B ordering portal provides easy access to your customers’ accounts and the history of their orders, aiding you when you need to answer queries and resolve problems.

5. Reliable Data

No more paperwork! No more bulky files and missing documents and receipts! Electronic data interchange (EDI) facilities and application programming interfaces (APIs) allow you to build a vast and reliable database from which you can analyze transactions and make predictions regarding future customer demands.

6. Omnichannel Commerce

An ecommerce fulfillment platform embraces a multichannel approach to sales, also known as Omnichannel retail, and integrates various shopping methods, such as online, via the telephone, or in person.

The Importance of Ecommerce Logistics Integration in the GCC

To highlight how rapidly consumers in Gulf States are veering towards online shopping, one only needs to look at the statistics.

Driven by the Coronavirus pandemic, the value of the GCC ecommerce market leaped from a meagre $5.3bn in 2015 to $17.7bn in 2019 and is forecast to hit $50bn by 2025.

The surge in online spending prompted the April 2020 launch of Noon, the Middle East’s homegrown online shopping marketplace. The platform allows consumers to order goods in the following categories:

  • Groceries
  • Fashion items
  • Computers
  • Mobiles
  • Sports
  • Toys & games
  • Appliances
  • Kitchenware

A Mastercard study showed that, since the outbreak of the pandemic, 73 percent of consumers in the UAE have increased the amount of shopping they do online. Healthcare, clothing, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and banking products are the most popular sectors.

That all translates into a significant rise in online retail. For those enterprises serving retailers, there is a similar seismic shift from traditional face-to-face and telephone sales, to a preference among customers for the convenience and visibility of buying online.

Should You Invest in Order Management Software?

The need for seamless order flows and deliveries consistently completed on time and in full, savvy vendors understand the difficulties of handling a fast-growing ecommerce market. That’s why they are increasingly connecting their ecommerce sales platforms and digital catalogs with comprehensive online B2B ordering systems for retail business.

If you haven’t already done so, the availability and competitive pricing of such solutions means that now is a great time to invest. If you serve GCC consumers directly, in addition to your business customers, B2C order fulfillment software may also prove an invaluable add-on.

Quite simply, ecommerce logistics integrations are now a mainstream feature of B2B sales in the GCC, and if you aren’t considering your options right now, there’s a real risk of being left behind and handing a huge advantage to your competitors.

Signs that Your Business Needs an Order Management System

If your company is experiencing any of the following issues, the chances are that an investment in B2B order management software would resolve the problem(s):

  1. Unexpected inventory shortages.
  2. Difficulties in managing sales channels.
  3. Lack of accurate data.
  4. An increase in customer complaints.

There are a plethora of B2B order management systems on the market today, including standalone order management software (OMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and various specialist retail and B2B operations platforms.

Each one offers an automated approach to order management and ecommerce fulfillment. The more complex your sales system is, the greater the need for advanced technological solutions. So why not do some research and decide which one is the best fit for your enterprise? The investment will pay for itself over and over.