September 29, 2023
Alina Kostukova and Yulia Miashkova
There are many ways to look at last mile logistics software.
Your findings on all of these would be valid reasons to invest or not invest in a last mile logistics software.
Seeing how customer satisfaction is the cornerstone metric of any delivery operation, comparing software vendors is impossible without considering the customer's perspective.
We're talking, of course, about shipment notifications via email and SMS.
What should the customer know about the delivery after they've placed an order? How can you adjust the frequency, contents, looks, and communication channel?
In this article, we compare 10 best last mile logistics tools for custom shipping notifications.
Before looking at specific last mile logistics tools that offer SMS & email notifications to customers, we need to understand the use cases. When do you need to notify customers? What features to look out for? Let's break it down.
As soon as an order has been placed, customers expect a confirmation in the form of an email or SMS notification.
You might not have a delivery date or estimated time of arrival for them yet; still, it's important to notify the buyer that their order is being processed.
Last mile delivery tools, especially when connected to an order placement system or directly to an eCommerce store like Shopify, can notify customers whenever an order has been placed.
This is the market standard in retail, and you can have it at no additional cost when you've invested in a last mile logistics software.
Once in the system, the order can be put on a delivery route to later be dispatched to a driver and transported to the destination.
This is when your customers receive a notification containing data like the delivery date and delivery time window prior to route. The key here is to make sure customers stay put for the delivery service.
The delivery process is complicated. Sometimes, there will be changes to the order of delivery addresses because of priority, traffic, navigation issues, weather conditions, or anything else.
Last mile logistics software also enables real-time communication between drivers and customers in case something comes up while the delivery is in progress.
Regardless, having logistics management software that powers delivery updates is a big help in order fulfillment.
On the day of delivery, last mile software will notify the customer when the driver has departed from the warehouse or store location.
The customer can see the estimated time of arrival (ETA) as well as the driver's contact details.
Probably the best part - this type of notification will include a live tracking link for the customer to follow their package on the mobile device.
Real-time communication is an efficient way to improve your on-time delivery (OTD) rate.
To further improve the rate of successful deliveries, you can use your last mile logistics software to send updates on the driver's whereabouts.
For example, the driver can trigger an SMS or email saying they've left the previous stop and are about to deliver the package (en route notification).
Alternatively, you can set the system to send these updates on deliveries automatically.
Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) is a key feature in last mile logistics tools.
On the one hand, the driver's mobile app must support e-signature, photo proof, and other POD.
On the other hand, you need to have an ePOD document ready as soon as the service has been rendered. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and customer disputes.
You can customize your Proof of Delivery PDFs to reflect your company voice and communicate a consistent brand image to stand out from competition.
Now that you know about the use cases of customer notifications, we'll look at some of the best last mile delivery tools that power order fulfillment through instant communication.
Track-POD is an all-in-one last mile software that covers everything from route planning & fleet optimization to real-time order tracking and proof of delivery.
Track-POD connects with Shopify via a Zapier integration, which means you can automatically set orders into the system.
The software consists of two parts: a web dashboard for dispatchers and a driver app for couriers.
The technology behind Track-POD is cloud-based, with all order data synced across the web dashboard and mobile driver app online and offline.
Below are the types of SMS & email alerts that you can share via Track-POD.
All SMS & email notifications powered by Track-POD, including prior to Route, at Route Start, en Route, at Departure messages, and Proof of Delivery PDF, come in fully customizable templates.
Email updates are free of charge; SMS notification costs vary from country to country, depending on the local carrier.
Delivery managers can access the detailed order notifications history on the web dashboard for enhanced visibility. It helps to see the specific SMS & email order notifications sent to the customer, their delivery status and time.
Track-POD's pricing model is flexible: you can choose to pay per driver or per order a month. The cheapest plan comes at $29/mo per driver (with an annual subscription). You can test the platform by grabbing a 7-day free trial.
Route4Me is a route planning and dispatching tool well-known across the industry. It provides last mile solutions to businesses that require dynamic and recurring routing.
The platform is a marketplace with many free and paid add-ons for features like time slots, priorities, driver breaks, etc.
As far as shipping notifications go, SMS notifications come with extra charges, as does sending both SMS and email notifications.
Route4Me offers the following types of SMS & email alerts for customers.
SMS notifications correspond to the same order delivery stages but come at an additional cost. All customer alerts are geofence-triggered, i.e. based on the parameters you've indicated for each stop, the system determines when to send a timely notification to each customer.
Route4Me's minimum flat fee is $199/mo (just the route planner without optimization), but the final costs will vary depending on how many add-ons you enable. You can also make use of Route4Me's free trial option for 7 days.
Tookan is a last mile logistics tool that supports delivery management for businesses serving consumers in many industries. The system is a big help for retail businesses, as it covers everything from automated order management to marketing campaigns.
Tookan's mobile app and web dashboard rely on cloud technology, which means your drivers can use their app not only online but also offline. This flexibility is essential for smooth order fulfillment in hard-to-reach areas.
Tookan offers five types of SMS & email user notifications that fall under the Pickup & Delivery workflow.
Similar to other last mile logistics solutions, Tookan automates customer updates via email and SMS while allowing you to customize the messages until they meet every demand of consumers.
Tookan prices per number of tasks a month, which means you can have multiple drivers under all subscription plans. The cheapest plan covers 200 tasks and comes at $39/mo (with an annual subscription). A 14-day free trial is available.
Please keep in mind that some features like ETA or route optimization come as paid integrations and entail additional costs.
Onfleet is a popular last mile delivery platform built for larger Enterprise operations. It supports varied fleet solutions, e.g. in addition to vehicles, you can run routing for on-foot deliveries.
Onfleet allows you to alert customers with SMS messages only. Email notifications are available via a Zapier integration.
Onfleet offers the following SMS notifications shared with customers for pickup and dropoff tasks.
All automatic SMS notifications sent by Onfleet are inherently anonymous, customizable, and versatile - meaning they can be fully automated or based on the actions drivers perform in their apps online.
Onfleet prices per number of tasks a month with unlimited drivers. The smallest plan that covers 2,000 tasks monthly starts at $500/mo. You have 14 days to test drive Onfleet for free.
Routific is a delivery route planning solutions provider built for local delivery operations. As such, it offers either SMS or email shipment notifications to customers awaiting their orders.
Please bear in mind that all shipping notifications in Routific come with an additional fee of $16/mo per vehicle (annually) or $19/mo per vehicle (monthly).
Let's take a closer look at what kind of delivery updates you can share.
Routific offers the following types of SMS and email notifications for the customer.
You can choose to share delivery updates via SMS or email but not both. The text of notifications is customizable so you can adjust the message to your liking.
Routific prices per driver per month, with the cheapest plan - Essentials - available for $39/mo if paid annually.
However, to be able to share shipping notifications, you'll need to go for the more expensive plan - $49/mo, and pay an additional $16/mo per driver, which brings your total to $65/mo if paid annually.
You can also test-drive Routific for 7 days for free.
OptimoRoute is a delivery route planning and field service management software. It serves a wide range of businesses and specializes in route planning, route optimization, and delivery scheduling.
The system allows you to share SMS and email shipment notifications, with the option to enable or disable live tracking for customers depending on your needs.
SMS notifications require extra credits - pricing varies depending on the region.
Below are the types of SMS & email delivery updates you can share via OptimoRoute - all fully customizable.
It is possible to use both SMS and email shipping notifications but please keep in mind that SMS notifications come with additional charges.
OptimoRoute charges per driver per month, with the cheapest plan available for $35.10/mo if paid annually. You can try OptimoRoute for free for 30 days.
Detrack is a courier management software provider that serves a wide range of delivery businesses.
Live tracking, shipping notifications, and Proof of Delivery are the system's key features.
Because Detrack lacks a native route planner, it needs to be integrated with ElasticRoute. Route planning happens in a different interface and is best experienced on 2 monitors.
Let's review the types of instant updates you can share with your customers using Detrack.
There are many types of shipping notifications you can set up in Detrack.
Detrack allows you to send SMS and email shipping notifications. Please note that in order to use text messages, you'll need to set up an account with one of the 9 SMS providers that work with the system.
Detrack prices per driver and even offers a free subscription. However, you need to integrate the system with ElasticRoute in order to use route planning features.
Detrack + ElasticRoute bundle is available for $44/mo per driver if paid monthly.
You can also make use of Detrack's free trial to see the system in action before you invest.
eLogii is a route planning and dispatch software provider that powers delivery businesses and field service providers alike. As part of the package, you get real-time tracking via SMS and email shipping notifications.
Let's take a closer look.
Here are the types of shipping notifications you can share via eLogii.
eLogii allows you to use both SMS and email shipment notifications, with extra charges associated with SMS notifications. All updates are customizable and can be triggered via rules and geofences.
eLogii prices per number of tasks a month and offers 4 plans: Starter, Premium, Professional, and Enterprise. The pricing is available upon request. eLogii does not provide a free trial, but you can book a demo to see the software in action.
Circuit is a route planner software available in 2 versions: for individual drivers and for delivery teams with multiple drivers.
Circuit for Teams offers SMS and email shipping notifications to help you keep your customers in the loop.
Let's review the types of SMS and email shipment notifications you can share with customers via Circuit for Teams.
Circuit for Teams prices per driver per month. The cheapest plan - Essentials - will cost you $100/mo per 2 drivers. You can also try Circuit for free for 7 days.
Shippit is a logistics and order fulfillment software provider built for retailers.
Among the shipping solutions available in the platform are a fully customizable tracking page with order statuses as well as SMS and email shipping notifications that can be shared with customers at various stages of order fulfillment.
Below are the types of SMS & email notifications that can be triggered and shared automatically via Shippit.
All shipping notifications can be customized and branded with your company logo to ensure brand recognition and visibility.
Shippit charges per number of orders a month. The cheapest plan covers 250 orders and costs $54/mo. Please keep in mind that there are extra charges for features like a branded returns portal or a branded tracking page. You can try Shippit for free for 30 days.
Instant communication at the last stage of order fulfillment is one of the industry standards that will only get higher.
Customers demand transparency and involvement in the shipping process, and retailers have to deliver if they want to work towards customer satisfaction.
I hope this intro to SMS and email shipment notifications gives you enough context to make cost-efficient decisions and choose the best last mile logistics software providers for your business.
If you have any questions about last mile logistics solutions offered by Track-POD, book a free custom demo and we'll give you a guided tour.