ecommerce shipment notifications best practicesEcommerce sites must have a shipping notification system in place to keep customers happy after they make an online purchase. A simple shipping notification–as in, “Your package shipped”–isn’t enough to keep the customer happy. I type of notification iss frustrating to customers and it poses more questions than it answers.

To be successful and reputable in ecommerce you must use an automated ship notification to communicate when an order has been processed and has left your facility. In order for a shipment notification to be useful, you must provide more information to the customer than simply the fact that the order shipped. Not including critical information such as the tracking number, how the package was shipped, when to expect the package to be delivered and who to call with questions frustrates the customer and guarantees a call to your customer service team. Here’s an in-depth look at the five pieces of information you should include in your email shipment notification.

  1. Tracking Number. This one is a no-brainer, but if you don’t include the package tracking number, your customer service department is likely to be bombarded by phone calls asking, “Where’s my stuff?” Want to go one better? Include a linked tracking number that the recipient can click to be taken immediately to the shipping carrier’s website.
  2. Shipping Service Used. Another no-brainer, but all too often omitted from the shipping notification email. Telling customers that their order shipped via FedEx or USPS is great, but FedEx and USPS what?? FedEx Ground is very different than FedEx 2-Day or FedEx Overnight. Likewise for other carriers. Specifying the type of shipping service used to send an order will eliminate yet another call to your customer team–not to mention a good deal of frustration on your customer’s part.
  3. Anticipated Delivery Date. I know that the customer can go online with the tracking number and get a play-by-play update of a shipment’s status, but providing an anticipated ship date on the shipment notification email gives the customer a ballpark date to expect the shipment. This can be especially important for customers that are on-the-go and might not have time to head to another website to find out when their shipment should arrive.
  4. Who to Call With Questions. Once the package leaves your warehouse, it’s not your problem anymore, right? Well, that depends–do you want to keep the customer happy and coming back to order from your site again? If so, the reality is that the package–and its whereabouts–are your problem until it is delivered into the customer’s hands. With that in mind, it’s wise to include contact information for your customer service team on the shipping notification email. It saves the customer having to go to your website to search for the right number to call with any questions that they might have.
  5. Call to Action. The sales cycle doesn’t end with the shipment of an order. In fact, some might say that the cycle just beginning. Savvy organizations know that the easiest way to secure the next sale is to make an offer the customer can’t refuse on the shipping notification for the current order. Consider including a discount on the customer’s next order with your or offer a special price on an item that will compliment what the customer ordered on this order.

A successful ecommerce site is automated and supported with strong integration to your organizations critical back-end systems such as your ERP. With the proper integrations in place and the right ecommerce platform vendor, accomplishing a user friendly shipment notification should be no problem.