In ecommerce, shipping of goods is more about software and notifications than it is about trucks and cargo planes. Most eCommerce business owners will never see a shipping container. They will, however, see web-based package tracking software. Their customers expect to see it too.
Shipment tracking software is a booming industry. Good shipment tracking technology allows businesses to be more productive, accountable, and profitable by leveraging cloud services and bar code technology to track shipments and parcels throughout their journey, from the factory to the warehouse to the buyer's doorstep.
The boom has created a surplus of options. Today’s eCommerce entrepreneurs have so many shipment tracking systems to choose from, it may be hard to choose the best shipment tracking software for their specific business.
To understand the scope of the choice in front of entrepreneurs, consider that package tracking solutions have many jobs to perform, including:
Internal Shipment Tracking and Inbound Shipment Tracking
This subset of parcel tracking technology tracks packages and parcels in transit within an organization, usually integrating a mailroom app like Wasp Package Tracker (you can try this internal package tracking software free for a month). Package tracking technology solutions of this type solve the problem of knowing who signed for or received shipments into your business and where they travelled after arriving. These types of solutions ensure that once a shipment arrives at your organization you know exactly where it went and who is responsible for it – no more lost shipments that your carrier swears was delivered.
Logistics software is more comprehensive and tells you where a package is at all times, when it is scheduled to depart, and where and when it is scheduled to arrive. Carriers are increasingly making use of live tracking devices like disposable GPS stickers in order to track packages across their delivery lifetime. For example, FedEx GPS tracking devices monitor packages on their end-to-end journey and report on integrity, security and location of each package.
Transportation tracking software, also known as transportation management system software (TMS), tracks when goods are in transit, to and from where and by what means of transport. TMS software for shippers typically provide a mail tracking device or ship tracking apps for freight shipments.
“Last Mile” Tracking
ECommerce businesses need to pay special attention to “Last Mile” tracking. This is the final leg of a product’s journey from the warehouse to the consumer. Buyers expect access to such tools as delivery tracking software.
While your customers can find track package apps and websites like Package Tracker Pro and Slice Package Tracker App (named Best Package Tracking App 2018) that will attempt to keep them notified of packages from all the online sites where they’ve purchased goods, these apps are not particularly popular as customers see your brand as the source of truth for information about the products they’ve purchased from you.
Malomo puts a particular emphasis on “Last Mile” Tracking. Customers check package tracking status on their order more than three times before each delivery. This is a priceless opportunity for marketing and loyalty-building through attention and user engagement. Why send customers to UPS tracking, USPS tracking, USPS international tracking or FedEx for that experience?
By employing last mile tracking software, buyers remain engaged with your eCommerce brand throughout their entire buyer’s journey, without being diverted to the shipping provider or a generic app.
Picking the Best Shipping Software for eCommerce
ECommerce businesses can select either paid apps or open source supply chain management software. WPCargo Pro is an example of a WordPress-based open source logistics management system that includes global postal tracking.
When considering the best online shipping service, whether paid or open source procurement software, eCommerce businesses should consider the following factors:
Is the software compatible with the systems I already have in place? Will they integrate seamlessly? No solution is perfect. There is usually no reason to upend your entire operation for the “right” shipment tracking software. The costliest software mistakes are the ones that neglect the current operating environment. Make sure you choose a shipment tracking solution that integrates with your other systems.
Data breaches and cyber-attacks are more common than ever. If your business is unlucky enough to be the victim of an attack your logistics data collection could be interrupted. If the breach becomes public, it could damage the reputation of your business. Make sure the shipment tracking software you choose uses state-of-the-art data security measures.
It isn’t enough to know where your inbound shipment is. To make quick and critical decisions about your inventory, you need to know, in real-time, conditions like temperature, humidity, even shock (i.e. when your shipment is dropped and potentially damaged). Good parcel tracking software also notes the local temperature so allowances can be made for extreme heat or cold.
A shipment tracking software solution should be able to grow with you. Look for a simple, multi-channel app with support for unlimited users so your shipment tracking can be as big as your business gets. Cloud-based apps are particularly useful since your data usage can grow without limits.
Many eCommerce entrepreneurs or employees are not software whizzes. Streamlined, layman-friendly UX is critical to the future scalability of your operation.