Shipping solutions and how to use them

The hows, whens and wheres of delivery are evolving rapidly.
22 November 2023

By any means necessary – as long as we know where they are at all times.

• Delivery tracking is becoming a norm in the process of online ordering.
• Whether the delivery is local, national, or international, delivery tracking can help the process feel more managed.
• Drones and robots can help reduce pollution for relatively local deliveries.

Delivery tracking might just be the answer to customer satisfaction when it comes to delivery speeds. International shipping is the quiet enabler of the global e-commerce landscape, the great facilitator of shopping around for the cheapest deal. As consumers worldwide wonder when their parcels will arrive, we take a look at the technology that helps deliver them.

Ordering a product from overseas almost always means a longer wait for delivery. That’s just common sense: the further away your product is, the longer it’ll take to arrive. Until we invent the transmat, factors like geographical distance, as well as customs processes and carrier-specific variations will continue to make overseas delivery schedules uncertain.

There’s nothing more annoying than hitting BUY NOW, only to receive the product in 14 working days. It feels almost like someone somewhere has forgotten the meaning of the word “NOW” – but also, in business operations, delivery delays can have significant knock-on effects throughout ongoing supply chains.

The only thing that lessens the blow of having to wait is logging into an online portal detailing exactly where your parcel is – or at least which stage of the shipping process it’s reached.

Precision delivery tracking – taking out the guesswork

Traditionally, the buying process involved several intermediaries and delivery tracking meant having to click through third-party sites until a grainy timeline declared your purchase IN TRANSIT.

Terrific. To paraphrase The West Wing, if we went up to high ground with a good pair of binoculars, we’d be as informed as we are now – thank you, advanced technology.

Delivery tracking is all very well, but if it's vague, it's useless.

More information needed, please!

The rise of online tracking tools though has been incredible, with the tools evolving from providing the most basic tracking information to incorporating advanced technologies like machine learning and AI to offer more than just real-time updates on packages.

ML and AI algorithms analyze multiple data points including historical shipping patterns, weather patterns and customs clearance time, meaning that not only is the parcel’s real-time location available, but its accurate projected arrival is, too.

User satisfaction is markedly improved by understanding delivery schedules on packages. Which (ahem) tracks, because if you can watch a parcel’s every movement, it’s easier to rationalize the three-more-days of waiting you’ll have to do.

Utilizing online package tracking tools that incorporate machine learning and AI not only provides real-time updates but also offers a glimpse into the future of logistics, ensuring a more informed and satisfying online shopping experience.

Droning on

In 2015, Jeff Bezos claimed that delivery drones would soon be as common as mail trucks. That hasn’t come to pass yet, not least because of the need for a flightpath infrastructure and the right people to manage it, but companies are actively investing in the delivery method. In August this year, Walmart announced it would add two more supercenters to its network of drone delivery hubs to offer 30-minute delivery to an additional 60,000 households in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Delivery tracking, or drone tracking?

It does look pretty cool… Admit it, you’re curious.

For local deliveries, drones have significantly faster delivery times compared to traditional methods. For retailers, that means faster order fulfilment and, as a result, happier customers.

In the UK, Starship technologies has pioneered AI robots to deliver shopping to people’s front door. The knee-high robots use sidewalks across the UK, rather than being allowed on the open road, adding a dimension of localized convenience to the business of your grocery shopping. As yet though, the technology has not evolved to include stair-climbing robots, so if you live in a fifth-floor walk-up, you might be well advised to wait for the airborne drone revolution.

Delivery tracking is evolving with drone delivery.

You want coupons with that?

In many cases, AI-enabled delivery modes like drones are more envrionmentally firendly than their traditional counterparts, but overseas shipping is always going to have an ecological cost. Delivery tracking though is becoming both a business and consumer expectation, whether it’s covering fast food from down the road or task-specific gaskets from Dubai.

Ultimately, transparency from businesses is key. As long as consumers can see where their parcel is and work out why it’s going to take time to be delivered, there’s little grounds –  besides impatience! – for negative feedback.

Delivery tracking - the cure for hanger pains?

Everyone’s favorite delivery tracker is Dom by dominos. What a friendly guy!… Anyone else feeling hungry right now?