What is a web based tracking system

Web-based software for shipping monitoring

Table of Contents

  1. Why shipping monitoring is worthwhile
  2. In addition, use the digital recipient services of the parcel services
  3. Criticisms from the consumer's point of view
  4. Aftership
  5. Trackingmore
  6. Sendcloud
  7. Parcellab
  8. Parcel performance
  9. Paqato

Why shipping monitoring is worthwhile

Goods sent, order done. - Companies shouldn't make it that easy for themselves. Because many imponderables lurk on the dispatch route to the recipient, which could negatively affect customer satisfaction. In addition, mail order companies are responsible for the entire supply chain. For example, if the parcel service is responsible for late delivery, the seller is responsible for this (applies to private customers; not for B2B transactions).

E-commerce companies are therefore well advised not to simply send their customers a link for shipment tracking. Active shipment monitoring helps companies to recognize delays in the supply chain immediately and to inform customers about them. Ideally, the company can clarify a delivery problem (e.g. a wrong address) with the parcel service itself and solve the problem without the recipient having to take any action.

In this article, we will introduce you to web-based multi-carrier software that can be used to manage shipments from different parcel services. In principle, all tools work identically:

  • Shipment data are retrieved from the tracking of the parcel service.
  • The software analyzes the progress of the shipment.
  • If a transport delay is detected, the customer service and / or the parcel recipient is informed.
  • Reports on delivery times and delivery quality can be created on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

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In addition, use the digital recipient services of the parcel services

All parcel services now make it possible to transmit the parcel recipient's email address along with the shipment data. Use this option to enable private customers in particular to control parcel receipt according to their wishes.

If a customer is not present on the planned delivery day, they can send the parcel to a parcel shop, for example, or order a new delivery on the desired day via email notification.

If you send the email addresses of the parcel recipients to the parcel service, your customers save themselves a time-consuming call to the parcel service hotline in case of doubt. Instead, you can easily redeem the package online.

Conclusion: The shipping systems presented below can do a lot, but not everything. Your customers receive maximum control over parcel deliveries with a combination of third-party software with the digital recipient services of the original parcel service.

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Criticisms from the consumer's point of view

Before you decide to provide your customers with shipping information via a third-party provider, please note the following weaknesses that can occur in practice with shipping portals.

Third-party providers do not always show the latest shipment status
The original data is usually cached by third-party tracking providers and may only be updated every 1 to 2 hours. Customers could miss an update as a result. This is particularly critical in the morning hours when recipients check whether their order is in the delivery van or not. If a customer leaves the house because they mistakenly assume that their package won't come today, that would be annoying.

Status messages are "incorrectly translated"
Parcel services often formulate status messages in a complicated way. Third-party tracking software translates such messages into simple language that customers understand better. But sometimes important information is lost in the process. If a wrong sorting is translated, for example, as "Your package is on the way", the customer is annoyed about a delayed delivery without knowing the cause. It is just as dangerous to translate interrupted tours as "You were not found" because the delivery person was not at the customer's.

Packet redirection options are hidden
Third-party shipping portals promise online shops additional customer contacts. The integration of shipment tracking on the shop website generates a branding effect and maybe even follow-up purchases by displaying discount coupons.

Disadvantage: If a customer wants to redirect his parcel, specify a storage location or agree on a preferred day, this only works on the original website of the parcel service. The customer can switch from third-party tracking to original tracking with one click, but it is still a hurdle.

Delivery date forecast
If customers are shown an estimated delivery date in the shipment tracking, the date should be reliable. A forecast according to the formula "shipping day + 1" is of no use to the recipient because the date is very likely not to be correct.

Ideally, third-party portals display the delivery forecast of the original parcel service. In the case of domestic parcels, the parcel services' forecasts mostly apply (except at peak times before Christmas). A bad customer experience arises when the third-party vendor's forecast differs from the parcel service’s forecast.

With international parcels, third-party providers have an advantage in terms of forecast accuracy. Especially when a parcel is being transported by two or three different parcel services. Third-party providers can evaluate historical data of comparable parcels and calculate the average delivery time. Individual parcel services do not have this option because they only know the delivery time of their own transport section and not the lead times or follow-up times of cooperation partners.

Exception: If a parcel remains in the same network during the entire transport route, the parcel service can calculate the arrival date well in advance (applies to DHL Express and UPS, for example).

Incidentally, problems or delays in customs clearance cannot be foreseen. It is your duty as the sender to attach the necessary customs documents to every package or to provide electronic customs data.

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Aftership was founded in Hong Kong in 2012 and is now under the umbrella of Automizely.com, a provider of e-commerce and logistics software.

Aftership has more than 770 affiliated parcel services. The range of functions includes classic reporting and notification functions for certain shipment events.

The software can send dispatch notifications to end customers via email and SMS. It is possible to integrate the shipment tracking into your own website. Using plugins, shipment data can be synchronized between aftership and common shop systems.

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Trackingmore is a software company from China. The functions for business customers are very extensive. There is a tracking API, tracking plugins for shop systems and the option of sending personalized e-mails and SMS. The dispatch is triggered by certain tracking events (e.g. transport problem, failed or successful delivery).

Webhooks are a specialty. For previously defined tracking events, Trackingmore.com opens a URL on the business customer's server and transmits the package number and the event as parameters. As a business customer, this allows you to trigger further actions on your own server; For example, an entry in the logistics system or information to customer service. Webhooks can be used for a wide variety of applications and enable a high degree of customization. On the other hand, there is a higher set-up effort (programming) than with standardized e-mails and SMS.

The pricing model for business customers can be found at www.trackingmore.com/pricing.html. Trackingmore bills according to the number of packages. There is a free package with 100 packages per month. If you want to use certain functions (e.g. API, sending e-mails), you have to choose a paid package.

  • Website: trackingmore.com
  • Can be used free of charge for up to 50 programs per month (limited functionality)
  • For more than 50 shipments, variable price per package and full range of functions, see price models

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Sendcloud's core business is a multi-carrier shipping platform. Companies can integrate the Sendcloud interface in their online shop and use it to work with various parcel services. The entry-level tariff is even free.

In order to offer end customers a tracking website and tracking e-mails with their own look and feel, at least the "Small Shop" tariff must be booked.

In a practical test by Paketda in March 2021, Sendcloud tracking was negative due to several inconsistencies. The dispatch notification ("... will be handed over to the shipping service provider DHL today") was sent 2 working days too early. Sendcloud or the shop sent another email on the actual shipping day, but such a double shipping confirmation confuses customers. Sendcloud also displayed the wrong status "Your shipment is being processed in the destination package center". In reality, the shipment was processed in the Start Parcel Center.

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The Parcellab website lists reference customers who, for example, have been able to reduce support inquiries, receive better customer ratings and even increase sales through the use of Parcellab. We were unable to discover a particular unique selling point on the website that distinguishes Parcellab from other providers.

Positive: Software developers can view the interface description in advance at how.parcellab.works/docs/. However, it is not possible to simply register to try out the system.

  • Website: parcellab.com
  • Free trial: unclear
  • Parcellab does not publish any price information on the website (as of 2/2021).

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Parcel performance

Parcelperform is headquartered in Singapore; the founders are two Germans. This has the great advantage that more than 600 parcel services are connected to Parcelperform and the software can still be used in German.

If you send a lot of international parcels or import them to Germany via dropshipping, broad carrier coverage, as with Parcelperform, is important. The portal can be tried out free of charge for 14 days. The subsequent use is billed according to the number of packages. If you want to use Parcelperform, you cannot simply register but have to contact the sales department.

  • Website: parcelperform.de
  • Free trial: 14 days
  • Special feature: customers can forecast delivery times before completing the order are displayed.

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With Paqato, shipping notifications can not only be sent to customers by email. SMS, WhatsApp and social media messages are also possible. The latter may mean Facebook Messenger.

In the Paqato price list, some functions are marked as "add-ons". They likely cost an extra charge. Companies that operate brick-and-mortar stores can also use Paqato to send shipping notifications for click-and-collect orders.

  • Website: paqato.com
  • Free test phase, then from 244 euros per month (as of 2/2021)
  • Supported parcel services: DHL, DPD, Hermes, GLS and UPS (as of 2/2021)

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Your questions about tracking software