One research report after another, we’ve been told that consumers expect a seamless shopping experience — from the moment they land on an online store to the point of unboxing their purchase.
For some reason, though, the post-purchase experience still seems to be neglected by the majority of online stores out there. Sure, there are plenty of factors that come into play, but when you think about it…
It’s often failed expectations and dissatisfaction around the delivery options that make us anxious about the whole experience. How so?
Once they finalize the purchase, customers already treat the products as theirs. But, there is a lot that can go wrong between ‘purchased’ and ‘delivered'. Think of issues like lost parcels, broken items, or delivery delays, just to name a few.
The issue is, even the smallest issue along the way makes anxiety kick in. There’s even a word for it in the Urban Dictionary: pre-parcel anxiety!
There’s a way to combat this unpleasant feeling, though. And it all starts with closing the gap between checkout and delivery thanks to proactive order tracking.
What is order tracking in e-commerce?
E-commerce tracking is a process of monitoring order delivery that is communicated to an end customer.
In other words, tracking allows your shoppers to — wait for it — keep track of their e-commerce orders. It might not seem like much at first, but order tracking actually plays a crucial role in the overall shopping experience.
Why does e-commerce need great tracking?
Being proactive and transparent throughout the whole shopping journey has multiple benefits.
It doesn’t only ease anxiety around a product being lost, delayed, or stolen, but it can be another opportunity to offer a stellar customer experience, increase predictability, and drive repeat purchases.
Order tracking improves the overall customer experience
Making accurate delivery promises, as well as providing estimated delivery dates and relevant tracking information, are great ways to ensure a predictable delivery experience, reduce delivery anxiety, and increase trust in your e-commerce business.
“Deliveries are very contextual, how the consumers want their stuff varies a lot depending on what they’re buying and when. From our experience, not everyone is looking for speed, or only home delivery options.”
Anders Ekman, Co-Founder and COO at Ingrid.
In fact, research from Shopify shows that consumers are increasingly open to supporting brands if, and only if, they provide accurate information about expected delivery time and its current order status.
Transparent order tracking reduces customer support issues
Ask your customer support representatives about the questions they fear the most, and “Where Is My Order” is likely to be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, delivery anxiety is often what makes online shoppers repeatedly contact your team.
But, the better and more predictable the post-purchase experience, the fewer support issues (especially dreaded WISMO inquiries) coming from customers. And that’s precisely what order tracking can help you achieve.
An example? A while back, IDEAL OF SWEDEN launched Ingrid Tracking right before Black Week to avoid unnecessary stress for their team members, and it turned out to be extremely useful for both consumers and staff.
Thanks to a great tracking experience, the number of delivery-related support tickets decreased from 37% to 4%.
If that sounds like something worth implementing in your e-commerce business, book a demo to find out more about Ingrid.
Proactive order tracking increases customer retention
It should come as no surprise that customers who are satisfied with the delivery experience are likely to buy again.
That’s precisely why order tracking and delivery shouldn’t be treated solely as the last steps in the buyer’s journey — when done right, the after-sales experience can easily encourage repeat customers.
The key is to offer proactive and clear tracking updates and make the most of the opportunities they provide. When it comes to e-commerce order tracking, there’s no such thing as “over-communication”.
Given that “thank you” emails and tracking notifications are known for higher open rates than other types of messages, you might want to try offering discounts, referral links, or upsell options (such as personalized recommendations or complementary items) as a part of the experience.
How to improve order tracking
Send proactive order tracking notifications
Your customers don't know much about the progress of their order unless they constantly check the tracking page themselves. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
It’s clear to see that relevant notifications contribute to a better shopping experience and can reduce the number of customer support issues — yet, after the order is fulfilled, many retailers seem to rely on third parties, such as carriers, to send shipping notifications.
As a result, they often have little transparency into the quantity, quality, and accuracy of the messages being sent.
Don’t force your customers to follow the carrier tracking page to know what’s up. Instead, send them relevant and clear delivery updates via email or SMS. Apart from being able to provide a stellar post-purchase experience, delivery notifications can also keep your customers engaged for longer.
Be transparent about the order tracking details
Don’t expect online shoppers to know the difference between order processing and order shipping, and decipher order tracking statuses on the carrier site on their own.
Keep your customers in the loop with tracking details and notifications that are easy to understand and act upon. If anything goes wrong, try to spot the issue and be proactive about resolving it before your customers are forced to act.
Yet again, proactive messaging is proven to reduce expensive, time-consuming inbound support inquiries.
Offer customer support
What’s great about transparent tracking information is that it’s capable of keeping customers informed and reducing support issues. Still, your e-commerce business needs experienced support reps to handle unexpected issues, like delivery delays.
In such cases, make it easy for your shoppers to reach customer service representatives, access a contact form, or FAQ page should any questions or issues arise. It's just bad business to make buyers dig around for this stuff and feel like no one will answer their questions.
Own the communication
Partnering with third parties, like 3PLs or carriers, to fulfill and ship orders is a common practice in e-commerce. The problem is: it’s usually none of your customers’ concern. They make a conscious choice to support your brand, not necessarily all your business partners.
Whenever possible, you should strive to offer a cohesive shopping experience and reclaim end-to-end customer communication. To do so, invest in your own tracking page and delivery notification system instead of redirecting your customers to carriers’ websites, and relying on their generic order status messages.
This way, you can also keep your shoppers engaged throughout their post-purchase journey, while reinforcing brand loyalty.
Invest in e-commerce order tracking software
There’s no doubt that advanced order tracking is a must these days. From the merchant's perspective, though, it can be pretty challenging to provide.
Especially if you choose to do it alone.
Luckily, here’s when e-commerce order tracking software comes in useful. The majority of the order tracking tools can easily integrate with your online store, regardless of the e-commerce platform you’re using.
Take Ingrid Tracking, as an example. It’s an advanced order tracking system (as the name suggests) that offers multiple benefits for online merchants like yourself:
Traditional order tracking starts when the order is shipped, which can be pretty late in the process.
On the contrary, Ingrid Tracking starts when the order is placed and ends when the order is delivered or picked up by the end customer.
Thanks to multiple API integrations, it covers all stages of the delivery process: order being prepared by a merchant, handed over to a carrier (first-mile), transported, scanned in logistic hubs (mid-mile), and prepared for delivery to the end customer (last-mile).
Relevant tracking details
Order tracking offered by carrier companies is usually full of industry terms that mean very little to the end customer. Plus, it rarely mentions your brand!
With Ingrid Tracking, you can improve the communication and own the tracking process without relying heavily on what (and how) carries show to your customers. There’s just no need to redirect your customers to carriers' tracking pages anymore.
Easy access to tracking information
Typically, customers have to receive and use the tracking number to be able to track their order. With Ingrid Tracking, they can use their email address and order number to check tracking details.
What’s more, tracking can be accessed via the Tracking Widget integrated on your e-commerce website, or via Ingrid Tracking Portal.
Offering split delivery? Receiving multiple shipments after having placed just one order is often confusing for consumers — without proper tracking information, that is.
Setting clear delivery expectations and offering transparent order tracking (ideally with one URL) can actually help you address frustration and confusion coming from multiple shipments, as well as reduce customer support queries.
Luckily, keeping an eye on multiple parcels is no longer an issue. With Ingrid Tracking, multi-parcel orders shipped with the same or different carriers can all be tracked under one link.
Delivery notifications are typically sent by carriers. With Ingrid Notifications, merchants can reclaim the communication and have control over post-purchase messaging. It’s an extra service that can be offered on top of Ingrid Tracking.
All notifications are in sync with the tracking information shown on a tracking page — they are triggered by the change of delivery statuses and inform end customers about the shipping process, and are sent as email and text messages by default.
As a result, merchants have the possibility to keep the customers engaged and proactively notify them about their order status — they don't have to reach out themselves to find out what's going on.
It’s time to start keeping track of your e-commerce orders
The post-purchase experience seem to be often neglected by merchants. From the end customer perspective, though, the delivery is far more important than the purchase.
After all, your customers shop online to make their lives easier, and it's the proactive tracking updates that help them sync deliveries with their lives — not the other way around.
With tech solutions like Ingrid, you can easily offer your customers realistic estimated delivery dates and a transparent, full-circle tracking experience that also puts your brand front and center.
Book a demo and start keeping track of your e-commerce orders, once and for all.