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Intershop's Axel Köhler and Gerrit Enthoven on the importance of order management

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InternetRetailing spoke to Axel Köhler and Gerrit Enthoven of Intershop at the recent InternetRetailing Europe Summit. Under discussion was the importance of order management within the ecommerce platform.

InternetRetailing: What do shoppers now expect of the omnichannel customer experience?

Axel Köhler, COO, Intershop: Shoppers expect the same user experience across all touchpoints and a seamless purchase lifecycle. They expect to see the same products, prices, offers, delivery and payment options, regardless of which channel they use. They want to order on one channel and return the product via a different channel. Whether they’re ordering from a B2B site or a B2C site, they expect the retailer to know their order history and provide a degree of personalisation, as well as to have always up to date information on the status of their orders, stock availability etc across all channels. The magic word is seamless – and we’re very proud of our seamless integration.

IR: What are the priorities for retailers as they look to deliver this?

AK: Retailers need to enable a seamless shopping experience across all channels for both B2B and B2C customers. Regardless of their specific industry, they need to fulfill their customers´ demands triggered from any touch point via any fulfillment location.

IR: How important is order management within this? What should retailers be looking for here?

Gerrit Enthoven, Benelux country manager, Intershop: Order management systems enable consumers to see the same price for a product whether they look at it in the shop or on the website. If shoppers are buying online, it means they can collect in the store.

For the consumer it’s obvious. But for the retailer it’s quite difficult to organise. There are the cash systems, POS, backend systems and warehouse management systems that all need to talk together. From an IT perspective it’s very difficult to connect all the different systems and it’s getting more and more complex. But putting the order management in between – communicating to all those different systems – makes it much easier. It improves efficiency and reduces costs by eliminating omnichannel business process obstacles, while ensuring that product inventory is always up-to-date. If you buy something online and bring it back to the store, you hate it if they say you can’t return it and have to send it back and get the money back in two weeks. This kind of process is very paintful for customers.

Key features to look for include enterprise inventory visibility, omnichannel order capture, order routing and fulfillment and invoice-to-cash management, as well as aftersales service and returns management.

IR: How do you broadly see e-commerce/omni-channel technology developing in the future?

AK: On the one hand more and more systems and touchpoints will build the backbone of sales for companies catering for end-users and business users alike. In many companies orders will be entered straight into the supply chain, which needs to be integrated deeply into the sales process as naturally as payment or logistics are already.

At the same time the respective technology will become more and more modularised. As a result, businesses can set up their specific solution for their business and sales model, reach, service level, matching their customer requirements and market developments most flexibly, faster and efficiently.

The next InternetRetailing Europe Summit will run from June 26 to 28 2017.

Find out more on the InternetRetailing Europe Summit website, where you can register your interest early.
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