How to set up shipping notifications and branded tracking pages

2021-11-01

Written by Starshipit

This article was updated in October 2022 to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Your customers want transparency and dependability when they purchase products from your store. In other words, they want to know when they’ll receive their order and that it’ll show up when you say it does.

A recent Shopify survey has the data to back this up. Their Future of eCommerce report uncovered some interesting findings, including the fact that 45% of consumers said they want to see clearly anticipated delivery times for their orders. Basically, customers want to be kept in the loop.

This is where branded tracking pages and shipping notifications come into play. With these tools, you can give your customers complete visibility over where an order is in the delivery journey. Notifications (including email and SMS) ensure customers are never in the dark. And, as a retailer, you’ll end up seeing fewer “where are my parcel queries”.

So read on to learn more about when you should send shipping notifications, how to send them and see some real examples from retailers.

What are shipping notifications?

Shipping notifications keep customers informed about the status of their online order at every step of the delivery process.

Shipping notifications help to manage customer delivery expectations and give you an opportunity to communicate more with your customers. Primarily, their purpose is to provide the tracking number, but there are other opportunities for personalisation – which can do a lot for encouraging repeat purchases.

A benefit of shipping notifications is that you can build customer loyalty. Providing your customers with the tracking information allows customers to track their shipment, which in turn reduces the number of queries for your customer service team. Say goodbye to those pesky ‘where are my parcel enquiries?’.

“74% of customers say that receiving delivery updates increases the chances of them returning to shop again with the merchant.”
— Voxco Website Blog

When should you send shipping notifications?

You should send shipping notifications as soon as the order gets shipped out, including the estimated delivery date, tracking number and any other relevant details.

Shipping notifications can be sent via SMS or email. There are six touchpoints that you can personalise and notify your customer of their order status.

  1. Manifested
  2. Printed
  3. Picked-up
  4. In transit
  5. Out for delivery
  6. Delivered

How many shipping notifications should I send?

To work out how many shipping notifications to send, put yourself in the position of your customer. You want to ensure they’ve got all the information they need at the right stages of the delivery process, without overwhelming them. You also don’t want to send so few they feel ignored.

In Starshipit, we find that many businesses enable either printed or manifested customer notifications (these are triggered by actions in Starshipit), alongside one or two of the other touchpoints in the previous section. This ensures that the notifications are spread throughout the post-purchase journey, without overwhelming customers.

Another thing to remember is that you may already have notifications sent from your eCommerce platform (like Shopify) by default. You may want to consider disabling these when using the Starshipit notifications, to ensure customers don't receive double ups.

And, as always, experiment to see what works for your customers. You might want to adjust your mix of email and SMS notifications.

How to set up shipping notifications

Setting up and then automatically sending shipping notifications is easy – especially when you use a platform like Starshipit.

With Starshipit, you can customise your email templates for each delivery status. Then, once you’ve connected your eCommerce platform and your couriers, you can automatically send emails and SMS notifications by simply ticking a box.

What do shipping notifications contain? By default, tracking notifications usually include information such as:

  • 🔢 The order reference number.
  • 📙 The name of the courier.
  • 🔗 A link to the courier tracking page.

You can customise shipping notifications with company logos, headers and footers. This is easy using Starshipit’s template editor.

What is a branded tracking page?

A branded tracking page is a landing page that you can direct your customers to from your shipping notifications. This allows customers to view all their order’s delivery information, including live tracking updates.

Branded tracking pages are a great tool for post-purchase engagement, and many retailers include their social channels, recommended products, community pages, loyalty programs or return policies.

You put a lot of effort into acquiring your customers, so it makes sense to keep them engaged after they’ve purchased from you. Instead of sending your customers to a courier tracking page, create your own. This will keep your brand top-of-mind throughout the shipping process.

There are multiple benefits of using branded tracking pages:

  • Position your brand at the forefront throughout the post-purchase stage, with your logos, images and more.
  • Include links to your social channels, return policies and other relevant customer offers. You can also encourage people to sign up for your brand's email list to help grow your database.
  • Customers can track the status of their order via visual progress indicators, increasing trust in your brand.

What should you include on a branded tracking page?

A branded tracking page should include:

  • Your brand’s logo.
  • Order number.
  • Tracking number.
  • A live status such as packed, dispatched, in transit, out for delivery and delivered.
  • The carrier of the order, for example, Australia Post, DHL Express or Hermes.
  • An additional element to drive brand loyalty, a repeat purchase or a positive customer experience.

How to add customer value to your branded tracking page

To create a strong brand message, you should consider only using a maximum of two additional elements on your branded tracking page.

Improving the customer experience

To improve the experience for your customers, your tracking pages should include:

  • ✉️ A thank you message
  • 📄 Your returns policy
  • 🌱 Showcase what your brand believes for example, sustainability, donating to charity or your brand mission
Growing brand loyalty

You can grow brand loyalty by including the following on your tracking pages:

  • ⭐ Showcase your loyalty program
  • ✏️ Request a review
  • 👍 Invitations to follow your social channels or brand communities
Encouraging repeat purchases

Incentivise customers to come back and buy from your store again by including some of the following elements:

  • 🌐 Product recommendations
  • 🏺 Showcase new products
  • 💸 Upcoming sales or events

Most importantly, always include a clear and simple way for the customer to contact you.

Branded tracking page examples from leading eCommerce brands

Now, let's explore some examples of real branded tracking pages in use today by eCommerce businesses – just like yours!

Urban Plant Growers

Urban Plant Growers use Starshipit’s Branded Tracking pages to grow their community and to share educational content about their products.

What makes it good:

  • Includes all relevant customer tracking details
  • Community promotion
  • Links to social channels
Read the case study

Oz Hair & Beauty

Leading Aussie brand Oz Hair & Beauty use Starshipit’s Branded Tracking to share video content and drive cross-promotional messaging.

What makes it good:

  • Showcasing other promotions
  • Links to videos
Read the case study

How to set up branded tracking pages

It’s easy to setup your own branded tracking pages with a shipping platform like Starshipit. That’s because Starshipit integrates with your eCommerce platforms and couriers. This means you can focus on creating great tracking pages, instead of dealing with the technical stuff.

To get started, you’ll need to enable email notifications in your Starshipit settings. Head over to Settings > Customer Notifications to start (and remember to check which notifications are coming out of your eCommerce platform!).

Included in the email notification will be a tracking URL link that directs customers to your branded tracking page instead of the default courier page.

You can customise your branded tracking page directly from the Starshipit dashboard using our user-friendly editing tool. This is where you can add your logos, links and text.

You can also read the guide on our support centre:

Read our guide

How to send a branded tracking page

Once you’ve customised your branded tracking page, it basically lives as web page that your customers access through the shipping notifications you send to them via email or SMS. This means you need to use the notifications first and then set up branded tracking.

The branded tracking page is a web page and the URL link is sent to customers via shipping notifications using email or SMS.

This means you need to use the notifications first and then set up branded tracking.

What’s wrong with the default shipping notifications and tracking pages?

You may be thinking: “My eCommerce platform and couriers already have notifications and tracking pages built in, why should I use another software solution?”.

Beyond needing to manage notifications and tracking pages across multiple platforms and couriers, there are a few key reasons.

Why you should replace courier notifications and tracking pages:
  • Streamline communication with your customer, even if they are using a different courier each time.
  • Opportunity to brand your communications to ensure a good shipping experience (instead of giving your courier free brand exposure).
  • Customers may be getting lots of different notifications so make yours stand out.
  • Upsell opportunity.
Why you should replace eCommerce platform notifications and tracking pages:
  • More touchpoints (eCommerce platforms can often only send one notification with the tracking number and tracking link, not ongoing updates).
  • If you have different channels, you can streamline your communications.
  • More opportunities to showcase your brand in most cases and there’s more flexibility in the template.

Wrap up

So that’s shipping notifications and branded tracking. We've linked to quite a few guides which explain these features in more detail, but to try them for yourself why not sign up for a 30-day free trial? Our friendly support team will be more than happy to help you set everything up.

Oh, and remember – shipping notifications and branded tracking are just one of the many benefits of shipping automation, which can add value throughout the fulfilment process.

Starshipit

Starshipit

Starshipit is the best practice shipping and fulfilment platform that helps retailers save time and deliver great shipping experiences.

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