7 Customer Order Tracking Tips for Online Retailers – A 2024 Guide

Customer order tracking is an essential component of the sales process for online retailers. Getting it right improves consumer satisfaction and reduces the amount of resources spent responding to customer service enquiries.

However, mastering it is challenging. eCommerce firms must be constantly refining their processes to keep up with customer expectations.

With 7 actionable tips to improve your customer order tracking process, this article explains what order tracking is, how it applies to eCommerce businesses and how it can help your eCommerce business thrive in today’s challenging conditions.

What is order tracking in eCommerce?

Order tracking is the process and variety of tools that eCommerce firms use to allow customers to track their deliveries. The simplest platforms send customers emails when dispatching and delivering, while the more sophisticated ones show parcel locations in real-time; users may be able to get alerts via branded apps, SMS, or their email accounts.

What is the eCommerce order management process?

The eCommerce order management process refers to the customer journey; from placing an order, to receiving it and beyond (returns and exchanges). For example, firms send customers automated email confirmations when they get, ship, fulfil and complete orders. Order management systems (OMS) are software solutions that streamline and centralise this process, reducing the risk of error.

How are online orders tracked?

eCommerce firms usually track orders with tracking numbers and scanners connected to cloud software. Scanning devices record codes from specific products at nodes throughout the fulfilment process and send information wirelessly to central computers. Then, these connect to the internet, sending notifications to customers.

Older order tracking systems are more likely to rely on barcodes. Scanners capture these, update the online order tracking system and send information to customers.

More advanced services use GPS tracking. These show item locations in real-time. eCommerce brands usually reserve this service level for the most valuable items.

How to improve order tracking

Adopting proper delivery management best practices can improve your eCommerce firm’s performance. But what practical steps can you take to do it well?

Here we present 7 customer eCommerce order tracking tips to improve the customer experience:

1. Provide engaging and clear topic line

Start by providing customers with an engaging subject line for notifications. This tactic helps them feel more connected to your brand.

For example, you might write:

  • “Your [item name] is on its way!”
  • “We just dispatched your new [item name]. Get ready for delivery!”
  • “We’re sorry: there’s been a delay. We will dispatch your [item name] soon.”

These headlines grab attention, keep customers informed and get them excited in anticipation of their orders.

2. Offer multiple tracking options

Next, offer multiple tracking options. Give customers the choice, as part of the checkout process, between using a tracking number with a link to your website, email, text notifications or in-app.

Some customers love receiving SMS messages telling them their order is on the way. Others don’t. You can’t guess a customer’s personal circumstances and preferences, so providing them with a variety of options ensures their preferences are sought and they feel valued from the start of the process.

Providing this choice has also been shown to help improve basket conversion rates. When using GFS Checkout customers outperform the industry by more than 16% on basket conversion rates!*

*Source: GFS Checkout average conversion rate in last 360 days vs average global conversion rate of 2.58%, Invesp 2021

3. Use services that can help you track orders

You can also improve eCommerce delivery tracking by leveraging services from a partner like GFS, who offer pro-active parcel tracking to enhance the customer experience.

For example, you might send automated notifications for:

  • Order confirmation
  • Despatching
  • Shipping
  • Tracking
  • Delivery

These notifications should contain estimated delivery dates and keep customers informed if the situation changes.

4. Use push notifications

Using push notifications is another way to improve your process tracking. Allowing customers to access tracking information whenever they want boosts trust and reduces customer service issues and enquiries.

For example, you might include additional tracking notifications such as “attempted to deliver: will return at [time]” or “[number of stops] away from delivery].”

5. Acknowledge delays

Acknowledging delays promptly can also improve the online order tracking experience significantly. Telling customers of any delays as soon as possible, via an order tracking system such as GFS Seeker, reduces worries and helps to build trust. Customers know that things might not always go to plan, but if they are kept informed and receive good communication they will feel valued and the impact of the delay can be minimised.

Always offer pro-active solutions for delivery delays where you can. These could include:

  • Telling customers they can collect their items from a locker
  • Offering customers the option to pick up parcels from depots
  • Providing free shipping on their next order
Staying Ahead Of Your eCommerce Competition

6. Promote customer care channels

Promoting customer care channels via order tracking systems is another tool for improving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Providing website chat services, guides and product information reduces refunds and increases the propensity for consumers to leave five-star reviews.

7. Use your brand voice

Finally, you can improve tracking by personalising the experience using your brand voice. Leverage every touchpoint to let customers know it’s you and that you value them.

To enhance the experience further, consider:

  • Adding coupons, voucher codes or promo codes to your communications
  • Providing customers with previous order lists
  • Offering product suggestions for cross-selling and upselling

If you are interested in how to easily integrate best practices into your order tracking process, take a look at our GFS Seeker: Integrated Carrier & Parcel Tracking Software. Our team can assess your tracking, delivery and carrier management needs and advise you on the solution that best suits your business.