As online shopping continues to grow, so will the need to understand and utilize shipping logistics in real-time. A transparent business operation with intensive monitoring and detailed tracking through every checkpoint along the logistical supply chain path is advantageous for both end consumers and shop merchants

Thankfully, package tracking is a universally available tool that connects every shipping courier, shop, and end consumer with the necessary information attached to each parcel in transit. Simply put, couriers scan packages as they move, sending new status updates as the package reaches new locations. Although it might seem like a straightforward process, there’s much more than meets the eye when understanding how package tracking works. 

What is happening when you track a package?

Since every shipping courier allows you to freely track and monitor packages, customers can follow their shipment from the moment a shipping label and unique ID are created all the way to delivery. No matter the shipping method, knowing that you can easily follow shipments wherever they may be, gives you the peace of mind that nothing has been lost or misplaced. 

5 Stages of Package Tracking

So, once you have purchased that item you’ve been eyeing – How do you track it? 

Stage 1: Enter Your Tracking Information

Since there are multiple ways to enter your tracking information, let’s dive into a few of them: 

  • Text Tracking: Since your phone number is often a required field on most eCommerce checkout portals, major couriers will allow you to track packages using your phone number. Simply send a text to a specified number with the tracking number to receive automatic updates.
  • Courier Website: Once you have received a tracking number, you can easily enter it through the couriers’ website and receive real times updates as to the package’s whereabouts. 
  • Mobile Apps: Most couriers also have mobile apps with integrations to track your packages from your phone. Simply enter in the appropriate information a track your package.
  • Driveline: Drive Fulfillments’ comprehensive warehouse management software not only makes it easy for customers to track their packages from an easy-to-use dashboard but also grants merchants transparent access across the entirety of their supply chain. 

Stage 2: Automated Processing

A courier or 3PLs’ automated processing and sorting equipment always require parcels to be scanned before they arrive at a local post office or sorting facility. Barcodes are also scanned by the courier every time the package reaches a checkpoint in the direction of travel, giving customers full visibility when they track packages. 

Stage 3: Delivery Depots

If your package is scanned in at a delivery depot, it’s likely the final stop. Soon after, it will be loaded on a truck and delivered to your location. 

Stage 4: Out For Delivery

An out for delivery notice or update on your package tracking means exactly that. When you receive an out for delivery notification, you can rest assured that the package is moving from the local post office to your location. 

Stage 5: Delivered

Finally, your package is delivered to the final location. If the courier doesn’t require verification or a signature, the package is often left where parcels are stored at your home or place of work.  

How to Track Packages with Different Couriers? USPS, FedEx, & UPS

USPS Shipment Tracking:

When it comes to tracking USPS packages, simply enter the unique USPS shipment tracking number on the USPS tracking page portal. This will give you unique details about the package’s whereabouts, including the possibility of receiving real-time SMS updates and detailed tracking via the USPS app.  

FedEx Shipment Tracking:

Similar to USPS tracking, Fed Ex also requires a unique tracking number to locate and follow packages along their path to delivery. That said, FedEx tracking numbers are created based on the size, location, and shipping method. While the number may be slightly different and shorter than USPS tracking numbers, visiting the FedEx tracking page or mobile app to utilize the same functionality and tracking specifics. 

UPS Shipment Tracking:

UPS not only allows you to track your package in real-time using their unique tracking number app and web portal, but they also allow up to 25 packages to be tracked simultaneously. Visit the UPS tracking webpage to enter one number per line, and discover the location of a single item or batch of packages in transit. 

Troubleshooting Shipment Tracking: FAQ’s

With millions of packages exchanging hands every day, you are bound to run into an issue from time to time. Whether that be a lost package or a faulty tracking number, it’s important to be prepared and understand the array of possible complexities that may arise. 

Recycled Tracking Numbers

If your package shipment appears to be delivered rapidly or to the wrong address, there is a chance the number may have been recycled. Given the high volume of shipments in transit every day, this can happen from time to time. Oftentimes, the solution is to wait until the correct shipment label is scanned with the updated tracking number.

Driver Error (No scan)

If a driver accidentally sets their scanner to delivered instead of accepted in transit, the tracking will show an incorrect delivery status. Not to worry, even if the status is incorrect, the package is likely still in transit to your location. If you are unsure, contact the couriers’ customer service team explaining the issue. 

Lost Package

Unfortunately, lost packages are inevitable. If something happens to go missing, be sure to wait at least seven days before filing a claim to initiate a search for the lost item. After seven days, and if the package never turns up, follow the couriers’ procedure to request a refund. 

Status Updates

Oftentimes, customers will receive a tracking notification once a label is printed. That said, labels aren’t immediately attached to the package and sent off. It can take 24 to 48 hours for the packaging and shipping process to complete so be sure to wait at least a day or two before you start panicking that your package isn’t going anywhere.

Drive Fulfillment Tracking & Technological Capabilities

With a comprehensive Warehouse Management Software (WMS), Driveline powered by Deposco, the days of sitting in the dark are over. Not only does Driveline allow merchants transparent access to inventory levels and shipment status, but it also grants transparent access and tracking for every package the minute an order is placed all the way until delivery. 

Now more than ever, customers expect precise order accuracy, shorter shipping times, and accessible customer services. Luckily, when brands are looking to engage consumers across MarketingFulfillment, and Digital platforms, Drive has the unique opportunity to deliver. We believe that no two customers are the same, neither are their fulfillment processes. We build customized solutions optimized for your business. No matter the product, Drive will implement a procedure to save you money. Contact us with any questions regarding tours, pricing, shipping locations, shipping capabilities, or general inquiries.