Cargo tracking can be beneficial to both you and your customers. Here is how you can implement this feature in your eCommerce store.
How to Choose the Best Cargo Tracking Software for Your Business
The shipping business is a billion-dollar industry that employs millions of people worldwide. According to GlobeNewswire, the cargo shipping market will reach over 22.1 billion with a 5.1% yearly growth by 2030. As more and more companies get involved in global trade, cargo tracking systems will become increasingly important for businesses to use.
Cargo tracking is the most crucial aspect of logistics. Cargo tracking software can help businesses monitor incoming and outgoing shipments, manage inventory levels, reduce costs by preventing theft or damage during transit, and simplify paperwork. It also can improve your customer service.
There are many solutions for cargo tracking that can help you manage your transport operations more efficiently. We will discuss the types and main features of the most popular ones.
What Is Cargo Tracking Software?
Cargo tracking software allows businesses to monitor the location of their shipments in real-time, helping them avoid any costly delivery delays. Whether your shipment has been delayed or lost in transit — you will be informed about any changes. This allows you to take the necessary steps to get it back on track as soon as possible. It can also help you keep track of all deliveries across multiple carriers and organize freight data into easy-to-read charts or graphs.
Most companies use multiple carriers for one shipment. It means that there is often a lot going on behind the scenes with your shipments. Many shippers also use third-party logistics providers (3PL) who may handle some aspects of their delivery process. It simplifies everything from carrier relationships and documentation management to internal communications.
More and more delivery companies are using disposable GPS stickers to track packages during their journeys. For example, DHL GPS tracking devices allow customers to monitor packages during the whole shipment process by reporting on each package’s location and security.
However, cargo tracking is not only for delivery companies. There are several reasons why you may want to track shipments as part of your business model:
- you might manage an inventory of products that need to be delivered to customers on time;
- sell your products online or through an eCommerce platform;
- use third-party services like Amazon FBA fulfillment center, where they take care of packing/shipping orders for you.
For those who decide to develop a custom cargo tracking solution, consider companies with expertise in logistics or cargo tracking solutions creation.
The Logistics Industry Boom Has Created a Surplus of Options
The logistics industry is booming, with companies offering new and improved ways to track shipments daily. In the US alone, there are over 30,000 third-party logistics providers operating today. As a result, there is a surplus of options when it comes to choosing the right shipment tracking software.
The plethora of options can make it difficult to choose the best shipment tracking solution for your business. To make an informed decision about which product will work best for you, here are some things to consider:
- What kind of data do you need? Is your company looking for real-time updates on shipments, or just basic information (like where an order has been shipped from and its current location)?
- Who needs access to this data? Are all members of staff in charge of receiving new orders expected to have access to this information at any point during their day, or will they only need quick alerts when shipments arrive at their destination?
- What is your budget? While some solutions are free, many require a monthly subscription fee. Ensure to take this into account when determining how much money you’re willing to spend on the system.
- How many shipments will you conduct per month? Always ensure that the platform you are choosing to cooperate with is capable of tracking the number of shipments you provide. You also have to understand that the more shipments you conduct, the more you will have to pay for their tracking.
Entrepreneurs must consider a variety of factors when choosing a package tracking solution, including the fact that such systems perform multiple functions. There are three most used cargo tracking models you most likely will choose from: logistics tracking, transportation tracking, and “last mile” tracking.
Logistics tracking allows you to know the precise location of your package. It gives you additional information like whether the package has been opened during transit or whether it has been handled with care. This type of software is used by companies like FedEx and UPS that deliver packages to businesses and individuals worldwide.
UPS is one of the most well-known delivery services in North America that handles 294.9 million online tracking requests daily. The company provides door-to-door parcel delivery services for businesses and residential customers in more than 220 countries worldwide. The company also offers air freight services through its subsidiary United Parcel Service Air Freight.
Logistics tracking software can be used for anything from sending an email to a client about their shipment’s progress to providing updates for clients who are waiting for their product. And if there’s any delay during transit or unplanned stops along the way, it will alert you to that.
Transportation management system (TMS) software is designed to track the movement of shipments in a supply chain. It helps businesses manage their transportation needs effectively by integrating overland and air freight shipments into one central database. Companies can monitor their inventory, manage shipping, and get real-time data on their operations. It also increases the efficiency of delivery execution and accuracy of planning and reduces costs across supply chains.
However, logistics tracking is more comprehensive than transportation tracking. The main difference is that logistics software focuses on keeping track of shipments as they move through different stages of production — from manufacturer to distributor to retailer. Transportation software focuses primarily on ensuring your shipment arrives at its final destination.
An easy way to think about this difference is like this: when someone says “I’m going on vacation,” they are usually referring only to traveling by plane or train (transportation). However, if someone tells you they’re taking an extended vacation overseas — one involving multiple flights — then chances are they’ll be using logistics software instead of transportation tracking alone.
“Last Mile” Tracking
Last-mile logistics is a critical part of any shipment process. It allows your customers to remain engaged with your brand throughout the entire buying process. To ensure that there are no problems at the final stage of the delivery process, you should employ last-mile tracking software. That way, their customers don’t have to use various apps or third-party services.
The biggest benefit of using last-mile tracking software is that it reduces the chances of lost shipments. The more information there is, the easier it will be to find a missing package. It’s especially true if you have multiple warehouses or offices. Having that extra data will help pinpoint where your shipment was dropped off and where it needs to go next.
Last-mile tracking can be implemented through a variety of methods:
- GPS tracking via satellite signals sent from satellites orbiting Earth.
- RFID scanning systems that require drivers or recipients to use certain devices when taking possession of items being shipped. These devices will then transmit information about where and when an item was received.
- Barcode scanning systems, which allow people involved at each stage, like truck drivers, to scan labels attached to packages containing sensitive information before shipping them off to their final destination.
GPS tracking, RFID scanning, and barcode scanning are viable options for keeping tabs on cargo. Using some combination of these methods will allow you to ensure that all steps in your shipping process go smoothly and securely.
Why Is Cargo Tracking Important?
Cargo tracking is one of the most important aspects of doing business. It can help you in many ways, from keeping costs low and ensuring on-time delivery to boosting customer satisfaction. Here are some of the benefits of cargo tracking:
Tracking cargo helps you lower costs. You can save money by monitoring your cargo and preventing it from being damaged, lost, or stolen. Cargo tracking also helps companies save money by ensuring that they don’t pay for unnecessary insurance or extra shipping expenses.
Since you’ll know where your shipments are at all times, you won’t have to pay drivers overtime fees when they have to wait for late deliveries. If there’s an accident along the way and the driver needs assistance with repairs, then they will be able to notify you in advance. It might sound like a small thing, but it adds up over time.
When your customers know exactly when their orders are going to arrive, they can plan accordingly. It means fewer missed deadlines or last-minute changes that cost more money in the long run. Every dollar saved is a dollar that can go toward other aspects of your business or customers’ wants.
Ensures On-Time Delivery
Shipping delays are one of the main reasons behind customer dissatisfaction. Delays can sour the entire shopping experience, even if no damage is evident. You can’t expect your customers to be happy with late deliveries. By using cargo tracking software, you’ll be able to track shipments so that if there’s a delay or problem, you can respond quickly and fix it before a customer even notices.
Ensuring on-time delivery means customers will receive their orders faster. With the high transparency of shipment tracking software, retailers can collaborate with carriers and warehousing personnel. It ensures timely delivery by providing proof of arrival at each stop along the supply chain.
Improves Customer Experience
With timely delivery and less chance of losing packages in transit, customers are likely to have a better overall experience with your business. It will encourage repeat purchases and word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied clients.
Tracking cargo keeps everyone informed about where shipments are. Customers will also know when they can expect shipments to arrive at their location. They won’t have to worry about paying extra, which reduces customer frustration and increases loyalty.
Improves Supply Chain Efficiency
With cargo tracking software, everyone knows what is happening along the way, so no one misses anything important during transit. It’s especially crucial during holidays or bad weather days when shipments might be delayed.
In addition to sourcing raw materials, manufacturing the finished goods, and shipping them to customers, eCommerce supply chains entail several necessary steps. If any of the processes are flawed, then other parts will be affected. The use of order tracking software makes it possible for a retailer to better manage and track inventory, thus improving their visibility into the supply chain.
Top 3 Shipment Tracking Software
Cargo tracking software is quickly becoming the industry standard, so it’s important to know how to choose the right one for your business. Many factors need to be considered:
- User experience (UX). The user should be able to log in and use their service without any hassle or confusion. The best solutions have intuitive interfaces and minimal steps between launching an order and being able to track it.
- Reliability/security features. It helps reduce loss or theft thanks to better security measures.
- Ease-of-use. It includes integration capabilities into existing business processes like MRP or ERP systems (SAP ERP or Oracle ERP Cloud Service (ECS)). Most people don’t want to do more work than they already have.
- Cost-effectiveness. It offers most features free of charge.
- Better communication. It includes automated notifications for various events, including when an order is created, delivered, or returned.
- Increased efficiency. It helps reduce costs by reducing administrative time and error. It also reduces the amount of paper used for manual processes.
- Customization. You need to find cargo tracking software that can be customized to your needs, with the right features and user experience in place.
Choosing the right software program can make a huge difference. If you have decided to start tracking your shipments, it’s important to know what kind of systems are out there and how they might help you.
After analyzing reviews and data from leading companies, we’ve identified the best shipment tracking software. Here is an overview of the three most used applications.
ClickPost is a platform that provides you with all the information to track your shipments. It has been developed by a team of experts from India who understand how crucial it is for companies and individuals to get their shipments delivered without any delay. With ClickPost, you can check your packages in real-time and get updates on their location.
Besides providing you with tracking details and routes, it also gives insights into shipping costs and delivery times. Enter the number of your shipment, and the website will display all the related details. ClickPost allows you to track multiple shipments at once and offers real-time updates on your shipping status.
Several key features make ClickPost an excellent choice for anyone looking for a convenient way to track their shipments:
- ClickPost’s integrations give you the power to connect your shipping and selling services to over 300 most popular carriers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL;
- allows businesses to use a single API to generate orders, create waybills, and push them for pick-up in one step;
- cloud-based database that will allow you to access any information about your shipments in real-time;
- domestic and international shipments;
- recommendation engine will help you automate the process of matching couriers;
- all orders are managed from a single page;
- uses multiple APIs to pull real-time data from courier partners and provides customers access to a branded tracking portal that displays information about their shipments at every milestone;
- NDR management workflow automates the process of reaching out to customers after failed delivery attempts and actively reduces RTO parcels;
- automatic notifications by email;
- returns are easy to track and reverse with ClickPost’s back-end, which keeps accurate records of transactions;
- extensive knowledge base full of guides.
If you’re looking for a free platform that provides you with all the information you need to track your shipments, ClickPost is a great option. It is a simple, straightforward tool that allows you to track your items.
If you want more customization options or additional features, you might want to consider our next option.
Shippo is a shipment tracking software that can help you manage your business’s orders from start to finish. It offers free and paid plans. Its free plan provides access to the most necessary cargo tracking functionality like a web app, API access, best carrier rates, and global carrier discounts.
Shippo’s professional and premier plans give users access to the platform’s full capabilities like custom notifications and automation. The only difference between them is that with a premier plan, you will be able to have up to 15 user accounts, but only 5 accounts with a professional one.
Shippo offers a wide range of features:
- manage orders from multiple sales channels like Amazon, eBay, and Shopify;
- create tracking numbers for each order;
- provides e-commerce merchants with software that allows them to print shipping labels and packing slips for each order;
- view real-time updates about the status of your shipments;
- over 85 global carriers supported like FedEx, UPS, and USPS;
- single dashboard view of all the shipments;
- unlimited carrier accounts;
- API allows you to integrate their features into other business applications and tools;
- webhook notification system immediately sends an alert when something changes with your shipments;
- domestic and international shipments;
- eliminates restrictions when it comes to importing and exporting goods by helping businesses process international orders.
This platform is used by leading businesses worldwide. With its powerful features, Shippo can help you save time and money by streamlining your shipping process.
AfterShip is another shipment tracking software on our list. The app provides users with detailed information about their packages and allows them to monitor the status of deliveries in real-time. Aftership offers an essential plan that allows users to track up to 100 shipments per month, while enterprise plans cover over 25,000 shipments monthly. It’s a go-to option if you have numerous deliveries.
In addition to standard tracking and live updates, the company offers an e-mail alert system that can be customized. Aftership also provides you with useful information like product reviews and cost estimates for shipping services.
Aftership has a wide range of features that make it easy to monitor your cargo:
- ability to add over 25,000 packages;
- package tracking API integration;
- real-time delay or cancellation alerts;
- access to advanced tracking information like transit time reports;
- automatic tracking updates;
- real-time alerts about any issues with shipping carriers or local customs officials;
- export data quickly into CSV files if you need some hard copy for your records management system;
- serves over 10,000 online retailers worldwide;
- automatic shipment alerts via SMS or email when packages are delivered or shipped;
- integrations with other apps like Slack, so you can easily communicate with your team members about shipping progress;
- can be integrated with over 1,027 shipping companies like DHL, FedEx, UPS, and EMS;
- works with the most popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, eBay, and Magento.
One of the drawbacks of Aftership is its pricing structure. However, most users find their prices reasonable if you take into account how many resources the service provides.
Shipment tracking software is a powerful tool for businesses to manage their inventory and keep track of their shipments. It allows you to stay connected with your customers, suppliers, and employees at all times. The only real downside is that you may be confused about how to use the software properly. But once you know what you’re doing, shipment tracking software can be extremely helpful in having complete control over your packages.
There are many applications available for cargo tracking. We’ve covered the three most used ones. Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into their functionality. If you need help with these or other shipment-tracking tools, you can contact us today!