Practical Ecommerce

Field Test: Order Management Software

In Field Test, Practical eCommerce has gathered twelve seasoned ecommerce merchants and asked each of them the same questions around a given topic. This month’s topic is order management software.

The participating ecommerce merchants are: Dave Norris, House of Antique Hardware; Justin Hertz, MuttMart; Chris Stump, Only Hammocks; Mike Feiman, PoolDawg; Dan Stewart, Xtreme Diesel Performance; Cindy Barrileaux, Write Your Best; Claudette Cyr, Gear-Source; Kristen Taylor, Juvie; Jeff Muchnik, RedBox Tools; Kara English, Candles & Such.

PeC: Do you use any form of order management software?

Field Tester 1: No.

Field Tester 2: Yes.

Field Tester 3: Yes.

PeC: What brand do you use?

Field Tester 1: N/A.

Field Tester 2: NetSuite.

Field Tester 3: Zoovy Order Manager.

PeC:What shopping cart and accounting software do you use?

Field Tester 1: I use CKGold for my shopping cart and QuickBooks for Mac for accounting.

Field Tester 2: We’re using NetSuite for accounting. Our shopping cart is currently a custom one.

Field Tester 3: Zoovy Shopping Cart and QuickBooks Pro.

PeC:Roughly how many orders do you process each day?

Field Tester 1: Four.

Field Tester 2: 12 to 15.

Field Tester 3: Up to 20.

PeC: What particular order management features do you use? (inventory tracking, labels, tracking shipments, accounting, etc.)

Field Tester 1: Inventory tracking.

Field Tester 2:Inventory tracking, sales orders, purchase orders and invoicing.

Field Tester 3: Inventory tracking, customer email updates, packing slips, order pulling, USPS / Edicia postage and labels, tracking shipments and exporting to accounting software.

PeC: Are you pleased with it?

Field Tester 1: Yes, though it would be nice if it communicated with our in-store inventory. As it is, we need to update both by hand once a day.

Field Tester 2: Jury is still out. It’s OK at this point.

Field Tester 3: Yes.

PeC: What changes would you make, if any?

Field Tester 1: N/A.

Field Tester 2: It is too slow, and we have to compromise a lot of things in order to fit into the “packaged” system.

Field Tester 3: It has limited reports capabilities.


Brendan Gibbons
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Comments ( 17 )

  1. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    I second this first comment!
    Not very useful at all…..I too was excited to see an article addressing this topic, but very disappointed. Maybe part 2 and 3 will actually be of value.

    – *Jim*

  2. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    Our Field Testers represent a cross-section of ecommerce merchants. Some are large and some are small. We keep the same group of Field Testers throughout the year, and ask each of them the same questions each month. This first installment of the order management field test happened to be smaller merchants.

    The purpose of Field Test is not to rate or critique a product or service. It is simply to ask live ecommerce merchants how they operate their businesses. We've asked them, in the past, about fraud prevention tools, shopping carts, live chat and so forth.

    For this month, we asked about order management software. We were curious if the merchants used order management software and how it interacted with their cart and their accounting software.

    Perhaps we've asked the wrong questions, and we welcome feedback as to what sort of order management questions we should have asked, recognizing that our group of Field Testers includes large, sophisticated merchants as well as smaller ones.

    Thank you Joe, Todd and Jim for the posts and for your opinions.

    Kerry M.
    Practical eCommerce

    – *Kerry Murdock*

  3. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    Do you have any field testers who are large online sellers? The fact that the largest field tester in this group may get 20 packages a day is not an accurate snapshot of any ecommerce order management system. At a minimum they should be doing 50-100 packages a day. On the high end can you find someone who is doing up to 1k packages a day (non-media seller)?

    TA

    – *Todd*

  4. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    I'm not very impressed with this article (so far) – it didn't provide anything useful in part #1 – maybe parts 2 and 3 will shed some light on the topic. Order Management is a huge issue for a lot of merchants and when I saw the blurb on this topic sent to my inbox – I was very happy to see Practical ECommerce taking a stab at it. After reading part 1, I'm quite disappointed so far. Hoping there will be some useful content in the coming sections.

    – *Joe Malewicki*

  5. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    We do about 100 orders a day, we use infopia.com marketplace manager for our ebay purchases and one website which is amazing, and oscommerce for one website and yahoo store for another website. We have 3 websites total, and at one point this year we were hitting 150 orders a day. Infopia will batch print our invoices out and also shipping labels via our shipping label software. We use endicia to print shipping labels, quickbooks enterprise because pro runs out of room too fast for us. enterprise is unlimited on customer size. We use quickbooks for our inventory tracking, since infopia marketplace manager will upload into it. We also have a marketing email that we send out peridacally with a coupon code for our yahoo store or our infopia website store. I wish for some automated ways to get our orders from the yahoo store into quickbooks because we have to hand type each order. Also we use paypal as our merchant account and payment gateway. We used to use authorize.net but paypal integrates with all our websites so we do not have to charge the credit card unless someone makes a call in order. We would not mind being part of a future field test if there is another in deeper discussion, I would also like to see what works good for other big sellers, or higher end sellers like 1000 orders a day.
    Zach Olsen
    Digital Power Pro, INC (www.digitalpowerpro.com)
    Enessy, LLC (www.enessy.com)
    BatteryFLy (www.batteryfly.com)

    – *Zach*

  6. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    Your 3 field testers probably are not very representative of your readers. As Todd pointed out, 10 or 20 orders per day has to be at the low end of what PeC readers are shipping. Tester 2, using NetSuite and a custom shopping cart and only shipping 12-15 orders per day, sounds like they should have spent a lot less money on software and a lot more on developing and promoting their products. And no offense to tester 1, but at 4 orders per day I'm not sure how they qualify as "seasoned ecommerce merchants".

    One of the problems with an article like this (having not seen parts 2 and 3 yet) is that it could leave a reader who is new to ecommerce thinking that there are not other alternatives available. None of the three leaders in the field (Mail Order Manager, OrderMotion, and my company's Stone Edge Order Manager) were even mentioned.

    Maybe the problem is with the title. I would expect "Field Test: Order Management Software" to compare the features and operation of several order management systems, including those that would be of greatest interest to your readers. Hopefully the other two parts will do that.

    – *Barney Stone*

  7. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    Thank you for the comments. As always in Field Test, we appreciate it when merchants like Zach above post their own input and advice about the subject. We encourage readers to post their own experiences with order management software here, and we're always on the lookout for new field testers. Please contact me at bgibbons[at]practicalecommerce.com if you're interested in being included as a Field Test respondent.

    —Brendan Gibbons
    Staff Writer

    – *Brendan Gibbons*

  8. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    I don't get it..what that the article? Three "non-answer" answers on a few questions about a very limited range of order management solutions?

    I must be missiong something.

    – *John R*

  9. Legacy User July 3, 2008 Reply

    I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this has to be one of the worst "field tests" I have ever wasted my time reading. 4 orders per day? 20 orders per day? Just type or copy/paste the labels manually. What do you possibly need order management software for? Twelve seasoned ecommerce merchants?

    Really, Practical eCommerce has so much potential but if you continue to publish articles like this and you will no longer have an audience. It's going to take a lot for me to click on the next Practical eCommerce link from in email box.

    – *Boswell*

  10. Legacy User July 4, 2008 Reply

    to those making comments that the readership is only folks processing 1000 orders per day, then it's a bad assumption. There are also small companies such as ourselves to process a smaller number of orders but at much higher value and each order has much more complexity with maybe 20 different components to each order that are all highly customized. Additionally we are a manufacturer, developer, wholesaler, and retailer. Selling 100 or 1000 off-the-shelf items such as a book or a boxed piece of software is essentially a much easier problem to solve.

    Of course I'm just as interested to find out which order management tools that are nicely integrated from the e-commerce sale through accounting, shipment, and customer service work well for others. The number of orders doesn't dictate the problem. Essentially the problems are very similar from a large company to a smaller one. For a larger company the numbers are just bigger.

    My main point is the number of orders is not the only measure. There is ticket size, complexity of each order, etc.

    I also agree with the comments by some folks that this was not overly helpful but could be much more so. I would love to see comments from other e-commerce sellers with the basic statistics of their company so I can compare how closely they match ourselves and then what they like and what they dislike about the tools they utilize and how they have integrated different systems from the shopping cart to order management to CRM to accounting and even better a tool that does all of these integrated nicely.

    NetSuite I wasn't crazy about, NetBooks appears to lack sufficient e-commerce shopping cart integration, Infusionsoft, Everest is one I am closely considering, anyone using BizAutomation.com?, and any others?

    If anyone would like to you sent me their comments directly, we send them to them Mfelling [at] yahoo.com. Using that e-mail I just to avoid spam on the main one

    – *Mark Felling, President, Broadened Horizons*

  11. Legacy User July 4, 2008 Reply

    I was disappointed as well. I completely agree with Zach & Barney. We are looking right now for an Order Manager solution and have talked to all 3 that Barney mentioned and from my research and talking with other merchants Barney's Stone Edge Order Manager appears to be the best. I was on a panel discussion at eBay live discussing multi-channel selling and order management is becoming more and more of an integral part of running a smooth streamlined operation. If you are doing 25+ orders a day and are multi-channel selling its a must. Get ready now for Q4.

    Joe
    BiggSports
    http://www.biggsports.com

    – *Joe*

  12. Legacy User July 5, 2008 Reply

    Pretty bad article in my book – only briefly discussed 2 cart systems with very few orders for what appears new ecommerce sites. – not 'seasoned.'

    Besides that comment, I wanted to post what my company recently switched to and why.

    We were using http://www.mals-e.com for order processing until we hit about 80 orders a day. It integrates with quickbooks, has custom invoicing, reports, etc – and very inexpensive.

    We are in our 4th year online.

    Once we began selling on Amazon.com and our website orders picked up, we needed one program which could integrate both incoming order pathways.

    We chose StoneEdge.com and have been extremely happy. There are no insane fees like with NetSuite or OrderMotion. It is very customizable and the tech support is unreal.

    We are processing anywhere from 100 orders to 350 orders a day easily. We are still learning all the bells and whistles with StoneEdge and that will take time – but having implemented it for over 3 months now has really changed our business for the better.

    To improve your article, I suggest that you consider three types of online merchants – starting out, 4 yrs old and seasoned being 8 yrs plus online. This will help those in each bracket rather than only 1.

    To me it seems the audience for Practical Ecommerce is more the 4yr old sites and above who are looking for newer and more effective solutions than the startup ones out of the box – like Yahoo – which is also very full of little fees and charges. I would feel 'used' by Yahoo giving them a percentage of each one of my sales – not for me.

    With StoneEdge, we can grow up to 5,000 orders/day and I think it will handle that quite well.

    Best,
    Ben
    HealthEGoods.com

    – *Ben Lynch*

  13. Legacy User July 5, 2008 Reply

    To Mark Felling:

    Good questions and comments. I suspect that most PeC readers ship anywhere from a handfull of orders to several hundred per day. Once you get over 500 to 1,000 orders per day you are getting into a different league. And you are right about the complexity of orders. If you are dealing with kits, assemblies, customized or custom built products, etc., you are going to want software that can handle them.

    Since you may not find exactly what you want at an affordable price, you may have to compromise, have some custom functionality written, or use multiple programs that are capable of working together. I would suggest that you consider separating the software for your day-to-day business operations (order management software) from your accounting needs. Most of the systems you mentioned are designed primarily for accounting, and will not have the Web and shopping cart integration you are likely to want.

    – *Barney Stone*

  14. Legacy User July 6, 2008 Reply

    Brandon -

    Zoovy and Infopia are shopping cart systems that include some order management capabilities, but not what you would get with a separate order management system. Mals Ecommerce is an entry-level shopping cart system. Most of the others that you mentioned are priced out of the range of small businesses.

    The big questions I would have are: How many orders per day do you ship? What shopping cart(s) and other channels do you sell through? How many users would have? Do you have any special or unusual requirements? And do you also have a "brick and mortar" store that needs to be tied in with everything else? If you give me a call during the week I will be glad to discuss it all with you and give you my (admittedly biased!) advice. My phone # is 610-994-3699 ext. 111.

    – *Barney Stone*

  15. Legacy User July 6, 2008 Reply

    I'm also looking for an order management solution for my business. Does anyone know of a decent web based order management application?

    Thanks,

    Lena

    http://www.TheHealingCanopy.com

    – *Lena*

  16. Legacy User July 6, 2008 Reply

    Our company is also looking to purchase its first order management software. A couple of our sticking points are that we operate many different websites in different niches and our dropshipping vs in-house shipping is about 50/50- we need a system that works well for both warehousing/shipping and dropshipping.

    I have compiled an incomplete list of different OMS providers listed in the Internet Retailer 500 as well as other places online. I have no further information on these providers (some may be custom solutions only), but this maybe of some help to others getting started:

    SterlingCommerce.com
    GSICommerce.com
    VCommerce.com
    StoneEdge.com
    EscalateRetail.com
    Order Power – CSIFlorida.com
    CommercialWare – Micros-Retail.com

    Pulled from this page:
    Zoovy.com
    Infopia.com
    Mals-E.com

    I'm personally fairly interested in StoneEdge.
    Mark Felling, thanks for your informative post above!
    I would love if you wouldn't mind contacting me at brandon@brandongreenlee.com – I would be very interested in hearing of your experience with it further!

    – *Brandon Greenlee*

  17. Legacy User July 6, 2008 Reply

    Ben Lynch,
    I apologize for misquoting you above! (the names appearing at the bottom of the posts threw me off).

    I'd still very much appreciate if you could send me an email-
    Thanks!
    Brandon

    – *Brandon Greenlee*

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