If you run an online store whether that’s a wholesale, dropship or resale business then you need to start using Aftership to handle your tracking information. With a wide variety of software that implements within the Aftership software you can easily keep track of shipments while providing your customers with an exceptional service too.
Aftership is a startup company that allows you to import your tracking urls and will then send email or sms notifications to your buyers at every step of their shipment process. For example I use Aftership for all my dropship businesses and combined with Shopify and my Chinese dropshipper whom uses DHL my tracking is completely automated. Gone are the days of emailing tracking details manually to buyers or following up on lost items or items lost in the mail. Thanks to Aftership everything is handled for me.
How does Aftership Work?
Aftership offers a dashboard where you can manually upload tracking numbers or automatically import them using their Shopify application (i use this). Once your tracking numbers are imported along with your buyers details such as email address, phone number and order references the application will automatically send email alerts at every possible stage in the shipment process.
Let’s say your using DHL as your shipping company and they update their website when your item is scanned in Hong Kong, when it’s in transit to the United States, when it’s on board with the courier driver in Las Vegas and then once it’s been delivered or unable to achieve a signature. The second DHL updates their website with a new piece of information, Aftership will update your tracking number and send your buyers an email notification. They even offer the ability to send sms notifications too but sending multiple text messages is a bit excessive.
Aftership provides a full dashboard where you can check the status of all your tracking codes instantly so you’ll know which ones to follow up with the dropshipper about. In real time without screwing around with the couriers website you’ll know exactly where your products are and can then log misplaced items or delayed items quickly and efficiently.
Setting up Aftership
You’ll need to visit Aftership.com and you can then install the Aftership Shopify application. First of all you’ll need to choose the courier or shipping companies you’ll be using. There’s over 337 currently and Aftership say they are constantly adding more. I initially wanted to use Aftership a few years ago when they first launched and they had no New Zealand companies but now there’s heaps including Courierpost and Fastway.
You’ll select couriers and shipping companies to use and they’ll end up in your Active Panel at the top on the settings screen.
Now that you’ve selected your chosen couriers if you enter a tracking link manually into the system it will automatically detect which company your using. For example my courierpost tracking codes always start with SA so the software can work out quite quickly they are Courierpost links instead of DHL.
You can enter a tracking number and then it will move across to the right. If the item has been delivered you’ll see the green tick to the right of the tracking code as seen above. If it’s not been delivered it will be grey. If you manually enter one you’ll need to assign a Order ID to keep track of the order in the system. You’ll also need to specify the email address and phone number (using +64 or +1 etc). SMS requires a paid account (email is free though) and you’ll need to top up at least $20. Get the full low down on pricing here.
So once you’ve put the details in you simply wait until the courier picks the items up and they start to move along the logistics lifecycle. Lets say in 2 days you checked back here you would then see the following information.
As you can see above the website is updated in real time and then Aftership updates the same. Now anything you see above will have also been emailed to your customers. The way I like to set my Aftership up is as follows:
Now my buyers automatically receive an alert to their email inbox when we ship their item (aka the site is updated with their tracking number) and then through the transit which is usually when the item leaves my city or China etc. Then I like to send an email and an sms when it’s out for delivery. This is very handy if someone totally forgot about their item, sent it to the wrong address or is planning on heading out. They can reschedule their plans or call the courier company and halt delivery at the last minute.
You’ll need to customize your sms and email settings in the settings menu too. Here’s what mine are set too.
And it really is that simple, your buyers will appreciate your customer service and will probably use your service again. There’s way too many businesses out there that struggle to provide decent tracking information and I rarely use companies like that.
If you wish to implement with Shopify simply install the Shopify application and link the two applications. The Aftership application will pull the data from your Shopify store every 3 hours into the application. You’ll probably want to put something in your fulfillment emails that your buyers can expect future emails from Aftership for status delivery notifications.