5 e-Commerce Best Practices for Package Tracking

Do you know that allowing customers to track packages is the most wanted online shopping feature? Do you know that Amazon recommends sellers to include shipping tracking numbers upon shipment confirmation as it is 2x less likely to receive negative feedback? Many online retailers have overlooked the importance of tracking.**  Answer the 5 questions below and see if your store provides a good service for order tracking**.

Questions

  1. Do you provide a tracking number with a link to customers after their purchase?
  2. Do you allow users to track order by user login or by order number?
  3. Do you tell customers the estimated delivery date based on the type of shipment customers choose?
  4. Do you allow users to** view complete delivery details** on your website instead of asking customers to visit USPS or Fedex websites?
  5. Do you inform customers when the package is** shipped, out for delivery and delivered** or any other exceptions?

Your score

  • 4-5 Yes = Amazon = Amazing
  • 3 Yes = Apple / Walmart / J Crew = Great
  • 2 Yes = Okay, can be better
  • 1 Yes = Not okay
  • 0 Yes = It sucks!
Items Amazon Apple Small Stores
(1) Provide tracking number & link Yes Yes Yes
(2) Track by user login or order number User login Both No
(3) Show estimated delivery date Yes Yes No
(4) Detailed tracking info within website Yes No No
(5) Delivery notifications Yes No No

As a seller, it is important to provide tracking number for customers to allow them to track their packages. Some stores forget to include a tracking link or state the courier they are using in the shipping confirmation email. If you sell at eBay, the new eBay 2012 policy says it is COMPULSORY to have_ “*tracking information or a Delivery Confirmation number must be uploaded to eBay on at least 90% of your shipments to become a top-rated seller. *_eBay explained that

“buyers want to know when an item has been shipped and when to expect delivery. It also helps protect you in the event of a buyer dispute about receiving the item.” If you are using some uncommon couriers, I strongly suggest you should include a link that your customers can easily track.

Advice:  Not all carriers provide a direct tracking link, that allows one to click and see tracking results directly without re-inputting the tracking number. By using AfterShip, all shipments will be tracked automatically and come with a direct tracking link, and you can upgrade to Premium to automatically send out notifications with the tracking link to customers.

Track by user login or order number

apple-track-packages

Checking the website of Apple, Staples, Walmart and other top players, most allow customers to sign in to their account or input order information to get the latest delivery status. If tracking by order number, it is required to input either the postal code or an email. This method is perfect for customers who do not want to deal with or forget the tracking number. The more ways the customers can track their packages, the less phone calls or emails you will receive.

Advice: Learn from Apple store’s layout – clean and easy to understand. They even have instructions on how to look for your order ID.

Show estimated delivery date

Amazon order page tracking

Giving customer an exact date the package is to be delivered makes a big difference of customer service. It gives customers an expectation of when to receive the package. You may have already stated the delivery method, say 3-day delivery, and thought customers can do some stupid calculation on when it is arriving. Well – it is that stupid, why don’t you do it for your customers?

Advice:  Don’t hide it, and pick a reliable courier so that the order arrives before the estimated delivery date you provide.

Detailed tracking info within website

Amazon-order-package-tracking

Customers who want to track always want to see more about their delivery – the location, the time courier update the latest delivery status, or when the package is out for delivery. Imagine the time your customers spend on tracking order at Fedex or UPS is now spent on your website. Amazon does a great job indeed (even though it only support the key couriers in US).

Advice: Integrate UPS, USPS, Fedex or AfterShip API to allow customers to view the detailed delivery status at your own website. Do not have a developer? Insert the AfterShip Track Button to display the tracking results easily - Just a simple code like facebook like button.

Delivery notification

Amazon-SMS-order-tracking-notification

Do you know Amazon has a service to allow customers to receive delivery notification by SMS? Customers get informed if the order is shipped, out for delivery, delivered or encounters an exception.

“Amazon.com 1Z123456789 @21-Feb 10:15 am: The carrier has delivered your package.” By actively updating customers about the delivery status, Amazon keeps customers happy and save their time in tracking packages. Zappos and many big players have not yet integrated this system, which I think they should and do better than what Amazon offers.

Advice: Now your store, small or big, can easily integrate with AfterShip and send out notification messages by signing up free and then upgrade to premium. Sign up now!

Andrew Chan

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