How do delivery companies track packages?

All You Need To Know About Tracking Packages

Here’s one common scenario you and your team might’ve found yourselves into:

The package is stuck in transit. The customer support team can’t access relevant information about the order so, in order to calm down your frustrated customer, they’re sending another product their way. This obviously leads to a poor customer experience, additional shipping costs, and stressed-out employees. Nobody wants that.

Delivery companies normally provide a significant amount of tracking information (e.g., delivery status, last processing facility), enabling retail businesses and their customers to track packages and know the approximate whereabouts of their items and even the estimated delivery date.

Shipment tracking allows merchants to improve the post-purchase experience, lessen shipping anxiety, and even avoid missing packages or porch piracy— you’ll know whenever you’re dealing with a shipment stuck in transit or a delivered package that’s been stolen, and what are the appropriate measures in each situation.

How does an order tracking system work?

No matter how big or small your company is, having an order tracking system in place is essential for keeping your business organized and efficient.

And with today’s evolving supply chain technology, there’s no excuse not to have one.

An effective order tracking system works by centralizing all order data in one place and sending updates as packages are scanned in carrier facilities, letting both businesses and customers know about the delivery status, and any delayed or stalled shipments. After all, delivery exceptions can happen— what matters the most is how you deal with them.

Each shipment is scanned and added to the courier company’s system. These packages are all organized by a unique identifier that is usually either a barcode or a QR code. Courier drivers themselves can scan these items themselves to automatically provide shipment updates wherever they’re located, without manually introducing the location once they arrive at a delivery depot or carrier facility.

This allows them to keep track of where their packages are at all times, increasing accuracy and offering updates in a timely manner up until the order arrives at the final delivery destination.

What does the order tracking process look like on the carrier's end?

Undoubtedly, a parcel/package tracking system is a must in any omnichannel or online retail business. But what does this process imply and what should you know in order to provide the best customer experience?

When it comes to tracking and shipping, software and hardware are the aces up a shipping companies’ sleeves that enable them to be as efficient and quick as possible. Besides their suite of digital and physical tools, they also have automated processing in place to cut down unnecessary and repetitive tasks.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of how the order tracking process looks immediately after the goods leave your store, warehouse, or distribution center and right before the items arrive at your customers’ front doors:

  1. The package is picked up from the store, warehouse, or distribution center

  2. The sender and recipient information are introduced in the carrier’s system

  3. A barcode or QR code is automatically generated for each package

  4. Couriers scan barcodes to store data and update shipment status

  5. The packages are in transit between facilities until they reach the last mile

  6. Shipments are scanned several times throughout the journey

  7. The packages are Out For Delivery in the delivery truck

  8. The package finally arrives at the recipients’ addresses

What should an order tracking system include for maximum efficiency?

Online tracking portals, real-time SMS and email notifications, and automated integrations— to name a few of the most useful order tracking features you should be looking for when choosing a provider.

Branded tracking pages play such an important part when it comes to creating a frictionless and branded customer experience. After all, most customers expect branded and personalized communication, and the order tracking portal is a fantastic starting place.

Using integrations like Justuno and Attentive, you can display product recommendations on the branded order tracking pages but also within your delivery status notifications. This enables you to fully connect with customers and create the omnichannel, seamless experience they’re demanding in this particularly competitive retail space.

Taking them to a 3rd-party carrier page or giving them, for instance, the USPS tracking number, simply won’t do it anymore, and merchants need to adapt and innovate in order to be successful. As a matter of fact, the tracking page is no longer something basic but a tool to boost repeat purchases and increase customer lifetime value!

What do customers need to know about order tracking?

A significant part of consumers links the shipping experience directly to the brand, which can either set your business apart from your competition in a positive way or negatively impact your brand. That is why being proactive is a must when it comes to order tracking.

Besides, most customers assume they should be able to track their packages at all times. Like, constantly. However, tracking systems generally provide information regarding the locations where the package has been rather than their exact location at that moment.

Why should you provide a shipping policy?

As mentioned above, both in retail and logistics, it’s all about setting the right expectations.

Stalled shipments and delivery delays occur all the time. As long as you’re open about them and proactive in the ways you’re dealing with these situations, your customers won’t hold it against your brand.

Start by adding a shipping policy on your website, alongside your return, refunds, and exchanges policy. You want to make sure your customers are well-informed but also that you’re always meeting their expectations.

If you’re looking for a shipping policy example for your online store, make sure you check out our template!

How can customers find and use their order tracking number?

Normally, the order tracking number is provided by the carrier, then emailed or sent via SMS to your customer, alongside a 3rd-party link. However, you can also create an order tracking portal that is branded and includes personalized offers for your customers to keep them coming back.

In that case, it’s easier for them to log into that portal, and access your branded tracking pages to easily track their orders, make future purchases, and even request a return or exchange. Once logged into their accounts, they can access the order history, learn more about the process, make any changes to the delivery address, and so on.

On the other side, your team can access all the info they need in your order tracking and management system. As long as you centralize all data, they won’t have to switch between apps to have a complete overview of orders— everybody wins!

What can your team do if issues arise with an order?

For your customer support team, it’s essential to have all order details in one place rather than trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together using a variety of tools. This enables them to pinpoint the exact cause of the issue, find a relevant solution, and send out proactive delivery notifications.

As long as they can have a complete picture of all orders and their whereabouts, shipping delays, stalled shipments, and so on, they’ll be able to deal with everything swiftly, without taking up too much time— our most limited resource.

Imagine being in their shoes, struggling to find the order tracking number with limited information and a lacking system. It’ll only make your customers more frustrated with your brand and will put additional pressure on your employees.

How to implement and organize your order tracking and management system?

If you’ve made it this far, chances are that you’re looking for ways to optimize your order tracking and management processes and ultimately answer the #1 Customer Service Question “Where is My Order?”

For this, you have to find the order tracking system that fits your business needs most. Do you need a branded tracking page that allows full customization and personalization? Do you want to also track in-store and curbside pickup orders? Are self-service returns and exchanges a priority for you?

Ask yourself these questions, check in with your customer care reps (after all, they’re always in contact with your customers), and make a well-informed decision. Once you settle on the right tool, everything will go smoothly!

Package tracking made simple with WeSupply!

In WeSupply, all you need to do is to sign up for free, set up your stores and carrier integrations, and import your orders, whether you’re running a Magento 2 store, a Shopify website or you’re managing orders via ERPs/OMS/SAPs (NetSuite, Brightpearl, Aptos, etc.) and Retail Management Systems (RMS).

Learn how to get started with order tracking today!


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