Is real-time order tracking becoming table stakes for e-tailers?
The delivery process has become a battlefield where ecommerce retailers hash it out for consumer dollars. In this realm of retail one-upmanship, brands compete by refining their shipping methods and striving to deliver products faster than their competition.
When customer orders are shipped too hastily, however, products might end up misplaced, damaged, or even lost. And most consumers have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to shipping mix-ups.
According to a recent poll by Dropoff, shipping mistakes are on the rise — 78 percent of consumers report that they’ve experienced late package arrivals (up from 70 percent in 2017) and 56 percent of consumers have received damaged packages (up from 42 percent in 2017).
Perhaps this is why consumers want a better idea of what’s happening with their orders behind the scenes and why they are more likely to re-engage with retailers who allow them to track the status of their orders. Dropoff reports that a whopping 85 percent of consumers will buy from a retailer again if they can track their purchases throughout the delivery process.
Retailers and shipping providers are beginning to offer customers the ability to track their package deliveries in real time. UPS rolled out real-time delivery tracking in 2016, enabling customers to track their orders on their connected devices, all the way down to the package’s exact location on a delivery truck or airplane. This UPS service, however, is only available for more expensive deliveries such as UPS Air and UPS Worldwide Express.
Amazon.com is the most well-known provider of this service, offering real-time order tracking for all U.S. customers on packages handled through Amazon Logistics. Meanwhile, packages shipped by FedEx, UPS and USPS aren’t eligible for the service. Even smaller businesses, such as furniture sales platform Wayfair, also offer real-time delivery tracking on all furniture purchases.
Amazon and Wayfair, however, are still exceptions to the rule. Most retailers have yet to offer their customers the option to track their package deliveries in real time.
- Survey Findings Reveal Consumers Want Faster Delivery, and They’re Willing to Pay for It – Dropoff
- UPS Now Lets You Track Packages for Real — On an Actual Map – The Verge
- Amazon’s Real-Time Package Tracker Is Rolling Out Across the U.S. – Mashable
- Wayfair Launches Real-Time Delivery Tracking – PYMNTS
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do retailers need to offer real-time order tracking in order to compete with Amazon? What best practices can you offer for e-tailers looking to keep customers satisfied with shipment status?