Reliable item tracking for low-cost cross-border postal items

The lack of visibility throughout the delivery process is often one of the obstacles for consumers to shop online in other countries. Consumers consider full visibility on the delivery process as one of the more important aspects when ordering online: according to the 2016 IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey, 82% of consumers said visibility was important for the delivery experience. Often e-retailers may choose not to use postal operators for cross-border deliveries, as they may perceive posts as being unable to offer an end-to-end tracked service across national borders.

With INTERCONNECT, posts can provide e-retailers and their customers a low-cost tracked solution for the two-thirds of cross-border low-value e-commerce items that are currently untracked, significantly improving the customers’ delivery experience.

The tracked solutions within INTERCONNECT are based on either barcode technology, passive RFID technology, or a combination of both. With these solutions, e-retailers are in a position to offer their customers shipment tracking throughout the entire delivery process, even when ordered from another country.

The use of passive RFID technology can help to significantly reduce the operational costs of tracking parcels, as items with transponders automatically generate tracking events as they pass underneath pre-installed gateways in the postal network. Twenty posts are already part of this network in Europe and the US. Two posts, PostNL and Deutsche Post DHL, launched their own commercial services based on the system in 2016. Five more posts started offering it to targeted customers, including Le Groupe La Poste, Swiss Post, Hellenic Post–ELTA and PostNord.

Tracking widgetThrough these tracking solutions, posts are meeting the needs of consumers and are in a position to gain more volume from e-retailers.

A ‘tracking widget’ has been developed by IPC which can be integrated into any website with minimal IT development to limit the impact on members. A unique API key is placed in the script, which ensures authentication/authorisation for the post or e-retailer allowing them to receive tracking information on their items. The customer enters an item identifier and obtains the tracking details. The widget is mobile-friendly and automatically adapts in size to the device it is being viewed on, whether it’s a computer screen, a mobile phone or a tablet.