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Why real-time ecommerce order tracking matters

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Building brand loyalty in ecommerce is no longer just about ensuring the best products or the lowest prices; it’s also about whether customers receive a satisfying delivery experience. 

It just so happens that delivery is one of the trickiest parts of the fulfillment process to coordinate effectively. There are address errors, unforeseen delays, and the ever-present risk of failed delivery. All of these can throw a spanner in the works that results in your customer being dissatisfied and choosing to shop elsewhere.

So, how can you add more certainty and minimize friction during this critical stage of the shopping journey? By adding real-time order tracking capabilities to your arsenal.

What is ecommerce order tracking?

Order tracking is a feature that allows customers to follow the progress of their order in real-time, from when it’s placed to the moment it finally arrives on their doorstep. 

Usually, the retailer will give a customer periodic updates on the status of the order either via email or SMS, starting with the initial order confirmation. Because everyone has access to the same information, this ensures that there’s no confusion between customers or support staff regarding whether an order has been shipped or when it’s supposed to arrive. 

Customers will usually receive tracking updates when the following milestones are reached:

  • When the order is received
  • When fulfillment commences
  • When the order has been shipped
  • When the order is out for delivery
  • When delivery has been made

The benefits of ecommerce order tracking for retailers

Customers expect a high level of visibility

Today, consumers don’t just want their home deliveries to be fast and cheap; they also want full insight into the end-to-end process – including potential delays and the estimated date and time for delivery. 

According to My Customer, 82% of consumers say that it’s important for retailers to update them during every stage of the fulfillment and delivery process, with 85% choosing email as the preferred communication method.

The reason is simple; consumers have grown accustomed to this enhanced level of service from industry heavyweights like Amazon. And whenever Amazon introduces a new service offering, it’s safe to say this quickly becomes the marketplace standard.

Ease pressure on your customer service team 

Out of all the inquiries that customer care teams receive, there’s one that outstrips them all in terms of frequency –  the endless questions of “where is my order?” 

From the customers’ perspective, this is totally understandable. If they’ve gotten radio silence since they placed their order, they’re going to look for reassurance that all is well.  However, this has the effect of bogging down your customer care team with a huge volume of requests, limiting their bandwidth to deal with more complex issues.

By implementing a real-time order tracking system, your customers have no need to reach out for updates because this information is already being provided to them. This enhanced level of convenience also makes customers far more likely to shop with you in the future.

Alleviate delivery anxiety

Delivery anxiety is a negative but entirely avoidable element of the post-purchase experience. This is when customers begin to worry that they won’t get their order in the timeframe promised. When delivery anxiety is severe, it drives customers to repeatedly contact service representatives (as outlined above) or even to cancel orders entirely. 

In most cases, delivery anxiety is a symptom of a lack of communication from a retailer. When post-purchase communications are lacking, it gives customers the message that the brand isn’t interested in putting in any effort once a sale has been made. Needless to say, this approach is hardly going to foster brand loyalty. 

Order tracking helps to alleviate anxiety by giving customers an ongoing touchpoint with the retailer. It helps to boost reassurance and satisfaction, especially during that all-important last mile of delivery.

What to look for in an ecommerce order tracking tool

We’ve provided plenty of reasons why you should implement real-time tracking for your ecommerce orders. But what should look you for in an order tracking tool to really reap the benefits of this offering?

1. Integration with major ecommerce platforms

t’s impossible to update orders effectively if you’re using a tracking tool that can’t integrate effectively with your online store. Seamless integration with ecommerce platforms means that when an order is processed, your tracking software will automatically update your store and customer with the relevant information, including shipping notices and delivery information. This avoids retailers having to make manual transfers of data that could prevent notifications from being sent in a timely manner, especially if you’re operating multiple selling channels.

2. Ability to set triggers for notifications

It’s time-consuming and inefficient for your customer care staff to be checking orders to see whether they’ve reached the next stage. Automated tracking software enables you to notify customers automatically by setting custom triggers for appropriate milestones in the order fulfillment and shipping process, such as shipping or ‘out for delivery.’ This massively streamlines your post-purchase customer care and frees up your business to focus on more complex parts of your fulfillment operation.

3. Customization options

It’s not unusual for the order fulfillment and shipping process to involve a lot of third parties, whether that’s warehousing, 3PLs, or parcel carriers. But because this part of the retail operation is hidden from your customer’s view, the prospect of unknown partners handling their order can cause confusion and anxiety. After all, they’ve made an informed decision to support your brand – but not the rest of the supply chain.

This is why it’s so important to provide your customers with a cohesive shopping experience that puts your brand front and center. If your tracking tool is sending out generic email updates, it disrupts the flow of the shopping experience. 

Choosing a tool that enables you to customize your templates with logos and brand colors provides reassurance during the post-purchase stage, and also helps to build brand familiarity and trust by reinforcing your identity over the course of the shopping journey.

Offer smart order tracking with the Whiplash platform

For superior order tracking capabilities, consider embracing the real-time management capabilities of the Whiplash platform. In addition to superior inventory management, the Whiplash system allows retailers to create custom email notifications that add meaningful touchpoints to the post-purchase customer journey. By supporting seamless integrations with major ecommerce platforms like Shopify, you can guarantee your customers a frictionless, end-to-end shopping experience that promotes trust in your brand.

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