Investing in creating quality products without paying decent attention to service delivery can be compared to serving mouth-watering cuisines on dirty plates. Pay as much attention to service delivery as you do to create quality products! One way to improve service delivery is by providing real-time shipment visibility on customers’ orders.
What is Real-time Shipment Visibility?
Imagine a first-time customer making emergency preparations for a friend’s birthday requests express shipping of some decoration fittings from your store. However, the package doesn’t arrive as scheduled, and they cannot determine exactly why or when it will arrive to plan appropriately. Here’s what you may have impressed on this customer’s mind – that you do not prioritize his satisfaction or service delivery.
A survey shows that 97% of customers expect real-time visibility of their deliveries. You are therefore doing your business a disservice if you do not have provision for this already. Customers should be able to say where their package is in real time!
Real-time shipping visibility essentially involves providing the customer with a tracking ID which they can enter into your business’ website or mobile app. Once entered, the website pulls up a real-time map showing the order’s exact location and information on when the package is picked up from the warehouse, arrives at the shipping facility, and is shipped to their address. Top-tier businesses and competitive startups use tools and management solutions like Trackingmore to facilitate this. Trackingmore especially sends SMS and email notifications updating customers on their package delivery status and potentially reducing the number of daily Where is my order (WISMOs) requests the business gets.
For the most part, real-time shipping visibility gives customers a sense of reassurance. It can help alleviate first-timers’ anxiety about the delivery process. It may also help customers feel more connected to the brand. By providing an up-to-the-minute update on orders, you can show that your brand is transparent and can be trusted. Buyers typically appreciate this level of communication, and it may be considered enough incentive for them to patronise you again. In one survey, 70% of consumers acknowledged that they are more likely to shop with a retailer that offers real-time delivery tracking than one that doesn’t.
Why do you need to provide shipping visibility to customers?
Shipping visibility is very important in today’s business climate. It is not by chance that many businesses are beginning to subscribe to tools that can help them access timely information about their supply chain. In fact, a report by Gartner predicts that the adoption of real-time shipment visibility solutions will increase by 15% annually until 2024. This is foreseeable as customers increasingly crave real-time shipment visibility. A survey by MetaPack reveals that 96% of consumers want to be able to track their orders, and 83% of the survey participants expect regular updates on the delivery status of their orders.
Businesses with real-time data on their shipment can identify their supply chain points and what needs improvement. They may then make conscious and informed efforts to resolve these issues. Integrating real-time shipment visibility into your workflow can give you a competitive advantage over other retailers, improve customer satisfaction and enhance operational efficiency.
Benefits of Providing Real-Time Shipment Visibility
Here’s a summarised view of what you stand to gain from providing real-time shipment visibility on orders made from your store:
- Improve customer experience
Feeding customers real-time data on delivery progress could help improve your customer experience and win customers over. It also increases the customer’s faith in your business and delivery outcomes. Many successful businesses like Dominos keep this in mind, so engage customers with push notifications, delivery tracking options and live chat support, all put together to keep customers in the know.
- Increase in team productivity
Manually tracking and tracing each shipment can be quite a headache. Adding to it is the emotional stress of responding to angry customers or the hassle of calling drivers and logistics companies to inquire about different orders. You know you are in for a long day.
Businesses can reduce the chances of this happening by incorporating – into their workflow – tools that help them get real-time insights into freight locations per time. Team members may then put the time they would have otherwise used in manual monitoring into more productive activities.
Accurate real-time insights on inventory, routes and logistic challenges can help businesses deal with risks beforehand. It may also cut costs related to inventory miscalculations, stolen goods, human error in logging driver man hours etc. Reducing the overall head costs will no doubt help increase profitability levels.
Challenges Presented by Poor Shipment Visibility
The benefits of real-time shipment visibility are too numerous and important to ignore. Indeed, numerous independent surveys by marketing brands, academic researchers and business analysts show that businesses that lack proper freight visibility and shipment tracking infrastructure are likely to suffer the following:
- Increase in shipping cost
Poor shipment visibility may contribute to an increase in the freight cost. For instance, tracking shipment idle times, truck diversions, accidents, traffic jams, and more is difficult without shipment visibility infrastructure. The combined cost implication of these incidents could result in losses running up to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the business scale. With real-time insights on each freight, you are in a better position to make informed business decisions. Taking alternative and optimised routes may save time and costs caused by traffic delays.
- Poor customer satisfaction
Due to the competitive delivery systems many brands offer, customers have higher delivery expectations than they used to. Customers want to be sure about the real-time status of their orders. It helps if you give them reliable information about the current location of their orders and how long it should take to get to their doorstep or preferred delivery point. Failure to do so could give customers a bad overall impression of your brand, lowering your chances to drive repeat sales.
- Compromise in product integrity
Businesses with poor shipment visibility may find preserving their products’ integrity difficult as they travel long distances. This is a major challenge for businesses that produce fragile and perishable products. Food brands, for instance, can be at stake if optimal environmental conditions are not maintained in transit. Failure to meet industry standards regarding safety, product authenticity, quality and environmental conditions may lead to incurable losses for the business.
Ways to Improve Shipment Visibility
Businesses can improve shipment visibility in the following ways:
- Map processes
Good business plans detail the steps for every process, the time needed to execute them and their relationships. This should provide a holistic view of the activities involved and how their interdependence may impact product delivery.
- Using automated order tracking solutions
Businesses can improve visibility and transparency over their workflow and operations by investing in a well-optimized lot-tracking solution like TrackingMore, you can keep your customers posted on their order status per time with branded tracking page, email and SMS notifications. Solutions like this also help aggregate order shipment data into one platform, which means you can access the whereabouts of all your parcel data with a few clicks and share it with relevant business stakeholders.
- Incorporate proof of delivery
You can improve your shipment visibility by facilitating an electronic proof of delivery. Proof of delivery (POD) is a form of receipt showing that a consignee has received an order. With the date and time stamp on the receipt, it’s easier for businesses to verify complaints of damaged goods or products lost in transit.
- Centralize your logistics data
Having a centralized platform showing all supply chain data and insights gives you an idea of how the business is faring in real-time. From a single dashboard, you can tell if the business is ailing and what part of its logistics operations need urgent attention. The ability to track orders and drivers and simultaneously meet customer demands can greatly improve a business’s efficiency.
Real-time shipment visibility presents numerous benefits to businesses, as highlighted here. It is, therefore, pertinent that every business looking to keep a loyal customer base begins to consider integrating real-time shipment visibility solutions into their workflow. Solutions like Trackingmore makes serious logistic concerns like this a breeze.