omnichannel order management

Exploring the Alternatives to Manhattan OMS in 2024

by Divesh Dutta |

In the fast-paced world of retail, staying ahead of the curve is paramount. To keep up with the demand for fast delivery, e-commerce retailers increasingly require an efficient and robust Order Management System (OMS) to implement omnichannel strategies like Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS),  Ship From Store, and Buy Online Return In-Store (BORIS).

An OMS plays a crucial role in implementing these strategies by seamlessly integrating with retailers' eCommerce, ERP, WMS, and POS systems. This integration allows retailers to route eCommerce orders to the most efficient fulfillment location, thereby selling more inventory and delivering online orders to their customers quickly and cost-effectively.
However, evaluating and implementing an OMS is not an easy job, especially when there are many options available. For a long time, legacy systems like Manhattan OMS have been the backbone of order management for retailers. However, as technology advances and customer expectations evolve, the limitations of these systems become increasingly apparent. This has led many retailers to explore alternatives that not only address current shortcomings but also future-proof their operations.

This blog helps retailers, especially those considering or who have already implemented Manhattan OMS and are looking for alternative Order Management Systems to provide modern retail experiences to their customers. 

Understanding Manhattan OMS

Manhattan OMS, also known as Manhattan Associates Order Management, has been a stalwart in the retail industry for decades. As a comprehensive order management system, it handles various aspects of the retail supply chain, from order capture to fulfillment. With features like inventory management, order orchestration, and omnichannel support, Manhattan OMS remains a popular choice for many enterprise retailers with complex business needs. Its feature-rich functionality and scalability make it well-suited to large organizations with substantial technology budgets and dedicated IT resources.

Despite its long-standing reputation, Manhattan OMS is not without its drawbacks. For instance, mid-size retailers may find the system overly complex and expensive. In addition, retailers often encounter several challenges when using this legacy system, which can hinder operational efficiency and limit growth potential.

After reading about Manhattan OMS on multiple review sites and talking to a few retailers that are using Manhattan OMS, we have compiled a list of challenges that retailers face when they use or implement Manhattan OMS.

Challenges of Manhattan OMS

1. Expensive license fee and implementation cost:

For many retailers, especially mid-sized ones, implementing Manhattan OMS for the first time is very expensive due to its high license fees. This might be feasible for retailers with high IT budgets, but not for all.

Another significant challenge associated with Manhattan OMS is its dependency on implementation assistance. The system requires implementation and ongoing development to be handled exclusively by Manhattan Associates. This means that for developing integrations or making significant changes, retailers must rely solely on Manhattan Associates' team. While this can provide retailers access to specialized expertise, it also limits the involvement of third-party system integrators and external vendors, which could help retailers similarly at reduced costs.

We talked to a few retailers using the Manhattan OMS 2015 version, and they revealed that upgrading to the latest version is proving to be expensive. This upgrade fee is almost equal to implementing a completely new OMS. In times when the industry is dealing with a recession, choosing expensive software doesn't seem feasible for many retailers, except for those with a high IT budget.

2. Expensive modifications:

Modifications to existing OMS versions can pose challenges for users, as they typically require technical support from Manhattan OMS and can be both expensive and time-consuming. Retailers often seek essential customizations based on their business requirements but encounter dissatisfaction with customer support, along with high costs and time involvement.

While Manhattan OMS promises flexibility in customization, some retailers find it lacking in some areas. Additionally, system changes or issue troubleshooting can be complex, demanding specialized knowledge and expertise. This lack of agility can hinder retailers' ability to adapt to evolving business needs or market conditions in the required time.

Also, retailers may need to invest significant resources in customizing the system to meet their specific requirements, driving up the total cost of ownership. This high cost of customization can be prohibitive for some retailers with limited IT budgets.

3. Non-friendly user experience:

Users have expressed dissatisfaction on review platforms regarding the user experience of Manhattan OMS. They highlight issues such as poor application performance and a user interface that provides limited result sets, thus complicating navigation. The integration of Manhattan OMS with non-Manhattan products further increases these limitations and necessitates costly customizations to meet specific needs. Notably, versions released from 2015 onwards pose particular challenges, demanding lengthy development times and expensive modifications, ultimately impeding user satisfaction.

Ultimately, retailers who are not concerned about the high costs of ownership can go for Manhattan OMS and continue using it if they are already doing so. However, for retailers looking to achieve similar results as Manhattan OMS at a comparatively lower cost, evaluating alternative modern cloud-based Order Management Systems is the solution.

Alternatives to Manhattan OMS

1. Kibo Commerce

Kibo Commerce offers a modern order management system (OMS) as part of its suite of cutting-edge technologies. Kibo's order management system unifies omnichannel order management, providing retailers with an intuitive platform to adapt to evolving business needs.

Pros: Kibo Order Management is a modern, cloud-based platform with a headless architecture and API-first approach that ensures seamless integration with new systems. This enhances operational efficiency and saves costs. Furthermore, its user-friendly interface allows retailers to operate the software smoothly, which reduces training costs and ensures a seamless experience. This capability facilitates the swift implementation of omnichannel strategies and expedites time to market.

Cons: Retailers often require multiple KPIs and reports to make informed business decisions and run operations successfully. Through our interactions with retailers, we found that while Kibo offers out-of-the-box reports, it lacks flexibility in customization. Retailers also encounter challenges in obtaining new on-demand reports and dashboards quickly. Although these capabilities may have improved over time, it's advisable to assess flexibility in reporting capabilities before making a decision.

2. NewStore

NewStore, Inc. provides Omnichannel-as-a-Service for enterprise retail brands worldwide. Its mobile-first, modular cloud platform includes point of sale, order management, inventory, store fulfillment, clienteling, and native consumer app solutions.

Pros: NewStore is a modern cloud-based order management system with a modular, mobile-first omnichannel platform offering both mobile POS and Order Management Systems for retailers. Additionally, NewStore’s REST API architecture is designed for seamless integration with existing business systems and ensures easy integration with newer systems. This assists retailers in quickly strategizing omnichannel customer journeys with minimal risk.

Cons: Based on our conversations with a few retailers, they have reportedly experienced support issues, with NewStore being frequently down in the past. The response time from their technical team has been longer in resolving these issues. Additionally, some promised features and bug fixes in their product roadmap were not delivered within the expected timeline, as pointed out by retailers.

Several retailers are considering moving from NewStore’s POS system to Shopify POS, alongside HotWax Commerce as their OMS. However, for retailers evaluating NewStore OMS, it’s essential to examine the product roadmap of NewStore and assess how it aligns with their specific business requirements.

3. HotWax Commerce

HotWax Commerce is a cloud-based order management system that offers retailers a flexible and scalable solution for managing orders across multiple channels. Built on modern architecture, HotWax Commerce is designed to seamlessly integrate with existing e-commerce platforms and third-party applications.

Pros: HotWax Commerce has pre-built integrations with eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, point-of-sale systems like Shopify POS, XStore, and Retail Pro, as well as ERPs like NetSuite. This reduces time to market and implementation costs for retailers already using these platforms. Additionally, HotWax Commerce has open APIs that can be used for integration with other platforms at comparatively lower costs.

Moreover, HotWax Commerce offers an out-of-the-box reporting module, granting retailers the flexibility to customize existing reports or request new ones that suit their specific requirements.

Cons: HotWax Commerce does not have ready integration with eCommerce platforms like Bigcommerce and Magento. Building integrations on these platforms can take up to three months. If retailers require integration with these platforms within a shorter timeframe, HotWax Commerce may not be the ideal choice at present.

However, if retailers are willing to wait a few months for time-to-market on these platforms or are already utilizing any of the Shopify platforms, then HotWax Commerce is the preferred choice, as all of their customers are on Shopify.

Fluent Commerce is another cloud-based OMS that retailers often consider as an alternative to Manhattan. The reason for not including Fluent Commerce in the above list is that the overall cost of implementing their OMS can be significantly high for mid-sized retailers. This is because Fluent relies on third-party service providers for OMS implementation, hence, retailers will end up paying both the license fee and the implementation charges of the third party. If cost optimization or reducing the total cost of ownership is the primary motive for switching from Manhattan OMS, then Fluent Commerce may not be the best choice, except for retailers with big IT budgets.

When evaluating alternatives to Manhattan OMS, retailers must consider all factors that could influence their decision. Retailers who are looking to implement OMS for the first time and seek all the modern functionalities of an OMS at comparatively lower costs can evaluate the above-mentioned alternatives for their omnichannel order management success.

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In conclusion, Manhattan OMS has been a cornerstone of order management in the retail industry for many years. However, as technology advances and customer expectations evolve, retailers can face numerous challenges, from high implementation costs to limited flexibility. Fortunately, alternatives are available that offer a more modern and cost-effective approach to omnichannel order management.

By exploring alternatives like HotWax Commerce OMS, retailers can find a solution that meets their specific needs and empowers them to thrive in today's competitive market. Whether it's streamlining operations, reducing costs, or delivering superior customer experiences, the key lies in embracing innovation and staying agile in the current retail landscape.

HotWax Commerce works with retailers to provide the best return on their inventory through omnichannel retailing strategies such as same-day BOPIS, Ship From Store, Pre-Orders, and BORIS. If you are interested in learning how our omnichannel order management system can take your brand to the next level and increase conversion rates and profitability, contact our omnichannel experts today.