In today’s fast-paced consumer goods market, efficient order management is no longer just a convenience—it’s a necessity. For Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands navigating both Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) channels, the challenge of managing orders effectively can be particularly daunting. This article explores the unique challenges faced by CPG brands and offers best practices for streamlining your order management process.

The Dual Nature of CPG Order Management

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Orders

D2C orders involve selling products directly to end consumers, often through e-commerce platforms or brand websites. While this model offers greater control over the customer experience and potentially higher margins, it comes with its own set of challenges:

  • High volume of individual orders: A successful D2C channel might process hundreds or even thousands of orders daily. For instance, during a holiday sale, a popular skincare brand might see their daily order volume jump from 500 to 5000, requiring scalable systems to handle this surge.
  • Increased customer service expectations: D2C customers often expect real-time order updates, quick responses to queries, and seamless returns. For example, a customer ordering artisanal coffee might expect to track their package from roasting to delivery, with updates at each stage.
  • Complex returns and exchanges processes: Unlike B2B, where returns are less frequent, D2C operations need to handle individual returns efficiently. A clothing brand, for instance, might need to process returns for various sizes of the same item, update inventory, and manage refunds promptly.

Business-to-Business (B2B) Orders

B2B orders, on the other hand, involve selling to retailers, distributors, or other businesses. This model presents a different set of challenges:

  • Larger order volumes: B2B orders are typically larger in quantity. A small grocery chain might order 1000 units of a particular snack item in a single order, compared to a D2C customer ordering 1-2 units.
  • Complex pricing structures and bulk discounts: B2B often involves tiered pricing, volume discounts, or customer-specific rates. For example, a beverage company might offer a 10% discount for orders over 500 units, and an additional 5% for orders over 1000 units.
  • Longer sales cycles and relationship management: B2B sales often require ongoing negotiations and relationship building. A new health food brand might spend months nurturing a relationship with a national supermarket chain before securing their first order.

Managing both D2C and B2B orders efficiently requires a strategic approach and the right tools. Let’s explore some best practices that can help streamline your order management process.

Best Practices for Streamlining Order Management

1. Implement a Unified Order Management System

One of the most effective ways to streamline your order management is to implement a unified system that can handle both D2C and B2B orders. A comprehensive solution like Fiddle’s software can provide:

  • A single dashboard for all orders, regardless of source: This allows you to view and manage orders from your website, Amazon, wholesale accounts, and other channels in one place. For instance, you can see that you’ve received 100 D2C orders from your website, 50 from Amazon, and a large B2B order from a national retailer, all on the same screen.
  • Consistent inventory tracking across all channels: When a B2B customer orders 500 units, your D2C channels instantly reflect this inventory change, preventing overselling. This real-time sync is crucial for brands selling through multiple channels.
  • Streamlined reporting and analytics: Generate reports that combine data from all sales channels, giving you a holistic view of your business. For example, you could easily compare the profitability of your D2C sales versus B2B sales over the past quarter.

By centralizing your order management, you can reduce errors, improve efficiency, and gain a holistic view of your business.

2. Automate Order Processing

Automation is key to handling high volumes of orders efficiently. Look for opportunities to automate:

  • Order entry: Use APIs to automatically import orders from various sales channels. For instance, when a customer places an order on your Shopify store, it’s automatically entered into your system without manual intervention.
  • Inventory updates: Ensure stock levels are adjusted in real-time as orders are processed. If a retailer orders 1000 units of your product, your available inventory for other channels should immediately reflect this change.
  • Shipping label generation: Integrate with shipping carriers to automate label creation. When an order is ready to ship, the system can automatically generate a shipping label based on the order details and your predefined rules.

Automation not only speeds up your processes but also reduces the risk of human error, leading to higher customer satisfaction. For example, a small CPG brand was able to reduce order processing time from 15 minutes per order to less than 1 minute by implementing these automations.

3. Optimize Inventory Visibility

Accurate, real-time inventory tracking is crucial for both D2C and B2B orders. Implement a system that provides:

  • Real-time inventory updates across all channels: When a product sells out on your website, it should automatically become unavailable on your Amazon store and wholesale portal. This prevents the frustration of cancelled orders due to stockouts.
  • Low stock alerts to prevent stockouts: Set up notifications when inventory drops below a certain threshold. For instance, if you typically need two weeks to replenish stock, set an alert when you have three weeks of inventory left based on your average sales velocity.
  • Automated reordering based on predefined thresholds: For products with steady demand, set up automatic purchase orders when stock reaches a certain level. A beverage company might set their popular flavors to automatically reorder when stock drops to 1000 units.

With optimized inventory visibility, you can prevent overselling, reduce stockouts, and maintain healthy inventory levels. For example, a snack food company was able to reduce stockouts by 75% within three months of implementing real-time inventory tracking across all their sales channels.

4. Streamline Fulfillment Processes

Efficient fulfillment is critical for meeting customer expectations. Consider:

  • Implementing pick-and-pack strategies that optimize warehouse efficiency: Use techniques like batch picking for D2C orders and zone picking for large B2B orders. A cosmetics company might batch pick all lipstick orders for the day, regardless of which specific shades are in each order, to reduce walking time in the warehouse.
  • Integrating with multiple shipping carriers to offer the best rates and delivery options: This allows you to automatically choose the most cost-effective shipping method for each order. For instance, you might use USPS for small D2C orders and FedEx for larger B2B shipments.
  • Using barcode scanning to ensure accuracy and speed in the fulfillment process: Scan items as they’re picked and packed to confirm the right products are being shipped. This is particularly crucial for CPG brands with many similar products, like a brand offering multiple flavors or sizes of the same basic product.

By streamlining your fulfillment processes, you can reduce shipping times and improve order accuracy. A food supplement company was able to increase their order accuracy from 96% to 99.9% and reduce their average fulfillment time by 40% after implementing these strategies.

5. Enhance Customer Communication

Clear and proactive communication can significantly improve the customer experience. Implement:

  • Automated order confirmations and shipping updates: Send immediate confirmations when an order is placed, and follow up with shipping notifications and tracking information. For B2B customers, consider more detailed updates, such as “Order picked” or “Order loaded for delivery.”
  • Self-service options for order tracking and returns: Provide online portals where customers can check their order status, initiate returns, or reorder products. This is particularly valuable for B2B customers who may need to check on large orders or reorder regularly.
  • Personalized communication for B2B clients, including order history and reordering options: Create custom portals for your B2B clients where they can view their order history, access tier-specific pricing, and easily reorder their usual products. A cleaning supply company might offer a one-click reorder option for a hotel chain’s regular monthly order.

Keeping your customers informed throughout the order process can reduce support inquiries and increase satisfaction. One CPG brand reported a 30% decrease in customer service inquiries after implementing automated updates and self-service options.

6. Analyze and Improve

Continuous improvement is key to staying competitive. Regularly analyze your order management performance by tracking metrics such as:

  • Order accuracy rate: Monitor how often you ship the correct items in the correct quantities. A rate below 98% might indicate issues in your picking and packing processes.
  • Average processing time: Track how long it takes from when an order is placed to when it ships. For D2C orders, aim for same-day or next-day processing. For B2B, establish clear expectations based on order size.
  • Customer satisfaction scores: Use surveys or Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge customer satisfaction with your order process. A dropping score could indicate issues in your fulfillment or communication processes.
  • Return rate: Monitor your return rate and reasons for returns. A high return rate for a particular product might indicate quality issues or unclear product descriptions.

Use these insights to identify areas for improvement and refine your processes accordingly. For instance, if your data shows that B2B orders have a higher error rate than D2C orders, you might need to implement additional quality checks for large orders.

How Fiddle Addresses These Challenges

Fiddle’s comprehensive software solution is designed to address the unique challenges faced by CPG brands in managing both D2C and B2B orders. Our platform offers:

  • A unified dashboard for all order types, allowing you to manage your entire business from one interface.
  • Automated order processing and inventory updates, reducing manual work and errors.
  • Real-time inventory tracking across all channels, preventing overselling and stockouts.
  • Integrated shipping and fulfillment tools, streamlining your logistics processes.
  • Customizable reporting and analytics, giving you the insights you need to continuously improve.

Many CPG brands have already experienced significant improvements in their order management processes with Fiddle. For example, a mid-sized beverage company was able to reduce their order processing time by 40% and improve their inventory accuracy to 99.9% within three months of implementing our solution. They were also able to reduce their stockouts by 80%, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher sales.


Effective order management is crucial for the success of any CPG brand operating in both D2C and B2B channels. By implementing these best practices and leveraging the right technology, you can streamline your processes, improve efficiency, and ultimately provide a better experience for your customers.

Remember, the key to success is not just implementing these practices, but continually refining them based on your unique business needs and customer feedback. With the right approach and tools, you can turn your order management process into a competitive advantage.

Ready to take your order management to the next level? Learn more about how Fiddle can help your CPG brand thrive in today’s competitive market. Contact us for a demo and see the difference for yourself.