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3 ways to improve eCommerce order tracking in overseas markets

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If you want to grow a loyal customer base in a new territory, you need to have eCommerce order tracking down to a fine art. Delivery anxiety is real, and that feeling of ‘when will my order arrive?’ is further heightened when overseas shipping is involved.

 

There are major headwinds facing online traders. IMRG data shows that the UK eCommerce market has recorded five consecutive weeks of negative growth, for the first time since February 2020. So in tough times, how can retailers continue to grow?

 

Cross-border eCommerce is on the up and up. 54% of online shoppers are now willing to make a purchase with an overseas retailer. However, this willingness to expand their online shopping horizons comes with a caveat. 82% of consumers want brands to update them on every stage of the delivery process.

 

Here we explore the biggest eComerce order tracking challenges that retailers face when expanding overseas, and how to overcome them.

Control how you communicate with customers

Expanding into new markets generally means using more than one carrier. This enables you to offer more delivery options to your customers, and cover more geographic ground. However it also means that you’re dealing with multiple shipping partners that use different eCommerce order tracking sequences, and therefore provide inconsistent communications to your customers.

 

Having all order tracking notifications sent directly by you, the retailer rather than the carrier is beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it puts you in control of exactly how you want to notify your customers about the status of their orders. You can develop a strategy that incorporates the frequency of updates, and channels used (text, email, customer account notifications). As a result, you create a cohesive experience for domestic and international customers alike. 

 

Another key benefit to communicating tracking updates yourself is that you can use notifications as an opportunity to upsell your products. Shipping-related emails have unrivalled engagement levels, with typical open rates of up to 117%. By incorporating complementary or suggested products into these emails, you have a much higher chance of winning repeat customers.

Offer a localised experience

Localisation is critical when it comes to cross-border eCommerce. You can display multiple currencies on your online store, offer local payment methods, and even offer local shipping options such as cash-on-delivery. However, if this localised experience isn’t going to follow all the way through to order tracking, you’re missing a huge trick. 

 

If a customer makes a purchase on the French version of your online store, order tracking updates should be sent in French. Similarly, if that customer has questions about his/her order, they should be able to speak with a member of the customer support team in their own language. This may seem like an impossible undertaking for retailers with small teams, but thanks to technology, customer and carrier systems can be synchronised. 

 

Carrier data feeds directly into a delivery management system (which, in turn links up with their eCommerce platform). From there, rules and triggers can be configured to localise any and all order tracking updates. Furthermore, customer support teams have access to all of the customer data they need to address and resolve customer queries. This includes order history, channels they’ve used to contact you (enquiry form, social media, email, phone call) and account preferences. 

Ensure eCommerce order tracking information is accurate

Shoppers are used to instant gratification. While some delivery delays are unavoidable, (particularly with customs coming into play) they still wreak havoc on the customer experience. Delays in shipping that exceed 2 days lead to 38% of consumers not returning to that particular retailer.

 

Interestingly, even if an order arrives on time, a perceived delivery delay can have just as harmful an effect on the customer experience. Shoppers generally track the status of a shipment 4 or 5 times. As cross-border deliveries are more complex than domestic shipping, what can often happen is that an order could be moving along as expected in the background, but order tracking remains in limbo. This can cause a lot of uncertainty amongst customers, and often lead to an increase in WISMO (where is my order?) queries.

 

By making real-time order tracking available through the whole buyer journey, you can build trust with your customers. This will require working with carriers that can provide up to date delivery data. Using a delivery management platform not only feeds accurate tracking information through APIs, but it also opens retailers up to an extensive network of delivery partners. You can easily integrate with carriers that have the ability to support the experience you want your customers to have.                        

Focus on the journey

Expanding your online offering into new markets is a huge undertaking – one that comes with many barriers. The thing about eCommerce order tracking challenges, particularly relating to cross border, is that they are largely due to inefficiencies in workflows or processes. 


Through clever use of a delivery management platform like Scurri, you can ensure that eCommerce order tracking is as consistent for overseas customers as it is for domestic ones. Processes can be streamlined, solving some of the most common pain points for online retailers. As important as the destination is, the journey itself is just as vital. By virtually putting your customers in the driving seat with proactive order tracking, you should see a substantial improvement in your cross-border business.

Find out how subscription-based meal service Butternut Box opened up new markets at pace, and delivered a first-rate customer experience here.

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