Processing sales orders manually simply isn’t an option for most businesses. At scale, manual data entry is a recipe for disaster, because mistakes can result in incorrect orders, unprocessed orders, orders sent to the wrong addresses, backlogs, and a myriad of other problems that lead to annoyed customers and stressed out employees.
Your business could save a lot of time, money, and stress with the right order management software or app.
In this post, we’ll discuss what order management software is, the benefits of order management software, when to invest in automating your inventory management, and the top order management tools available.
Whether you’re a small business owner whose Etsy sales are blowing up or a more established business that needs a streamlined way of managing inventory, we’ve got you covered.
What Is Order Management Software?
Order management software describes any program that helps a business keep track of all the data generated throughout its order fulfillment lifecycle, from inception to delivery.
Order management software encompasses everything from a simple spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets to an app that automatically tracks the fulfillment status of multiple orders in real-time.
The term “order management software” is often used interchangeably with “OMS” or “order management system.” Rightly so, because they’re usually one and the same. The difference is that you could have a system that doesn’t use software, but this is highly unlikely in this day and age.
While each business’s order fulfillment lifecycle will look slightly different, the processes involved may include updating eCommerce channels to marketing products, managing inventory, packing and shipping orders, managing customer information, coordinating vendors, and/or 3PL (third-party logistics) services providers, and keeping accurate financial records.
With modern order management software, it’s possible to set up a variety of helpful automations that streamline sales and inventory management. This can help big and small businesses alike reduce errors, save money, and most importantly, save precious time.
For instance, with some basic automation, you could set up business logic that causes a requisition form to be generated when your stock is running low or you need to order more materials to manufacture new products.
But don’t be fooled by the word “automation.” You don’t need to be a technical wiz to gain the benefits of order management software. In fact, if you choose the right solution, you don’t need to know how to code at all — more on that later.
Why Implement eCommerce Order Management Software?
Order management software will make life easier in a variety of ways. Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the benefits of adopting order management software.
- Order management tools can save you a lot of time (and money) by making your operations more efficient through removing tedious manual tasks from your workflows.
- Automating order management can reduce errors, leading to a better customer experience and fewer returns and refunds.
- Order management software can dramatically improve your inventory management, allowing you to better match stock levels to demand.
- Order management software helps to keep everyone on the same page, serving as a single source of truth that gets updated in real-time.
- Order management software can make it easier to run robust analytics and set up reporting dashboards on just about any parameter you wish to track (such as product, category, location, or sales channel).
- Streamlining your orders could mean that you no longer need to hire staff just to manage orders.
- A unified order management solution with a mobile app allows you to access all your data from anywhere, at any time.
When Should You Automate Order Management?
Whether your business is small enough that you’re packing and shipping every order yourself or you’re working with third-party vendors to fulfill your orders, the odds are that if you’re reading this you’ve realized that your order management system could use an upgrade.
Here are some signs that it’s time to invest in automating order management:
- Your business is growing, so creating and managing each order by hand is no longer feasible.
- You have low visibility into your inventory levels and need better reporting.
- You need better inventory control.
- You have a lot of backorders.
- You’re fulfilling orders placed via multiple channels.
- You’re experiencing issues like missed orders, incorrect orders, or orders shipped to the wrong address.
- You find it difficult to confirm the current order status of every order.
- You’re using third-party logistics services.
- You’re using multiple vendors to fulfill your orders.
- You’re having issues with overselling.
- Your orders are taking too long to process, causing slower delivery times.
- You’re receiving customer complaints.
You may be surprised to find that very little financial investment is needed if you choose the right order management solution. This is great news because it means that you don’t need to wait until you’re overwhelmed to automate your order tracking.
8 Best Order Management Software Platforms
Which order management software is the right fit for your business depends on your unique circumstances and business needs. Let’s discuss some of the best order management solutions available today.
1. Glide: The Best Solution for Internal OMS Apps
Glide is a no-code app-builder that empowers non-technical people to build beautiful, powerful apps and web applications quickly and affordably.
All you need to get started is a spreadsheet. We’re guessing you’re already using one of those to manage your orders. And every time you adjust product or order info either in Glide or in your connected spreadsheet, both will update in real-time! If you’re just getting your shop up and running, you can also build your inventory management platform and add your product and order information straight into Glide. And starting from scratch doesn’t have to be overwhelming, we’ve got plenty of templates to help you out. When you’re ready to customize, every color, label, and button in Glide can be updated to align with your branding.
A Glide app allows you to inject efficiency into your inventory and order management processes. You can sync all your data in one central location, which means you can see at a glance what’s in stock, where items are located, what’s on order, which inventory is running low, and more.
You can even create profiles for each of your workers and assign orders to individual pickers, packers, and delivery drivers — or vendors and fulfillment partners, depending on the specifics of your organization’s operations.
2. IBM Sterling: Best for Enterprise Digital Transformation
IBM Sterling is a robust enterprise platform for omnichannel order fulfillment. It’s designed to help established companies with complex supply chains in their digital transformation initiatives.
IBM Sterling provides centralized multichannel visibility into your inventory, orders, and fulfillment operations — helping to monitor, manage, and automate orders in real-time across the business and all your sales channels. The platform comes with an assortment of useful tools including AI-powered alerts, configure-price-quote capabilities, and supplier collaboration features.
3. QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise: Best for Integrated Accounting Software
While QuickBooks may be best known for its accounting software, it’s been branching out for some time — leading to its current Quickbooks Desktop Enterprise product.
Quickbooks Desktop Enterprise is QuickBooks’ integrated ERP platform. It includes powerful tools for accounting, inventory management, reporting, order management, time tracking, payroll management, landed cost calculation, and more.
QuickBooks Enterprise is a great tool if you need warehouse management features like being able to send pick/pack requests to mobile barcode scanners. There’s also a Salesforce CRM connector with the Enterprise Diamond tier.
One major drawback is that many of its more exciting features need to be purchased as add-ons, which can result in some nasty billing surprises if you don’t read the fine print. Pricing starts at $1,275 per year, billed annually.
QuickBooks Enterprise is an excellent tool for large enterprises with many moving parts, but it’s almost certainly overkill for smaller business owners. If you’re running a large or highly complex operation, QuickBooks might be the perfect ERP solution for you. But if you’re just selling on eBay or getting started on Amazon, you’re unlikely to need all the bells and whistles of QuickBooks Enterprise.
While we think QuickBooks has done a great job extending its capabilities, the UI design can feel a bit clunky and old-school (read: spreadsheet-y), so if look and feel are important to you, this might be a bitter pill to swallow.
4. Kyte: Best Mobile POS App
Kyte is a point-of-sale app with a built-in mobile order-taking system. Kyte allows users to create a digital catalog that can be sent to customers or integrated with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Each time an order is placed, Kyte sends a push notification to your phone, so you can start processing it immediately. Users can also map their operations in the platform and create statuses for each step of the order fulfillment process, such as "confirmed," "being prepared," or "ready for pickup."
Kyte’s orders dashboard also helps business owners keep an eye on the current status of all orders on a single screen, with various filters making it easy to get deeper insights into specific aspects of the operation.
Kyte is a great tool for small businesses like restaurants that need a mobile point-of-sale to sell directly to customers.
5. MasonHub: Best for Order Fulfillment for Beauty, Fashion, and Wellness
MasonHub is a holistic order fulfillment service that takes care of inventory management, warehousing, shipping, and returns at scale for you.
The platform specializes in helping small businesses in the beauty, fashion, and wellness niches make the transition from small in-house operations to wholesale and DTC distribution without being overwhelmed by the challenges of supply chain complexity.
MasonHub integrates with all of your marketing channels and eCommerce tools, including Shopify, Netsuite, and Returnly. The dashboard gives users real-time, end-to-end visibility of their entire supply chain on their mobile phone or desktop. This includes inventory information, order status, customer support, returns, and more.
6. NetSuite Order Management: Best for Multichannel Order Management
Oracle’s NetSuite is a robust enterprise resource management tool that’s well-suited to multichannel sales. Its order management module automates the entire order lifecycle — from order placement to after-sales service.
NetSuite facilitates accurate recordkeeping, consolidating inventory details, order capture and validation, order release, shipment confirmation, customer communication, and payment confirmation. It also supports more complex ordering processes such as dropshipping and split shipments.
NetSuite collects and tracks data across all fulfillment providers and locations, providing visibility and efficiency in omnichannel order fulfillment operations.
Users subscribe to NetSuite for an annual license fee. This license fee is made up of three main components: core platform, optional modules, and the number of users. There is also a once-off initial setup fee.
7. Brightpearl: Best OMS for Multi-Channel Retail Management
Brightpearl self-identifies as a “Retail Operating System” that is “not a traditional ERP, a standalone OMS, WMS, or inventory system.”
Instead, Brightpearl is a combination of all of the above, targeting ambitious young retail entrepreneurs and drop shippers. It offers automated inventory tracking, order fulfillment, inventory allocation, shipping, and accounting services.
Brightpearl also offers cool features like demand forecasting and CRM reporting, and its platform integrates with a partner network of top plug-and-play APIs, allowing users to build powerful tech stacks with all their favorite tools.
Brightpearl supports a variety of eCommerce platforms including BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
8. Zoho Inventory: Best for Simple Setup
Zoho Inventory is a simple, user-friendly order management solution that helps small ecommerce businesses streamline their order management processes.
Zoho integrates with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify, allowing users to manage all their online orders in a single platform. Users can also get updates on their stock levels, set a “reorder point,” and create purchase orders in the platform to avoid running out of stock.
Zoho Inventory also helps users print shipping labels and get real-time shipping rates for 30 third-party shipping services. The data from these shipping services gets pulled into the platform so users can keep a close eye on the delivery status of their packages. Users can also generate detailed visual reports to help them get deeper sales insights.
How to Choose the Right Order Management Software for You
There are plenty of order management software options to choose from, so it’s understandable if you’re not sure how to choose the right one.
To help you out, here are some questions to ask yourself when comparing order management solutions:
Does It Fit Our Budget?
Is this software affordable for your business in its current state? You can upgrade later as your business grows. Also ask yourself whether the pricing is transparent or opaque. Does the website copy contain lots of asterisks next to the best features? Do you need to book a call with a salesperson just to find out what it costs? Is there a free demo or tier you can test out before you commit?
Does It Meet Our Current Needs?
With this kind of software buying decision, it’s all too easy to choose the biggest, most impressive, most feature-rich software suite — and then end up only actually using two or three of the features. If your eCommerce business is still finding its feet, it’s wise to start out with a minimal solution until you have a better understanding of what you actually need.
How Steep Is the Learning Curve?
Is the software easy to use? Does it have an intuitive, user-friendly user interface?
How long will it take to master? What kind of training and/or support is available? The answers to these questions are directly related to how much use you’ll get out of the platform.
Can It Consolidate Data From All Our Sales Channels?
Which sales channels are you using, and how many of them are there? Online stores, eCommerce marketplaces, brick-and-mortar points of sale — can the OMS you’re considering consolidate your data from all of these channels into one dashboard?
How Robust Are Its Inventory Management Capabilities?
Order management and inventory management go hand-in-hand. Choosing an order management software that also offers powerful inventory management features means you can manage everything from one place without having to purchase separate software.
What Are Its Automation Capabilities?
Consider the level of automation you need and pick the solution that will be able to fit your specific requirements. Will this software integrate with the tools you already use? Can you further automate your supply chain management with an automation tool like Zapier?
Does It Include Shipping Services?
Depending on your business model and the size of your operation, whether or not an OMS offers shipping tools can be an important consideration. Some order management services take care of the entire fulfillment process, even warehousing your goods for you.
Other features to consider include automated shipping label printing, dropshipping support, and whether they offer in-house fulfillment or use third-party courier services — and which ones. In either case, make sure to check out reviews to ensure that you’re partnering with the right service provider.
Does It Help Manage Customer Relationships?
A powerful OMS helps you streamline not just order fulfillment but also customer relationship management to help you provide a stellar customer experience. Does it help you track customer information? Can you use this OMS as a consumer-facing tool that enables self-service ordering? Does it allow the customer to track orders?
See if Glide is the Right OMS for Your Business
Automating your order management workflows with Glide can give you real-time visibility, shorter and more accurate order fulfillment times, and tighter control over your inventory levels so you can hit the sweet spot between overselling and inventory surplus.
To create your own OMS, simply create a Glide account, connect your order management spreadsheet (or start with a template), customize your app with the intuitive drag-and-drop editor, and hit publish. You can always update it later, and your data will automatically sync between your app and your source spreadsheet.
Glide offers a free tier as well as affordable, transparent pricing so you can test it out and see whether it’s the solution you need to streamline your order fulfillment process.