The Ultimate Guide to Multi-Channel Order Management Software

Essentials of Multi-Channel Order Management

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Right, let’s start from the beginning. Essentially, there are 3 main stages to a multi-channel order management process

  1. Receiving an order
  2. Picking, packing and shipping
  3. Order delivery

And there’s a lot of pressure to get this right. To put it bluntly, customers expect the best from you, every single time. And if they don’t get it, they go elsewhere. End of story. So we need to take a look at each stage in the process, examine potential problems, and streamline (jargon alert!) the steps to make the whole system run nicely.

Multi-channel order management software can help with this. But you already saw that coming. In this post, we cover the specific ways that software can smooth out each step of the process.

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No, it’s not order management with attitude. SaaS (software-as-a-service) order management is a system that’s hosted in the cloud.  You pay a subscription to a vendor who hosts and is responsible for the software functionality, upgrades and updates. You just need internet access to use the system. But there are a lot of fears floating around about SaaS (channelling the Jaws theme tune SO hard right now).

If you’re already familiar with concerns about the security of the cloud, you may be thinking ‘why not just use traditional software?’. It’s a safe and familiar option. Or is it? (Shush, music.)

How SaaS order management shapes up against traditional, on-premise software

Whether SaaS multi-channel order management systems legitimately help business processes and growth

A side-by-side comparison of cost, maintenance and security (eye-opening stuff)

The common concerns about using SaaS and how to get around them

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Or rather, ‘do I really want another expense?’. Nobody likes paying out for stuff if they don’t have to.

But if you do need multi-channel order management software, and you’re trying to get by without one, what is that really costing you in terms of customers and sales?

And we mean this in the least judgy way possible: are you giving the best possible customer service you can give? We’re not gonna break into song here about how to fulfil your potential or whatever. It’s just that it’s been found that there can be a Grand Canyon-esque gap between what businesses think they’re offering and what customers feel they’re really offering. And that gap could be costing you more than multi-channel order management software would.

But let’s not jump ahead too far here. Your business may not need an order management system yet. Discover what the 3 major signs are that you do need some software, along with the perks that an OMS offers you.

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Ok, so now you’ve established that yeah, you kinda need multi-channel order management software. But there’s a load of choices on the market which makes things harder for you. Let’s be honest, we think we like having choices but it complicates things.

And you want to find the right fit for your business of course. We’re always worried about making the wrong choice, to the point where we’d rather not choose anything at all. Ah, human psyche, you annoying creature.

So we’re gonna break it down. Instead of charging in and rabidly hunting through vendors’ websites, take a step back. No point rushing in without an action plan. There are things you can do before you start sussing out vendors, that’ll make the whole process easier.

This post will

Run through what you need to do and think about before you start your search

Give you a checklist that you can work through to make the selection process smoother

Go through the specific things to look for when assessing potential vendors

To be honest, the really cute dog pic at the end is reason enough to click!

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The moment of truth. As we mentioned above, you want the best for your business. This is super anti-climactic at this point but . . . there is no best system. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s about finding the right one for you. But you know how you don’t want to get too far into a relationship before discovering that your significant other inhales nail clippings or something equally weird? You’d rather know the ‘quirks’ early on, right?

It’s the same with your multi-channel order management software. It’s best to get the full picture, warts and all, before you get too attached to a particular provider.

If only someone would make a beast of a post breaking all this stuff down . . . well, we did. And you may be thinking ‘well obviously, you’re gonna twist it to paint ChannelGrabber as the best one’. No twisting, honest.

This post is an objective view of 15 multi-channel order management software providers, with all the pros and cons.

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You mean aside from guzzling a shocking amount of milk in our office? Well. We make your multi-channel order management easier. We’ve had customers report up to 90% in time saved when handling their orders with us.

You can choose from paying monthly or annually (with two months free if you choose annual).

The price is based on order volume which you can upgrade or downgrade anytime if you need to, which means you're never paying for more than you actually need.

You get an unlimited number of users included in the cost also.

You also get these multi-channel order management features:

Your webstore and marketplaces are all brought together in a simple interface

Order timelines, so you can click into individual orders to view details or check status

Batches of orders and pick lists can be created easily for a smooth warehouse process

Bulk action orders with one click, saving oodles of time

Multi-courier integrations, so you can manage shipping and print labels without needing to log into different courier accounts

Shipping labels and invoices are rolled into one, to avoid wasting printing resources

Scannable invoices to quickly mark orders as dispatched

Parcel tracking information is sent out automatically to your customers, which keeps them happy

To be honest, the really cute dog pic at the end is reason enough to click!

Managing orders on the big channels

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Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information out there about selling on Amazon? We don't blame you! Which is why we put together this mega guide to:

Get you started on Amazon

Help you decide whether you should let Amazon fulfill your orders

Give you a pros and cons overview of Fulfilment by Amazon, Fulfilment by Merchant and Seller Fulfilled Prime

Show you how software can help with any selling choice

Talk you through how to become a top seller on Amazon

Help you with multi-channel order management essentials, from pick lists to eBay and Shopify integrations

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Right. eBay, you're next. Working our way through multi-channel order management at a steady pace! Like Amazon, eBay has a lot to get your head around. Knowing which kind of account to go for (store or no store?) and the pricing structures for a start.

Then there's the whole issue of being evaluated by eBay regularly and facing some pretty harsh consequences if your selling account isn't up to standard. How do you make sure that doesn't happen to you? What are they even scoring you on?

How do you cope with the demands of selling on eBay if you're also selling on other places? Before you reach for an aspirin, we put together this guide to take you from getting set up, to understanding eBay's seller requirements, to nailing the order fulfilment essentials, to integrating eBay with Amazon and Shopify for easier order management.

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Etsy is the perfect marketplace for all things creative and quirky and it's the perfect place to build personal connections that drive sales. But this comes at a price. Etsy is saturated and the competition fierce. But don't let that get you down or put you off. You can totally make room for your business. It all comes down to having a clear game plan to blast your competitors out of the water and compel people to buy from you. Sound easier than it is? Yep. But we're here to guide you.

This guide covers:

How to get started selling on Etsy

What you're allowed to sell

The main steps to get set up

Exercises to help you choose your store name and set your prices

The extra bits you need to do when your store opens

How to write awesome product descriptions

How to manage orders on Etsy

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Building your own webstore is a huge deal. You get to make your own site from scratch and look at it and go "I made that" - and that feels awesome. But it's not as easy as putting your products on Amazon and eBay. It takes time. And you'll find yourself continually tweaking your site. We put together this guide to help you get your Shopify store up and running quickly and get you on the right tracks in terms of choosing your web design. Picking the right theme is critical because it can really hurt conversions if you get it wrong.

And on top of that, we dive into the nitty-gritty of order management practices. As in, how to get your orders out the door quickly so you can keep customers happy and have more time to invest in your store. And if you're also selling on other channels, we cover how your Shopify store can slot in nicely alongside them without robbing you of your time.