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You might think that order shipment tracking is simply a part of the ecommerce logistics process, but it is also a way of driving sales and improving customer loyalty. In fact, 87% of customers say that ecommerce shipment tracking made their shopping experience more enjoyable, and 59% of customers said it was more likely to improve their brand loyalty. 

When you create an excellent customer experience, you increase the chances of a customer making a repeat purchase, which will save you on marketing costs and boost your revenue. 

While tracking sounds like a technologically complicated and expensive option, several solutions exist for different-sized businesses. Plus, having tracking capabilities can pay for itself by helping your business to grow.

In this article, we will go through the benefits of shipment tracking, what to look for in a tracking tool, and how you can use order tracking to grow your business.

What Is Order Shipment Tracking in Ecommerce?

Ecommerce order shipment tracking technology allows the business and the customer to view the shipment status. Sometimes shipment tracking is available for the customer to view themselves. Sometimes it is a tool that allows the customer services team to help provide a good service. Either way, tracking helps monitor a shipment.

Tracking has a few key features that an ecommerce business owner might like to see, including:

  • Shipment tracking: Provides detailed updates on the parcel's location.
  • Estimated delivery dates and times: When will the parcel arrive?
  • Real-time notifications: Letting the customer know where the parcel is and any updates on the delivery.
  • Delivery appointment booking: Sometimes, the customer can book their delivery slot.
  • Re-delivery for missed shipment: If the customer isn’t in and the parcel can’t be delivered, they can book another slot.
  • Collection tracking: If a customer is collecting a parcel, they should know when it’s available for collection.
  • Returns tracking: When customers return a product, they should know when it has arrived in the warehouse.

Some shipment tracking includes all of these features, and some include one or two of the most important features. 

Benefits of Ecommerce Shipment Tracking for Online Businesses

Tracking is just one part of your overall ecommerce shipping process, but it isn’t simply about giving customers the ability to see where their order is. It is also one of the best ways to give your customers an amazing delivery experience.

Shipment tracking helps your business meet customer expectations

There is a lot of competition with online shopping. Many of the big players in the industry—Amazon, Walmart, and other marketplaces—give customers an incredible fulfillment experience. Shipping tracking is a big part of this customer experience. 

Amazon, for example, has a world-class tracking page where you can see a map of your parcel location, book delivery appointments, contact customer service, and see how far away your delivery driver is. 

Customers have come to expect a similar level of service for all their online orders. If you don’t offer order tracking, you could easily lose your customers to Amazon or another competitor. 

If your business provides an amazing tracking service, your business can stand out from the competition and increase customer loyalty and retention.

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Shipment tracking reduces pressure on your customer support team

While having order tracking is an additional benefit for customers, it is vital for your customer support team. 

Every size of ecommerce business needs to know where their packages are so they can follow up with customer inquiries and keep track of late or lost parcels. Even the smallest businesses should track their orders to avoid problems. 

When I moved house, I sold many of my old belongings on eBay. Even though I was just using Royal Mail to send my items individually, I still kept a package tracking number to see when a parcel had arrived, give an update to my customers, and get money back for any lost or damaged parcels.

Without product tracking, your customer support team will often be letting customers down by telling them they don’t know where the parcel is. Modern ecommerce companies have a lot of moving parts, from the point the package leaves the shelf in the warehouse to arriving at the customer’s door via a third-party shipping company. If you aren’t tracking your parcels, you could receive many more inquiries you cannot answer, which could lead to an inferior customer experience.

Shipment tracking streamlines your fulfillment process

Order management is one of the most important parts of your ecommerce business. Shipping tracking is just one part of the order management process, but it allows you to monitor every stage of the process and communicate the order status with the customer. 

By monitoring every stage of the order fulfillment process, you can find issues as soon as they happen and build processes in your business to improve the system. For example, if you find that orders are late as parcels are missing the pick-up time slot given by the delivery driver, you can investigate to see why the products are taking a long time to be picked up and packed. 

You might not be able to fix all issues you identify, but at least you will be able to communicate accurate information with your customer about delivery timelines.

Shipment tracking reduces delivery anxiety

Getting a customer to click on the buy button is one of the most important parts of the customer journey, and the design of the button itself is one of the key design decisions a UX team makes. But clever design isn’t the only way to encourage a customer to purchase. 

In the UK, nearly 30% of online shoppers have had problems with their delivery. For customers to make a purchase, they need to trust that their order will turn up on time. This is particularly important with higher-value items. Giving the customer an excellent tracking experience will reduce the customer’s concern about delivery and give them peace of mind that they will be able to receive their parcels securely and on time.

Shipment tracking can be used as a marketing channel

Once a customer has purchased your product, your relationship with that customer is only starting. You have already made a sale, and ideally, you want to keep making sales. Customer acquisition costs, sometimes abbreviated to CAC, can be one of the most expensive marketing costs. That is why customer retention is so important. 

Every time you interact with your customers, you can communicate with them. Your customer must get a good impression of your business every time they hear from you; customer tracking is a key part of that. If you provide a poor customer experience, then the customer is less likely to return as a customer. An amazing tracking service is a great way to impress your customers and make you stand out from the competition.

What to Look for in an Ecommerce Order Tracking Tool?

Ecommerce platform integrations

When you use one ecommerce platform, tracking can be very straightforward. For example, if you have a business selling handmade products on Etsy, your tracking process might be as simple as sharing a UPS tracking code over Etsy chat. But as your business grows and becomes more complex, you might receive orders from multiple platforms.

Once your business gets to this size, tracking all your orders can be almost impossible unless you use a tracking tool that integrates with all your sales channels. The best tracking tools will work seamlessly between each channel and will give your customers tracking numbers that they can use and the customer service team can monitor. 

There are several order tracking tools that integrate with Shopify, for example, and several other order management software and inventory management software. Make sure you pick one that fits your overall order management and pricing strategy.

Notification triggers

Over 80% of customers expect regular updates about their orders. But you won’t be able to update your customers on the progress of their orders manually unless you only have one or two orders a week. The best tracking software has notification settings that you can pre-set to trigger after certain events and send tracking updates. 

Amazon, again, is a great example of this. They send you updates when your parcel has left the warehouse when it is a few stops away, if the driver couldn’t deliver your parcel, or if it has been left with a neighbor. 

Even if you aren’t using Amazon, most good tracking systems offer notification triggers, and you can have different triggers for different businesses. If your products are perishable, like food, then you may want more accurate triggers for delivery time slots, for example. Or, if your product is expensive or heavy, you may want to set your notification triggers to let the customer know when the product is about to arrive.

Notifications aren’t just about great customer experience. They also save your customer service team a good amount of time answering queries, freeing them up to work on other business projects.

Branding customizations

Nearly all ecommerce businesses use third-party logistics and fulfillment, which means you might not have full control of the service you are offering as an ecommerce brand. Once the customer has placed an order with you, they will hold you responsible for the overall service, even if the third-party partner provides the fulfillment. 

This is why branding is so important. You might have already convinced your customers to make a purchase based on the branding of your products, but that isn’t the only touch point you will have with your customer. When you send tracking notifications or updates, you should keep everything in your brand voice, with your logo and contact information clearly shown. 

This will build customer trust and loyalty and keep the customers happy that the delivery is under control.

3 Reasons Why Ecommerce Shipment Tracking Can Help Boost Your Sales

Tracking can help increase your sales by increasing customer retention and working as an additional marketing channel in the post-purchase experience.

Marketing emails generally have an open rate of around 21%, whereas tracking emails have an open rate of 50-80%. This is a huge opportunity to speak to your customer and tell them more about your brand.

Here are my top three reasons you should use tracking to boost your sales.

Shipment tracking builds trust

Problems happen in the delivery process all the time, and customers do understand this.

While they may be annoyed if a product doesn’t arrive on time, with the right messaging and tracking, you can reduce any customer inconvenience and turn a negative shipping experience into a memorable one.

By setting notification triggers, you could proactively contact customers before an issue happens, giving them a fully transparent view of the fulfillment process. This is excellent customer service and will build trust in your brand.

Brands seen as reliable are more likely to be recommended by friends and family, and 81% of customers trust friends and family over brand messaging. 

Shipment tracking builds brand loyalty

There is a lot of competition in ecommerce. As a D2C brand, you are not only competing against direct competitors, but you are also fighting the convenience of Amazon and other marketplaces.

Building brand loyalty is essential, and customer messaging is a big part of creating a brand worth following. 75% of customers say they are more likely to be loyal to brands that understand them, so use your customer messaging to speak to your customer.

Make every interaction you have with your customer something memorable. Rather than just sending an email or SMS link with the DHL, USPS, or UPS tracking code, personalize your messaging to make the customer feel understood.

Remember: Customers open 50-80% of tracking messages, so this is an excellent opportunity to communicate your brand voice and build customer loyalty. 

Shipment tracking increases customer retention

As we have shown, contacting customers with tracking information is a great way to build loyalty. But it is also a significant opportunity to make sales by bringing the customer back to your platform. 

Your customers will be excited to receive their parcels, so use that message to tell them more about the product they are buying.

A great example is sending installation instructions with the tracking email that customers can access through your site. Or you could include some information about a critical brand campaign, such as deforestation or reducing plastic use. Again, this could be directed back to your site.

If your online store has a loyalty program, this could be an excellent opportunity to get people to sign up. Customers in a loyalty program are far more likely to shop with you again when they are loyal to the brand.

Tracking emails offer an excellent opportunity to sign customers up for the program, especially considering the high open rate of tracking emails.

Keep Track of Your Orders to Keep Your Customers Happy

Ecommerce tracking is essential for your customer service team, but it is also crucial for your customer. If a customer can’t find their parcel, or it is late, they will contact customer service, so your agent needs to know where it is. 

You can reduce the pressure on your customer service team by giving the tracking directly to the customer. 

Shipment tracking isn’t just a nice feature to have—customers expect it. You can use the tracking process to give your customers a fantastic experience and even use the messages to boost your sales. 

Several tracking tools are available for different ecommerce platforms, so there is no excuse not to use them to give your customers the best experience, build customer loyalty, and grow your business.

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Teddy Smith
By Teddy Smith

Teddy Smith is an ecommerce brand founder and a former Senior Ecommerce Consultant for Accenture. He is also an independent ecommerce consultant, specializing in selling on Amazon and marketplaces. Teddy has 13 years of experience working with both enterprise and small scale ecommerce brands, and has provided over 3,000 hours of independent ecommerce consulting sessions.