Online shopping might be more popular than ever, but that hasn’t made the delivery process easier. When handling your own fulfillment, running an eCommerce store can get complicated fast. Between keeping up with customer expectations, maintaining an organized warehouse and dealing with a variety of carriers, managing your own shipments requires reliable warehouse management software.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as a simple download. The perfect warehouse management software for one brand can fall short for another, so it’s important to seek out providers with the capabilities that your brand needs to succeed. Let’s take a look at some of the must-have warehouse software features for eCommerce warehouses.
Warehouse Management Software & Data Security
Nothing hurts an online brand’s reputation quite like a breach of customer data. With so many digital stores popping up every day, hackers and scammers are constantly finding new ways to take advantage of lackluster security systems and online vulnerabilities.
For someone without advanced knowledge of data security, building a solution on your own can be daunting. That’s why so many brands seek out warehouse management systems with built-in security protocols, such as cloud-based servers.
With your order information stored on your WMS’s cloud, you keep that information separated from your actual production. This keeps would-be hackers at bay if a breach into your systems should occur. Warehouse employees can access the system remotely with the assurance that the security architecture is professionally designed and able to keep customer information safe and secure.
If your internal systems crash or can’t be accessed, all that data is backed up on your WMS’s cloud, saving valuable time and information that would otherwise be lost. This infrastructure especially comes in handy when it comes to order tracking.
One of the major warehouse software features brands look for in a warehouse management system is order tracking and reports. Being able to watch an order progress through the entire fulfillment process not only keeps your staff up to date, but it also gives your customers an added level of visibility that they’ll appreciate.
The ability to track a shipment and view reports in modern eCommerce has become an expectation for every eCommerce brand. Even with express shipping options, it’s important for buyers to know when exactly they can expect packages to arrive.
In addition to outgoing shipments, a quality tracking system also provides real-time inventory updates, so you’re never unexpectedly out of stock. Customers also get the benefit of knowing when stock is low, potentially encouraging them to place the order before the inventory can run out.
Another benefit of tracking orders for customers is that they can easily edit or pause a shipment when necessary. If they decide they need an item sooner than expected, the express shipping option can still be selected once the initial transaction has been made. If buyer’s remorse sets in, they can also cancel the shipment and get a refund without hassle.
Modern warehouse management systems allow for a more flexible shipping process. This means customers and warehouse staff alike can change aspects of an order right up until the last minute. If a carrier rate changes, for example, a WMS can automatically switch to a carrier offering a more competitive price.
The ability to edit orders directly in your WMS makes other aspects of fulfillment much easier, such as returns management.
Without a sophisticated returns management strategy in place, it doesn’t take much for a warehouse to become disorganized. A complicated returns process can leave customers feeling frustrated and unappreciated, while returning items take up valuable inventory space and drive up costs.
One of the most important aspects of returns is keeping customers informed on their status. When an item is returned, the customer is already a little dissatisfied. Returns give you a chance to directly connect with that customer, and work to make sure they’re happy enough to return for more purchases in the future.
This is where warehouse management software comes in handy. With a reverse logistics integration in your WMS, you can automatically inform customers on their return’s progress. Whether they expect store credit, an exchange, or a full refund, they’ll be instantly aware of when the issue will be resolved.
Seeking out a WMS with built-in returns management also takes the pressure off your warehouse staff. Items that are sent back can be anticipated ahead of time, giving you a better idea of inventory and storage space availability. This information can also be pushed to your online store, letting buyers know of any extra inventory that’s sitting in the warehouse.
With so many warehouse management software options available, it’s important to do the legwork and find a solution that best fits your needs. Data security, order tracking, editing and returns are essential for modern eCommerce brands, but finding an accountable and consistent provider can be a challenge.