Global eCommerce sales hit $3.46 trillion in 2019, with a projection to increase by at least 20% by 2024, considering how COVID-19 has impacted the way people purchase their products. Research shows that 30% of consumers have made international purchases at least a few times in the past year. Nowadays, customers expect full visibility for their orders and want to know where their package is at all times. Digital order tracking not only advises customers about their package’s arrival, but also makes them feel less worried, more trusting, and more likely to return. For businesses, keeping customers happy is one thing, but running a more efficient operation that saves money and time is more important.

The problem: Losing customer trust

Losing a customer is a big deal. One bad sale can lead to a long-term impact on your business bottom line. When a customer leaves, you lose future sales from them and possibly from their friends and family. Bad reviews and negative talk can spread fast, especially on social media, harming your eCommerce brand reputation for a long time. According to a survey by Zendesk, 90% of those surveyed described how bad customer experience changed their buying behavior and more likely not to return. Whereas, only 87% said good customer service would affect their expectation of returning and letting other consumers purchase from such businesses.

Something worth mentioning in relation to customer’s loyalty and trust is the cause of poor or unclear order tracking on eCommerce platforms. Customers want to feel that they are in charge of what they purchase, and where their orders are at every step of the process on the platform. When a business is unable to give them that control because the digital order tracking system is unclear or unreliable, customers will start to doubt the business and its brand. While at first this may inconvenience them, in the long run it’s a display of failure in providing a basic service expected from purchasing over the digital platform.

The ripple effect of poor order tracking is a serious matter for every business. One unhappy customer might tell their friends, post a negative review online, or complain on social media. This can quickly damage your brand image. According to a survey by Zendesk, over 50% would advise others not to purchase from businesses when they encounter a bad experience on their platform. On the other hand, over 60% would recommend a business’s products to other consumers if they have a good experience during their purchase.

Once trust is lost, it’s hard and costly to regain. You’ll need to invest in damage control, which could include things like public apologies, refunds, or even legal costs in extreme cases. Without accurate digital order tracking, optimizing inventory or smart decisions about logistics prove to be very difficult. This inefficiency can lead to increased operational costs, which can further erode profit margins.

Why order tracking matters

Customers are increasingly looking for more than purchasing a product. They want a complete experience that makes them feel in control from the moment they click “buy” to the moment the product arrives at their doorstep. Ignoring this need isn’t an option, it is a necessity for any businesses aiming to build customer loyalty.

Customers want control

A significant number of customers expect to be able to monitor their orders throughout the entire shipping process. If businesses are unable to offer a comprehensive tracking system, they are likely to fall behind other competitors such as Amazon. According to a report by ShipBob, over 90% of customers expect the ability to monitor their orders throughout every step of the shipping process.  73% of customers expect real-time order tracking across all touchpoints, and more than 98% of shoppers say that the order delivery process impacts their brand loyalty.

Eases customer anxiety

The ability to track an order in real-time does wonders for customer peace of mind. Knowing where a package is and when it will arrive reduces uncertainty and anxiety. According to a survey by Verte, 91% of consumers actively track their packages, with 39% tracking them at least once a day. The research also highlights a significant consumer preference for checking tracking information themselves as opposed to reaching out to customer service or a shipping company for assistance on the status of their orders and deliveries. Thus, A well-implemented tracking system can significantly reduce the number of customer service inquiries, saving both time and operational costs.

Builds trust and loyalty

Trust is built on more than just delivering a quality product; it encompasses the entire customer experience. According to a survey, nearly 70% of online shoppers consider the ability to track their orders as one of the top factors influencing their choice to complete a purchase. For luxury items, this consideration is even more critical, with 56% of consumers saying it’s a top factor. Meeting these expectations with real-time, reliable tracking lays the groundwork for long-term loyalty and repeat business rather than only satisfying the customer’s immediate needs.

Expand the business reach globally

For businesses with ambition to reach a global audience, a robust digital order tracking system becomes even more crucial. The global eCommerce market is expected to total over 6 trillion USD in 2023, with online retail sales projected to increase to over 20% by 2024. Offering reliable, real-time tracking can be your first step in providing a tailored customer experience that meets diverse global expectations. This is especially important if you’re looking to expand your customer base beyond your home country.

Building trust through real-time tracking

Transparency in the order process is the key to creating an emotional connection with the customer. When people feel that a company values and respects their time and needs, they’re more likely to become repeat customers. According to a survey by OptimoRoute, more than half of consumers said that real-time tracking positively impacts their loyalty to a brand.

Why digital order tracking is a must for businesses?

Digital order tracking is an important business tool with real, measurable benefits. From customer retention to competitive advantage, the upsides are clear. For leaders looking to make data-driven decisions, the numbers speak for themselves.

It’s generally more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one happy. With a reliable tracking system, you reduce customer complaints and returns. This saves time and money in customer service. Over time, these savings add up and can be used to grow other parts of your business.

Workload can also be reduced on your customer service team. Fewer people will call or email to ask where their order is, freeing up your team to focus on other important tasks. This leads to massive cost savings, which can be significant when scaled across a large number of orders and customers.

Increase customer retention rates

When customers can track their orders in real time, they’re more likely to stick with your brand. A study by OptimoRoute found that over 59% of consumers said real-time tracking positively impacts their loyalty. In simple terms, happy customers come back, and repeat customers are often easier and cheaper to keep than finding new ones.

A business offering a good, real-time digital order tracking system can make customers highly likely to come back to your brand in the near future. They will put more trust and feel more at ease when purchasing. Switching to digital order tracking reduces buyer’s remorse, a common reason for returns and negative reviews. When customers can see where their order is and when it will arrive, they’re less likely to feel anxious or regretful about their purchase. This means fewer returns and more positive reviews, which can attract even more customers.

Positive reviews and word-of-mouth

Good tracking doesn’t just keep customers; it turns them into advocates. When people can easily track their orders, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your brand to others. In a world where online reviews can make or break a business, this is a big deal. As a previous survey by Zendesk shows that customers are likely to share their thoughts and experience to others if their purchasing experience was smooth and positive.

Upselling and cross-selling opportunities

Believe it or not, the tracking process itself can be a sales opportunity. According to Forbes, tracking notifications get high open rates—sometimes as high as 50% to 80%. This is a prime time to offer additional products or services, increasing your sales without much extra effort.

Fits into broader customer service strategy

Digital order tracking is a crucial part of the overall business approach in providing good customer service. When done correctly, digital order tracking complements other aspects of the business’s eCommerce platform such as fast response times and quality products, to create a full package which is unique from other competitors.

Competitive edge

Offering a superior digital order tracking would give you a leg up of your competitors, keeping you ahead of them. By providing a smoother, more transparent digital order tracking experience, businesses would be able to stand out in the eyes of consumers. In the long run, this will lower the number of customer service calls asking about order status, increasing customer’s trust and more positive reviews, leading to more sales and retention on the platform.

How digital order tracking impact IKEA’s eCommerce sales 

IKEA’s experience shows that digital tracking isn’t just a tool for logistics; it’s a cornerstone for customer satisfaction, trust, and long-term growth. In just three years, IKEA tripled its eCommerce sales on its platform. In 2022 alone, the company generated about $9.5 billion in online sales worldwide. As a result of the strategic changes, IKEA transformed many of its physical stores into fulfillment centers, requiring a complete overhaul of their supply chain and store layouts. This dual-speed operation—physical stores with set hours and a 24/7 online platform—was made efficient through smart algorithms that determined the best sourcing locations for goods.

One of the key drivers of this growth was the introduction of digital order tracking. This feature not only increased transparency but also significantly boosted online sales. IKEA saw a 73% growth in online sales in 2020. In the U.S, for example, the company saw a massive 32% increase from eCommerce sales in 2020 alone. IKEA’s online channels attracted more than 5 billion global visits and 490 million visits in the U.S. in 2020. The digital tracking feature allowed customers to easily check their order status, either through their order number and contact details or via their IKEA Family account, where they could also view past orders.

Final Thoughts

Implementing a robust order tracking system isn’t just about meeting customer expectations today; it’s about securing your business for the long haul. In a world where customers have endless options at their fingertips, every bit of trust and loyalty counts. Considering how tracking can improve customer retention and reduce costs, businesses are able to build strong and more resilient eCommerce platforms set up for long-term success. Moreover, when customers can plan around their deliveries, their satisfaction goes up. And a satisfied customer is more likely to be a repeat customer. 

Beyond that, having a tracking system can give you valuable data. This data can help you make better decisions about inventory, shipping, and even marketing. In a crowded market, offering a seamless tracking experience can be the difference that makes a customer choose you over someone else. It’s a feature that adds value to your service, making it more than just a transaction.

Thomas Charneau

December 14, 2023

9 Min read