B2B Ecommerce Order Management Tips | Everything You Need to Know
The digital age has brought all types of traders to online platforms to make deals. B2B eCommerce, short for business-to-business electronic trade, was already trending when the recent pandemic boosted its popularity and demand. For a good experience, smooth B2B order management is a must.
B2B online orders are generally more complicated than the typical B2C online deals as they usually involve big orders and have a more significant expense of client procurement. Moreover, the average purchasing cycle is generally significantly longer and requires further developed innovations.
What is B2B Order Management?
The term ‘B2B order management’ refers to the confirmation and order fulfillment of orders placed by your business customers. It involves order tracking and dealing with the essential activities for completing those orders. The process covers everything from order placement to delivery and usually involves the following steps:
- The system receives the order automatically, or the sales representative records the order details in the order tracking system
- In the case of b2b eCommerce, the order details can be entered by the customers themselves through a web portal or an eCommerce platform
- The order is confirmed and saved in the management list.
- The confirmation reaches the customer
- The items are saved and assigned to the orders automatically or manually.
- For picking, packing, and delivery purposes, the products move to the warehouses
- Customers receive the orders via a courier service
B2B eCommerce order management also includes order tracking, accounting, inventory management, and managing the exchanges. If there is any damage or the products are not following the mentioned description, order management also involves working the returns and refunds.
Challenges in B2B order management
Since the popularity of B2B eCommerce is soaring, this trendy tendency has also brought some complexities.
Complex Supply Chains
Supply chains worldwide are no more linear, and they are getting more and more complex with every passing day. Although shipping has been evolving, one supply chain method known as EDI can raise challenges for the streamlined transportation of products. Electronic Data Interchange involves the transaction and exchange of data in an electronic format. The big companies that deal in this format expect other companies to have a system that supports such transactions and interactions. Some companies offer solutions to the complexities raised by this process.
Increasing Demands Of Online Shopping And Multichannel Shopping
With the increased popularity of B2B eCommerce, and especially some of the must-have features for B2B, the pressure on online stores has also increased. As sales manifest themselves through multiple channels, sales agents must update the inventory in real-time. And if the business lacks efficiency or speed, it can cause problems and bring challenges related to inventory maintenance.
The eCommerce B2B customers look for a similar experience just as B2C customers have, and in some cases, their standard is higher than the b2c customers. They expect:
- Friendly user interface with easy searching
- Quick order processing and fast checkouts
- Timely deliveries
- Better customer service
- Customized services
As we can see, there is hardly any difference between B2B and B2C regarding customer expectations. However, B2B customers make larger orders which are naturally more costly. So, they must have a superior experience if you want to earn their loyalty.
The higher standards of customers are challenging for the B2B eCommerce businesses as any mistake or disappointment could lead to potential losses.
Different Business Requirements
B2B customers have various assumptions about your business and its processes, and they additionally have multiple requirements. The requirements may include one-to-one meetings, bulk discounts, preorders, personalized services, updates, etc.
By utilizing order management systems with the best work processes and a robust methodology, your business can work on its operational productivity and succeed in the market.
What Is An Order Management System?
An order management system is any medium, instrument, or innovation utilized to manage and oversee order processing, tracking, and the management of all the operations necessary for order fulfillment.
Order Management System Solutions
- Online business back-end
- Accounting pages or spreadsheets for manual use
- Standalone OMS
- ERP programming
- Trade and Business-to-Business activities platforms
Let’s read about three of the solutions in detail:
It is an accounting software often considered the first step in improving operational efficiency in an eCommerce B2b business. It can help in
- Unifying data across various channels
- Warehouse management
- Inventory management
The main aim of a standalone OMS system is to provide integration.
(ERP) programming is the second most prioritized methodology for organizations to incorporate when encountering functional failures frequently connected with siloed information and frameworks. ERP can assist companies in various operational activities like:
- Order and logistics management
- Inventory and warehouse management
- Financial management
- Human resources and payroll
Along with its complexity, one other shortcoming of ERP is that it is not suitable for some types of businesses, and one might end up with functions that the company doesn’t need and cost money.
B2B and Retail
Designed with the B2B industry in mind, this model is the combination of both the previous software and helps the firms with operations, including:
- Logistics and order management
- Financial management
- Inventory management
- Sales and customers relationship management
Note that a few elements related to conventional ERP programmings like HR and finance are excluded.
The essential job of an OMS is to deal with the whole order cycle, beginning from when the business order is made to the second when the item reaches the customer. While each OMS has its perks and shortcomings, there are three essential features that they all should have, including automation, integration, and localization.
How To Improve Order Management?
By incorporating a modern order management framework, you’ll have the option to automate repetitive and tedious activities, resulting in faster order processing at less cost.
Why go for it?
If you have a hard time maintaining the inventory levels or the order system is hard to use, this may indicate that you may need an order management system. Besides that, there are a lot of reasons why you should go for it. Below we have discussed how an order management system can be an excellent add-on to your B2B eCommerce Marketplace Platform.
The success of your business is highly dependent upon your B2B online shop interface. A clean and easy-to-use interface assists buyers with finding and adding items quickly and looking for things easily.
Moreover, a simple checkout page assists buyers with finishing their orders quickly. You can likewise use many industry-standard business devices like line sheets that depict all the details that a customer may need to buy from you.
With the assistance of the right B2B order management system, you will be able to process orders from any platform that your customer uses, whether it’s via telephone or online. With all the information gathered in one place, you will manage cross-platform orders and inventory levels through a single platform. The unified data saves time as there will be less need to go from one place to another. You can easily manage your inventory, make another order, or update the orders cycle across multiple channels. It helps reduce mistakes, avoid backorders, and accurately predict and analyze trends.
With inventory information in one spot, you can change inventory levels following the orders and settle on choices without upsetting order cycles. You can limit delays, better fulfill customer needs, and increase consumer loyalty.
Cloud technology and Sustainability
The order management system operates with the help of cloud technology, and all the data is saved online. It not only stores data effectively but also speeds up data access and its usability. Any information remains just a few clicks away, and one can access this information from any part of the world at any time.
Moreover, using this technology, companies reduce the use of paper. All the information and transactions happen online, and there remains no need to transfer data to the documents for communication.
It’s not only environment-friendly, but it’s also cost-effective and saves time and cost spent on the maintenance of printing devices.
Personalized Services and Speed
As discussed above, today’s B2B customers have high standards and demands. With an order management system, you can fulfill your company’s requirements and your customers’ needs. The order management system can let you offer customized services during various order processes, including billing, shipping, invoicing, payment methods, and sales channels. With such a prolific set, you can satisfy your customers and earn their trust, which could help you beat your competitors in the longer run.
Order management systems can also assist organizations in automating different tasks, including allocating and completing orders and updating inventory. It carries out tedious tasks for employees in less time and gets orders delivered accurately and quickly to customers cost-effectively.
Secure Closure of Deals
With the automation of the majority of the tasks, an order management system decreases the expense and time to bring deals to a closure. As you spend less time on inventory management and order fulfillment, you can focus more on the negotiations with your customers. Not only does it add productivity to your operations, but it also speeds up the deals.
Quick Order Placement
Customers expect a responsive and user-friendly interface for a good shopping experience when they want to place an order. Most of them wouldn’t even wait long for the site or page loading. The interaction needs to give a smooth experience for B2B clients. Quick order placement is one of the main concerns of online customers.
Reducing Human Error
An OMS dispenses the need for manual inputs. On many occasions, the data is entered straight by the client. Rather than entering orders, the employees can focus on other important tasks like improving customer relationships, testing models, etc.
By tracking the orders, you can provide real-time data to your customers about the product’s location. You can keep your customers happy whether they ask for updates or wish to modify the order. If there is a requirement for a product return, your OMS can assist you in this process and coordinate with financial frameworks to speed the operation.
An OMS that coordinates with transportation management and transporters permits you to offer additional transportation choices. They even help in managing the online and pick at store channels.
It doesn’t make any difference what delivering technique a client chooses on your site. The faster you get to ship their products, the more satisfied they will be.
Select a transportation framework and administration that suits your items, area, and use at less cost of freight-in.
Automated Work Processes
OMS frameworks can automate a significant number of tasks, including the following
- Updating inventory across various areas
- Selecting the best delivery course
- Reroute orders if necessary
- Making the ‘picking tickets’
- Tell the customer when the order is ready
As the business expands, so does the number of customers. If the order management system is rigid, the company could experience a strain. An OMS assists you with taking care of an increased number of orders as your business develops and maintains the most proficient and successful order management system.
Handling your B2B eCommerce orders is about flawlessly managing a massive volume of repeating protocols. B2B branches off a few standard practices innate to B2C when catering to your business clients. B2B demands are always more complex and scaled-up compared to customer demands.
The best possible platform is just as important as all the complementary specialized components that come with it. Maybe your OMS is a standalone system or integrated with your ERP. Whatever the case, global supply chains are getting more complex by the day, and you best come prepared before the storm gets worse.
If you are currently struggling with your current management system, chances are you need to upgrade if you want to retain the relationships with your business partners and gin new ones.
Refine your multichannel sales strategy – the surging demand for online business has turned B2B eCommerce into a gold mine for those who came prepared with the proper knowledge and tools. Everyone else must come to par with this growing industry and all the adjacent tech requirements and procedures.