Customer delivery notifications too often delegated to carriers

By Chris Dawson June 20, 2019 - 12:00 pm

Online retailers are in general bad at customer delivery notifications according to reports from ParcelLab who made test purchases from 100 retailers in both the UK and Germany. 27% of the UK retailers and a massive 53% of German retailers sent no customer delivery notifications during shipping.

Even when retailers do send in flight customer delivery notifications, many are missing a trick and leave it to the carrier to keep the consumer informed. In the UK only 13% of retailers have their own integrated track and trace page with 70% relying on the courier to keep the customer informed. Germans are slightly more advanced with 63% having a track an trace page available but with over half only sending despatch customer delivery notifications emails they then rely on the consumer to pro-actively check the status of their parcel.

Regardless of customer delivery notifications, the UK are far better at keeping their delivery promises with 84% of parcel delivered on time or arriving early compared with just 56% in Germany. The UK saw 8% being delivered late and 8% having no delivery estimate whereas in Germany 27% of deliveries were delayed and 17% didn’t have an ETA.

Overall the news on keeping their delivery promise and keeping the customer informed shows that UK retailers are performing better than the Germany counterparts, but there is still work to be done.

Marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon both have integrated tracking and this gives the consumer a reason to visit their sites again. When tracking updates are sent it’s invariably from the marketplace and not from the carrier. Even third party parcel consolidators like Parcel2Go have integrated tracking pages because it forces consumers to visit their site giving them additional exposure. All online retailers should consider an integrated tracking page and it should be one of the basic considerations when specifying a new ecommerce site.

An integrated tracking page along with customer delivery notifications at each stage of the shipping journey gives consumers a closer connection with the company and, whilst it means fully integrating with each carrier you use, gives a single point of contact for consumers every time they buy regardless of which carrier their parcel is shipped via. It also gives the opportunity to re-market to recent customers with promotions, sale events and discounts to tempt them to purchase again.

Ultimately, retailers should consider a fully integrated customer experience, for instance tech support on the day a parcel is due to be delivered – if a Bluetooth mouse has been purchased how great would the customer feel if you not only sent them an quick setup guide along with a promo code for a bluetooth speaker or keyboard?

Customer delivery notifications are too often an afterthought and retailers take the easy option of passing the task to the carrier. It’s time to take the opportunity of keeping the consumer engaged back in-house and maximising on every touch point available with your most recent new and returning customers.

  • Simon E
    2 years ago

    I find Amazon archaic in their approach to “3rd Party” sellers.
    We used to send tracking details to our website, ebay and amazon customers BUT amazon told us that it was their job to give the buyer tracking details and not me.
    I was warned that if I continued to send these messages then I may be suspended and stopped from selling.

    As we use DHL global mail for international items, amazon didn’t have a clue about the tracking links.
    I argued on several occasions that I was trying to help my, and their, customers by giving a proper tracking link.
    Amazon disagreed and told me to cease sending the tracking links AND not to ask the question again.

    This then brings me to Large letters and Royal MAil.
    I recently found out that Amazon isn’t capable of confirming delivery of a Royal Mail large letter with delivery confirmation.
    What amazon was doing was telling the buyers that their items might be lost or delayed. After a few A-z claims and proof from Royal Mail of delivery I stopped uploading the tracking of LL. I said to amazon I understand that delivery confirmation on LL is beyond your tracking capabilities, but why send a message to customers saying that items might be lost or delayed when you don’t know. This they apologised for and are now seeking to rectify “Yeah right”.
    The onus is always on the seller, and LL offers no protection to an A-z.

    Royal Mail did confirm that their API does not provide delivery conformation for LL but can be tracked on the online tracker.
    Funny how ebay can manage to cobble it together but amazon can’t or won’t.

    I imagine that it’s the good old push to use Amz Fulfilment services, but for many like me, it’s not suitable.
    If one of my customers buys a lobster clip and charm and asks me to connect the two, then I can do this. If they were to ask amazon, I hate to think of the confusion it would cause, if it were ever understood.

    Please bear or bare in mind that I am banging on about 3rd party sellers that use Royal MAil and not something that is shipped by amazon.

  • Craig
    2 years ago

    I’m having the same problem as Simon with Amazon emailing my customers saying goods are delayed or lost because they can’t read the large letter delivery comfirmation. Can’t be that hard if Ebay can do it.

    • Simon E
      2 years ago

      If you are able to then stop uploading or transmitting the LL references.
      I changed my options with my software, so now no tracking is uploaded for LL.
      So far I can see that NO “I haven’t received this cos amazon tells me it’s lost or delayed” messages since I started a few weeks ago.

      You might think, well they may be telling the truth!!!

      Once you string a few replies that amazon is investigating and please check with other persons in the household, MIRACULOUSLY it appears.
      God be praised!!!

      Don’t even get me started on Amazon’s approach to their categories – nodes.
      Although I list a coffee cup charm in “Other charms”, I was TOLD that amazon’s software will categorize as it sees fit.

      From memory, Home > Tableware > drinking cups.
      What a joke.
      I have to say though, someone has done something in the background and listened to my whining as some items are now in their correct categories.

  • Jim
    2 years ago

    Somewhere somehow all these bells and whistles cost,
    a balance has to be made
    How far do you take these notifications!
    all sorts of Options on lots of things
    If working well few of us use them
    Take the gadgets on your car or the settings on a microwave

  • Darren
    2 years ago

    Just try getting access to the Royal Mail tracking API, unless you can give them the correct left handed handshake they will deny you access.

  • you can exclude amazon customers and send notifications for others. Most carriers have simple APIs to get tracking info and status

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