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Get Started with Salesforce Order Management

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Explain what an order management system is.
  • Identify the stages in the order lifecycle.
  • Describe the benefits of Salesforce Order Management.

What Is Order Management?

Have you bought something online recently? If you did, you interacted with an order management system—and, most likely, you didn’t even realize it. Much like you expect your car to start up when you press the Start button on your dashboard, you expect your online purchases to show up on your doorstep when you press the Buy button in your online shopping cart. And, just as your car cannot start without an engine under the hood, your order cannot be delivered without an order management system in place.

You can think of order management as everything that happens “behind the scenes,” from the time you submit an order to the time you receive it, including post-purchase service requests such as cancellations and returns. And there is a lot going on during that time. Managing the movement of orders from submission to fulfillment is a delicate dance. Fumbling a step can throw off the whole routine. To be successful, merchants must coordinate the activities of many people, systems, and processes—often spanning multiple locations and time zones—to ensure that your purchase makes it from their warehouse or store to your door.

Traditional order management systems focused on helping merchants manage their inventory and fulfill orders. In today’s hyper-connected world, a good order management system must do much more. It’s no longer just about processing orders. The convergence of the digital and physical commerce worlds has expanded our understanding of the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) commerce experience—and given rise to a new set of customer expectations. The order lifecycle now extends well beyond the Buy button. There’s a huge shift to bring the post-purchase experience out of the back office and into the front office with customer-first experiences.

Consider the following trends that are shaping consumer shopping behavior and expectations.
  • Customers can choose from a variety of in-store and online shopping experiences.
  • Selection is virtually unlimited and can be sourced from multiple locations.
  • Order completion can occur anywhere and at any time.

The rapid changes transforming ecommerce are driving the need for advanced order management capabilities. Convenience is the name of the game. Customers purchase the brands that are easiest to buy, quickest to get, and offer the best experience.

According to the fourth edition "State of the Connected Customer" report, 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.

To meet this challenge and keep customers happy, merchants need an efficient, reliable, and transparent way to manage order processing from the point-of-purchase through product delivery. To see what this requires, let’s take a look at the order lifecycle.

Get to Know the Order Lifecycle

To understand how an order management system works, you should first have a clear picture of the order lifecycle—the stages an order moves through from purchase through delivery.

Here’s a snapshot of what the order management lifecycle looks like for a B2C retail order.

Order management lifecycle showing processing activity during order capture, order fulfillment, order delivery, and service.

Order management lifecycle stage What happens?
Capture A customer places an order. The order details are submitted to the merchant. Payment is authorized.
Fulfillment The order is assigned to a fulfillment location where order items are prepared for shipping.
Delivery The order items are transferred to a shipping carrier for delivery to the customer. Payment is captured.
Service Service agents respond to customer questions and process discounts, cancellations, returns, refunds, and reshipments.

The order management lifecycle activities for a B2B order can vary, but the main stages of capture, fulfillment, delivery, and service are applicable for both B2C and B2B customers.

Manage the Order Lifecycle

Typically, no one person or team manages orders for the entire order lifecycle. Each stage in the process is handled by a different business unit. For example, a warehouse team packs and ships items, a billing department handles invoices, and a call center manages service requests.

Each of these business units operates independently, usually with a limited view of each order. Often, there is little coordination or communication beyond moving the order along. It is not difficult to identify the problems with this model. It’s slow, error-prone, and it places little emphasis on the customer experience. To a customer, the success of an order relies on the success of the entire process. If any element is unsatisfactory, the entire order might be considered a failure.

This is where Salesforce Order Management comes to the rescue. It brings together the people, systems, and processes from each stage of the order lifecycle and unites them in a single, centralized system. It also provides tools to help you streamline and automate processes across the order lifecycle.

By connecting commerce, orders, and service, Salesforce Order Management lets you and your team:
  • See a global view of the entire order lifecycle.
  • Manage order capture, fulfillment, and delivery—all in one place.
  • Access a main repository of all order information.
  • Service orders before, during, and after fulfillment.

Bring Your Systems Together

Salesforce Order Management does not, by itself, execute all of the processes required to move orders through each stage of the order lifecycle. You still need separate systems to manage things like payments and shipping. However, those systems no longer need to operate in isolated silos. With Salesforce Order Management you can bring all your systems together and coordinate the various processes needed to get orders out the door.

Unlike many traditional order management systems, Salesforce Order Management lets you connect commerce and service experiences to create a 360-degree view of customers and deliver amazing post-purchase experiences. To make this happen, you need to integrate your other systems with Salesforce Order Management.

Salesforce Order Management includes some integrations right out of the box.
  • It’s fully integrated with B2C Commerce to support order capture from B2C Commerce stores.
  • It’s fully integrated with B2B Commerce to support order capture from B2B Commerce stores.
  • It natively supports Service Cloud to give service agents full access to order data and history.

This functionality means that you can seamlessly connect commerce, orders, and service from day one.

In addition, you can use pre-built connector apps to help resolve complex omnichannel requirements and quickly integrate with supply chain partners. You can search AppExchange for the right solution to help handle order allocation, warehouse management, payment processing, shipping, financial reporting, and more. You can also build custom integrations to handle requirements unique to your business.

Order Experience Is Customer Experience

Let’s recap what you’ve learned so far.

Customers today expect a seamless experience from the time they submit an order to the moment that their purchase shows up at their door. Order management is at the heart of this experience. How you manage the experience can either delight or infuriate your customers. And, generally speaking, happy customers are repeat customers.

According to the fourth edition "State of the Connected Customer" report, 91% of customers agree that a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase.

A great customer-centric order management system delivers:
  • Fast and easy shipping
  • Transparent order tracking
  • Convenient service
  • Hassle-free returns

Salesforce Order Management helps you fulfill these customer expectations by breaking down the functional silos that have traditionally hampered the end-to-end commerce experience. It brings all your systems, processes, and information together to provide a single, easy-to-manage view of orders throughout the order lifecycle.

We learn more about how all this works later. For now, consider the following benefits that Salesforce Order Management offers you and your customers.
I am a... How does Salesforce Order Management help me?


You can submit orders from any channel at any time, and then track your orders throughout the order lifecycle.


You can manage the entire order process—including order fulfillment, payment capture, invoicing, shipping, and service—by using integrated and customizable business process workflows.

You have insight into the entire order lifecycle, which makes it easier to identify opportunities for improvement.

Service Agent

You can access a repository of all order information with a global view of the entire order lifecycle.

With the native synergy across B2C Commerce, B2B Commerce, and Service Cloud, you can access customer data, records, order history, and anything else you know about a customer in a single view. This makes it easier to provide exceptional service to your customers.

Next Steps

Now that you know what order management is, let’s explore how Salesforce Order Management can help you manage the order lifecycle from start to finish.

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