The barriers to enter e-commerce are lower than before; this is due to the introduction of 3PLs, online platforms, and a plethora of content providing users with step-by-step instructions on how to win. The competition in e-commerce has, however, has never been higher! There are an estimated 12-24 million e-commerce sites across the world... let that sink in!
With such fierce competition: customer acquisition costs are going up and margins are shrinking, one must make sure their venture is on point at every level. One area e-commerce vendors often overlook to their own detriment is the package delivery experience. This is despite 66% of interviewed online shoppers having said to have chosen a particular site over another due to their delivery options.
The delivery experience has many components: selection of the carrier, parcel insurance, end-to-end (E2E) parcel tracking, and the mailroom software/endpoint of the delivery. E-commerce stores have traditionally invested a lot of thought into selecting the carrier; however, they have omitted an important part of the consumer's journey: end-to-end tracking and proactive communications.
Good communication begins at the point of order and it needs to be proactive throughout the parcel's journey to the eagerly waiting consumer. The consumer needs to have the tools to view where their package is at any point in the journey so that they can better estimate when it will arrive and ultimately feel more reassured if delays do occur. End-to-end parcel tracking is the system that logs the parcels wearabouts and communicates them to the consumer, from the start to the delivery of the parcel.
While parcel tracking was once a luxury afforded only by big name commercial corporations, it permeated the industry to become a delivery standard and is now expected by most consumers.
What are the stages of tracking that consumers have gotten used to?
The stages of tracking throughout a purchases lifetime include:
The benefits of Parcel Tracking are significant; they affect both the store and the consumer to create a more professional, fun and positive experience.
Sending out parcels to consumers can often be like sending an item into the abyss if you don't have parcel tracking. How will you know if your parcel has arrived? Are you going to wait for the customer to reach out with a complaint? By this time, it's too late; the customer has been waiting so long and has become so irritated they have taken the time out of their busy day to reach out to you.
The experience has already turned sour for them, and you could have potentially already lost a customer unless you take some drastic action, such as offering them a discount or voucher (an expensive measure.)
It would be much better to proactively track deliveries, get notified if there is a delay, and communicate with your customer. And the best part? This type of communication can be automated!
You’ll be improving customer retention and saving money on customer support time, vouchers, and discounts that you’d typically shell out on winning customers back.
Most importantly, you're much less likely to lose the customer with proactive automation.
Customer anxiety begins from the moment a customer orders something from the store. When the stress becomes severe enough, it can lead to the customers reaching out to your support teams and using up precious bandwidth. The lack of communication also sends a negative message to the customer: "they don't matter", and the brand is unwilling to put in any effort once a sale is made.
Delivery anxiety is one of the easier symptoms to fix that result from the lack of. From the moment you receive an order, you can alleviate your customer's anxiety by communicating proactively. This communication doesn't need to draw from a large part of your resources either as it can be automated with E2E parcel tracking plugins for your e-commerce store.
As your e-commerce venture grows, you'll notice that customer support is taking up more and more of your time. As this becomes a growing pain, you'll either need to build out a team or hire an outsourced customer support team; either way, it’s going to cost you money.
While you'll face many issues and support requests, you'll most certainly also face the typical: "where's my parcel" request. This request will only increase with time and suck up more valuable support bandwidth, causing the overall quality of service to drop as the support team cannot tend to more complex issues. You'll either then have to see your reviews tank or splash the extra cash to increase your support capacity. Either way, this is a wasteful exercise when 10-100 USD a month will filter out the vast majority of these relenteless parcel-seeking requests.
The more you can automate, the easier it will be to scale the e-commerce store as a whole. Moreover, the less staff and hiring you'll have to do, the healthier your margins can be. You can then reinvest these resources to grow even faster; it's a self-sustaining feedback loop that will help you harness an advantage over your competitors.
Customer trust is the key to growing your business. Contemporary clientele, specially of the millennial and Gen-Z demographics, have become accustomed to proactive communication and therefore are quick to assume that the seller or supplier has a God-like visibility over their delivery regardless of where in the world it may be.
According to My Customer, 82% of consumers have underscored the importance for retailers to update them during the shipping and delivery process, with email being the preferred method for 85% of them. Other research has shown even more drastic numbers, with data by Pro Ship Inc showing that a whopping 97% of consumers expect to be able to track their order from start to
Parcel tracking pages and proactive notifications were initially reserved for the most prominent players in the industry—those who had unique partnerships with Fedex, DHL, UPS, and their likes. Yet times have changed and this professional feature can now be mirrored with just a simple plug-in.
Get end-to-end parcel tracking and leave your customers floored by how far & wide your level of service reaches, even if you are a small one-person shop on the other end.
Oftentimes, all you’ll need to create loyal customers is to be consistent. Just think of Amazon; they get you the order quickly, and if it’s lost, they send you another one without asking any questions. They never give out vouchers; they don't include chocolates or anything complimentary to brown nose; they don’t waste their time with complex high-end branding. None of it! Instead, how they prove their quality and reliability is through unwavering consistency when it comes to customer experience.. That's why we use them… and perhaps also because they’re cheap….Parcel Tracking is part of this basic, consistent service that consumers have come to expect.
Many plug-ins that offer E2E parcel tracking come with a customizable tracking page. You'll be able to add your brand colours and a products recommendations page. This page can display similar products that consumers are likely to buy based on the one there are tracking. These interest-based suggestions have proven successful because they’re leveraging your customer's attention without being invasive or harassing them to make another purchase. This tactic alone can significantly help boost your sales.
Only the most significant players could capture the attention of existing clients and present relevant purchasing suggestions. It took large teams of computer scientists to build these recommendation engines. It's estimated that an existing customer is 60-70% more likely to buy compared to only 5-20% for new clients.
End-to-end parcel tracking has rapidly become an industry standard. This has given rise to hundred of companies that offering the same services. Most of these companies tend to be ones that have gone out, aggregated a list of couriers, and created a friendly user interface for both you and your clients.
Many points go into considering the best parcel tracking plug-ins and software out there, but here are a select few that matter most:
First and foremost, not all parcel trackers are created equal. Complete courier lists aren’t universal across all parcel tracking programs. Make sure you can actually track the parcels you're sending out before they’re out the door. Another bit to remember is that each parcel tracking company will have different commercial agreements with different couriers. You need to do your homework and see if they offer the level of tracking granularity you want for your customers.
If you're using platforms like Shopify, Magneto, WooCommerce, or anything of the like, you'll be fine compatibility-wise. Regardless, we'd suggest you make sure that the desired parcel tracking company has a designated plug-in for the e-commerce platform you use. While you can manually add order numbers to most parcel tracking systems out there, it's better to automate as much of the process as possible. Having a seamless integration system means that customers will be able to track their order as soon as they place it. They won't have to wait for the end of the day when you upload a CSV of all the orders and their tracking numbers.
There are many platforms out there, some of the most popular being:
While one can easy under-communicate, one can also overcommunicate! Many parcel tracking companies offer a high level of granularity to their tracking and updates; such a granular level as a matter of fact that it would be considered spam if you alerted your customers via email for every single update you received. At the end of the day, customers care mainly about when their order is received, shipped, and safely delivered.
Running an e-commerce site requires many third-party programs in order to fulfill every single customer order. Even the industry leaders like Amazon rely on others to get their orders to consumers as promptly as possible. Having so many stakeholders and moving parts involved can confuse customers when they are forced to jump from website to website, having to navigate different logos and brands.
It's therefore critical to provide a cohesive shopping experience without disrupting the customer’s browsing process. Customizing and branding the parcel tracking email notifications and landing page will play a central role in this.
Existing customers are much more likely to purchase from your site than new ones. As a matter of fact, returning buyers are between 3.5 and 14 times more likely to purchase again than new ones. It's therefore vital to have a retargeting and marketing strategy focused on existing buyers as customer acquisition costs are front-loaded onto the first purchase. This is particularly important with established e-commerce stores that have already garnered an existing customer base and reputable brand marketing.
By creating plug-ins that are plug and play, e-commerce tech companies such as Wiser have made it incredibly easy for smaller brand to deploy recommendation engines into their customer experience.
Many e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce have also made embedded recommendation engines. We'd strongly advise you adopt and integrate these into your store. More importantly, specific parcel tracking plug-ins offer the ability to add product recommendations to the tracking page.
In the interest of keeping this article concise, we’velisted 3 end-to-end parcel trackers that we consider as honorable mentions. Wehave a more extensive list of the best parcel tracking software for 2021 withdetailed comparisons of the features here.
Compatible with the broadest range of platforms, of which include:
Aftership provides a range of e-commerce automation systems at very reasonable costs. They’ve been in the game for a long time and have a very fleshed out system that will be able to accommodate most your needs regardless of the courier or the platform you’ve built your store on.
They offer a range of add-ons for your customers such as a branded tracking page and a mobile application to track the deliveries end-to-end.
The mobile tracking application cannot be branded.
Compatible with the following top platforms:
Route brings a unique perspective to end-to-end parcel tracking, and best of all, at no cost to the merchant and e-commerce store. Route monetises their service by offering customers an opportunity to insure their delivery--yet another service you can provide.
Route also has a Visual Tracking™ options that shows the parcel on a map!
Route allows merchants to engage with their customers through the Route personal application which currently has 1 Million active users.
Their Visual Tracking™ tool only really works in the USA, so they might not be the best option for international e-commerce stores. Mobile application is not customisable.
Consumers have the ability to insure the delivery very cheaply.
Only compatible with Shopify.
Trackr is simple and cost effective. It provides merchants with the tools they need to rapidly set up custom branded tracking for their clients. If you’re looking for only parcel tracking, look no further!
It’s not as widely available on different platforms by virtue of that fact that it was designed primarily for Shopify. It also lacks additional capabilities such as product recommendations and an application for users.
Simple and easy to setup.
Compatible with the following top platforms:
Simple cost effective and covers the base of tools and analytics you’d require for tracking parcels, including; branded tracking pages, notifications, analytics and API integrations into the most popular stores.
Their parent company UpperCommerce offers a lot of ecommerce tools and extensions.
Limited platform availability.
Only compatible with Shopify.
Notifications with Parcel Perform are branded and can even be A/B tested to improve their performance, with the ability to send custom triggers.
ParcelPerform also offers a ‘customer service toolkit’, allowing merchants to more quickly answer delivery-related queries from their customers and gain insight into logistics KPIs, such as the performance of your carriers
Limited platform availability and integrations.
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Accepting parcels for your residents in one of the most positive points of contact you will have with them… if done correctly.