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Shipping Notifications Guide: Inform + Empower Customers

Shipping notifications are a great opportunity to nurture your relationships with your customers. This expert guide walks you through how to do this right.

Octavia Drexler
By Octavia Drexler
Natalie Stenge
Edited by Natalie Stenge

Updated December 17, 2023.

Shipping Notifications Guide: Inform + Empower Customers main image

Imagine a world where you'd place an order online and never knew when it's going to reach you.

For those who were around at the advent of the eCommerce boom, this is a scenario from a bygone era. For those who've just come into purchasing power, it's an unfathomable theory.

Let's assume, just for a moment, that the world had never discovered shipping notifications. If that were true, the 2.6 billion people that shop online would live in terrible anxiety, not knowing if and when their packages will be delivered.

That's $5.8 trillion worth of mistrust, customer dissatisfaction, and churn.

The good news? Implementing shipping notifications is easier than ever, and comes with a long list of benefits you can't ignore.

What are the essentials to know about shipping notification email marketing and SMS marketing?

Keep reading and find out more.

What are shipping notifications?

Shipping notifications are messages eCommerce merchants send customers to keep them informed about an order's delivery status. For instance, these notifications could let customers know about the quality of their order processing, when the order has been shipped, or when it's in delivery. It's a type of transactional email that is essential for the customer experience and goes a long way to building retention and repeat buyers.


Advantages of shipping notifications

Shipping notifications have become quite standard in eCommerce email marketing, and there are excellent reasons for implementing them, too:

Keep your customers in the loop

Online shopping has changed the way we shop.

But with convenience came detachment. While buying online can be a lot more comfortable, it can also make customers feel distant from their purchases.

Timely notifications counter this by creating a sense of involvement. Customers receive updates at various stages, from order confirmation to dispatch, transit, and delivery. This ongoing communication makes customers happy by painting a clear picture of their purchase's journey, making them feel engaged and informed.

The data shows this, as well.

90% of consumers claim they want to be engaged during the delivery process. Transactional shipment notification emails get a staggering 91.4% open rate, towering over the 21% average open rate for other marketing emails across industries.

Build customer loyalty

In an ocean of stores selling more or less the same types of products, building customer loyalty is a formidable challenge. Your customers' post-purchase experience can make all the difference in the world.

Sending shipment notifications and keeping customers informed and engaged means you get to build a relationship with your customers. This connection is vital for cultivating loyalty, as customers are more likely to return to a brand that prioritizes their satisfaction and keeps them in the loop throughout their buying journey.


Improve your logistics

The benefits of real-time updates on shipping extend beyond direct customer engagement.

These notifications are a valuable tool for logistics management. By tracking the real-time progress of shipments, companies gain insights into the movement of products. This visibility allows them to identify potential bottlenecks, optimize routes, anticipate delays, and find ways to re-negotiate contracts with shipping carriers.

Ultimately, this proactive approach leads to more efficient operations and a smoother shopping experience.

Boost brand reputation

We communicate faster than ever. There are more than 5 billion people on the internet – nearly two-thirds of the entire world! 3 billion people online are on Facebook, and it takes seconds to send a WhatsApp message or an email.

However, this also means that a brand's reputation can be made or broken in a matter of seconds.

Sending your customers updates on the shipping process can contribute to creating a healthy brand reputation, as they offer a personalized and reliable customer experience. Brands that prioritize timely updates and accurate information are perceived as trustworthy and attentive to customer needs. Positive interactions resulting from effective notifications can lead to enthusiastic word-of-mouth endorsements, enhancing a brand's reputation in the market.

Keep in mind that shipping delays or delivery issues happen. But customers are far more willing to turn the other way and ignore these mishaps if they receive timeline shipping updates. Building an eCommerce business with a flawless reputation is not always about having zero delivery delays; it's about keeping your customers in the loop with accurate delivery updates.


Reduce customer anxiety

The anticipation of receiving a package can be exciting, but it can also trigger anxiety when customers are left wondering about the whereabouts of their order. Informing your shoppers of their packages' delivery status can be like a soothing balm for their anxiety.

By providing regular updates, estimated delivery times, and even live tracking options, businesses alleviate customers' worries and replace them with excitement for the impending delivery.

Types of shipping notifications

There are multiple types of shipping notifications, and incorporating all of them into your delivery process will help your customers plan ahead and stay informed. Here are some of the most important types of delivery status updates you can use:

Shipment created

The journey of a package begins with the creation of a shipping label. A "Shipment Created" notification marks this initial step, alerting customers that their order is being prepared for dispatch.

This notification sets the stage for what's to come, informing customers that their purchase is about to embark on its journey. This type of notification is usually followed by shipping confirmation emails or text messages notifying the customers that the shipping event has been created and your reliable shipping partners will handle their package. Also, these shipping confirmation emails or messages frequently include automated shipment tracking (or a tracking button) for the package.


Shipment exception

Despite meticulous planning, unforeseen hiccups can occur during the shipping process. A "Shipment Exception" notification steps in during such situations, providing customers with upfront transparency about any unexpected delays or issues.

These delivery notification emails acknowledge the problem and demonstrate your business' commitment to resolving it promptly. They can also be used as delivery exception notifications or notifications for critical delivery issues, such as the common warnings about potential delays that were commonly found on eCommerce sites during the COVID-19 lockdowns.


Delivery notifications

The pinnacle of anticipation arrives with the "Out for Delivery" notification. This eagerly awaited update informs customers that their package is en route and expected to arrive soon. In some cases, delivery notifications even provide real-time tracking, allowing customers to follow their package's progress on a map and plan their day around its imminent arrival.

Additional delivery details you can include in this type of notification include:

  • Delivery timeline (including when the actual delivery is planned or what delivery dates are available)
  • Any delivery instructions the customer has added to their order
  • Delivery address and delivery contact person (also added by the customer)
  • Delivery confirmation
  • Delivery person
  • Delivery truck
  • Whether a delivery attempt was made already

Pro tip: Not sure where to start with shipment notifications and other email or SMS marketing efforts? Hiring a professional email marketing consultant will help you make the best choices, in the shortest amount of time.


Channels to use for shipment notifications

Aside from the types of shipment notifications, you should also be aware there are multiple channels you can use to inform customers of the delivery lifecycle:


Email continues to be a staple in communication strategies – with good reason. It offers a versatile platform for delivering comprehensive shipping notifications. From tracking numbers and estimated delivery days for delivery to links for real-time package tracking, email notifications provide customers with a comprehensive overview of their order's journey.

Customers can refer back to these emails at their convenience, making it a practical choice for information retention.

Mobile push notifications

The ubiquity of smartphones made mobile push notifications extremely popular for many types of eCommerce business operations.

These notifications appear directly on customers' device screens, ensuring they receive timely updates without actively checking their emails. Mobile push notifications are especially effective for conveying urgent information, such as unexpected delays or imminent deliveries.


SMS messages

SMS messages take the lead for a concise and immediate mode of communication.

They are short, direct, and ideal for conveying updates such as delivery notifications and tracking links. SMS messages are particularly advantageous because they have a high open rate, ensuring that customers are informed promptly, even while on the go.

Want to create killer SMS campaigns? You need a powerful SMS tool.

A small step for your business, a giant step for customer experience

The moment your shoppers share their email addresses with you is the moment you start building customer relationships with them. Shipping notifications are the kind of marketing that goes beyond words: it proves you are in it for your customers, and that you want them to feel at ease buying from you.

At a very minimum, you should send the following updates via email:

  • Automatic customer notifications on the delivery label creation, when the parcel is in transit, and on the day of the delivery
  • Additional customer communication, e.g., shipment delays, extra information about the delivery, etc.
  • Information on the return process and an invite for feedback

Additional notifications can be added to the process, but make sure you don't overload your customers with too many emails. If done right, shipping notifications can significantly improve the customer experience and help create a positive relationship with your customers.

Adding shipping notifications to your email flows is fairly easy as well, depending on your delivery service provider, email software, and online shop's Customer Relationship Management tool. It can usually be done with a few clicks, so you can connect what happens on your website to what happens in the back end, where your delivery carrier is handling the actual shipment of the package.

All in all, well-timed, balanced customer notification emails or SMS messages help your business build brand recognition, increase customer lifetime value, and ultimately, improve customer satisfaction. Given how easy it is to implement this kind of notification and its many advantages, there's no reason not to integrate them into your email marketing strategy today!


Want to make sure your shipping notifications and your other email marketing efforts are effective? Hire a professional email marketer vetted by Mayple. Contact us today and you can start working with an expert in a matter of days!


How do you notify customers of shipment?

Shipping notifications can be sent out via different channels, such as email, SMS, customer portals, or push notifications. These notifications can update customers on shipment status from the moment the delivery request is created to the moment the buyer receives their package.

What is a shipping email?

Shipping emails are transactional communications businesses send to customers to inform them about their orders' status and shipment. Most often, these messages or emails include product info, order and delivery date, shipping method and company, tracking code, delivery address, and payment details.

How do you inform your customers?

You can keep your customers informed in many ways. For transactional communications (like shipping updates) you can use email, text messages, and push notifications. For more general announcements you can use social media and email. Video messaging, web chat, or handwritten notes add a unique touch to more personalized, direct messages.