As retailers emerge, bruised and battle-worn from the pandemic, the intense pressure to adapt to future disruptions is inescapable. It’s time for digital transformation. Omnichannel order management and Ship from Store systems are now top of the investment plan. But the news isn’t grim. These changes have given us a spectacular opportunity to improve retail and eCommerce and come out on top. So let’s look at what it all means and how to choose the best order management system for your retail business to maximise profits and growth – and avoid costly mistakes.
What's on this page:
- Is an omnichannel order management solution for me?
- What’s POS Software?
- What is omnichannel order management?
- What does omnichannel Ship from Store mean?
- What to look for in an order management system (OMS)
- TIP: Look for a powerful, feature-rich OMS
- Next Steps: book a free demo
Omnichannel commerce (or retail) is more than a buzzword. Apart from an intelligent operations system, it’s a genuine reflection of today’s rapidly evolving retail trends and post-pandemic world. And, it’s beautiful — a seamless process resulting in better customer experiences and loyalty, increased traffic and sales and outrageously useful data collection.
Plus, a powerful omnichannel system enables you to be lockdown-ready.
Right now, omnichannel is a competitive advantage. But it’s also the future. So choosing a focused, feature-rich and flexible solution may be one of the best business investments you make. However, you must do your homework and choose a solution that works for your business – and can grow with you.
Is an omnichannel order management solution for me?
First, let’s do some box-ticking. Do you answer (or will you soon be answering) ‘yes’ to the following questions?
- Are you an Australia or New Zealand-based retailer?
- Are you even thinking about retail, eCommerce or POS systems?
- Do you have one or more bricks and mortar retail stores + an eCommerce store?
- Is your retail business in fashion, furniture, pets, homewares, nutrition, toys and hobbies, rural supplies, workwear, discount variety products — or a similar product?
If so, you’re on the right page. Now, let’s cover some common questions.
What’s POS Software?
POS software is at the heart of all omnichannel solutions. Traditionally, POS (point of sale) software referred to anything that takes the customers’ money — like the cash register.
Today, ‘POS software’ has become a catchphrase covering the front-of-house software that shop staff use, right down to back-office functionality. That includes inventory management, suppliers, fulfilment/delivery, marketing, pricing, loyalty programs, stock levels, reporting — the whole enchilada.
But now, retailers need to integrate their eCommerce platforms with their retail store POS systems. You’ve heard the phrase: ‘bricks and clicks’.
So how do we integrate these ‘bricks and clicks’? We do it through omnichannel order management software. And it can get pretty fancy (in a good way).
What is omnichannel order management?
Omnichannel — or omnichannel retail — refers to a type of retail that integrates different point of sale methods to customers (e.g. online, click to collect, in-store). When this happens seamlessly, it’s a retailer’s dream.
Omnichannel order management is the system that makes this happen. It simplifies the process of customers ordering, collecting, receiving or returning their goods. Today, consumers want their goods faster than ever. On the day. Without fuss.
They shop online, see a product and want to purchase. Maybe they want to see it in the flesh. Which store has it? Can they Click and Collect? Can they buy it online? How fast will they get it? Is there same-day delivery? If there’s a store near them, can you ship from there?
A powerful omnichannel order management system and Ship from Store solution allow you to do all this and more. (NB: This is a massive step above having terrific eCommerce order management software. The difference? This software combines inventories from both ‘bricks and clicks’.)
Incidentally, according to Power Retail, 54% of (Aussie) shoppers have had an order cancelled by the retailer as it wasn’t available. That’s a lot of lost income.
What does omnichannel Ship from Store mean?
‘Ship from Store’ means the goods are shipped from the most appropriate store, not a warehouse. So, omnichannel Ship from Store is when orders are dispatched after coming from any channel — online, another store or maybe a phone sale. It’s one smart fulfilment strategy.
According to our recent omnichannel benchmarking study of 22,000 stores, many brands have yet to become Ship from Store retailers. But make the transition, and you can enjoy:
- Reduced shipping costs & faster delivery times – Australian shoppers now demand more than just shipping at the lowest price. They want free delivery - and lightning fast delivery. Retailers must comply to compete.
- Inventory levels are optimised & always in stock – by decentralising your fulfilment and allocating more stock to each store, shoppers also have a greater choice of click and collect destinations in real time. It's a great user experience for them, and better customer loyalty and sales for you.
- Reduce markdowns - by making stock more fluid and moving it where required, you eliminate the need to off-load stock at a reduced price. Read: higher profits.
Notably, according to Australia Post’s August 2021 Inside Australia Online Shopping - eCommerce update, young shoppers are interested in buying sustainably.
1 in 4 online shoppers selected a brand due to ethics and sustainability practices this year. Those aged 18 to 24 are 3.5 times more likely to choose this than those aged 60 +. Shopping local and minimising carbon emissions are a big deal.
“As a growing Australian retailer, I was consistently disappointed with the features and support I was getting from POS system vendors. They promised the world and delivered mediocrity.”
– Aaron Blackman, founder and CEO of Retail Express
What to look for in an order management system (OMS)
There are many order management systems on the market, so take the time to explore and understand their functionality before committing.
The #1 POS software in Australia and New Zealand, Retail Express, was created 15 years ago by retailers, for retailers. As a consumer trend-conscious retailer, Retail Express CEO Aaron Blackman was disappointed with the features and support he received from POS vendors. To find a successful POS solution that could adapt to shopper interests and demands, he consulted with hundreds of others, then set out to create his own.
Retail Express is an adaptable and powerful cloud-based POS system that allows you to unlock your full potential in-store and online. There are no clunky desktop applications, no system crashes, no data poll issues, no headaches. And it allows you the flexibility to grow and change.
Retail Express gives you three key features to help you grow:
1. A cloud-based software platform: This covers both front-of-house POS (software for your sales staff) and a full suite of back-office tools to maximise your business:
- inventory management
- supplier lists
- loyalty programs
- product lists
- comprehensive reporting
2. Integrations: A key element to today’s retail, Retail Express integrates with:
- eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, Neto, BigCommerce and WooCommerce
- Accounting software like Xero, SAP, Oracle NetSuite or MYOB
- Payment providers like Afterpay, zipPay, Tyro, PC-Eftpos and others
- Marketing software such as Mailchimp, OnesendHQ and ActiveCampaign
- ERP solutions like SAP and Sync
- Analytics - such as Blix, The Retail Score and many more
- Marketplaces such as industry leaders The Iconic, David Jones, Marketplacer, Crossfire Cloud and Bike Exchange
3. Expert implementation and support – you’re assigned a dedicated Australian-based retail expert as your project success manager who guides you through every step of the software set-up. And, you’ll receive ongoing phone and email support from Australian-based retail experts that understand the industry.
TIP: Look for a powerful, feature-rich OMS
A powerful, sophisticated, feature-rich OMS (order management system) won’t let you down. When choosing the best order management system for your brand, think about the following:
- Can it handle complexities? Think carefully about any complex inventory management needs so you won’t get caught out. The last thing you want to hear is, “We can, but we’ll have to build it”. Or worse, “We can’t”.
- How much time will you lose if you choose an inferior product? Think of the time it takes for the entire team to get on board and integrate it into the system. Don’t find out later that you’ve chosen the wrong product.
- What about advanced integrations? Suppose you’re a larger retailer (~30-50 stores). In that case, you’ll appreciate the sophistication of a fast, agile and scalable solution at a better price point than some larger ERP systems. Check that your product will deliver.
- Who’ll help you set it up? A feature-rich product is worth the investment, but you may need some help getting there. Most retailers — even with cheaper, simpler products — need help with set-up. Retail Express’ assigned Australian-based support manager will be here to help guide you.
Next steps: book a free demo
Omnichannel order management and a slick Ship from Store system can give your business massive gains — and ensure you're meeting customers’ needs for a fast and sustainable service. Get in touch today. Retail Express can give you a free benchmarking scorecard report on your business and a free personalised demo.
Australia Post: Inside Australian Online Shopping - eCommerce update (Released: August 2021) https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/auspost_corp/media/documents/2020-ecommerce-industry-report.pdf
Power Retail: Report: December to be Biggest Online Shopping Quarter on Record. Are you Prepared? https://powerretail.com.au/insights/report-december-to-be-biggest-online-shopping-quarter-on-record-are-you-prepared/