1. Last mile innovations: Tracking technologies revolutionize the delivery space
Björn, as Head of Product at Seven Senders you’re in charge of developing innovative tracking, monitoring, and parcel handling tech. What are the key benefits of using the latest tracking software for parcel delivery companies?
Björn Östberg: As the Ecommerce market is getting ever more competitive, optimizing the shopping experience is now not enough, online vendors must also optimize the post-purchase experience and go full circle.
Being able to offer a great post-purchase experience leads to higher customer lifetime value and increased repurchasing rate where seamless returns are one major driver. In addition, internal costs are decreased by minimizing customer support requests: Customers can be informed proactively. If they get regular delivery status updates, for example, they can look up the status of their order themselves.
How easy is it for shipping companies to invest in tracking solutions?
Björn Östberg: Only the biggest shops like Amazon, Zalando and Otto are in a position where they have IT capacity to build their own solutions. For the remainder however, building in-house software to optimize the post-purchase experience is too big of an investment. Hence, opting for a service provider makes much more sense from a cost and quality perspective.
Seven Senders offers a software solution that connects online-shops to over 100+ carriers across Europe. This helps online vendors deliver a top tier post-purchase experience for their consumers: sending email notifications and offering real-time tracking updates via our tracking pages. These solutions offer transparency to the end-consumers and enhance a branded post-purchase experience, according to corporate identity.
What do shipping companies and online-shops need to implement the tracking solution?
Björn Östberg: The only thing our customers need to do is to send us their order and shipment data which we refine and connect with our carriers, including additional data sets.
With this data, we are able to provide enterprise-grade analytics to our customers in which they can track their whole supply chain performance holistically but also drill-down to a specific order.
This opens up completely new avenues for operations teams which in many cases still operate with Excel and non-modular datasets which are very labor-intensive.
Much potential lies in using parcel tracking data from a big data perspective: Machine learning could be used to spot outliers or patterns pointing towards issues in the supply chain which can be sent proactively.
2. Looking into the future of delivery
Do you think parcel tracking can be linked with wider supply chain operations through big data/IoT to improve operations?
Björn Östberg: Internet of Things could for sure be interesting but as logistics are heavily cost pressured, every cent per parcel that can be saved matters. Therefore, additional costs in terms of hardware would work at best on pallet-level until the hardware and technology get cheaper. However, there are exceptions for big, expensive and bulky goods often using two-man handling in which real-time tracking of an item using IoT could be something we will see more of in the future.
Amazon is already offering last mile real-time tracking to make transparent where the delivery truck is compared to the delivery address, showing estimated time arrivals for when it will be delivered.
Looking ahead, what do you think will be the key technological developments in parcel tracking technology and software over the next few years?
Björn Östberg: Blockchain might open up a new horizon of use cases with smart contracts to further optimize and automate manual and costly processes.
Smart contracts are based on code defining a set of rules. When uploaded into the blockchain, these rules are automatically validated and executed, thus enabling further process steps as well as financial transactions. Delivery could benefit from automation, for example when goods are transported from a vendor to a customer by different transporters.
Another aspect is machine learning. First use cases are just starting to pop up, and many more will come from machine learning or Artificial Intelligence for specific data sets solving specific use cases. In the end, you want to focus on which use cases the technology can solve and if they move the needle for our customers.
Thanks for the interview!