impact of ecommerce on retail

Customer experience is one of the hottest topics in eCommerce right now, and part of a great customer experience is letting people know when their stuff will arrive. Nearly all customers (97%) expect to be able to track their online orders, according to ProShip. 

But not all order tracking tools are the same. The more steps your customers must take to see what’s up with their orders, the more friction (or hassle, or work) your delivery tracking system creates.

Customers hate friction (or hassle, or work), so the easier your store makes it for customers to keep track of their purchases, the more likely they’ll be to shop with you again. 

Here are a few apps and plugins you may want to consider for your online store. Some generate text messages with order updates, some let you create branded shipping updates, and some serve as an easy bridge from your store to your carrier’s tracking information.

1. ShipStation 

ShipStation is a comprehensive shipping app that handles orders from all your e-commerce channels, finds the best rates among multiple carriers, updates customers on their order status, simplifies customer returns, tracks inventory and provides analytics. 

shipstation order tracking

Which platforms is it compatible with? WooCommerce and Magento both work with ShipStation. So do several marketplace platforms, including Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, Etsy, eBay, and Jet. ShipStation supports major shipping carriers and offers discounted rates.

How does it update your customers? ShipStation lets you build a branded tracking portal for mobile and desktop that shows your customers where their order is and how soon it will arrive. This keeps your customers on your site, where they can shop, rather than sending them to the carrier’s website. 

How much does it cost? There are six plans. They range from the $9/month starter plan for up to 50 shipments to $159/month for up to 10,000 shipments.

Can you try before you buy? Yes, ShipStation offers a 30-day free trial. 

2. Shippo 

Shippo lets you fulfill orders, create branded tracking updates, allow easy returns and find the best shipping rates. 

shippo order tracking tool for ecommerce

Which platforms is it compatible with? Shippo is Gator Website Builder’s integrated shipping partner for eCommerce sites. Shippo also supports Magento and WooCommerce, plus the Mercari, Etsy, eBay and Amazon marketplace platforms. Shippo supports major US and international carriers, with deeply discounted rates available. Shippo also supports national postal services in selected countries outside the U.S. 

How does it update your customers? Shippo’s paid plan gives you the ability to brand email and text shipping updates to your customers, and you can create branded tracking pages on your website. 

How much does it cost? Shippo offers a no-fee pay as you go service for 5 cents per package, plus postage costs. For Shippo’s branded customer experience, you’ll need the professional plan that starts at $10/month.

Can you try before you buy? Yes, Shippo’s pay as you go plan is fee-free, and there’s a 30-day free trial available for the professional plan. 

3. Status and Order Tracking 

This order tracking plugin for WordPress keeps customers and customer service reps on the same page when it comes to order status and delivery tracking. 

status and order tracking plugin for wordpress

Which platforms is it compatible with? This WordPress plugin is compatible with WooCommerce. The upgraded Ultimate Status Tracking version also integrates with Zendesk customer support software. Status and Order Tracking comes with Gutenberg blocks for drag-and-drop formatting on your site.

How does it update your customers? You can set up a responsive delivery status page, customize email notifications to your customers, and automatically send email updates when the order status changes. 

How much does it cost? There’s a free version, which does not include WooCommerce support. A one-site lifetime premium license costs $35, plus $30/year for support after the first six months.

Can you try before you buy? You can test out the free version and then decide whether to upgrade to the premium version.

4. YITH WooCommerce Order Tracking 

YITH’s order tracking tool keeps customers up to date in English, Spanish, Italian or Dutch, with WPML support for translation into other languages.

yith woocommerce order tracking

Which platforms is it compatible with? The name gives it away – YITH is a WordPress plugin for the WooCommerce platform. 

How does it update your customers? The premium version of YITH Order Tracking inserts carrier tracking links in your customer email messages and sends them as soon as orders are shipped. It also auto-fills tracking data in the customer’s order dashboard, so they can click and view the current status without having to copy-paste order numbers or tracking codes. 

How much does it cost? A one-year single-site license costs $66. 

Can you try before you buy? You can try the free version, then decide if you want to upgrade to access the automated tracking features.

5. YITH WooCommerce SMS Notifications

What about your customers who would rather get a text message than check their email? YITH has a plugin for them, too. Like YITH’s Order Tracking plugin, this one is for WordPress and WooCommerce online stores.

yith woocommerce sms notifications for order tracking

How does it update your customers? YITH SMS Notifications lets you text-message your customers with order status updates, select the status changes that trigger an SMS message, and incorporate shortened links by Google and Bitly in your messages. You can also use the plugin to manually send texts to individual customers if you have questions about their orders. 

How much does it cost? A one-year, single site license costs $64.

Can you try before you buy? There’s no free version of this plugin, but you can launch a one-hour live administrator demo from the plugin page.

Finding the Right Order Tracking Tool for Your Online Store

  • To get the most out of a trial period or free version, start by benchmarking a few important numbers. How many calls and emails do you get each day or week from customers who want status updates? 
  • How many of those customers return to buy more from your store? 
  • How are your customer satisfaction ratings, feedback and reviews?

At the end of your trial period, review those numbers again. If they’ve improved, you may have found the right tool for your customers. If they’re unchanged, declining or uneven, you may need to keep looking until you find the right order tracking tool for your store. 

Want more eCommerce tips? Check out our recommended WordPress plugins for inventory management.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention