Order Management vs Order Fulfillment: What's the Difference?

Customers today have so many choices when it comes to shopping online. You are competing against other sellers that may have similar (or lower-priced) goods and advanced order processing technology.

At the same time, you are competing against the experience customers have on other sites. Customers expect the same level of support and sophistication they get on Amazon for every interaction on every site. In the eCommerce business, you need to provide an exceptional customer experience throughout the entire shopping and buying process if you want to compete successfully.

86% of shoppers say they are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. 92% say they are willing to abandon a brand after just one negative experience.

A big part of meeting these customer service demands is how you handle order management and order fulfillment.

Order Management vs Order Fulfillment


Order management and order fulfillment overlap, but there are some key differences.

What Is Order Management?

Order management is the receiving, tracking, and fulfillment of customer orders. Order management spans the entire supply chain to efficiently handle the order management process.

Order management is key to inventory management, especially for omnichannel sellers that are managing multiple sales channels or brick-and-mortar stores as well. Keeping all of your inventory current in real-time is essential for meeting customer demand.

What Is Order Fulfillment?

Order fulfillment is the process of receiving an order and processing it for delivery. From the time a customer places an order until the pick, pack, and ship process occurs to when items are delivered to a customer, they are all order fulfillment services.

While order management manages the entire inventory lifecycle, order fulfillment focuses on managing customer orders.

The Importance of an Order Management System


An OMS provides the support you need to handle both order management and order fulfillment efficiently. It brings together all of your sales channels and fulfillment methods into a comprehensive platform.

So, whether you have items sitting on warehouse shelves or fulfillment centers, in retail store locations, or you’ve outsourced fulfillment to third parties or dropshippers, you have real-time visibility into all of it. This allows you to fulfill any order in the most cost-efficient manner.

The best OMS solutions allow you to:

  • Automate most of your order processing
  • Sell, ship orders, and handle returns from anywhere
  • Manage self-service returns and generate shipping labels
  • Keeps inventory accurate and in sync across all of your sales channels
  • Provide customers with automated real-time order updates
  • Fulfill orders from the best location (including stores)
  • Accommodate third-party logistics

Deck Commerce, for example, can automatically process up to 98% of orders. This significantly reduces the manual tasks associated with fulfilling orders while also reducing potential human error. An efficient order management system also lets you get orders out the door more quickly. It automatically calculates the most cost-effective way to fulfill orders and gets items into customers’ hands fast.

With Deck Commerce, you can manage the key areas that impact the customer experience.

Better Enterprise Inventory Management

Your inventory will display accurate, real-time, available to sell (ATS) inventory. You can see the total inventory or segment by channel. This allows you to allocate inventory by channel if you so choose.

Tight inventory control prevents oversells and stockouts. It can also manage your safety stock down to the SKU level.

Superior Order Orchestration and Cost Efficiency

By automating your inventory, transactions, fulfillment, and returns workflow, you can more efficiently do business. Smart routing logic takes into account capacity, priority, consolidation, proximity, and other rules to optimize your cost savings while meeting customer demands.

Increased Transparency in Transaction Processing

Deck Commerce can automatically calculate and trigger tax, payment, and loyalty for customers. You can also provide greater transparency for customers by producing real-time email or SMS order updates for each step of the process.

Enhanced Customer Service

Because information from all of your sales channels is consolidated into one platform, you have a single source of truth for orders. No matter where the order is placed, fulfilled, or returned, you can track everything.

Regardless of where or how customers interact, everyone in the order fulfillment process will have access to the information.

Deck Commerce: Leading OMS for Retailers 

Deck Commerce is the leading order management system for direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailers. With more than 20 years of eCommerce experience, Deck Commerce leverages proven methodologies with cutting-edge technology to simplify order management and order fulfillment. Along with more than 60 pre-built integrations, Deck Commerce can work independently or hand-in-hand with your current tech stack.

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Contact Deck Commerce today to request a demo and learn more about how to optimize your order management and order fulfillment.

About the Author
Kiersten Weiland

Kiersten is eager to help businesses build their brand by scaling to the ever-changing landscape of ecommerce. With her positive attitude and emphasis on teamwork, she seeks to understand the specific pains in every pursuit! When she’s not working you can catch her on a hike, presumably with an iced coffee in hand.

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