Why Accurate Estimated Arrival Times Are Important for Your Business
An accurate estimated arrival time is one of the details that buyers can be very finicky about when it comes to their online shopping experience. When customers place orders digitally - whether for food or much bigger packages - they want to know exactly where their money is going. Some of the details they look for include product costs, delivery or shipping costs, tracking, or order numbers. At the top of the list is the estimated arrival time because as soon as buyers hit checkout, they start itching to get their hands on the new purchase.
There are many different phrases used to describe estimated arrival times including delivery arrival dates, courier dates, delivery time, and the estimated time of arrival - ETA for short. They all mean the same thing, which is exactly what they sound like. The terms are used to describe the day (and/or time) when the buyer can anticipate the delivery of the item they ordered.
This can be a specific date and time.
Delivery: Friday, 14th May at approx. 13:00 (usually confirmed by the courier).
It can also be a delivery window with possible days when the package might arrive.
Your delivery will arrive between May 14- 20.
The type of delivery the customer selects can influence delivery dates and times. For example, buyers often have to pay an extra fee if they want same-day delivery. It is also important to note that there is a difference between the shipping date or ship date which has to do with the movement of the package from the warehouse to the region of the delivery, not to the customer’s doorstep.
Setting an accurate ETA is a challenging task that comes with a lot of benefits for your delivery operation. Let’s see what an accurate ETA can do for your business at large.
Assures your customers
Having an estimated arrival time gives customers confidence in your organization and assurance that their product will be delivered. This is important in a digital and e-commerce landscape where there are companies that con buyers. Thus, an estimated delivery time can make customers feel more assured, leading to higher conversion and checkout rates.
This assurance aspect is also linked to trust. By providing an ETA, you convey trustworthiness and accountability for the customer order. This presents your company as responsive and demonstrates that you are actively working to satisfy customers.
Improves your bottom line
According to a Metapack Consumer Research Report, 45% of buyers ditch their carts due to disappointing delivery options and unclear delivery details. This makes it important for businesses to offer a range of delivery options and be clear about the estimated arrival time.
Cuts unnecessary costs
When your driver is late with one delivery in a day, all the upcoming deliveries on that day stand to arrive late, too. Drivers might speed up or find bad shortcuts to try and make up for this time, breaking road rules and potentially adding to costs in repairs, medical, and legal costs.
Plus, if your driver misses the set time for the delivery, there is a high chance they will miss the customer. This means that delivery will have to get set for another day which results in more fuel spending and money spent on other expenses associated with rescheduling that delivery.
Enhances your customer experience
What the above points highlight is the importance that accurate ETAs have in the experience your organization offers to customers. Personalized and optimized customer experiences are vital to successful eCommerce delivery today.
Customers want to know when their package will arrive so that they can work around that time and make sure they are available to receive it. Knowing the potential delivery times helps them make the best and most convenient shipping choice.
Thus, getting estimated arrival times right is extremely important to creating the best online shopping experience for your customers.
Supports package security
Part of knowing when the order arrives is to ensure that customers will be there to sign a delivery confirmation document. Fraudulent order collection is more common than you think.
As such, it’s important for buyers to know when the order will come so that they can receive it. Otherwise, anyone in their neighborhood or apartment block can just sign for the product the buyer spent their hard-earned money on simply because they were not home to collect.
Boosts customer retention
Improving customer experience, as well as ensuring your checkout info is accurate, results in happy customers. Plus, providing accurate estimated arrival times also allows you to demonstrate the high quality of customer service that your business provides.
Rather than leave a bitter impression with delayed deliveries and incorrect delivery times, you can place your best foot forward and make sure your customers come back for more!
Calculating an accurate ETA is not easy. In fact, many businesses don’t get it right. Below are some of the common reasons for inaccuracies in estimated arrival times.
Sometimes, companies overestimate what they’re able to provide to their customers because they are so keen on meeting their profit margins. Promising delivery or order satisfaction without checking if your company is capable of meeting that agreement can cause major delays.
You should avoid promising the fulfillment of orders if your inventory or stock is low and you know you cannot meet that order. This means that you need to take into account your suppliers’ and other actors’ capacity and operations too. For example, you cannot promise an order on a day when order processing can’t occur, e.g. on a public holiday.
You should also avoid providing estimated arrival times when you have not ensured the load capacity of your shipping and delivery vehicles. Make informed decisions and remain pragmatic.
Lack of transparency
Overestimation as explained above is closely linked to a lack of transparency from the seller. Any information that can affect the package delivery should be shared upfront with the client at all times. When this is not done, it is more likely that your company will fail to meet customer expectations.
At the core of poor transparency is the inability to communicate effectively with customers. When organizations don’t have efficient communication avenues to inform buyers of issues, problems can arise. However, poor communication as a cause of inaccurately estimated arrival times extends not just to customers but to other actors in your supply chain including suppliers, manufacturers, warehouse managers, and drivers. A break in communication at any stage can impact delivery times.
Low employee input
If your employees are not working at their best for whatever reason - low morale, inadequate information, poor training, etc. - this impacts your business’ productivity. Consequently, this can harm your ability to meet delivery deadlines.
Some issues that can cause delivery delays may be outside of your organization, i.e. with external suppliers or manufacturers. Of course, production bottlenecks affect the output of the product which has a direct impact on your ability to deliver the product. Another third-party actor that can cause inaccuracy in your ETA is your delivery service if your company doesn’t have an internal transportation system.
Some of the other causes of delivery delays include.
Shipping company or 3PL used.
Federal or public holidays.
Time of making the purchase.
Extreme weather conditions.
Global disasters or unprecedented circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customs and international regulations.
These are the common issues that hamper businesses’ ability to provide accurate estimated arrival times. However, your organization doesn’t have to deal with them as Track-POD’s software options have handy features to address them for better, more accurate estimated arrival times!
To help businesses calculate accurate ETAs, last-mile delivery software providers like Track-POD built sophisticated algorithms that can be used to improve the rate of successful deliveries. Here’s exactly how this happens.
Route planning & route optimization
Route planning and route optimization software allows you to optimize your delivery routes for shorter, safer, and speedier deliveries. This way, you avoid delays like drivers getting lost, unexpected traffic, geofencing, tolls, unsafe roads, etc. as the software factors these potentialities into the estimated arrival time. With this software, you can have faster deliveries as well as increased efficiency, driver performance, and customer satisfaction.
A fantastic feature that Track-POD offers is the automated scheduling of multiple stops in one driver trip. By grouping together delivery stops that are close to one another, you make it easier for drivers to fulfill each delivery quickly. This ensures that customers receive their deliveries on time.
Track-POD’s transport management software system works to optimize your fleet and vehicle management. The software considers the weight, volume, and capacity of the vehicles available in your fleet. By doing this, it can accurately measure the delivery capacity you have, and divide orders among your vehicles, allocating deliveries accordingly. This enables you to correctly observe when your drivers would be able to fulfill particular orders.
Inventory and order management
Transport management and route planning & optimization cannot work in isolation from other business departments. For accurate data on orders and order management, Track-POD’s API integration enables managers to integrate other software systems. You can connect your inventory and order software solutions, as well as finance and other departments. With better information access, you can provide more accurate information on deliveries.
Automation reduces unnecessary and time-consuming tasks, allowing employees to work more efficiently. This boosts productivity and speeds up delivery processes. For example, via the Track-POD delivery app, available orders or deliveries are automatically allocated to drivers. These drivers receive instant notifications of newly-allocated jobs allowing them to complete them quickly.
The above is an example of how Track-POD’s delivery app improves communication and connectivity in the delivery process. Drivers receive job notifications in good time, allowing them to fulfill the job within that time.
The app also allows for communication between the manager and the driver so that they can inform one another of any issues affecting the drivers’ ability to meet the estimated arrival time. More importantly, customers can also communicate with the driver. This is important as the driver is the one on the road and, thus, the best person to notify the customer of any possible delays.
With route planning, you can get an advanced view of your drivers’ routes. With this foresight, you can adjust routes accordingly and schedule changes. You can schedule routes and adjust factors according to the availability of your drivers, vehicle capacity, etc.
Real-time location tracking
The benefit of Track-POD’s real-time, GPS tracking and navigation is three-fold.
First, the navigation features are useful for the driver to ensure they do not get lost on the road. With real-time updates, the feature is also useful to avoid unexpected problems like accidents or traffic. Essentially, it helps the driver get there faster.
The second benefit is the enhancement of communication that real-time tracking offers. The customer can watch the drivers’ delivery progress in real-time so they can accurately see if there are any changes to the ETA. This also holds the driver accountable as the customer can see exactly where they are and how much longer it should take for their parcel to arrive.
Finally - the feature gives additional control to the manager back at the office. It can be hard for transport managers to hold delivery drivers accountable once they get on the road. The GPS tracking feature ensures that drivers stick to the routes planned to meet the estimated arrival time.
The modern consumer prioritizes convenience and instant gratification. If a customer spends their money with your organization, they have particular expectations about the kind of service you ought to deliver. Ensuring efficient and punctual delivery is prime amongst these expectations. Whether you’re a small business, startup, or huge corporation, if you tell your client to expect their purchase at a particular time, then you must make sure that is exactly when they’ll get it.
Fortunately for you, and for the success of your business’ delivery operations, Track-POD’s outstanding software catalog helps you set the most accurate estimated arrival time. But it also goes beyond that by giving your drivers, admin, and managers the necessary support to get the best out of that delivery…so that your customers keep ordering from you again and again.