Busy ecommerce merchants, those that process many orders per day, understand the importance of automating order fulfillment. It doesn’t take much time, these merchants know, to simply print an email confirmation of an online order. But processing the order — retrieving the products, packaging them, inserting packing lists and producing shipping labels — that’s the time consuming part. And then there’s the need to adjust inventory records, keep track of the package during shipment and then update accounting records for the sale, cost of goods, shipping costs and so forth. Order processing, in short, takes a lot of effort.
Fortunately there is a solution to simplify all of this. It’s called order management software and it greatly streamlines the entire order management process.
Michael Knab is owner of Legacy Motors (Legacydiecast.com), a California-based ecommerce business that sells model cars, trucks and motorcycles. “Our order management software is critical to our business,” says Knab. Knab’s business uses Mail Order Manager (M.O.M), from Dydacomp, to help with order processing. “M.O.M. keeps track of customers, orders and inventory,” Knab continues. “We’ve used it for seven years or so. If it goes down, we are in trouble.”
For Legacy Motors, order processing works something like this. Customers place roughly 20 orders daily from Legacy Motors’ custom shopping cart. Staff of Legacy Motors then exports these orders once per day from the cart and imports them into M.O.M., which automatically generates a shipping label, packing receipt and adjusts inventory levels. Legacy Motors uses M.O.M. to account for its entire inventory, in fact, as well as updating customer order history and tracking orders while they are in transit.
Justin Hertz’s business, Muttmart.com, sells “everything for your dog, for less.” Hertz uses Miva Merchant for Muttmart.com’s online shopping cart and he uses ShipWorks, from Interapptive, to streamline the shipping process. Hertz explains, “We receive roughly 100 orders each day. We use UPS for orders weighing more than 10 pounds, and USPS for orders that weigh less than that. We’ll create a daily sales batch from Miva and then import that batch directly into ShipWorks. ShipWorks links directly to UPS and Stamps.com [for USPS shipments] and automatically prints shipping labels for each carrier. It also prints a customer packing receipt. It’s seamless and works great for us.”
Hertz says that ShipWorks saves “hours” each day for Muttmart’s order fulfillment process. “Have you ever tried typing-in individual orders at UPS.com?” Hertz asks. “We used to spend several hours a day doing just that. ShipWorks now automates that process for us and it now takes, maybe, 30 minutes each day.”
Baronbob.com sells roughly a million dollars per year of “novelty gifts.” It uses Americart for its shopping cart and Order Manager, from Stone Edge Technologies, for its order management software. Bob Brooks owns Baronbob.com.
“We’ll import a daily CSV file into Order Manager from Americart,” Brooks reports. “Order Manager takes over from there. It links to the shipping carriers, generates shipping labels and packing documents and, also, produces this terrific list that shows orders, inventory levels, ordering instructions, gift messages and much more. Once we approve and ship each order from the list, Order Manager automatically emails each customer with the tracking number.”
Brooks states that Order Manager will also receive and process phone orders, account for inventory, track individual shipments and produce reports for orders, sales and cost of goods sold. Brooks says Baronbob.com has used Order Manager for five years. He says it’s “essential” to the operation of his business.
Most any ecommerce business can afford order management software. Mail Order Manager, from Dydacomp, sells for less than $1,000. ShipWorks, from Interapptive, is priced by the month, and ranges from $14.95 to $49.95 monthly, depending on shipping volume. Stone Edge’s Order Manager sells for around $1,500.
Mail Order Manager and Order Manager will each simultaneously handle order processing and inventory accounting from multiple channels, such as from an ecommerce store, an auction site, a catalog and a physical storefront. All three solutions link directly to the websites of the major shipping carriers. They also sync with major shopping carts and accounting software. Check the websites of each provider for other benefits, and for differences between them.