Logistics is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about setting up an online retail business, but it should be. After your customer checks out with the items in their shopping cart, the rest of the procedure that delivers your goods to your customer’s door is all about logistics.
A functional Warehouse Management System, or WMS, is crucial for any growing e-commerce business. Why? Because nothing can hurt online retail more than incorrect picking and packing, wrong orders, or late shipments. A good WMS helps online retail businesses operate smoothly, efficiently and automate repetitive manual processes.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is software designed to support and optimize warehouse functionality and distribution center management. The software allows organizations to control all warehouse operations from the time goods come into the warehouse until the point the goods move out.
Traditionally goods have been distributed in bulk. This means the goods were picked, packed and shipped in large cases or containers. With e-commerce we now need to warehouse, pick and pack single items or small volumes of goods. This means a shift in the way we need to be thinking about warehousing and warehouse management.
Perhaps the biggest conceptual difference between the old ways and the new is that traditional warehouse management systems are designed to optimize something that is static. With smaller enterprises, we are looking for optimal stock levels and a higher turnaround of goods. A WMS designed specifically for e-commerce needs to be optimized for something else, something dynamic, rather than something that is static.
The sole purpose of an online store is to keep the goods moving; in other words, to sell your products quickly. After a sale is made, the goods need to be shipped to the customer as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That’s why shipping and managing the shipments must be in the core of a WMS that is of any use for an e-commerce business.
Many traditional WMS systems are designed from a different perspective. They lack the ability to optimize shipping functionality. Besides this, they are usually designed for large scale operations, with neither usability nor user experience being a driving force behind their design. They also tend to epitomize a “clunky” sort of user experience.
When considering a WMS for your e-commerce enterprise, keep in mind these essentials:
Make sure the WMS you select is user-friendly, intuitive and easy to use. It’s no use to get a system to help save time and reduce manual tasks if the time is then spent on learning how to use the system.
Make sure the WMS you choose has the right functionality and features to help you increase the profitability of your online shop. The features should be focused on shipments, sales, and optimizing inventory from the perspective of getting the goods off the shelves and to the customer as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Maybe you want to set up alarm levels to notify you when you need to restock, or maybe you need a full history of your activities to make smarter decisions. Or perhaps you’d want to store your goods in multiple warehouses for accelerated delivery or so you can sell the goods in multiple stores while still managing everything from the same bird’s eye view. Either way, make sure your WMS is not slowing you down.
When evaluating WMS service providers, make sure to find out what kind of integrations they provide. Is the WMS easy to integrate with your e-commerce platform? Is it easy to do by yourself or does the integration need to be carried out by a dedicated developer? Do the integrations have extra costs?
If integrating the WMS to your e-commerce platform requires a lot of expertise or you need to hire a developer to do it, it tends to limit your options. What if you decide to switch to a different e-commerce platform? Does the integration need to be built again from scratch?
If the WMS doesn’t have enough e-commerce-related features, you might need multiple systems to manage everything from A to O. For example, does the WMS keep track of EN codes, or do you need another system to do that?
To be able to grow your online store, you want to make sure you have a solid foundation to do that. You need flexibility, scalability and efficiency. OGOship’s Warehouse Management System, myOGO, has been designed to fulfil the needs of a growing e-commerce business.
Key features that allow online retail to grow: a service perspective and supporting software functionalities
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do campaigns from your WMS system? We thought so. That’s why we’re adding many new automation features to myOGO so you can keep your customers happy allowing them to customize their orders. Stay tuned for more!