What is a Courier Tracking System
Every single eCommerce business currently in operation in the retail sector understands the value of order tracking. There is no greater enemy to order fulfillment than customer anxiety. And it’s truly amazing how much anxiety can be alleviated simply by keeping customers informed, even when situations get worse. In fact, most businesses employ a courier tracking system to streamline all kinds of logistics and courier services. This courier tracking system essentially allows each order to be uniquely identified and tracked through its entire life cycle.
A courier tracking system gives businesses a means to carry out major functions like sending tracking updates & monitoring vehicular information. In addition to that, it also allows us to clearly designate the different stages of delivery each order goes through. This promotes greater visibility for courier partners, businesses and customers. To see how a courier tracking system works in ecommerce, we’ll be taking a look at some of the characteristics of a courier tracking system and how the tracking mechanism functions step-by-step.
What are the Different Features of a Courier Tracking System?
A Courier Tracking System invariably becomes the centerpiece of functionality for eCommerce retailers. This is especially so for those handling large volumes of orders being delivered to customers all over the country. Couple great distances with the possibility of vehicular difficulties, traffic/road-based incidents, and potential customs requirements. This is the mixing pot of madness that every order could face during its journey to the customer. To make the overall process more efficient and therefore more likely to maximize fulfillment, a good courier tracking system will likely offer the following features.
1. Integration With Various Systems
Tracking integrations work alongside integrations with other systems, like WMS (Warehouse management systems), storefronts like Shopify and WooCommerce, and online marketplaces like Amazon. This enables customers to view tracking updates on your ecommerce website as well as help manage inventory.
2. Maintenance Updates
A Courier Tracking System enables you to track not only the life cycle of your orders but the overall performance of your delivery mechanism. This means that any maintenance requirements that may arise that need to be performed immediately are notified to you quickly. You can accordingly keep improving your delivery mechanism as it performs.
3. Update Customers on Vehicle Parameters
Using a courier tracking system, orders alone aren’t tracked. The vehicles carrying orders can also be tracked during transportation and they reach each destination or hub. The routes being followed can be sent to customers with updated information on the time of delivery. Even the speed and resting time of vehicles can be tracked through an efficient courier tracking system.
4. Visibility and Delivery Updates
The main purpose of a courier tracking system is to keep customers informed and updated with real-time tracking information. This helps to address any anxiety or worries customers may have while waiting for their order to be delivered. Real-time tracking updates let customers re-live their initial purchase excitement every time they receive a message about their order’s estimated delivery time. The transparency afforded to them this way also adds to their trust in your ecommerce business and brand loyalty.
5. Computerised Proof-of-Delivery
After an order has been updated as delivered, you may want to confirm successful completion of the delivery. This can go a long way in improving customer delivery experience and reducing potential losses. An efficient courier tracking system can automate the process by which courier partners provide proof of delivery. So as soon as a delivery is completed, proof of the delivery can be shared with you immediately. You can therefore actively address and reduce fake delivery reports.
6. Route Optimisation
If you want to reach any destination fast, the route you take is of immense importance. A good courier tracking system analyses data to determine the optimal route for every delivery. Tracking the vehicle’s route can help you to provide customers with the exact time of delivery.
How does the Courier Tracking System Work?
Now that we’ve gone through the different ways a courier tracking system can be utilised, it's time to deep dive into how these systems function. The base goal of using this system is to make tracking an order easier, even if it’s a single order out of thousands that were placed that day. It allows each order to have its own unique identification code so tracking your order is a quick task, no matter what stage of delivery it has reached. To give you a clearer understanding, we’ve listed out the steps that enable a courier tracking system to work. These steps also give you insight into the life cycle of every order.
1) AWB Generation
After an order has been placed and the courier partner has been selected, the order must be created on the courier partners platform. Once created, the AWB (airway bill) has to be generated for the order. The AWB number will serve as the unique identifier of the order for tracking purposes. The details of the order are stored in a unique barcode along with the AWB.
2) Scanning the barcode/AWB details
Generation of the AWB and order barcode is only the first step in the process of order manifestation. After the shipping label is printed, order is packed and prepared for pickup. Finally, at the time of preparing the order to begin its journey, the barcode is scanned. This initial scanning signifies the first delivery milestone to be crossed by the order.
3) Storing the Scanned information
When the barcode of the order is scanned, all the information about the order contained within the barcode is collected and stored by the courier partner platform. This includes real-time order tracking information, like the location of the origin warehouse, the delivery destination and the time at which it was picked up from the seller’s location or the origin warehouse.
4) In-Transit Storage
Once the order has been picked up from the warehouse, it begins its long journey to the customer’s location. Most orders must travel long distances to reach customers. To make the journey easier and safer for delivery agents and orders, logistics companies typically have in-transit storage facilities. Orders can be stored until the next phase of delivery begins.
5) Re-scanning the information
Each hub that an order reaches is another delivery milestone. This means the barcode assigned to each order has to be re-scanned as soon as it arrives at each in-transit storage point. The courier partner platform again collects and stores the order details including the time at which it was handed over to the in-transit hub.
6) Out for Delivery
The next major milestone is when the order is being prepared for the last-mile of delivery. This is the stretch between the final in-transit hub and the customer’s delivery location. When the last-mile delivery agent collects the order, the item is scanned again. The data collected by the courier partner platform is once again updated to include the time the order was picked up by the last-mile delivery agent.
7) Successful Delivery
This should ideally be the final step in the life cycle of every order, i.e., when the order is successfully delivered to the customer. Once the item is handed over, the courier tracking system updates the status of the order to “Delivered”. The time of delivery is noted along with the name of the person who received the item.
Given the sheer volume of orders that most ecommerce businesses handle, tracking an order can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. This used to be the case prior to the introduction of courier tracking systems. The AWB number generated by this system acts as a unique identifier for each order. The barcode assigned to each order acts as a mechanism for passing on order information at every milestone. Tracking an order gives customers a sense of security and faith that their orders will be duly delivered, even if it may be late. Operations can be optimised with the data collected by a courier tracking system which is designed to note flaws and much-needed upgrades in the delivery process. An efficient courier tracking system can enable businesses to handle rising order volumes and increasing customer demands.