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Do it yourself

Is it worth it to build an OMS, or is it better to buy?

In the era of omnichannel retail, customers increasingly expect a seamless shopping experience spanning every interaction, from order origination to fulfillment. As a result, retailers face the challenge of effectively managing orders, inventories, and operations across multiple channels. And while an order management system (OMS) works to tie everything together, traditional platforms are falling short of omnichannel demands. 

As retailers seek to modernize back-end operations, the question arises of whether to build or buy a new OMS. While buying and deploying an OMS offers a tantalizing quick fix to many omnichannel struggles, building offers customization and control, which translate into long-term benefits for retailers willing to put in the work. Here’s why building is almost always the better option.

The case for building: microservices

Retailers still relying on a legacy OMS encounter several key challenges when adapting to omnichannel customer trends — managing orders from various channels efficiently. With the increasing number of start and end points in the customer journey, they need an OMS able to handle an exponential number of variables in real-time as orders move through the fulfillment process. Monolithic systems simply don’t offer this flexibility — but microservices do. 

Microservices represent a product-focused architecture capable of adapting to the speed of today’s retail experience. Moreover, this modular type of infrastructure is easy to update, improve, or retool based on the ability to focus on specific facets of operation (without disrupting others). This allows retailers to create a unique order management solution aligning with their service promises and customer expectations.

While a microservice architecture is a build-first option, most retailers can feel good about choosing it. Microservices are easy to customize and more affordable than most out-of-the-box legacy OMS platforms. More importantly, they offer a path toward modernization at scale rather than relying on system developers to push incremental updates with the potential to disrupt a monolithic system.

Building an OMS is rewarding but complex

Building a new OMS is a rewarding endeavor for retailers, but it requires an ongoing investment of time and talent to build, maintain, and modernize. Retailers must consider the maturity of their tech, access to engineering talent, and product management capabilities before embarking on a new build. 

For many retailers looking to update their OMS to a more flexible, accommodating architecture, microservices packages are an enticing middle ground. Where building a new OMS requires a team of skilled developers and engineers with expertise in software development, database design, and system architecture, microservices packages are prebuilt modules, possibly only needing minor configuration. Combining prebuilt packages (containers) can quickly lay the foundation for a microservices OMS.

While microservices packages are evolving to address industry demands, they can limit the speed and uniqueness of a retailer’s OMS. As their omnichannel needs become nuanced, retailers may discover the packages can’t fully meet their unique business requirements — or may not be flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing industry trends.

The OMS of the future

Retailers can’t depend on a legacy monolithic OMS. They don’t necessarily have the time or talent to build a microservices infrastructure in-house. Packaged deployments will only get them so far. The question remains: What can retailers do to embrace microservices at scale? The answer becomes apparent in Nextuple’s Fulfillment Studio.

The Nextuple Fulfillment Studio helps retailers in their journey toward building a modularized OMS. Prebuilt microservices expedite build time and lower development costs, enabling retailers to realize their need for a microservices-based OMS without all the demands required for a from-scratch buildout. 

More importantly, full-stack product pods are easily integrated and heavily customizable. “Tuples” offer better synergies than generic packages, putting retailers in control of how they architect around increasingly complex operations. The result is a business strategy and tech alignment, enabling key omnichannel goals to be achieved. 

The Nextuple Fulfillment Studio puts retailers in full control over deployments and the evolution of deployed microservices and infrastructure for an OMS truly able to evolve at the speed of the industry. 

Building for the future

In most situations, the fastest and simplest solution usually isn’t the best one. But there’s something to be said for how simple Nextuple makes building a product-oriented OMS architecture. Prebuilt microservices and pods offer the out-of-the-box simplicity of a prebought solution with all the customization and control of a custom-built architecture. It’s exactly what omnichannel-focused companies need to move quickly in a marketplace where customer experience hinges on retailer responsiveness.modernize your omnichannewl fulfillment tech landscape