Christmas is less than six weeks away as mid-November is finally here. There’s no harm in being prepared early, and that includes getting your holiday list ready (and checking it twice, as Santa would say).
The biggest challenge for e-commerce companies (and shoppers as well) every Yuletide season is how to ensure those gift packages will arrive on time.
Package Tracking Basics
For e-commerce companies, you would always want to earn the trust and confidence of customers by ensuring the package will be delivered on time. This is where package tracking comes in.
There is tremendous value in package tracking. Here’s a fun fact: About 70 percent of e-commerce sellers said in a recent survey that setting the right expectations about delivery and package tracking is key to winning and retaining online buyers.
Another industry report says more than 90% of online shoppers want their favorite e-commerce sellers to identify and resolve package tracking problems, even while the package is in transit.
The bottom line is that this season, e-commerce companies must deal with volumes and volumes of packages. Thus, ensuring that your package tracking is ready for the holidays becomes an absolute necessity.
In almost all cases, having a tracking code is all the e-commerce company (or seller), and the customer needs to be able to track packages. The tracking code is usually a set of numbers or a combination of numbers and letters whose sole purpose is to track or monitor shipments of packages.
Couriers provide this tracking code to e-commerce businesses and their customers. This one piece of information allows both seller and buyer to know the status and location of their shipments. This creates a feeling of transparency and security for both parties.
In most cases, this kind of tracking system is normally available through the online portal of the courier.
However, the online portal is not just the channel to track your packages (via e-mail, is an example). In this piece, let us take a look at some ways to improve your package tracking, not just the technology behind it, but also some of the more practical ways to prep your e-commerce business as the holiday season rolls around.
Ways to Prep Your Package Tracking during the Holidays
So here are a few suggestions for ensuring your package tracking is ready for the holiday season.
1. Use Software Tools
First, use software tools that can help you solve some of the more common issues on package tracking when your e-commerce business starts dealing with a sudden increase in orders. There are free (and for subscription) tools that are readily available. Some are in-app, particularly if you use marketplaces and e-commerce platforms, while some are stand-alone.
2. Use Web Apps
As an e-commerce company, you could add web-based package tracking systems to complement your usual logistics strategy. Using a global positioning system (GPS) remains the de facto tracking system for package tracking. However, internet-of-things (IoT) is gaining ground. IoT allows almost everything — from devices, boxes, parcels, appliances, and vehicles, among others — to have an IP address and is thus “trackable.”
App companies also use software-based systems such as “smart banners” and “smart blocks.” These tracking solutions are e-mail based, allowing your customers to keep track of their packages via e-mail.
3. Use Live Chat
Technically, live chat is also an app. However, live chat can provide specific value-added services, particularly when it comes to order tracking and dealing with customer queries. Having a live chat feature, particularly during the peak season of online buying, will surely help your business.
4. Keep Track of Customer Data
Knowing beforehand customer behaviors and other relevant and useful information can help your business deal with the sudden influx of orders.
This information may include customer feedback, behavior patterns, common complaints, etc. You can also allow and encourage your customers to give feedback. The point here is that you can use the information to improve your package tracking for the next peak season. The bottom line is you will be ready to correct whatever shortcomings or mistakes you might have inevitably committed when it comes to order tracking.
5. Use Analytics
Analytics also use customer information and is a great way to learn more about your customers and the business as a whole. Use analytics tools to determine areas where you can improve package tracking. Know the highs and lows, then get ready to use the information to your advantage. Work with your logistics partners if possible and share information on relevant seasons or dates.
6. Go Back to the Basics and Prepare
For major occasions like the Christmas season, your e-commerce business should be prepared to handle the surge in orders. Going back to the basics—having extra labeling supplies, a thermal printer (or two), and other packaging supplies will surely pay off.
7. Offer Value-Added Services Such as Free Shipping
All customers deserve accurate package tracking even during the mad rush before Christmas. Offering value-added services such as free shipping will aid your e-commerce business. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if your goal is to increase sales, then free shipping might help. We’ve discussed the pros and cons of free shipping, so it would be better if you could work with your logistics partner on how to best go about this.
8. Make the Most Out of Social Media
Boosting your package tracking using information using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok to share information from shipping prices, options, and timelines.
Netizens will also get a kick once they see your shop’s shipping information on social media even if you don’t offer free shipping. But stores can still share their cutoff dates by using branded images on Facebook and Instagram to send the message to a bigger market.
9. Personalize It
In a huge market of shops and stores offering effective package tracking services, one thing that can make you stand out among the rest is to provide your customers with a personalized touch.
How can you do that? You can share with your customers that they are patronizing a store that has real people with their purchase and you can further show your goodwill and appreciation to them by sending them a heartfelt and handwritten “Thank You” note.
10. Keep Your Customers Updated
Aside from providing substantial information on products, e-commerce companies can also be proactive in allowing buyers to see the status of their orders, whether the item is still in the warehouse or whether it is on the way. Sure, this information is always available on the marketplace or app, but helping customers by providing greater visibility and transparency will surely help boost business.