A mobile phone screen showing effective order management within online marketplaces
6 min

Integrating marketplaces into your omnichannel order management strategy

Marketplaces are big business. They are the starting point for 8 in 10 online retail visits, and experts predict they’ll generate 59% of all ecommerce sales by 2027.  

But while their revenue potential is huge, the reality of coordinating marketplace orders alongside other sales channels is complex. Where do sites like Amazon fit into your inventory management strategy? And how can you profitably fulfil marketplace orders without compromising stores or direct ecommerce sales? 

As the number of customer touchpoints continues to increase, it’s critical to integrate online marketplaces with your existing infrastructure to make intelligent stock allocation choices. 

Let’s examine how OMS technology can support a fully integrated approach to omnichannel order management.

The meteoric rise of marketplaces in retail

From Amazon and Alibaba to YOOX and Zalando, there have never been more marketplaces for people to shop. And there’s a reason why they’re so popular with both consumers and brands. 

Online marketplaces have removed many of the barriers that prevent companies from scaling their business while giving shoppers an accessible opportunity to discover new styles. 

They’re a simple, relatively low-risk sales channel for testing new products and markets, and many marketplaces will take care of admin and compliance requirements on a retail brand’s behalf.

But while Amazon et al. are straightforward to use individually, managing orders becomes more challenging as you add new sales channels. For most brands, the problem isn’t finding a best-fit marketplace; it’s integrating these sites into your omnichannel customer journey.   

Balancing your omnichannel retail dynamics

While marketplaces may be the starting point for many customer journeys  (75% of shoppers use Amazon to discover new brands and products), many will interact with you through other channels, even during a single journey to purchase. 

To deliver a consistent customer experience, your brand must develop an omnichannel retail strategy that integrates online marketplace sales with demand in other channels. And the best way to achieve this is by identifying the purpose of selling through marketplaces like Amazon before you start trading. 

For example: will you use marketplaces to promote new products as widely as possible? To expose your current collection to a bigger audience? Or to drive sell-through on old collections while freeing up space for newer stock in your stores and your ecommerce website? 

Perhaps it’s a combination of all three. 

Either way, defining the role of marketplaces in your omnichannel retail strategy will help you manage orders in the context of what’s happening in all your sales channels.

The importance of order integration

We’ve already touched on the significance of integration in a seamless customer experience. Now, let’s consider its impact on your order management strategy. 

Many brands like trading through Amazon and other marketplaces because they handle logistics. You can outsource many jobs you need to manage in-house when trading directly, such as order fulfilment. 

The problem with outsourcing order management to marketplaces is that all stock decisions are siloed. You don’t have complete insight into what’s happening across your operation (and neither does your marketplace), and you don’t have control over fulfilment decisions – for example, diverting stock intended for Amazon to a more profitable sales point. 

Ideally, you want to make fulfilment decisions from a unified stock pool, and the simplest way to achieve this is through a Distributed Order Management System (DOMS). 

Centralising your stock management through a Distributed OMS will enable your brand to set order orchestration rules for each channel, to ensure you’re maximising sales opportunities without compromising other parts of your business. 

Market-leading retail OMS software will enable you to maintain a real-time link between all your marketplaces and other sales channels, showing available stock and how that inventory is moving. Based on this data, you can decide what products are available to sell on Amazon, in what quantity, and whether allocating stock from other channels is appropriate if your marketplace quota runs out. 

Integrating stock control through an omnichannel OMS also simplifies your IT architecture, so you can run lean and easily add new sales points as your company grows – for example, if you explore other marketplaces’ potential.

Integrating order management using OneStock OMS

We can speak authoritatively about the benefits of integrating marketplaces into your omnichannel retail strategy because of our experience with helping brands balance complex order management demands. 

OneStock is a globally recognised Distributed OMS, helping retail brands fulfil orders from over 15,000 points in 25 countries using inventory management best practices. 

Our retail OMS software will enable your business to set up sophisticated orchestration rules that dynamically route orders to maximise availability, speed and profit. And we can manage cross-channel fulfilment too – for example, facilitating ship from store.

Read more about OneStock’s order orchestration capabilities.

In addition to helping retail brands integrate order management across multiple sales channels, we also work directly with online marketplaces like ManoMano, Europe’s leading European online DIY, garden and home furniture retailer.

With more than 2,500 merchants of different sizes in different geographical locations, ManoMano’s logistics can vary depending on the products and the country of delivery.

The marketplace uses OneStock’s OMS technology to unify stock across its international network of warehouses and merchants, monitoring stock flows and orchestrating orders according to warehouse capacity. 

ManoMano also uses OneStock OMS to manage returns, enabling its team to cancel or modify orders, ship an item (or the entire order) again and manage refunds according to eligibility. 

So, if you’re relying on your chosen marketplace to manage fulfilment and your current OMS can’t integrate with their inventory management system, now’s the time to consider a change. Moving to a fully integrated DOMS like OneStock will unify your stock pool and help you make smarter omnichannel fulfilment choices.

Enjoy this blog? You may also like our post on maximising marketplaces: how to manage your multichannel stock strategy.

Further reading