What do we really need from parcel tracking?

There are still many couriers who require a signature on delivery. There are others who are happy to leave your parcel in a safe place. Some services such as Royal Mail Special Delivery can only be delivered to the addressee, other services from both Royal Mail and couriers can be left with a neighbour.

At times it’s the retailer who specifies if a signature is required and tracking for some services is only ever a bar code scan at the door step.

There’s a whole debate to be had over what kind of tracking is required but generally the industry is becoming more relaxed about it. Consumers are happy so long as they get their parcel, couriers are happy so long as they can get rid of parcels and preferably get rid of them on the first delivery attempt. People don’t generally complain about couriers bending the rules, for instance it’s not uncommon for a Royal Mail Postie to sign for ‘Signed For’ deliveries on behalf of the recipient when they know each other. No one admits this of course, it would only result in the Postie being disciplined.


And that brings me to a recent delivery for which the online tracking (shown above) clearly states that the item was “Delivered, signed by customer”. That’d be me and I can assure you I wasn’t at home at 16:59 on Thursday the 24th of November. I certainly didn’t sign for the package.

del-track-2The delivery courier used their common sense so the note they popped through the door tells a completely different but very convenient story. The parcel was left in a safe place, out of view from anyone who wandered past and was safely waiting for me when I returned home.

This raises some serious questions:

  • How much latitude a delivery driver should have before they’re disciplined?
  • Why are some companies like Amazon Logistics are happy to leave parcels valued at several hundred pounds in a safe place but other retailers want a signature for a £10 item?
  • Why don’t all couriers allow you to give an online signature on receipt of tracking information, giving them permission to leave a parcel in a safe place regardless of the senders requirements?

As a retailer how precious are you about tracking? Are you happy with a scan at the door step or do you really need a signature? Do you follow your courier’s minimum requirements or do you tick the box insisting on a signature, knowing that some of the time the signature will never take place anyway.