By Jane Seaton
If you’ve built your MVP (minimum viable product) for OMS (order management system) or at the very least, know what it will look like for you, then it’s likely you’ll want to continue improving on your post purchase experience and capabilities once you’ve seen what an OMS can do for you. Your post-purchase experience provides a huge opportunity to drive engagement, repeat purchases, cross-sell, up-sell and much more.
So, with a functional MVP and knowing which path you’ve gone down from an integration point of view (and we talk about those paths here) the next steps should naturally be based on that original driver for your MVP, was it more IT based and technical or was it a business driver, or a mix? Below are some of the initial enhancements you can make quickly, post MVP, to continue driving sales and engagement.
What are you Looking to Drive?
To begin, it’s worth considering what customer experiences you are looking to drive and what features you are looking to plug in. For example, you might now have integrated product availability as a result of your chosen MVP, but you could show that product availability in even more detail on your website; you could connect your OMS system to show accurate product availability based on location as you now know where an item is and how long it’ll take to reach your customer. You can use this information to increase sales with tactics such as urgency messages and faster than average delivery times displayed when relevant. If this is the type of experience you want to be able to provide your customer then it makes for an easy next step.
When someone places an order there’s always a chance that those items they order are not in the same warehouse or even close to one another, especially if ship from store capability was part of your MVP. If you aren’t planning to consolidate in one place and ship to customer, then you need to be able to display that those two orders will be coming separately and ideally the different delivery dates of those separate orders too. Previously, it’s likely that your website would just say it was out of stock if an item wasn’t in the area around a consumer. Now, you’re also pulling from the store stock, more distant warehouses and giving separate dates, this then increases your average sales over time. This can be a naturally beneficial next step from a customer experience perspective as you’re providing both extended range and increased availability for your consumers. Read more on these benefits in this article by Fluent Commerce.
Another option is to enhance the order status capability of your website, getting more accurate ‘where is my order’ notifications delivered to your customers. When people order online they’re naturally eager to see the status of that order, whether it’s urgent or not, you can cater to this eagerness, providing follow up-order emails, which, compared to typical marketing emails with open rates of 10% to 20%, can get open rates between 50% to 80%. So, you can generate more engagement through the granularity you provide; this keeps the customer engaged all the way until the end when they have your product in their hands. You can then utilise this engagement, getting people to repeatedly visit your website in order to see these changes which allows for the opportunity to upsell, cross sell, and show promotions etc, this enables your brand to be front of mind and reassures your consumer that their order is progressing well.
This type of enhanced order status capability can also greatly reduce the number of support tickets you have to deal with as people can more accurately see their order status. We’ve seen our own clients benefit massively from this with ‘where is my order’ queries down by 99% alongside a 95% decrease in return requests over as short a time as 6 months. Reducing these tickets can save you money in the long run as dealing with customer complaints and inquiries can be a costly process over time.
Enhancing your returns process can also be a natural next step for some, we’ve seen that providing post-purchase visibility reduces the number of customer support inquires you have to deal with but enhancing that process can greatly increase customer retention. Online self-service returns are a must for anyone looking to improve their customer experience in their returns. Your OMS comes into play when orchestrating this return journey between consumer, warehouse, or store. There are numerous enhancements to make returns, self-service or otherwise smoother, including integrating with a payment provider for easily automated refunds. As with your MVP you can start with a simple process but enhance it as you progress forwards.
When looking at which path to take, it truly comes down to what type of customer experience you’re seeking to drive and how much complexity you want to add into your fulfilment. You can orchestrate this fulfilment to almost any degree, adding or removing complexity and capability wherever you feel its most valuable for you and your consumers. Want to enhance your fulfilment? Speak to someone at AyataCommerce today!