Even after a massive shift to ecommerce in 2020, eMarketer predicts that 2021 will still see more than 14% ecommerce growth. That continued ascension is paired with a renewed focus on upscaled in-store retail experiences that are more personalized, more efficient, and more connected. A great customer experience strategy is key in order to stay competitive, but it’s not worth the effort if retailers don’t also have their backend logistics and order management up to speed.

Order management is the foundation that can drive a truly agile multichannel experience. A unified picture of inventory across every touchpoint supports flexible fulfillment options like BOPIS and curbside pickup. It empowers store associates to locate products not available in-store to close more sales. And, most importantly, it gives retailers a complete picture of their business, to understand how to maximize profitability and efficiency both online and offline.

Order management success in 2021 is the difference between missing opportunities and beating growth expectations.

Here are a few ways to accelerate growth across order management, ensuring you miss no opportunities along the way.

Guide: Accelerate Your Order Management Success

For the full list of strategies, download our 2021 Accelerated Commerce Guide.

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Treat Real-Time Inventory Visibility as a Top Priority

Even more than a year into the pandemic, buying habits remain in flux and supply chains strained. This has created consistent issues with product availability and “out of stock” messaging for consumers. In January 2021, out-of-stock messages were still four times higher than before the pandemic, for everything from groceries to home improvement items.

This is just one example of why it’s so vital for retailers to possess real-time inventory visibility. Knowing exactly what products are in stock and available for customers across fulfillment points ensures the fewest issues with missed sales opportunities as well as frustrations upon checkout. With real-time inventory visibility, retailers can also create positive customer experiences in the place of a lost sale. For example, asking if someone would like to join a waiting list or be contacted via email or SMS as soon as a product is back in stock.

In another example, real-time inventory visibility empowers retailers to provide multiple convenient fulfillment options for shoppers including ship-to-store or BOPIS. Real-time inventory visibility ensures that retailers can offer accurate, personalized options based on location and time-to-fulfillment for shoppers.

Laura Canada, a major fashion retailer, was able to increase revenue 25% with Kibo’s order management system to help connect distribution centers and in-store shipping with online customers. Through the pandemic, as stores were closed or offered limited shopping, they could easily serve as fulfillment centers, to move inventory and serve customers more efficiently as they moved online. What’s more, Laura Canada could provide ship-to-store options across their entire catalogue of inventory that was personalized based on a shopper’s location. The retailer’s real-time, centralized inventory model now ensures that items are distributed across the country to efficiently get products into a customer’s hands.

Use Smart Order Routing to Fulfill Faster

Distributed order routing provides retailers with a host of benefits. Retailers can accommodate more complex order fulfillment while minimizing time, effort, and costs. An advanced order routing engine lets retailers easily group and prioritize their fulfillment locations to operate the most efficient fulfillment model possible.

For example, the right order management software makes it easy to add a new step to an order such as “assemble in store, deliver to home” based on customer preference and availability of the service by location. Retailers can set rules to route based on costs, speed and other parameters to balance customer experience and overall cost to the business.

For the full list of strategies, download our 2021 Accelerated Commerce Guide.