Real-Time Delivery Tracking is No Longer a Luxury in 2024

Real-time delivery tracking emerges as a critical solution, bridging the gap between customer expectation and reality.

Michaela Ivanova
February 27, 2024
real-time delivery tracking is a must

Ever been bombarded with questions from customers about the status of their order? Or had to deal with their frustration because the delivery was delayed?

These common scenarios indicate a serious issue in the e-commerce world: the gap between customer expectations and delivery reality. This huge discrepancy often leads to frustration, eroding trust, and potentially drives customers away.

Many retailers still don't think of delivery tracking as a necessity. If you share this mindset too, we would advise you to think again.

Whether you manage deliveries in-house or outsource them, real-time delivery tracking IS a critical must. It builds a foundation of credibility and trust and helps to turn first-time buyers into returning customers.

Here's a quick summary of what you'll find in this post:

  • Factors for rising customer expectations
  • Understanding real-time delivery tracking
  • Benefits of delivery tracking
  • Success story: OBI Poland
  • FAQ

Factors for rising customer expectations

In recent years, the escalation of customer expectations around delivery services has dramatically transformed the landscape of e-commerce and logistics.

First, customers demand fast deliveries — often within the same day. Second, they want a seamless, transparent, and highly responsive delivery experience. 

Before we take a deeper look at real-time tracking, let’s explore each of the factors behind this transformation:

Demand for speed and transparency

A pivotal change in customer expectations centers around the speed of delivery.

According to a study, 86% of customers define "fast delivery" as receiving their orders within two days or less, and 58% are willing to pay extra for the privilege of expedited delivery.

This expectation has set a new benchmark for retailers and logistics providers. As a result, businesses need to embrace expedited shipping methods and extend operating hours. 

But to meet the demand without compromising profitability, they need to pay serious attention to delivery route optimization.

Where is my order (WISMO)

The certainty of knowing where your order is has shifted from a value-added service to a fundamental customer expectation.

The modern shopper desires not just visibility into the delivery process but also the ability to interact with it. This includes:

  • real-time updates on order status
  • the location of the delivery vehicle
  • an accurate estimate of the delivery time window
  • seamless communication with the delivery driver
  • notifications and updates on delays or other changes

This level of engagement empowers customers and gives them a sense of control and assurance.

Impact of failed deliveries

Failed deliveries are a critical pain point for both businesses and customers, with the cost of a failed delivery averaging $17.20 per order.

This doesn't just represent a logistical challenge — it's a direct threat to customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

The reasons for failed deliveries range from incorrect addresses to the absence of recipients, each contributing to increased operational costs and decreased customer trust.

Addressing these issues through smarter route optimization, better communication channels, and flexible delivery options has become essential for businesses striving to meet and exceed customer expectations.

The surge in e-commerce

Experts predict that e-commerce worldwide sales will hit $8 trillion by 2027. For comparison, in 2023 e-commerce revenue was $5.7 trillion with a record high of almost $1 trillion from holiday shopping.

This increase in demand puts additional pressure on delivery networks to perform flawlessly. More individual deliveries mean more opportunities for delays, errors, and customer dissatisfaction.

In this context, the ability of a delivery service to adapt and respond to these pressures is directly linked to its ability to satisfy customer expectations.

Understanding real-time delivery tracking

Real-time delivery tracking is a pivotal technology reshaping the delivery experience, providing customers and businesses with unprecedented transparency and control. Here's a deeper dive into understanding this transformative feature.

What is real-time delivery tracking

Real-time delivery tracking is a system that allows both customers and businesses to see the exact location of a delivery vehicle and the status of the delivery at any given moment.

This technology is facilitated through GPS tracking and provides live updates on:

  • the vehicle's position
  • delivery route
  • estimated time of arrival (ETA)

The information is sent directly to a customer's device or a central control dashboard.

Key components of real-time tracking

There are a few basic components of quality real-time tracking:

  • Live location updates
  • Estimated time of arrival (ETA)
  • Direct communication
  • Delivery status notifications

The live location updates use GPS technology to offer continuous tracking of the delivery vehicle's current position.

The ETA calculates and regularly updates the expected delivery time based on current location, traffic conditions, and route changes.

Direct communication enables customers to contact the delivery driver or customer support through the tracking interface. It also facilitates real-time communication for any necessary adjustments or instructions.

The delivery status notifications serve as automated alerts and updates to customers about the status of their delivery.

delivery tracking app - customer view
Ufleet's customer portal

Delivery tracking and customer experience

Real-time tracking significantly improves the customer experience.

It leads to increased transparency and trust in the brand. Knowing the status of your delivery reduces the anxiety and uncertainty associated with waiting for orders.

In addition, the ability to interact with the delivery process and receive timely updates directly correlates with higher customer satisfaction levels.

Last but not least, it results in reduced customer service inquiries related to order status and time of delivery.

Benefits of delivery tracking

Real-time delivery tracking is a transformative solution in the delivery sector. It offers multiple benefits that enhance customer experience and streamline operational efficiency:

Benefits for customers

  • Enhanced transparency: It fosters trust, reduces the anxiety of waiting, and makes the delivery experience more reassuring and satisfying.
  • Increased control and convenience: Customers can easily communicate last-minute instructions which makes delivery adaptable to the dynamic needs of customers.
  • Improved delivery accuracy: Real-time ETA helps customers plan their day around the delivery. It also significantly reduces the risk of missed deliveries.

Benefits for businesses

  • Reduced support inquiries: This reduction allows customer service teams to focus on more complex issues, improving overall service quality.
  • Enhanced customer loyalty: Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and even brand advocates.
  • Updates on delays and issues: This allows businesses to notice or sometimes predict delays or other problems and act accordingly.

Success story: OBI Poland

OBI Poland, a major DIY retailer in Poland, faced challenges in providing a transparent and efficient customer delivery experience.

Store managers, logistic partners, and the customer support team had limited visibility into the delivery process, which led to uncertainties and inefficiencies that impacted customer satisfaction.

In 2020, OBI Poland adopted Ufleet's delivery management system to optimize routes, provide real-time tracking, and facilitate communication between customers and delivery personnel.

This allowed them to improve transparency and customer satisfaction. Customers gained the ability to track their deliveries in real-time on any device without needing to log in on the company’s website. This level of convenience led to:

  • 30% increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • 39% less WISMO calls
  • 54% decrease in unhappy customers

It also enhanced service quality — the visibility and control provided allowed OBI Poland to manage its fleet more effectively. In addition, it ensured that deliveries were made on time, and any potential issues were addressed proactively.

FAQ about real-time delivery tracking

What is real-time delivery tracking?

It's a system that allows customers and businesses to see the live location of delivery vehicles and the ETA of their orders.

How does real-time delivery tracking improve customer satisfaction?

It enhances transparency, reduces anxiety over delivery status, and allows customers to plan their day around the delivery.

Can real-time tracking reduce operational costs for businesses?

Yes, by optimizing routes and reducing the volume of customer service inquiries related to order status.

Can customers communicate with drivers through real-time tracking systems?

Yes, customers can directly contact the delivery driver for real-time updates or adjustments.

Can real-time delivery tracking help with failed deliveries?

Yes, by providing accurate ETAs and direct communication, delivery tracking significantly reduces the chances of missed deliveries.

What is the ROI of implementing real-time delivery tracking?

It increases delivery efficiency, and improves customer satisfaction and retention, which leads to higher overall profitability and brand loyalty.

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