Planning for an Enterprise Order Management System

by the Cedona team

The dream of every omnichannel business is to reach all customers - existing and potential - with the best and most relevant products they carry. For years, this meant differentiated inventories and management systems based on geography, localized market dynamics, and very segmented selling channels. But with the advent of the latest systems and best practices, truly making the most of an enterprise-wide order management system is finally here.

You'll note the key word is 'enterprise'. There are lots of systems that can relatively effectively plug into an ecommerce system and manage orders. And many POS systems have inventory management functionality that helps associates look up items in nearby stores. None of those are new, but the understanding that managing a unified inventory and managing orders across multiple channels and locations is crucial to business success is a relatively recent phenomenon. Which is why it's called 'Enterprise Order Management', or 'EOM'. It truly serves the entire business.

The ability to manage orders across multiple platforms and channels makes the best use of inventory and resources. The enterprise finally has the ability to think holistically and act holistically instead of talking 'unity' and acting 'silo'd'. The beneficiaries of an EOM are each of the teams involved who are now able to exist with one reality and drive to one goal: increased sales and increased efficiency. And surely the ultimate beneficiary is the customer, who is now able to have a better experience with the brand.

So what's the best EOM solution? That depends on the enterprise goals, desired roadmap of capabilities and functionality, existing systems and the culture. And how much customization of the various existing tools will optimize them to become a truly powerful solution. Ultimately, it will be driven by the readiness of the teams that own the solution and their capacity to support and grow it on an ongoing basis. If one set of tools addressed all needs, the road to omnichannel success wouldn't be so difficult. But there isn't.

Cedona has made it our goal to help our partner brands navigate these questions and establish the strategy and implementation plan for their unique businesses. We help you define what success looks like in your version of omnichannel. We coach realistic goals and best practices. We ensure your roadmap involves all of the key stakeholders and teams necessary for successful integration and deployment. And when that's all established, we have the best implementation experts in the business to help your team make the transition as smooth as possible - then have complete ownership of an EOM they're proficient in. But it all starts with assessing how ready your teams are to take on the challenge - and what is needed to fill the gaps in skill set and expertise.

A successful EOM leverages the strength of a unified system across multiple channels efficiently and seamlessly. It reduces effort and increases productivity. But it's just part of an all-encompassing omnichannel solution that begins with an honest look at internal capabilities and culture. Let our team help yours set your goals and plan your journey toward your omnichannel success.

Integrating Smart POS and Order Management

by the Cedona team

Smart POS. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? The promise of a POS system that fully integrates with the rest of your enterprise, allows a whole host of customer-service functionality, and makes associates' jobs easier and more productive has been on the top of every retailer's wish list for some time. But once you've decided it's more than a wish, how do you go about getting and benefitting from such a system?

It starts with looking at what your business intends to do with it. Are you staying with traditional cash registers or going to mobile POS on tablets or carts? Will you include CRM and loyalty program support? Will you enable mobile payments? Which ones? And what about integration with your Enterprise Order Management (EOM) system? Each of these requires a series of assessments in how ready your business - and most importantly your sales associates - are to take on the additional functionality and workflow the new system will drive. What your customer demands from the system to support their desired experience should surely be a primary factor. And, of course, it requires a hard look at capital expenses and internal support structure.

For a minute, let's dive into EOM integration. There are a few great platforms that enable most or all of the functionalities list above, and allow selling from all available inventories (other stores, ecommerce, vendor-shipped, etc.). Having a platform that handles this means never having to say 'no, we don't have that in stock', or 'we don't carry that brand in our store' again. Which is obviously huge when it comes to consumer satisfaction.

What can become your biggest asset can also be your biggest integration nightmare if not properly planned and executed. Designing the POS solution to seamlessly talk with your other omnichannel systems - especially EOM - is critical from both functionality and adoption. Sales associates - who already are challenged by being constantly customer-facing and having a wide range of responsibilities in a time of decreasing staff levels - can quickly be the voice of poor experience to your customers. (We've all heard associates complain to us as customers about how their new system doesn't work as planned.)

So make sure your Smart POS is usable and your staff fully trained. Be realistic about implementation and testing. Be aware of its limitations and its strengths, and what customization is needed to make sure your other systems work fluidly with it. And above all, partner with a team that has experience planning, developing and executing a fully integrated omnichannel solution.