How to Efficiently Manage Orders for Your Small Business

Effective order management is crucial for the success of any small business. Whether you run an e-commerce store, a brick-and-mortar shop, or a hybrid business, the way you handle orders can significantly impact customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. This article will explore essential strategies and tools to help you manage orders effectively, ensuring your business runs smoothly and profitably.

1. Understand the Order Management Process

Order management encompasses all the steps from when a customer places an order to the moment they receive their product. The process typically includes:

  1. Order Placement: Customers place orders through various channels such as online platforms, phone calls, or in-store.
  2. Order Processing: This involves verifying order details, checking inventory, and preparing the order for shipment.
  3. Order Fulfilment: Picking, packing, and shipping the order to the customer.
  4. Order Tracking: Providing customers with tracking information and updates on their order status.
  5. Returns and Exchanges: Handling customer returns and exchanges efficiently.

Understanding each step in this process will help you identify areas for improvement and streamline operations.

2. Invest in an Order Management System (OMS)

An Order Management System (OMS) is software designed to automate and manage the order processing workflow. Investing in a robust OMS can:

  • Increase Efficiency: Automate repetitive tasks and reduce manual errors.
  • Improve Accuracy: Ensure orders are processed correctly and inventory levels are accurately tracked.
  • Enhance Customer Experience: Provide real-time order tracking and quicker resolution of issues.

Comparison of Popular Order Management Systems (OMS) for Small Businesses

Feature/Tool TradeGecko Ordoro Zoho Inventory
Price Starts at £79/month Starts at £39/month Starts at £39/month
Key Features Inventory management, B2B eCommerce, multi-channel sales Multi-channel sales, shipping management, dropshipping Inventory management, order fulfilment, multi-channel sales
Ease of Use User-friendly interface Intuitive and easy to navigate Simple and easy to set up
Integration Integrates with Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce Integrates with Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and more Integrates with Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and more
Customer Support 24/7 customer support Phone and email support 24/5 customer support
Free Trial 14-day free trial 15-day free trial 14-day free trial

Choosing the Right OMS

Evaluate these tools based on your specific needs and budget to find the best fit for your small business. Each system offers unique features and integrations that can help streamline your order management process.

3. Implement Inventory Management Best Practices

Effective inventory management is vital to prevent stockouts or overstocking. Here are some best practices:

  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular inventory audits to ensure records match physical stock.
  • ABC Analysis: Prioritise inventory management efforts on high-value items (A), moderate-value items (B), and low-value items (C).
  • Reorder Points: Set reorder points for each product to trigger automatic replenishment before stock runs out.

4. Optimise Your Supply Chain

A well-optimised supply chain ensures timely delivery of products and reduces operational costs. Consider the following tips:

  • Build Strong Supplier Relationships: Communicate regularly with suppliers and negotiate favourable terms.
  • Diversify Suppliers: Avoid relying on a single supplier to mitigate risks.
  • Use Technology: Implement supply chain management software to track shipments and manage supplier performance.

5. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is a crucial aspect of order management. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and recommend your business to others. Here’s how you can enhance customer service:

  • Clear Communication: Keep customers informed about their order status through email updates and tracking links.
  • Easy Returns: Simplify the returns process with clear instructions and hassle-free policies.
  • Responsive Support: Offer prompt support through multiple channels such as phone, email, and live chat.

6. Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) helps you measure the effectiveness of your order management processes. Important KPIs include:

  • Order Accuracy Rate: Percentage of orders processed correctly.
  • Order Fulfilment Time: Average time taken to fulfil an order.
  • Inventory Turnover Rate: Frequency at which inventory is sold and replaced over a period.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: Measure of customer satisfaction with the order process.

Regularly analysing these metrics will help you identify trends, pinpoint issues, and make data-driven improvements.

7. Consider Investing in Fulfilment Services

Outsourcing fulfilment services can be an effective way to manage orders, especially as your business grows. Fulfilment services handle the storage, packing, and shipping of your products, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business. Benefits of using fulfilment services include:

  • Scalability: Easily scale operations up or down based on demand.
  • Expertise: Leverage the expertise of professionals in logistics and warehousing.
  • Cost Savings: Reduce costs associated with maintaining your own warehouse and staff.
  • Speed: Benefit from faster shipping times and improved delivery reliability.

Evaluate these services based on your business needs, product types, and shipping destinations.


Managing orders efficiently is a cornerstone of small business success. By understanding the order management process, investing in the right tools, and implementing best practices, you can streamline operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive growth. Stay proactive, continuously monitor performance, and be ready to adapt to changing market conditions to keep your business thriving.

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