In 1979, FedEx created the first system for parcel tracking. Built for quality control, the technology also showed immediate promise for customer service. At rollout, FedEx founder Fred Smith made a statement that would prove prophetic:
“The information about the package is almost as important as the package itself.”
Fast forward 40 years and this statement couldn’t ring any truer. Parcel tracking is now standard with all courier services because online shoppers consider it a basic right. Most online shoppers say they expect the ability to track packages from purchase to delivery.
This makes tracking a cornerstone of customer retention and loyalty for any eCommerce business.
What is Parcel Tracking?
Package tracking is the process of monitoring shipments and providing customers with status updates in real-time. This visibility allows customers to know when, where and at what time a package will arrive. Critically, delivery delays are also apparent.
Tracking data is accessed via a tracking number, or a unique set of letters and numbers assigned to every new shipment by the courier. A tracking number is hyperlinked to the courier website so when customers click the link you or couriers provide, they arrive at their shipment data.
Here are 5 ways to elevate the package tracking experience for maximum customer satisfaction.
1. Share Tracking For All Orders
Tracking is a common courtesy in eCommerce because, well, ship happens. Though couriers are generally reliable, there's no guarantee a package will arrive safely. A recent study found that 5-15% of all shipments get lost, damaged or stolen in transit.
What happens when the buyer wonders – ‘where’s my order?’ – and lacks an answer? Post-purchase anxiety is very real for shoppers, many of whom doubt the integrity of unfamiliar merchants. If left unchecked, these concerns can fester and erode brand trust. Nearly all (98%) shoppers say that the delivery experience impacts their loyalty to a brand.
Make sure every customer receives tracking information in their post-purchase confirmation email. Doing so helps your brand appear attentive and transparent. With tracking on hand, buyers feel they made a safe purchase and that everything is as it should be.
2. Include Tracking Instructions in Purchase Emails
A seamless experience is the holy grail of eCommerce. You provide shoppers what they want, when they want it, before they know they want it.
Show customers how to access their tracking data in purchase confirmation emails. Sure, most shoppers are savvy enough to access a tracking page without help. But you can never be transparent enough. For example, online shopping is new territory for many older customers. A single frustrated customer is enough to illustrate why instructions are a worthy inclusion.
Even sophisticated online shoppers may note the absence of the usual tracking guidelines. After years of online ordering, buyers take an unconscious inventory of your service quality as compared to other brands. It may feel like an unnecessary hedge, but it’s best to lay out a path for customers to follow to the tracking page.
3. Host Tracking on Your Site
Parcel tracking is accessible to customers in various ways, including:
- Courier websites and apps
- Third-party websites and apps
- Your website
Let’s dive into that last option. These days, the eCommerce experience hinges on speed and convenience. The easier it is for customers to do what they want, the more likely they are to hang out with you. When buyers spend time on your site, you build brand loyalty and invite a repurchase.
With Easyship, your tracking links can direct customers to a professionally-designed, logo-branded web page. Rather than pushing customers to a clunky courier site, you can host their tracking data on a streamlined page with your brand logo.
Easyship sources all tracking data in real-time from courier sites for total accuracy. This way, you can give customers a pleasant tracking experience while also generating goodwill and brand recall.
4. Display Delivery Details
Comprehensive tracking data helps put shoppers at ease, but it also helps them resolve delivery issues. If you’re like me, for example, tracking is when you realize you entered the delivery address incorrectly and need to make a correction.
Make sure that key details like the address and delivery date are prominent in your tracking emails and order updates. This is especially important during peak seasons or for rush-delivery shipments with a reduced margin for error.
The estimated date of delivery is especially central to the buying experience. In fact, half of customers (53%) say they won’t complete a purchase if they don’t know the delivery date. Give customers a shipment snapshot to reassure them that everything is in order.
5. Automate Your Delivery Updates
When first released, FedEx tracking was only available by calling a customer service hotline. Customers today, though, expect you to be more proactive with tracking data. One study found that 83% of shoppers expect regular updates on their delivery.
Fortunately, eCommerce platforms and shipping software like Easyship make it easy to automate the notification process. To minimize anxieties, send triggered email notifications at all relevant order stages, including:
- Order confirmation
- Order status changes
- Delivery delays, if applicable
- Package delivery
With Easyship, you can add branded marketing materials to your tracking updates. This helps you to boost brand recall, repeat purchases, and loyalty at once. Below is a sample order update that includes a branded promotion to entice sales.
The Easyship branding suite helps you maximize each post-sale touchpoint. The research is clear: you’re most likely to sell to existing customers, and when positive sentiment is highest. Customers feel most satisfied when brands share updates. You know buyers will track shipments. So why not capitalize on this experience?
Parcel Tracking Best Practices for eCommerce
We all track our packages. The best eCommerce brands make tracking a breeze for customers and capitalize on post-sale touch points to bolster sales, retention and loyalty.
Want to try Easyship’s enhanced tracking features for free? Easyship is free to use for the first 50 shipments of each month. You also get instant access to discounted shipping rates up to 70% off for UPS, FedEx, USPS and 250+ global couriers. Create your free account today!