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Editor’s Note: Today’s article is from Alexa Lemzy from TextMagic who gives us 4 helpful tips for managing your ecommerce orders for multichannel marketplaces.

Online sales are an increasingly important part of any business, with the global online marketplace estimated to include 2.14 billion customers by 2021. For many organizations, taking advantage of this growing market means selling on a multichannel marketplace.

Selling your product across multiple channels makes managing your ecommerce orders a more complicated task than operating a single online storefront. As a result, businesses need the right tools and procedures to quickly and accurately process orders from every sales channel. Automation tools are vital for efficiently managing your inventory, data entry and order fulfilment processes.

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1. Inventory Management

Inventory management can be challenging in multichannel marketplaces. Without a unified inventory system, this can lead to issues that inconvenience customers and cost your business.

Inaccurate stock level reporting can cause customers to buy out-of-stock items which are still marked as available, or unable to buy in-stock items that are still marked as unavailable. Furthermore, a lack of accurate, up-to-date inventory reporting will prevent you from using your storage space and transport effectively. Inefficient use of space is one of the biggest causes for delay loading deliveries.

To avoid these issues, you need an inventory management tool that integrates with each of your ecommerce platforms. Sales channels should be automatically updated on inventory changes, and immediately update your inventory as purchases are made.

2. Data Entry

There is a huge amount of data entry involved in order management, from delivery information to order details and customization. Doing this manually takes a lot of time, which is why more than 50% of retailers are investing in warehouse automation technologies to automate data entry.

In addition to being a very time-consuming task, this also creates a lot of room for human error, potentially resulting in sending incorrect items to customers, delivering to the wrong address or giving incorrect order information to clients.

Data entry is another area which can greatly benefit from automation tools in a number of areas:

  • Delivery Labels. An automatic process to create postage labels including the shipping address and selected delivery option from any sales channel will save time and reduce shipping errors.
  • Tracking Numbers. Automatically retrieve tracking numbers for each delivery and update sales channels with this information. This makes it easier for customers to track items and ensures your team can always find an order’s tracking number regardless of the sales channel.
  • Order Customization. If you offer a wide range of customization options for your products, it can be useful to ensure that requests from all sales channels arrive in a standardized format to avoid misunderstanding or overlooked details.

3. Order Confirmation

Order confirmation and delivery messages provide assurance to your customers and prevent unnecessary customer contacts about outstanding orders. These can be automated using email or text messaging platform for ecommerce to ensure information is sent to customers without your input. If you are selling on multiple channels with differing audiences, it can be useful to create a range of customizable messages for each platform, to better communicate with those audiences. Order confirmation emails have an open rate 8 times higher than other forms of email marketing, making them a great way to engage with new customers.

Follow up messages after an order has been delivered can help you improve your ordering processes and customer experience, and handwritten thank you messages to repeat customers or big purchases can make your customer experience more personal.

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4. Shipping

Modern consumers want to have a consistent customer experience across all of your sales channels, and the shipping options you offer are a big part of this. In addition to meeting any third-party platform-specific shipping requirements, make sure you are offering the same shipping options at the same prices on every channel. Different shipping options on each channel can cause confusion for your customers. 53% of consumers won’t buy from an online store if they don’t know when it will arrive.

In addition to providing a more unified customer experience, this also makes it easier to organize order fulfillment. It is ideal to find a single carrier that can meet all of your shipping requirements across all channels, as this will reduce your overall costs and simplify your logistics.

The Big Picture

Managing your ecommerce orders effectively in a multichannel marketplace requires automation and standardization wherever possible. This will help your business reduce costs, make processes more efficient and reduce the opportunities for human error.

Consistency is key for your customer experience as well as the efficient performance of your business. Order management in a multichannel marketplace should prioritize providing a convenient service with accurate information and updates for customers.