Unboxing Logistics: An EasyPost Podcast

Leveraging an OMS for Growth With Gemma Shaw From Order Desk - Ep. 27

March 6, 2024 | 38:09

In This Episode

As businesses expand into new sales channels, order management gets complicated—and time-consuming. Gemma Shaw, head of partnerships at Order Desk, explains what order management systems do and shares tips for using yours effectively.

Benefits of an order management system (OMS)

What are order management systems, and how do they benefit businesses? Gemma explains, “An OMS enables businesses to centralize all of their orders. This is particularly beneficial if you've got multiple sales channels. [If] you're selling in various markets, maybe even globally, all of your orders are housed in one place for visibility.”

Challenges when setting up an OMS

One major challenge when setting up an OMS? Identifying your workflow. Before diving into the implementation process, Gemma recommends determining what the system needs to do and how it needs to work. “Knowing exactly what you want to achieve with your OMS is helpful.”

Gemma also notes that it takes time and patience to learn how OMSs work. She says, “There's a learning curve with any new piece of software. And with something robust and technical like this, there's a particularly steep learning curve at the start.” 

Getting the most from your OMS

OMSs serve a very practical purpose: centralizing order information from various sales channels. But that isn’t all they’re useful for. As Gemma points out, these systems capture a lot of data: order volumes, inventory numbers, and much more. To get the most out of your OMS, “use that single source of truth to inform your strategic decision-making.”



Lori Boyer 00:00 

Welcome back to Unboxing Logistics. I'm Lori Boyer. I'm your host of this logistics-focused podcast where we dive into all of the important topics surrounding supply chain and logistics, everything that's going on in our world. Today, we are going to be talking about OMSs, really big topic in the industry.

In fact, I was just recently reading a study that said that around 2021, we were spending about a billion dollars on the industry. But it's anticipated that by 2026, which is just coming up here in a couple of years now, we're gonna be at nearly 2 billion, 1.9 billion. This is an industry that's really exploding, obviously in conjunction with, you know, ecommerce and retail and, and just those consumer needs really exploding.

And so I thought it would be a really great opportunity for me to bring on an expert in the OMS world, walk us through it, help us know, you know, what are the ins and outs? When should we make sure we have a good OMS system? What, what are some signs when we need to change our OMS system? How do we take advantage of it?

And so, drum roll, as always, my esteemed guest for today is none other than Gemma Shaw, all the way from New Zealand. Can you go ahead and introduce yourself and just tell us a little bit about your background in the industry? 

Gemma Shaw 01:28 

I can. Hi, I'm Gem. I work for Order Desk, which is an American-founded company, but we are entirely global. So that's why you find me down here in Middle Earth, in New Zealand. So I've been with the company for almost two years. I started in a support role and then transitioned into partnerships. And that's why I'm here representing the company today. A little bit about us. We are an ecommerce order management app.

We exist to allow our customers to scale their business through the use of automation tools. So that's what we're really about. We're about enabling our customers to have independence over managing their stores with us so that they can make the most of the tools that exist out there to, so that they can better focus their efforts on making strategic decisions for their company, like, you know, adding inventory or building relationships with their suppliers rather than doing those manual and mundane tasks that take up hours and hours in a day. So that's a little bit about us, a little bit about me. And I'm really looking forward to being here. Thank you for having me on. 

Lori Boyer 02:24 

I love it. So glad to have you. So, We're going to go through a couple of things. First, there are a couple of questions that I've asked all my guests here in Season 2. And so, you're going to get those questions too, just to get to know Gem a little bit better.

So, question number one. Gem, what were you like as a teenager? What were you like in what we here in America call high school? First, do you call it high school? Or is it college there? 

Gemma Shaw 02:48 

Yeah, we call it high school. Yeah. 

Lori Boyer 02:49 

Okay, so high school, Gem. What were you like in high school? 

Gemma Shaw 02:53 

High school Gem. We've got a term here called goody good. I was like the classic goody good girl. I absolutely loved high school, especially the arts. So I went straight into an arts degree after high school. Love the classics English and history and geography and all that. I was a prefect as well. I don't know if you've got that term over there. 

Lori Boyer 03:11 

We don't have prefects. I only know it from Harry Potter. 

Gemma Shaw 03:14 

Yeah, well, same thing. I had a little shiny badge. And that enabled me to go around sort of telling other people who were younger than me to pull up their sandals and make sure that their skirts were the right length and that kind of thing. 

Lori Boyer 03:27 

Gem, I was born to be a prefect. I was born in the wrong country. I want a little shiny badge. 

Gemma Shaw 03:33

I was on the debate team, so I thought I've always loved sort of people and information and I come from a long line of attention seekers on my dad's side, we're all in the media. So we're all like generations of journalists. So I was always keen to sort of like share viewpoints and opinions and things like that.

I wonder how my parents would describe me. I was, I think I was a good kid. I was a good kid who just wanted to go out one night a week you know, with an 11 o'clock curfew. Yeah. That's all I really wanted for life. I was basically probably exactly the same. I've got a friend from high school who I'm still best friends with. It's 24 years now we've been friends. And we've still got the same kooky sense of humor and she just described us as grown-up weirdos. 

Lori Boyer 04:14 

I love it. Well, you know now, Gem shared with me she has three little ones these days, three little kids. One of them's going to end up just not being that perfect high schooler. They're going to go crazy and you'll be like, what is happening? Yeah, I know so okay question number two if you won the lottery, do you have the lottery in New Zealand? Yes, okay, you win the lottery tomorrow, what looks different in your life? 

Gemma Shaw 04:41 

Absolutely nothing because I've got this strategy right, because I don't want anyone to know, okay? So you just have to make subtle changes over time because you can't suddenly just upgrade your you know mum truck to a Tesla overnight because people are gonna have questions. And when you win the lottery, people start coming out of the woodwork and there's sort of like, you know, requests start, start coming along and that's how you can lose your money.

This is my, this is my theory anyway. So you just, just start, you know, like making subtle changes over time and you can be like, oh, you know, I was able to go to Fiji because that term deposit paid off. You know, as opposed to just buying yourself a super yacht. So not too much would change. I would still work because I like to have a purpose, you know, other than taking care of small people.

But, but maybe I'd just, you know, oh, there might be a few more, you know, things inside this wardrobe here behind me, but that people wouldn't notice too much. But other than that, I don't think too much would change. I'd love to make a difference to the people, to the lives of people in my life. So, you know, paying off someone's mortgage, like my mom or something like that, that would happen, but, yeah, from the outside looking at it, it's not worth it. 

Lori Boyer 05:43

Gem, I love how much you've thought it through already. You've got it planned. Everyone who is watching in our Unboxing community, if you win the lottery, Gem is your gal. She's gonna walk you through the process of how, making sure you don't lose all your money to all the crazies out there. 

Gemma Shaw 06:00 

That's right. Come to me. Come to me for a fee. 

Lori Boyer 06:03 

That's right. That's right. Okay. She's still there. Got her little prefect badge on making sure she's being successful. Love it. Okay. I asked you to come and share with us. We always like to have a couple of hot takes or a couple of takeaways right at the beginning. It's really important that, you know, if our community is only able to listen for a few minutes, that they still know exactly what they should do when they're done listening today.

What are some actionable items they can take? Today I want to cover a couple of different topics. We're going to go into, you know, if you don't have an OMS. Some of you out there may not have an OMS yet. That's totally fine. And we're also going to talk about if you do have an OMS, how do you, you know, maximize, optimize all of that. So with those kinds of ideas, what are some takeaways you have? 

Gemma Shaw 06:47 

I was thinking about this and I thought, you know, social commerce is going to be a huge boon for this industry. You know, I classify myself as an elder millennial and I thought, you know, applications like TikTok and Instagram, you know, like at one point I thought these are just dancing apps, right?

These are just the sort of places where people share their creativity. But what they've become over time is another channel for selling things, right? And it's another channel for selling things for people who probably don't access those regular channels of like an ecom. They're not interested in having an ecommerce website, for example. They're content creators or their smaller influences, or then they're just, I don't know, people in their bedrooms at home, who've got something to sell.

And they're using these other channels. We're just saying a huge expansion and growth of these over time. And here at Order Desk, we are integrated with the likes of TikTok Shop and through Shopify, we've got, you know, connections with Facebook, Facebook and Instagram as well. But that would be I just don't know whether it was anticipated, I mean, maybe it's been anticipated over time, but the, the growth in those channels is absolutely massive and there's so much opportunity there for people to tap into because there's all these new audiences who are ready and able to digest at a moment's notice. 

And they're, and they're, they're, you know, they're addicted to this thing that's in their hand. It's right there. It's accessible. And you know, if you're in the business of selling things, you want people to make that emotional purchase, right? That like, that sudden quick decision. 

Lori Boyer 08:08 

Okay. So I, what I'm hearing you say, Gem, is, what I thought was really interesting there is that piece that sort of some of our audience may not be using TikTok themselves. You know, some of them may not be out there, but their audience could be and so to take advantage of all these social channels, even if you're like, and that's a passing fad or oh, I don't know.

None of my friends are on TikTok. None of my friends are doing. That doesn't mean that your audience isn't there. And so taking advantage of those social channels. I love that. That's great. Anything else? 

Gemma Shaw 08:41 

I would also just say that in terms of a marketing point of view, we are also present on those social channels on TikTok ourselves. And that leads into it too. It may not be our direct audience there, waiting to learn about an OMS, right, via TikTok. But the more you're out there, the more you're remembered and seen and recognized, and I dunno, there's all sorts of clever things like algorithms that play into it as well. But I would say that just having a presence on those social channels, if you are, if you are wanting to explore a new avenue to make sales, just makes sense.

Lori Boyer 09:12 

Yeah, I think absolutely that completely makes sense. So let's talk a little bit about OMS here. So first of all, I want to talk to our community. I did a lot of searching and trying to find a number. You know, what percent of ecommerce retailers currently have an OMS or don't have an OMS. I couldn't find a number to nail down on, so community tell me. If you're really small, you know, at what point did you get your OMS?

But that's kind of, first I want to talk to those of you who do not have an OMS. Gem, what is an OMS? Why should they use an OMS, and when should they use one? I mean, obviously there probably are times where it's not, it doesn't make financial sense to have an OMS. Can you just kind of give us a background for those of us who don't have one?

Gemma Shaw 10:01 

Yeah, absolutely. So that would be the first point to start with is do your order volumes necessitate the subscription cost and the associated costs of taking on a new piece of software, like an OMS. So a business owner will have to decide whether they're at that, that, you know, that point where they're like, I cannot manually do this anymore.

Lori Boyer 10:20 

So how are they doing it? If they don't have an OMS, are we talking spreadsheets? And you guys, again, in the community, you can share. I know a lot of us use spreadsheets still. But is that typically, you know, are they using something else? Are they cobbling some things together? How typically do you feel like, you know, inventories managed or orders are managed?

Gemma Shaw 10:39 

That's what we see. That's what we see. So customers who come to us looking to use Order Desk, an OMS like ours, are normally managing it themselves via spreadsheet. So I used to be a co-owner of an ecommerce business myself. The business still exists and the way the other owner operates it at the moment is via spreadsheet.

So they receive the orders via Shopify. They have to manually process those orders and send them to their 3PL via a spreadsheet. Do all the, you know, tracking updates themselves, the managing and interacting with customers. It literally takes hours. 

Lori Boyer 11:10 

Yeah. And you can get a lot of mistakes, right? I mean. 

Gemma Shaw 11:13 

So much room for human error because we're humans and things slip through the cracks, you know, when, when you're at that point is then when you can decide for yourself, I can't do this anymore.

I could be busy using my time for strategic, you know, decision making or operations or whatever it is. That's the point when you'd start, you know, canvassing and looking for your OMS solution out there. Does it have the, you know, what functionalities does it have that you absolutely have as your like wants and needs and musts?

And what's it going to cost you and what are those, the benefits of those costs going to be over time? I guess you have to analyze, you know, the cost of your time currently spent on managing those orders. I mean, if you've got a $50 order and you've had to call the customer five times, I mean, what's the point?

You know, if you're having to continually chase your 3PL because orders are slipping through the cracks, well then that's just what's the point in paying them to do that? You know, there is a better way to manage it. So that's where an OMS comes in. So an OMS is, we enable businesses to centralize all of their orders.

So this is particularly beneficial if you've got multiple sales channels going on. You're selling in, you know, various markets, maybe even globally or in different countries. So all of your orders are housed in one place for visibility and management. 

Lori Boyer 12:22 

Okay. So this is omni channel as well. So if you've got a brick-and-mortar store and you've got your online store and you've got multiple locations or whatever, it will centralize all of your information.

That's right. That's right. Okay. So one sign maybe that you need an OMS is if you are branching out. Is that what you would say, if you're going through a growth period. Or what are some signs I guess that maybe you know, you're, you've mentioned you're overwhelmed with your spreadsheet. You're spending too many hours. Maybe there are some of those mistakes happening. Are there other signs, is growth then one? 

Gemma Shaw 12:57 

Yeah. Growth would be one, you know, like if you are wanting to sell or you already do sell on multiple sales channels. So let's say a customer has got a Shopify store. They also sell on Etsy and eBay or Amazon or whatever, and then managing all of those four separate channels.

And in different, in different ways a sign that you'd need an OMS would be like, you're at the point where you can connect those integrations to your OMS. They'll automatically import into the system. You can have complete visibility over them. You can flag them and tag them as being an Amazon order or Shopify order, whatever.

And then you can route them automatically by those automation tools where they need to go. So what used to take you hours, take seconds or minutes in the background. And you've got this sort of overseer approach where you get, you know, notifications if there's any errors and then you follow up on those.

Otherwise, you're assuming that once it's all set up and ready to go, that it's just happening in the background. So that would be I guess it would, you know, it's, it's based on the business owners' goals for their business. You know, like they've obviously, everyone wants to grow and have, you know, increased order revenue and all that sort of stuff, but you've got to be able to scale with it. You've got to be able to do that functionally so that's where an OMS comes in. 

Lori Boyer 14:03 

Okay, I love that because it sounds like it's not just the growth or the, the pure number of things you're selling, although that's a, a big indicator you need an OMS, but also the complexity of how and where you're selling it.

So that makes a lot of sense. So let's say now we are on step two, somebody's like, okay, I am going crazy. I was up till 3 a.m. I need somebody to save me. What are some of the steps, kind of, of implementing? First, I guess, what should they know? How long does it take to implement an OMS? I think I read on this.

I found a study. I was, as I told you, I was reading up on it. Implementation speed is one of the most critical. 69 percent said implementation speed is the most important thing they're looking at when getting, either first time getting an OMS or if they're making a switch. So speed obviously would be important. How long can they anticipate? Are we talking, oh, 20 minutes, it's implemented or are we talking 20 months it's implemented? Where, where in this spectrum are we? 

Gemma Shaw 15:04

Yeah, so I mean, it definitely won't be 20 minutes because it depends on the complexity of the workflow. 

Lori Boyer 15:09 

Come on, Gem! 20 minutes! 

Gemma Shaw 15:11 

But I mean, like, signing up would take less than 20 minutes. I mean, it depends. There's a couple of factors, right? So, it depends first and foremost on the complexity of the workflow. So, if you are a customer coming to me and you say, I want to connect my Shopify platform to Order Desk and then route them to my 3PL. Very simple. You've only got two integrations you're doing there.

There could be a couple of rules involved via the rule builder. Done and dusted. It could be a week, right? If you've got a, if you're connecting multiple stores under the same billing umbrella with us, and you've got you're copying orders from one store to another, and you want the, you've, you've just got things that you need to troubleshoot and test with our support team, maybe it could take a couple of weeks. Okay. Maybe it could take 30 days. But another factor involved in that is how much time does the business owner or operator or the team that's tasked with this have to get up to speed with a new software platform? So that the complexity of the setup could be quite simple.

But if you're pushed and pulled because it's a busy time in the season or you just don't have the internal resources at the moment, it could take a bit longer. So there's a couple of things to consider. So for that reason, I'd make sure that business owners are, have got some sort of clear time in their schedules and inside their minds to be able to take on board a new piece of software like this and understand that it will take time to get up to speed and to avail themselves of the resources like the support teams that folks have and the knowledge guides and all of that.

Lori Boyer 16:37 

So, so if you're selling swimming suits. And you're in the United States, not New Zealand, where it's summer right now. You know, May, June, when everybody's buying their new swimming suit, is probably not the best time to be like, why didn't we get an entirely new system? Because you just don't have time to learn it. Is that what I'm hearing you say? 

Gemma Shaw 16:55 


Lori Boyer 16:56 

So perfect. So that may vary. Everyone has peak seasons, right? We've got our holidays and whatnot. But lots of lots of us out there have different little things like that as well. So, making sure you've got, you'd say like a good month or so where it's not like your crazy time.

Gemma Shaw 17:10 

That's what I'd say. That's what I'd recommend. I mean, you wouldn't go into setting up a new OMS just before Black Friday or, you know, one of those key, key periods where you, you see your increased order, you know, volumes at that time, your peak season kind of thing. You want to make sure that you had some time.

Lori Boyer 17:25 

What are some of the challenges that are, you know, if we have people out in our community and they're like, okay, I'm going to be setting up my OMS. I think it's time. 2024 is my year. I'm killing it. What are some challenges they may run into? 

Gemma Shaw 17:38 

I think a common challenge would be actually identifying your workflow. So, you need to be able to come to the OMS knowing exactly how you want your workflow to function. So, it's all very well and good to say, I'd like my orders to make it from here to here, be nice if this happened along the way. But you sort of need to have your, your absolute needs and musts in your workflow identified so that you can come to the OMS support team and say, this is exactly how I need it to run so that we can help to set up, you know, those automation tools in the background, the rules or whatever they're called.

So that when it comes to testing and then it's, it's complete, it runs as expected. So knowing exactly what you want to achieve with your OMS is helpful to have at the start. Another challenge is it could be the level of tech capacity and knowledge that people have. Actually, I'll be up front. There's a learning curve with any new piece of software and with something robust and technical like this, there's a particularly steep learning curve at the start. So you sort of have to gird your loins. And prepare yourself that it is going to be, you're going to look at this thing and you're going to think it can't do what I need it to do, or it looks too confusing, or I don't have the time for this.

But sort of understanding that you're going to get to that point, where you're going to start, you know, you don't know what you don't know at the start and then you'll get to the point where you're like, you understand a little bit more and you feel a little bit more confident. So that would probably be something to overcome in the very beginning and know that at the endpoint, it's going to be worth it.

You know, it's what everyone tells you, it'll be the, the, the hike will, you know, the view will be worth the hike, kind of thing. And you're like, at the beginning, you don't believe it, but then when you get to the top you become a true believer. 

Lori Boyer 19:13 

Love that comparison. Love those points. So a couple of really great points there. Love, love, love, love your advice to come prepared with knowing what your workflow is. You know, not just tossing all your spreadsheets and saying make, make this cleaned up. So, absolutely, the more you know, the more you can share that information, it's gonna make it smoother. And I am so right there.

Sometimes the tech stuff can be very overwhelming. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your team. I would guess it would be great to have a good tech kind of ambassador or person inside your company who can help with getting adoption and whatnot as well. 

Gemma Shaw 19:55 


Lori Boyer 19:56 

Anything, any final questions, I guess, that you have or any final advice you have for those who do not have an OMS? What are some things they may be missing out on because they don't have an OMS? Yeah, just any other piece of advice for people who don't have one. 

Gemma Shaw 20:12 

Yeah, I mean the risk with not having an OMS, that sounds like a negative starting point, but it's not meant to be, is that things can slip through the cracks. When humans are involved in managing, you know, levels of I don't know how many of the volume of sales that people are receiving. There's always a risk that something won't make it through, or there'll be an error and there'll be a disgruntled customer. You know, with an OMS, you've got the opportunity to make use of automation to take time back that you were spending with customers or managing relationships or whatever it is, and those manual tasks and spend it better, like it's better placed on your business elsewhere. So that would probably be my advice. If you, if you, if you're at that point where you want to grow your business, you really want to scale, you want to expand into new markets or territories or regions or whatever it is.

You want to have two warehouses for filling your orders, for example, because you've identified that one warehouse is really good at fulfilling these types of items, but they don't have the others that you really want to add to your inventory, but this one over here does. Well, that's what an OMS can do and they can do it seamlessly in the background.

So I guess the risk, I mean, if you, if a, if a business is happy to stay, you know, receiving this level of orders and they can manage it themselves and they just, you know, trucking along. But if they really want to grow and expand and scale I'd say that an OMS just, it just makes sense from that point of view.

Lori Boyer 21:32 

Absolutely. And if you are out there and you're feeling yourself caught up with doing a lot of mundane tasks and feeling like I am spending 80 percent of my day doing things that really should be automated, you know, I think all of us have been in that place where you feel like my time's worth more than this.

So that sounds exactly right. And everyone, those of you who follow us religiously, love you. You will have heard that, I love that Gem brought that up, that if you're getting another warehouse. That seems to be a trigger point for a lot of things in examining your workflows, your processes, your people, everything.

So, if you are at any point expanding warehouses, please make sure you're reviewing people, processes, and technology. So, okay, let's talk about all of those who do have an OMS. A lot of our audience probably already has an OMS. Interestingly, I read, again, I told you I was reading on this study, and it said that a large percentage of people in 2024 are thinking of trying to upgrade, add some features, do whatever on their OMS this year.

But, a lot of them have felt, 23 percent only, indicated that they felt like what they really wanted and needed was even out there, or that their current vendor had the technology they're looking for. That there's kind of a frustration with, what do I need to do? How do I upgrade here? So, advice. Let's talk to those who have an OMS. What are some signs, maybe, that their current OMS is not working for them well? That maybe it's time to make a switch. 

Gemma Shaw 23:08 

Yeah, that's a really interesting question. It could be that a business owner, an operator, is actually happy with the functionality of the OMS that they're using. But perhaps the OMS doesn't integrate with the platforms that they want to expand into.

Integration. Integration is like the cornerstone, the little powerhouse of an OMS. We're able to integrate with the sales channels that you want to partner with, with the suppliers that you're partnered with, with the shipping solutions and you know, the accounting software that you want to use, then that's, that's really where we come in.

So perhaps you've outgrown your OMS if they are restricted in the number of integrations that they offer, or they can't readily build new integrations that you need in time for you to scale, for example. 

Lori Boyer 23:50 

I hear that a lot actually with integrations, that some companies are just really slow and stiff about making those integration changes. In our industry, it's so fascinating. Our tech stack is extremely complex where there's not really a, you know, some industries you go out and you buy one thing and you've got everything you ever need. This is really an industry of a lot of integrations. And so that piece is super, super critical of making sure your integrations work. So, number one, are your integrations working? Love that. Gem, what else? 

Gemma Shaw 24:20 

Yeah actually one thing I did think of is what sort of support you're getting from your OMS. So if you're sort of finding that you're submitting tickets to your OMS support team and it's taking them, I don't know, business days to reply, and when they are replied, you, you can tell that they're canned, sort of nonhuman responses and you're having to chase them as well, that would be a sign maybe you perhaps could look, to enter other avenues. Because if you're not getting the support you need from your OMS, then there's going to be a flow-on effect from that. Obviously, there's a customer waiting for an order. 

Lori Boyer 24:50 

And our customers are so patient of just waiting and waiting.

Gemma Shaw 24:55 

We see patience all the time exhibited. You know, and we live in a fast-paced world. People order and they want. And they want it delivered and they want to have timely updates on each stage of its delivery. So if you're having to chase your OMS support team to get the support you need to, you know, troubleshoot something that's going on in your store, I mean that's just creating another, another headache for you that you don't need.

And if you're consistently receiving reports from your customers that they've got issues with their orders that, you know, track back to your OMS or there's just a disconnect for example going on, then that would be another, another indication that you could start canvassing other options. 

Lori Boyer 25:30 

That is perfect. So, you know, you've mentioned that an OMS is a fairly sophisticated technical, you know, piece of equipment. What kind of elements of an OMS are often not taken advantage of as well as they could be? Do we have any sort of pieces of an OMS that you find are consistently underused? 

Gemma Shaw 25:50 

Yeah, I would say that people could make more use of the automation tools that exist. I know that we've got this function called the rule builder in Order Desk and that's the hub. It's where everything happens. So an order can come in to us and we can do pretty much endlessly, this, it's endlessly customizable for what a customer could need. And perhaps that could be used better.

Perhaps there's other functionalities that we can build into that, that the customer may not even be aware of. So it's as simple, it could be as simple as importing, then exporting the order to where it needs to go. Or you can do anything you want to those orders. You can unbundle them on import, you can add extra item metadata or order metadata to that order before it reaches where it needs to go.

There's inventory reports that you can undertake. You know, like, the data exists there. And in an OMS that's your single source of truth. So probably using that single source of truth to inform your strategic decision making is an underutilized feature, right? Because you've got all of your records of your order volumes, all the sales, all the, the costing involved in it, your inventory numbers.

So it's all right there and accessible. So making use of that to inform your decisions and your next steps or how you're going to approach the next season would be something that I would make the most of if I was, if I was a business owner using an OMS. 

Lori Boyer 27:02 

So, Gem, I hear from a lot of, you know, those of us in the community that data is a little bit of a piece. Like everyone loves it. I am such a data nerd, I love it, but there's a little bit of a data fatigue issue going on as well. There's so much data out there that sometimes you can get overwhelmed and just ignore stuff. 

When you're looking for an OMS, if you're thinking of getting your first one or you're making a change or whatever it is, what, I guess what kind of data gathering system should you have? An automation system or, you know, how should you be able to access the data and make it not so overwhelming? 

Gemma Shaw 27:44 

Yeah, I mean, data fatigue, or we call it data down in these parts, but data fatigue is a real thing, right? It's the rapid accumulation of so much data that you can't cope with it anymore. It becomes sort of insurmountable. 

Lori Boyer 27:59 

And yet we need to, right? We need to use it. 

Gemma Shaw 28:02 

Yeah, you need to use it, but you've got so much of it. And you just, you just can't be bothered with any of it. So filtering through and using reports on that data to drill down into the specifics of what you want to know is probably the best way that I would approach it.

So like if I, if I've got all of these records of all the orders that have come in from October through to December, right. And it's just, it's just massive, but I want to filter through those and find out what were my, my top selling items during that time. We'll use the report function to do that. And then you've got it, and it's in this nice little spreadsheet. I'm not a numbers person. I'm not a data person by nature. But I understand the validity of data because once you've drilled down into the specifics of it, you can use that to then inform your growth strategy or your plans for next season or next year or whatever it is.

Lori Boyer 28:46

So how do you avoid ignoring it? I mean, are you recommending, I guess, how often do you recommend that people are looking through their reports? You know, are we talking daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? And would you say that I mean, would you just say put a reminder on your calendar, you know, how do you make sure you actually do it? That's always me. 

Gemma Shaw 29:08 

Like put a reminder on your calendar and then move it three times before you do it. That's, that's probably the advice, you know, that's what we all do, you know, like pull that report. Oh, not today. Just don't feel like it. Okay. Pull the report next week. I mean, maybe a quarterly report could work for people.

It depends on the capacity of that, of that business's team to look into the specifics. It depends on how quickly you need to make decisions, you know. If you can look at that report quarterly and use it for the next quarter, okay, great. If you need data that's weekly so that you can inform the next week's activities, it's going to look a little different.

Lori Boyer 29:39 

And I guess if you're seeing problems or something, maybe that's when you're like, maybe I should move up the frequency that I'm looking at these kinds of things so that I can keep a closer eye on it. Okay. Perfect. If you are scaling, you know, are there certain OMSs that, you know, really are focused on smaller businesses, larger businesses? So if you're growing your business, you know, are you typically going to need to switch OMSs? Should you start your OMS at kind of a small level? 

Gemma Shaw 30:09 

I mean, it's a good question. I wouldn't say, I'm not too au fait with what other OMS solutions are like in terms of if they're better suited to a small to medium size or like an enterprise level business.

But I can speak from my lens. And my lens is that we support customers who are, you know, small and in their infancy through to those bigger, those bigger companies. And the way we do that is through, you know, a tiered pricing plan, for example, and also scaled order costs. You know, if there's a cost per order that comes into our system, the more orders you put through and you're on that upper plan, the cheaper it is.

So, I guess what it boils down to is what tools exist in the OMS, right, to support, to support customers and business owners. Those same tools are available to everybody, whether they've got 100 orders a month or 10, 000 orders a month. And perhaps it's about not necessarily switching OMSs if you get to the point where you think, look, I've outgrown this or what have you.

But is it making sure that you completely understand how the OMS works? Because quite often, like, if you don't, I mean, it takes when I, when I first joined Order Desk, they told me it takes a year before you have true independence with our system because it's so complicated, right? So if, if you apply that to a customer coming to use us, they could look at it and think, this can't do what I need it to do. But that's simply because you don't know what it can do. 

Lori Boyer 31:30 

So what kind of, yeah, what kind of training should you be looking for? So let's say you're looking for an OMS. How often should you be able to get training from the OMS or support, you know, you mentioned support earlier as being one of those kinds of challenges people may have. What kind of training should you hope you have? 

Gemma Shaw 31:50 

I think it depends on the OMS and the support that they offer. So all of our support is email-based. There's a few, there's a few reasons for that. One is that, you know, email is asynchronous, so it doesn't matter where in the world people are, they can email each other overnight or what have you. But it provides a really good record. So when you're learning something new, if you've got someone who's written this detailed response back to you step by step that you can follow alongside, it gives you a good idea that you know, you're, you're, you're keeping up, you know, you, you've got all the information you need there that you can check back into.

If the OMS has got good support docs, that's really key. And are they updated regularly? And can you, can you get good responses from support when you do check in? So I'd be looking, if I was looking for a new OMS, I'd be looking for one instantly that provided me with a good level of onboarding, a good onboarding experience. So they spent the time giving me the information that I needed. They weren't AI generated drafts or whatever it is. 

Lori Boyer 32:46 

Okay. I love that. So if you're looking for a new OMS. Your support should be enough, that your onboarding is really robust. And it sounds like, I was really interested in how you said that as you're growing and scaling, sometimes you think that your OMS doesn't have the features you need, but maybe it does and you just don't understand.

So that's the point where you reach out maybe to your support team. So, everyone in the community, if you are struggling with your OMS, if you feel like you are not having the services, it goes right along with what Gem said here, that just 23 percent of businesses think that their current vendor has the tech that they need.

Maybe they really do. Maybe they've really got it already in your OMS and you just need to be reaching out to support, finding out if they can do it for you, looking through the documentation. But it definitely sounds like a little bit of an investment of your time. But it's one of those ones that pays off.

Does that sound right? That sounds right. Okay, so tell me a little bit more about social commerce. We talked social commerce at the beginning, social media. Does the OMS then connect to your social channels as well? 

Gemma Shaw 33:56 

Absolutely. Yeah, so in the case of an integration with TikTok shop that we've got. Sellers on that channel can directly link up an Order Desk store. So those orders are funneled through us and then onto their warehouse or shipping provider or what have you via Shopify. We can do the same thing through Facebook and Instagram. So yeah. 

Lori Boyer 34:16 

Okay. That is super interesting. Everyone, social channels are a big deal. Make sure that you're staying on top of those. I thought that was a really great nugget, something important for us today. So many great things we learned. OMS-wise, if you're starting to get overwhelmed out there, if you're feeling like things are falling through the cracks, if your customers are complaining, probably time. Oh, or if you're getting a second warehouse, third warehouse, expanding, probably a great time to be looking into an OMS. If you've got an OMS you need to stay on top of it. Let's check those reports. Set up a meeting time regularly on your calendar to be reviewing that data, making sure that you are making your strategic business decisions based on actual information and not just your Aunt Nancy's gut about it.

So make sure that you're leveraging all of the features. It's highly likely that your OMS has features you're not using, so stay really in connection and with your support team. And if it looks like it's time for you to make a switch, look for a good solid month or so when you don't have, you know, outrageous timing and, and you're not going to be selling 9,000 units of your most important element in a day. So, does that sound like I pretty much covered most of it there, Gem? 

Gemma Shaw 35:37 

You did a very good job. Nice summary. 

Lori Boyer 35:39 

Thank you. Okay, good, good. Thank you. So, as always, it has been so great having you here, Gem. Any final words? Anywhere that people can reach out and connect with you if they're wanting to connect with you.

Gemma Shaw 35:53 

Absolutely. Yep. So my company's Order Desk, as you know. Just click on the About section of our website and you'll see my, my, myself and my esteemed colleagues. And there's a contact button there too. So just get in touch if you're curious about how we could, you know, help you to scale your business or automate your order workflow for your benefit. And we'll, we'll be sure to help you out. 

Lori Boyer 36:13 

Perfect. And Gemma, are you on LinkedIn or something, if people want to go out and follow you? 

Gemma Shaw 36:17 

I am on LinkedIn. I post semi-regularly, maybe every four months. 

Lori Boyer 36:24 

Perfect. Perfect. That sounds great. So, thank you again for being here. Thank you to our audience. You are the best. I love you. If you have any questions or any topics you want us to cover in the future, like this one, please reach out and let me know. Gem, say goodbye to our lovely community. 

Gemma Shaw 36:43 

Ma te wa. Thank you for having me. Bye bye everybody.