How to Provide Visibility Into Shipping

Published on October 13, 2022
Written by
Filed under Shipping Basics
Read time 5 Minutes

No-one likes ambiguity, especially when it comes to that eagerly awaited parcel a customer has ordered. 

From the moment someone presses purchase on your store, customers expect to know where their order is at all times and providing complete visibility into the shipping process is a must nowadays.  

In our recent survey, we found that more than 85% of consumers stated that they want full visibility into expected shipping timelines before making any online purchase. That’s a lot of potential customers.

And if that wasn’t enough, the business reasons for doing this are clear. 

Providing excellent visibility during the shipping process…

  • Manages customer expectations better
  • Stops frustration
  • Reduces queries for your customer service team to handle
  • Enhances brand reputation
  • Strengthens buyer trust
  • Drives loyalty

But how can you provide this visibility without rewiring your entire business and starting from scratch?

Shipping Visibility 101

Your first step should be assessing what you already do. 

For example, are you providing parcel tracking updates or is that left to the carrier? 

Do you inform customers when their product leaves your warehouse or premises? 

Can customers choose when an item is delivered on its delivery day or are they given an open-ended timeslot that’s difficult to plan their day around?

Start your shipping visibility review by answering these questions and mapping the entire journey of a product. 

If you’re unsure what happens, ask a friend to order something from your business or order something yourself. You might be surprised what you discover. 

Perhaps your on-site fulfilment is excellent but last mile shipping visibility is poor. Maybe there’s a disconnect between your own business and a carrier’s. 

Increasing Shipping Visibility 

Once you understand how an order flows from start to finish, turn your attention to bottlenecks and things that could cause delivery delays. 

Every business has them and a lot of the time you cannot plan for them, however try to focus on what the customer is told when these happen. 

Are they informed by you that their item is delayed? Perhaps they aren’t, and they have to figure out a delay has happened and hunt for tracking information. 

Does your parcel tracking you use provide geographical updates or vaguer information like “at delivery hub”, “with driver” or simply “delayed”? 

Successfully providing customers visibility into shipping is all about the detail, and the more detailed the better. 

Go overboard. 

Information overload isn’t a thing when it comes to providing customers with visibility into their orders. 

Think Internationally

Giving your customers easy-to-understand and regular updates becomes even more important for international orders

Customs, cross-border complications and international carrier quirks can all cause delays. International customers are often more patient as they know a product is coming from afar, but they expect a certain level of service too.

Are tracking updates in English only, for example? Think like a local is the rule of thumb when selling internationally. 

Automated Visibility

This challenge can seem daunting to even the most experienced ecommerce seller, but you don’t have to take on this problem alone. 

ShipStation easily automates this process for you, taking on the heavy lifting so you can provide your customers with crystal clear visibility at all times.

The important thing to remember is to think like a customer. Perhaps look at what your favourite brands are doing and see whether you can replicate what do too.  

So, whether you’re shipping products from Southend or setting up an ecommerce venture in Shetland, just remember, if you’re equipped with a plan, thinking smart with technology and constantly refining your processes, customers are always going to be happier and grateful for the visibility their have into their orders. 

Written by

Maria Fagerland

Maria is a multifaceted writer and editor who is passionate about creating content that helps businesses succeed. When she's not writing, Maria can often be found in her garden tending to her plants.

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