Shipping Tips & Solutions

How Does Package Tracking Work?

97% of customers expect to have the ability to follow their orders throughout the shipping process. In this guide, we'll give you the complete rundown on how to track packages.
How Does Package Tracking Work?
Alexandra Ortolani

By Alexandra Ortolani


July 29, 2021

Package tracking is a big deal these days. In fact, 97% of customers expect the ability to monitor their orders throughout every step of the shipping process.

Thankfully, package tracking is available for all shipping couriers. Couriers scan packages when you hand it off to them, then update you and your customers as the packages move to their destination. But is there more to track than meets the eye? Of course.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand the back-end processes of how to track packages, from hand-off to final delivery. So next time a customer needs help with tracking, you’ll know exactly what to do.

What Happens When You Track Packages?

All common couriers allow you to track packages free of charge. This means you and your customers can monitor your package in transit from drop off until final delivery, no matter how you choose to ship. This way you can have some peace of mind about the whereabouts of your shipment.

The 5 Stages of Package Tracking

Say you just purchased an item from your favorite clothing store — how do you track it?

Stage 1: Enter Your Tracking Information

There are various ways to track packages, including:

  • Text tracking: Major couriers like USPS allow you to track packages via your mobile phone number. All you have to do is send a text to the specified number with the tracking number to receive an automatic update.
  • Courier website: Enter your tracking number directly through your courier’s website to see the real-time status of a shipment.
  • Mobile courier app: Download your courier’s app on the app store to track packages.
  • Use Easyship: You can view the tracking info for all your shipments at a glance in our easy-use dashboard.

Stage 2: Automated Processing

The courier’s automated processing and sorting equipment automatically processes and scans your parcel, prior to your package reaching the local post office.

Your courier will also scan barcodes at the delivery depot, otherwise known a sorting hub. This also occurs at other points of your courier’s direction of travel, and gives customers full visibility when they track packages.

Stage 3: Sorted at Delivery Depots

If your package is located at a delivery depot, it means that your package at its final stop before it's delivered.  Your package will be on its way after its placed on a delivery truck.

Stage 4: Out for Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery is the transportation of your package from the local post office to its final delivery destination.

Stage 5: Delivered Package

Finally, your package is delivered to its intended destination. This will be reflected in your tracking information via your courier’s website, or whichever way you choose to track packages.

How to Track a Package with USPS, FedEx, & UPS

Major couriers make it easy to track packages.

USPS Shipment Tracking

All you need is your USPS tracking number to learn the USPS shipment tracking status of your package. Visit USPS’s tracking page to find out the shipment status of your package. USPS also allows you to track packages via their app or via text message.

Alternatively, you can track packages in the Easyship Dashboard to ensure your USPS shipment is delivered successfully.

FedEx Shipment Tracking

Similar to USPS, all you need is the FedEx shipment tracking number to track packages.

FedEx tracking numbers can be formatted in various ways. The format of your tracking number depends on the following things:

  • Size of your package
  • The location of your package
  • How your package is being shipped

For instance, a 10-digit FedEx shipment tracking number looks something like 123 456 789 0. Regardless, once you have your tracking number, visit FedEx’s tracking page to find out the shipment status. Or, download the FedEx mobile app to check your shipment status or via text message.

FedEx shipments can also be tracked via the Easyship Dashboard to ensure your shipment’s delivery.

UPS Shipment Tracking

Use the provided tracking number to track the status of your UPS package. Enter up to 25 tracking numbers, one per line. Visit UPS’s tracking page to find the shipment status of your package. Or, download the UPS mobile app or via mobile phone to check the status of your package.

Alternatively, track packages via the Easyship Dashboard with any UPS shipment tracking number.

What to Do When You See Error Messages

Millions of items are shipped across the US daily. With such a high volume of shipments, it’s inevitable that some shipments will go amiss. It’s important to be prepared in the case of that situation.

1. Driver error (No scan)

If a driver sets their scanner to “Delivered” instead of “Accepted” when the package is delivered, your tracking will show an incorrect delivery status. Though this may be concerning, it won’t affect your package’s delivery.

Solution: Contact your courier’s customer service number. They should be able to provide you with updates from their internal tracking database.

2. Recycled tracking numbers

If your package’s shipment status says “Delivered” to the wrong address, your tracking number may be recycled. This is primarily because of the high volume of shipments each day.

Solution: No need to worry. Once your shipment label is scanned, you’ll automatically receive a new tracking number.

3. Lost package

Nobody wants their package to go missing. But, it’s something that does happen. Before you start to panic, you’ll want to make sure it’s been seven days since the estimated delivery date.

Solution: File for a claim procedure if your package is lost. You can request a refund if the package is unable to be found.

4. Status hasn’t been updated

It may take 24-48 hours to update your tracking status, so there’s no need to panic.

Solution: Sit and wait. If it takes longer than 48 hours, call your courier’s customer service number.

5. The distribution center is far away

If distribution centers are hundreds of miles apart, it may take a couple of days for your tracking status to update.

Solution: Unfortunately, all you can do is wait. Express services typically update their tracking information faster as compared to economical options.

How to Track Packages on Easyship

You can track all your shipments in the Easyship Dashboard to check the status of your delivery. All shipments reflect real-time tracking status per the courier website. This is helpful because now you don’t have to navigate through different courier websites to track your shipments. Instead, everything is centralized in one place for your convenience.

Tracking your shipments is a piece of cake with Easyship. Here’s a step-by-guide on how to track your packages.

  • Step 1: Once you log into your Easyship account, click the “Manage Shipments” section on the left-hand side of the dashboard
  • Step 2: View a list of all your shipments at a glance
  • Step 3: Read the status of your delivery On the right-hand column, you should see your delivery status
  • Step 4: Click the 3 dots next to the shipment to see the shipments status history

Once the above steps are completed, you’re all set and ready to go.

Tracking packages isn’t always going how you intended to go. Mistakes happen, and you could be in a position where your package goes amiss.

Easyship offers powerful tracking tools for eCommerce businesses of all sizes. Our dashboard allows you to quickly track packages with major couriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and more. Plus, our dedicated tracking page allows you to see your package every step of the way.

Sign up for an Easyship account to supercharge your shipping.

If you found this article informative, you might enjoy the following: