In this final installment of our series, “The Four Pillars of Order Management,” we will be taking an in depth look at the various requirements for successful in-store fulfillment operations. To recap, the first entry in this series introduced the four different components that make up order management systems (OMS), including: distributed order management, enterprise inventory visibility, customer service, and in-store fulfillment.
The fourth pillar of OMS, in-store fulfillment, is a staple in a unified commerce environment. Turning stores into fulfillment sources for online orders not only increases customer satisfaction by ensuring available inventory and expediting shipping times but also reduces shipping costs and optimizes inventory as well. In-store fulfillment first requires that a retailer’s e-commerce platform route orders to stores’ point of sale (POS) system. In order for a retailer’s OMS to route orders to brick and mortar stores, certain requirements must be met, including: POS integration, inventory visibility and associate cooperation.
Point of Sale Integration
A retailer’s POS manages every aspect for of its brick and mortar store operations. Managing everything from employees, inventory and sales, a POS solution plays a crucial role in the supply chain. Therefore, in order to route orders to a store, a retailer’s OMS must first be integrated to the store’s POS solution. Once integrated, the OMS can determine if the store location has the inventory to fulfill the orders and route them there. Inventory updates and order routing all done in real time, therefore the OMS is always kept up to date with the latest information.
Before an order can be routed to a store, the system must first be sure that the store has the inventory in stock. Therefore, in-store fulfillment must first begin with complete inventory visibility across all locations. Total visibility allows an OMS to know where inventory is physically located at all times and which source with the inventory is the best option to fulfill an order. Inventory visibility ensures that orders are fulfilled by stores with the product(s) in stock and in the most efficient way possible.
Picking and Fulfilling In-Store
Once an order has been routed to a particular store location, associates must be notified through the POS system. Whether on a standard desktop terminal or a mobile device, a notification must alert the proper associates that there is an order that needs to be fulfilled. In order to avoid interrupting an in-store customer’s shopping experience, a predetermined associate then picks and packs the products. The items fulfilled will have already been deducted from that store’s inventory levels by the POS. Today’s POS software is also able to integrate to shipping platforms and automatically generate an address label for orders that need to be shipped.
The Fourth of the Four Pillars
In-store order fulfillment is a powerful value add for retailers. The reduced shipping costs and shipping times alone create an attractive offering for customers. If you’re still fulfilling online orders from just warehouses, than it may be time to implement a ship from store strategy. Learn more about Enspire Commerce’s order management system and how it has already assisted retailers in unifying commerce.