In such challenging times, discover exactly why real-time eCommerce order tracking matters and will continue to do so for years to come.
If you run an eCommerce store, chances are you’re very familiar with the following delivery experience scenario.
A customer’s order hasn’t arrived on time. Frustrated, they begin to flood your customer service department with requests for updates, simple complaints, or even refund requests. Once their order arrives, still soured by the experience, they either leave a negative review over an issue that wasn’t your fault, or they silently stop doing business with you.
Now, the customer is understandably upset. This scenario doesn’t often play out in isolation; it overlaps with post-pandemic pressures on supply lines, changed customer expectations, and more. Still, you both walk away unhappy and dissatisfied. It’s these kinds of situations where real-time eCommerce order tracking can offer invaluable assistance to both parties. Why and how? Let’s find out.
The post-pandemic challenges for eCommerce
First, let’s explore the context that often leads to such scenarios. Briefly, for the sake of text economy, consider the following 3 factors that recent times have pronounced heavily.
Supply chain disruptions
The pandemic has not been kind to any industry, much less so to eCommerce specifically. Indeed, Forbes notes that there seems to be no end in sight for the global supply chain disruptions we’re seeing.
This is not an issue on your end alone, however. Yes, it introduces a logistical nightmare, and it cascades into an array of other problems. But it also dominoes into delivery times, so it directly affects the customer experience – for which delivery is extremely important.
Calls for conversion rate optimization (CRO)
For that matter, in part because of fierce competition, eCommerce has long struggled to boost its conversion rates. That makes the issue at hand twofold; one, eCommerce stores already find it increasingly harder to convert leads into customers. Two, once they do, such issues make it harder to retain them – which is an extremely valuable metric.
There are multiple ways to optimize the process of conversion, thankfully, from website performance to optimizing landing pages and CTAs. However, without dedicated professional help, CRO can introduce another challenge at very inopportune times.
Eroding customer trust
Finally, eCommerce, too, suffers from the same erosion of customer trust other industries are seeing. The Edelman Trust Barometer illustrates this perfectly; customers simply distrust the institution of business, and such hurdles to their experience don’t help at all.
The deeper implications of this, as well as the root causes, we may leave to another article to cover. But in this context, consider unmet customer expectations. With all of the above in mind, would you trust a retailer who does not seem to keep their promises? Most probably not.
Why real-time eCommerce order tracking matters
So, this was a cursory glance into the context behind such scenarios. Now, how can real-time eCommerce tracking help in any meaningful way?
What is real-time eCommerce order tracking?
Starting from the basics, let’s establish what it even is. Usually a feature of tracking tools, it is exactly what the name implies; real-time tracking of an order’s delivery status.
Its fundamental difference with regular tracking comes from its real-time nature. For one, customers will receive notifications when their order reaches specific milestones, such as:
- Order placement
- Order shipping time
- Delivery time
Second, periodic notifications aside, customers will receive real-time updates on request. This alone offers substantially more transparency and yields immense benefits in the process.
What are its benefits?
Much like with other services of this nature, real-time eCommerce order tracking offers a wealth of benefits. To highlight the primary ones, in line with the above, consider the following:
#1 Meeting customer expectations and fostering trust
First and foremost, it offers absolute transparency. Initially, this helps meet customer expectations, as partly cultivated by industry standards of such juggernauts as Amazon. Indeed, studies find that 82% of customers have come to expect consistent updates and transparency throughout. While likely challenging, this is the standard retailers need to strive to meet.
In turn, your customers will know at any given time where exactly their order is, which stage of the delivery process has taken longer than expected, and more. This helps compose a quality customer experience, retaining customers and fostering trust in the process. Arguably, precisely what the eCommerce industry needs now.
#2 Alleviating delivery anxiety
Similarly, a common phenomenon for eCommerce customers is delivery anxiety. This phenomenon is extremely common and closely relates to the process being intangible. Unlike brick-and-mortar shops, where the process is swift and the product visible, online purchases don’t truly settle in until the time of delivery. Before then, delays and lack of transparency can introduce some highly understandable anxiety.
Here, too, real-time eCommerce order tracking offers to put your customers’ minds at ease. They will have a clear, visible reference point on their order status, and this transparency alone can work wonders. Most notably, it will prevent uncertainty from escalating and reaching your desks.
#3 Easing the strain on your customer service department
For that matter, the final practical benefit lies in simply de-cluttering your customer service department’s workload. This issue, too, is fairly deep, so it warrants some attention.
For one, it’s imperative that you don’t reach this stage. 40% of all customers now expect a delivery window of 48 hours, and anxiety might push them to reach out sooner. Yes, you can blame Amazon for this behavioral trend. However, by this point, simple reassurance won’t do; there’s only so much your agents can do.
Second, customer service in itself is a crucial component of customer satisfaction. It shapes the customer experience, and it very directly affects customer retention rates. So a flood of update requests and complaints won’t simply displease your agents with little benefit. They will actively inhibit their work, and in turn, result in even more dissatisfied customers. Automated responses and prioritization might help, but only so much – ideally, you should never reach this stage, to begin with.
To summarize, real-time eCommerce order tracking matters more than ever before. It offers customers transparency from start to finish, and it helps ease their frequent delivery anxiety. It helps foster trust, which the industry increasingly needs, and in turn, it helps enhance customer retention rates. Finally, it keeps your customer service departments functional and available to other concerned customers – a boon all in itself.