Best Order Management System for Small Business: Streamlining Sales

published on 05 February 2024

As a small business owner, you're probably familiar with the headaches of managing orders manually.

Implementing the right order management system can streamline your sales workflows, enhance visibility, and help better serve your customers.

In this guide, we'll explore the key benefits of order management software for small businesses, features to look for, free options to consider, integration capabilities, real-world examples of success, and best practices for implementation.

Introduction to Order Management Systems

An order management system is software that helps small businesses centralize and automate their sales processes. By streamlining order fulfillment from purchase to delivery, an order management system can provide several key advantages:

What is an Order Management System?

An order management system (OMS) acts as a central hub for managing orders. Key features include:

  • Order processing - Automates entering, tracking and fulfilling customer orders across all sales channels (online store, brick-and-mortar, phone, etc).
  • Inventory management - Syncs with inventory data to provide real-time stock levels and prevent overselling.
  • Payment processing - Seamlessly integrates payments into the ordering workflow.
  • Analytics - Provides insights into order history and sales performance.

An OMS improves efficiency by eliminating manual order tracking spreadsheets and paper trails. Everything is digitized in one place.

Advantages of Streamlined Sales for Small Business

Implementing an order management system offers several advantages that lead to improved sales and customer satisfaction:

  • Increased productivity - Automation and centralized data frees up staff for more valuable tasks than manual order processing.
  • Better customer service - Real-time order tracking improves communication and allows quicker responses if issues arise.
  • Enhanced sales insights - Analytics on order history and performance inform better business decisions.
  • Inventory optimization - Tight inventory integration reduces overselling out-of-stock items.
  • Omnichannel fulfillment - Unified system for managing orders from all sales channels in one dashboard.

With streamlined processes, small businesses can focus more on growing sales and keeping customers happy. The right OMS software helps turn chaotic, disjointed order fulfillment into a smooth, efficient operation.

What is the best order management software?

Order management software helps small businesses streamline their sales operations by automating order processing, payment collection, inventory updates, and order tracking. This allows staff to focus on providing excellent customer service instead of manual order management tasks.

The best order management systems for small businesses have features like:

  • Automated order routing to simplify sales workflow
  • Real-time inventory updates to prevent overselling
  • Payment processing integrations to collect payments faster
  • Customizable order statuses for detailed tracking
  • Analytics dashboards to identify sales trends

Platforms like QuickBooks Online and Brightpearl are popular choices because they combine order management capabilities with accounting and inventory management. This consolidated view helps small business owners oversee their entire operation from one centralized system.

Other top options like Linnworks provide deep integration for ecommerce order management across channels like online stores, marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar retail. For simplicity, many small businesses use Google Forms to create free online order forms connected to spreadsheets. This basic order capture can then feed data into shipping, accounting, CRM, and other systems.

When evaluating order management systems, small businesses should consider their specific sales workflow, accounting software, inventory locations, and reporting needs. The best solutions seamlessly integrate with existing tools to create an efficient end-to-end process. Focusing on order management automation early on lays a strong operational foundation for small business growth and scaling.

How much does order management system cost?

An order management system can range in cost depending on the size and complexity of a business's operations. Here is a breakdown of common pricing tiers:


Ideal for very small businesses just getting started. Prices tend to range from:

  • $50 - $150 per month for basic order tracking and inventory management
  • $150 - $300 per month for added features like custom branding, order approvals, and partial order shipments


Suited for established small to medium-sized businesses. Prices are around:

  • $300 - $600 per month for robust order processing workflows, multiple user access, and API integrations
  • $600 - $1200 per month for advanced warehouse management with barcode scanning, pick/pack workflows, and reporting


For large corporations and 3PLs managing huge order volumes. Prices start at:

  • $1200+ per month for high volume order ingestion, complex business logic, and predictive analytics
  • $5000+ per month for full 3PL support, custom integrations, and dedicated account management

The main drivers of cost are the number of orders processed monthly, number of users, desired features, level of customization, and the extent of developer support needed for complex integrations.

Most order management systems offer month-to-month contracts or annual subscriptions, with volume-based pricing available. Free trials are common to test software viability.

How do I choose an order management system?

Choosing the right order management system is crucial for small businesses to streamline their sales operations and provide excellent customer service. An effective system should seamlessly integrate across your other business systems, automate manual processes, offer global support, provide inventory insights, and sync across sales channels.

When evaluating order management systems, focus on the following key features:

Integration Capabilities

The system should easily connect to your ecommerce platform, accounting software, inventory management system, and other critical programs. This allows real-time data syncing across systems and eliminates duplicate data entry. Prioritize solutions that offer native connectors, APIs, and pre-built integrations.

Process Automation

Automating repetitive tasks like order processing, customer notifications, inventory updates, and reporting can dramatically boost productivity. Opt for a system with workflow customization and rules-based automation to streamline operations.

Omnichannel Support

Managing orders across diverse channels is essential for today's businesses. Choose a system that syncs all sales channels into a centralized hub for improved visibility and order orchestration.

Inventory Management

Accurate inventory tracking prevents overselling and stockouts. Robust order management systems provide real-time inventory visibility across locations and auto-update stock levels with each order.

Analytics and Reporting

In-depth reporting and analytics around order volume, fulfillment times, bestselling items, and more enable better data-driven decisions. Ensure your system provides user-friendly and customizable reports.

Evaluating systems against these key pillars will help you select the best fit for your small business's needs and support sales growth over the long-term. Test out demos and free trials to validate capabilities before committing.

How do you manage orders effectively?

An effective order management system is essential for small businesses to streamline their sales processes, improve inventory tracking, and enhance customer satisfaction. Here are some key features of the best order management systems for small businesses:

Seamless Integration

Choose a system like Orderbot that integrates seamlessly across sales channels and connects to your existing systems. This unified approach centralizes order data for simplified tracking and processing. Integrations may include payment processors, accounting software, ecommerce platforms, and shipping carriers.

Automated Workflows

Automate repetitive tasks to save time and minimize errors. Systems like Orderbot enable creating rules-based workflows for order processing, notifications, inventory updates, and more. This removes manual work and accelerates order fulfillment.

Inventory Syncing

Real-time inventory tracking is crucial for order accuracy. Systems like Skubana connect to sales channels and sync product quantities across channels. This gives up-to-date stock levels across platforms to avoid overselling.

Analytics and Reporting

Gain actionable insights with custom reports on sales, products, customers, and more. Systems like Brightpearl deliver real-time analysis of KPIs through interactive dashboards. This data empowers smart, informed decisions.

With robust order management capabilities tailored to small business needs, platforms like Orderbot, Skubana and Brightpearl enable entrepreneurs to effectively scale their operations while delivering exceptional customer experiences.


Identifying the Best Order Management Software

When evaluating order management systems for your small business, focus on core features that align with your operational needs. An effective order management system can streamline sales processes, improve inventory tracking, and enhance the customer experience.

Essential Features of Top Order Management Software

The best order management software for small businesses should have features like:

  • Order processing workflows to standardize order fulfillment
  • Inventory management to track stock levels
  • Payment processing integrations
  • Analytics and reporting for data-driven decisions
  • Custom rule creation for order workflows
  • Multichannel sales management

These features allow you to optimize order processing, prevent overselling with accurate inventory tracking, leverage insights to improve sales, and expand sales channels.

Inventory Tracking and Management Capabilities

Robust inventory management within an order system is critical for small businesses to:

  • Maintain sufficient stock levels
  • Prevent overselling out-of-stock items
  • Improve inventory turnover
  • Gain visibility into popular products

By integrating live inventory tracking and alerts for low stock, order management software eliminates manual tracking and gives real-time visibility into inventory health.

Customizing Order Workflows for Efficiency

Flexible order processing rules ensure efficiency by allowing you to:

  • Set order review requirements
  • Create conditional workflows
  • Streamline order handling
  • Improve order to delivery times

Customizable rules reduce manual order processing, boost productivity, and enhance the customer experience.

Integrating Payment Processor Solutions

Integrating payment processing enables you to easily manage transactions from within the management system, including:

  • Processing payments
  • Issuing refunds
  • Managing recurring billing

Choose a software that offers native payments integration or third-party processor integrations for managing transactions seamlessly.

Leveraging Analytics for Strategic Insights

Robust analytics and reporting provide data to guide inventory planning and sales strategy, including:

  • Sales trends and forecasts
  • Bestselling products
  • Customer purchase patterns
  • Marketing campaign ROI

With data insights, you can optimize inventory, improve sales conversions, create targeted campaigns, identify new opportunities, and make informed growth decisions.

Evaluating Free Order Management Software for Small Business

As a small business owner, finding ways to streamline operations and cut costs is essential. Evaluating free order management software can help achieve both goals while still meeting customer needs. However, it's important to weigh the pros and cons before choosing a solution.

Pros and Cons of Free Order Management Software

Free order management platforms offer clear benefits:

  • Cost savings - Avoiding subscription fees allows small businesses to allocate budgets elsewhere. This is especially helpful when just starting out or operating on tight margins.

  • Basic features - Many free platforms provide core order tracking capabilities like order status visibility, shipment notifications, and customer support integration. This covers fundamental needs for many operators.

However, limitations exist too:

  • Lack of customization - Free platforms rarely allow deep customization to match unique business workflows. This can create process bottlenecks over time.

  • Feature limitations - Many advanced features like custom reporting, automated workflows, or omnichannel selling capabilities are unavailable. Expanding to new sales channels can be restricted.

  • Limited scalability - As order volumes grow, free platforms often cannot handle increased loads. Transitioning to more robust paid solutions becomes necessary.

When just launching, free platforms help minimize initial costs. But evaluating long term needs is prudent to avoid business disruption later when shifting to paid solutions.

Best Order Management System for Small Business Free: A Closer Look

Understanding the top free platforms' capabilities aids decision making.

Ecwid excels at core order tracking with status visibility and email notifications. Their mobile app enables on-the-go access. However, customization is limited.

Conversely, Zoho Inventory provides more custom fields and rules to match workflows. Their Android app also helps warehouse picking and packing. But reporting lacks graphical visualizations.

TradeGecko offers multi-channel selling across popular marketplaces. This facilitates expanding sales channels. Yet barcode scanning and bundle/kit capabilities are unavailable in the free version.

Overall, Ecwid simplifies getting started quickly, Zoho Inventory enables greater customization, and TradeGecko facilitates multichannel marketplaces. Evaluating unique business needs aids selection.

Transitioning from Free to Paid Solutions

As small businesses scale, shifting from free platforms to paid solutions becomes necessary to unlock more advanced capabilities.

Strategies like beginning transition 6 months in advance help minimize disruption. Migrating key data like customer info, order history, and product catalogs ensures continuity.

Running both systems in parallel, then slowly phasing out the old platform reduces risk. This verifies the new solution functions properly first. Gradual customer onboarding prevents sudden platform change confusion also.

Finally, paid platforms like Zoho Inventory and TradeGecko offer free versions. Upgrading within the same platform enables leveraging existing feature familiarity and data.

The best order management system for small business balances cost, functionality, and scalability. Evaluating both current and future needs is prudent when selecting between free and paid solutions. This ensures smooth operations as order volumes grow over time.

Leveraging Order Management System Ecommerce Integration

Integrating an e-commerce platform with an order management system can significantly streamline online sales operations for small businesses. By unifying these critical software tools, companies gain enhanced inventory tracking, order processing, and customer data analytics capabilities.

The Synergy Between E-commerce and Order Management

An effective order management system ecommerce strategy revolves around seamless integration between the two platforms. Key benefits include:

  • Real-time inventory updates: By connecting inventory databases, stock levels automatically adjust when orders are placed or fulfilled. This prevents overselling.

  • Improved order accuracy: Integrated systems share a single view of order details like items, quantities, customer info, and status updates between departments. This minimizes errors.

  • Enhanced customer profiles: Shared customer data from integrated CRM tools provides a 360-degree view of each customer for personalized marketing.

  • Automated workflows: Tasks like order processing, fulfillment requests, shipping notifications, and accounting can be automated between platforms. This saves considerable time and effort.

Multichannel Retail Software for Expanding Sales Channels

To boost sales, many businesses sell through multiple online channels like their own e-commerce site, online marketplaces, social media, and more. Multichannel retail software built into order management systems help efficiently manage these diverse platforms with features like:

  • Centralized inventory tracking across all sales channels.
  • Flexible order management rules customized for each platform.
  • Automated syncing of product catalogs, pricing, inventory levels, and order data.
  • Omnichannel connectivity for in-store, online, and mobile sales.

This eliminates labor-intensive manual work so small businesses can easily expand their reach.

Online Order Management System: Real-Time Sales Tracking

A key advantage of an online order management system is the ability to monitor sales and inventory data in real-time across all integrated channels. Benefits include:

  • Monitoring popular products to optimize inventory planning.
  • Identifying sales trends to target marketing campaigns.
  • Tracking profit margins by product, channel, and region.
  • Generating insightful reports for data-driven decisions.

With an online system, actionable insights are available 24/7 through easy-to-use dashboards and analytics tools. This is invaluable for agile decision making to maximize sales and profits.

An integrated order management system ecommerce solution creates operational efficiency that allows small businesses to scale their online sales smoothly. The right tools connect critical processes in a streamlined workflow for improved productivity and revenue growth.

Case Studies: Order Management System Examples

Implementing an order management system can significantly improve operations for small businesses across various industries. Here are some real-world examples of companies that have successfully leveraged these platforms to enhance inventory tracking, streamline sales, and boost customer satisfaction.

Success Stories of Streamlined Order Management

Order management software provides centralized visibility into all stages of the order lifecycle. This allows small businesses to optimize their processes around order processing, payment collection, inventory updates, and fulfillment.

For example, a small retail business was struggling with high order processing times and inaccurate inventory counts. By implementing an order management system like best order management system for small business, they were able to automatically update stock levels when an order shipped. This reduced overselling by 75% in the first month.

Additionally, the software integrates with their ecommerce platform, so new orders automatically flow into the system. This eliminates manual order entry and reduces processing time from 2 days to 2 hours on average.

As a result, the business was able to handle a 35% increase in sales volume without adding staff. Customer satisfaction also rose due to faster order processing and higher inventory accuracy.

Challenges and Solutions in Order Management Implementation

When transitioning to a new order management system, small businesses can encounter challenges like data migration, training staff, and custom integration needs.

For example, a small manufacturer struggled to import 10 years of order history from their legacy system into the new platform. By working with the software vendor's professional services team, they mapped out the data correctly to ensure transactions were accurately reflected in reporting.

Additionally, staff were used to the old system and viewed the change as disruptive initially. To smooth the transition, the business used software walkthroughs and customized video tutorials to demonstrate the intuitive interface and time-saving capabilities. Within a month, most employees were fully ramped up.

While each small business is unique, these case studies demonstrate that with careful planning and training, order management systems can transform sales operations. The right solution empowers staff to work smarter, enhances customer experiences, and sets the foundation for sustainable growth.

Practical Implementation Strategies for Small Businesses

Mapping Order Workflows for Maximum Efficiency

To maximize efficiency when implementing an order management system, it is crucial to map out existing order workflows. This involves documenting each step of your order procedures, from initial customer inquiry to final delivery.

Outline the roles and responsibilities for staff at each stage. Also indicate the systems, documents, and processes used. This mapping exercise enables you to:

  • Identify redundancies and bottlenecks slowing down order completion
  • Clarify priorities to focus staff efforts on critical path activities
  • Recognize areas to simplify workflows in the new system
  • Ensure no key steps are missed in the digital transition

Conducting workflow mapping workshops with staff facilitates buy-in by including them in shaping new procedures.

Securing Employee Buy-In and Training

Gaining employee buy-in is essential when transitioning to new order management software. Best practices include:

  • Communicate benefits of efficiency, productivity, and growth
  • Involve staff in mapping workflows and planning roll-out
  • Offer both group and 1-on-1 training sessions
  • Start with general system overview then role-specific processes
  • Share guides and provide post go-live support

Training must align staff capabilities with new digital processes. Schedule sessions in advance and allow time for staff to absorb concepts.

Scaling Your Order Management System Gradually

When implementing a new order management system, take an incremental approach:

  • Initially, focus on a single sales channel with highest transaction volume
  • Slowly incorporate additional sales channels one by one
  • Start with core order management capabilities then expand feature use over time
  • Leverage analytics to identify adoption rates and incremental efficiency gains
  • Use metrics to showcase benefits and secure support for further expansion

This gradual implementation enables adjusting to new digital workflows without overwhelming staff. It also provides flexibility to pivot strategies based on real-world performance data.

Harnessing Data to Optimize Order Management

Order management software provides valuable sales analytics to optimize operations including:

  • Sales performance per channel and product
  • Customer lifetime value metrics
  • Staff productivity indicators
  • Order processing time benchmarks

Analyze this data to identify priorities:

  • Improve customer segmentation
  • Streamline order workflows
  • Upsell high-margin products
  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Reallocate staff to value-add activities

Continuous analysis and improvement is key to maximizing the value of your order management solution. Discuss insights cross-functionally and implement changes through iterative testing.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Order Management System

The best order management system for a small business depends on your specific needs and budget. When evaluating options, focus on core features like omnichannel order processing, inventory management, flexible workflows, and data-driven insights. An ideal solution should help you efficiently manage higher order volumes, which can drive sales growth over time.

Final Thoughts on Streamlining Small Business Sales

Selecting the right order management software is key to enhancing the customer experience and streamlining sales operations. Consider how a given system can help you with:

  • Processing orders from multiple sales channels in one place
  • Keeping real-time inventory visibility to avoid overselling
  • Automating order workflows to save time
  • Generating actionable reports to identify sales trends

The goal is to find an affordable system tailored to your business requirements. This will lead to greater operational efficiency, helping small businesses successfully manage and fulfill more orders. Streamlined processes translate into improved customer satisfaction as well.

With the right order management software in place, small businesses can focus less on manual paperwork and more on activities that boost sales and growth. The key is finding a solution that aligns with your current ecommerce infrastructure while providing flexibility to scale up as order volumes increase over time.

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