How To Provide Order Tracking for Your Ecommerce Customers

Ryan Baum
Ryan Baum
Last updated on 
June 7, 2022
June 7, 2022
How To Provide Order Tracking for Your Ecommerce Customers

Businesses want orders. Otherwise, it's not a business, right?

Today's buyers are sophisticated and simply getting their order on the day they're expecting it doesn't cut it anymore. They want a tracking number to be able to see their order status and location at any given time. They want real-time alerts and email notifications. On top of that, they want their order as quickly as possible. This trend makes it important for a company, even a small business, to use an order tracking system.

Table of contents

  • Why your online store should have a way to track customer order status
  • Common hurdles when building a custom order tracking system for an ecommerce business
  • The best customer order tracking app options to help ecommerce stores on Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento 2 

Why your online store should have a way to track customer order status

Customers are used to placing an online order with huge ecommerce vendors like Amazon and tracking it from when they click "Place order" to when it's brought to their front door by FedEx or UPS. Being able to do this has set high expectations. Offering tracking data benefits both your customer and your business in four distinct ways.

Providing a customer order status gives customers and your company a sense of security

Once customers place an online order, waiting for it to arrive can seem like staring into black nothingness. Will it get here on time? Is it ever coming? There's tangible security in knowing the delivery status in real time. Your company benefits from avoiding time-consuming phone calls and emails from customers checking on their orders.

A 2021 survey by OptimoRoute found that 24.6% of online shoppers said they were extremely likely to return to a brand that provides real-time order tracking.

It allows customers to plan in advance for receiving their products

There are reasons beyond "I'm just curious" that consumers need to know their order is on its way and when it will arrive. For example, if the product is expensive, customers definitely don't want it sitting on the front porch in plain sight all day. If it's large, they might need to make allowances for delivery, as they would if a signature is required. In these instances, status updates are crucial.

Customer order tracking feeds into a positive customer experience and builds loyalty

According to ProShip, "80% of customers want to track their order status not only online, but also on their mobile devices. And of those 80%, 76% of them want SMS communication throughout the entire shipping process." The customer experience you provide on your ecommerce platform is essential in maintaining sales and growing your business. Receiving tracking information, email notifications, and delivery dates create a positive association with your company.

A new customer will appreciate the experience and be more likely to purchase from you again. Since repeat business is a long-term goal of any business, creating loyalty via your order tracking is a big advantage.

It reduces tickets and leverages automation, freeing up your customer service team

Many ecommerce companies are looking for ways to alleviate customer service workloads and reduce time spent handling simple requests. Order tracking fills the bill. Instead of calling and emailing to check on their order status, customers can be informed by email notifications or check their order status on their smart device in real-time. This solution can streamline the process and dramatically cut down on call volumes. Productivity increases because your customer service team is freed up to address higher-level issues.

Typically, customer order tracking requests can be automated via live chats, chatbots, and in an omnichannel system. Customers can use their purchase order number to access the status of an order. This can work whether they’re communicating through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or on your website.

It reduces the number of returns you can expect 

Customers often return items because they arrive late and the customer no longer wants or needs them. With detailed and up-to-date order tracking (as well as a clear returns policy), customers can better anticipate the arrival date of the product, making it less likely they’ll just ship the package back to you when it finally arrives. And, as you might expect, reducing returns has a great positive impact on your business’s revenue.

Related: Our list of best practices for returns in ecommerce and our list of the best returns management software.

Common hurdles when building a custom order tracking system for an ecommerce business

There are numerous advantages of using a customer order tracking system. Depending on the industry you're in, you may believe there's no way to find a solution that would serve your buyers and integrate with your current operations. If you're considering building an order management system from scratch, here's what building an entire tracking system on your own looks like.

  • Many integrations: For an order tracking system to work properly, your manufacturers, website, SMS, software systems, inventory management software, and shipping carriers information must all "talk to" each other. If they don't, information gets bottlenecked or not communicated at all. The result is that your customer isn't able to access their order status, which causes frustration and has them calling your customer support team.
  • Multiple templates: If you sync your tracking components up successfully, you're still going to need communication templates. You will need ordering templates that collect customer information like their name, address, phone number, credit card payment information, and delivery preferences (on the porch, by the garage, etc.). Emails and SMS messaging are two more templates that must have concise copy that notifies your customer. You will need to outsource the templates or design them in-house. Both options come at a significant additional cost.
  • Manual processes: A custom-built tracking page may require more data entry than necessary with other solutions. Not only do manual processes open your system up to human error, they also eat up productivity.

The best customer order tracking app options to help ecommerce stores on Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento 2

If your online business chooses a more user-friendly ecommerce platform, you're able to build your customer order tracking system much easier. There are several great choices on the market that are both scalable and flexible, depending on your needs. Built-in functions of the platforms themselves and the use of apps and extensions allow for a more robust, seamless experience.

Start by having customer support software that acts as your central hub

A powerful customer service team is the building block of a successful order management system. Tools like Gorgias help centralize the communication of tracking requests via apps into one place. From there, customer service teams can respond/automate responses related to tracking and order statuses. These tools optimize the response time and increase the instances of a positive customer experience.

Gorgias integrates with a ton of popular ecommerce tools, making it a great single-view hub. A few of their most popular integrations are NetSuite, Reveal, Tolstoy, Magento, ChannelReply, and Shopify Plus.

An all-in-one help desk where ecommerce companies keep incoming questions and posts in one location, Gorgias maximizes effectiveness and elevates service levels. By centralizing customer interactions, some of the most common questions can be automated. In addition, the customer service team doesn't spend time jumping from one tool to another, so the workflow is more efficient.

Apps that help automate customer order tracking info for Shopify and BigCommerce

Choosing the best tools to automate your customer order tracking can be overwhelming and time-consuming. The good thing about so many choices is that you can end up with an order tracking system that works exactly the way you need it to. Here are some of the overall highest-performing app providers that you can use to forge a successful project management initiative.

ShipBob

ShipBob is a global logistics platform that provides online companies best-in-class fulfillment, so customers receive fast and affordable shipping. With reliable fulfillment services and connected technology that powers their fulfillment network, they help improve transit times, shipping costs, and the delivery experience for your customers.

(Check out this app in the Shopify App Store or the BigCommerce App Store.)

AfterShip

With its seven notification triggers, easy-to-use email editor, and filter tracking tools, AfterShip helps your online business provide transparent communication to your customers. It also helps you keep an eye on delivery issues, so you can address them before they become problems that could end up damaging your customer experience.

(Check out this app in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store.)

ShipStation

This app helps you save time, money, and sell more. You can compare rates and delivery times for all your carriers in one place to get the fastest, most cost-effective shipping for your customer. Benefit from the app's automation across almost every facet of your shipping process, and take advantage of its intuitive dashboards and seamless interfaces for optimal workflow.

(Review this app's full offerings in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store.)

Extensions that help automate customer order tracking info for Magento 2

Doing your research and choosing the extensions to help you create and maintain an order tracking process that's scalable and contributes to a positive customer experience is essential. We've done some legwork for you, and here are our favorites.

ShipStation

Yes, we already mentioned this app above, but we want to drive home the value it offers in your quest to automate your order tracking. It allows you to give your customers multiple delivery options during their checkout. ShipStation is highly scalable, providing everything you need for order management in a single location.

(See if ShipStation is right for your ecommerce business in the Magento Marketplace.)

Easyship

Whether you're shipping 50 or 50,000 orders a month, Easyship can help you lower shipping costs and increase conversion rates. Use this extension to manage your post-purchase process the way it makes the most sense for your business.

(Read more about it in the Magento Marketplace.)

Related: Our list of best practices for ecommerce shipping and our list of the best shipping software for ecommerce.

Mageworx

Their Order Editor extension provides you a way to edit errors customers have made with their street number, phone number, name, and other shipping and billing details. You can also add or remove products, change pricing, and add coupons after the order has been placed. This saves your customer support team from having to cancel the order and start it again from the beginning.

(Learn more details about this extension in the Magento Marketplace.)

Centralize your order status tracking and customer support management with Gorgias

Employing automation to facilitate easy order tracking, status updates, and real-time delivery information for your customers is a smart move for your online business. By committing to an end-to-end order tracking system, you make it possible for your company to cut costs, increase productivity, and create customer loyalty.

Gorgias is a powerful and comprehensive ecommerce help desk solution that can save up to 50% of the time you spend managing your support requests. Plus, it integrates with Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce. Reach out today to learn how we can help you simplify your order status tracking system.

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