The Benefits of Last-Mile Delivery Tracking (for Customers and Your Delivery Team)

Customers like to know when their package is arriving. It gives them peace of mind and a sense of control over their day. That’s why more and more delivery teams are offering their customers last-mile delivery tracking. And in fact, last-mile tracking benefits your delivery business, as well as your customers. 

Without last-mile tracking, once your delivery driver starts their route, you’re in the dark about their whereabouts, which makes it difficult to make any necessary changes or monitor progress.

This post covers what can happen when a delivery team uses an inefficient last-mile delivery tracking system — or has no system in place at all. Then we show you how delivery teams of all sizes use Circuit, our route management platform, to provide last-mile tracking for both their delivery team and their customers.

If you’re ready to see the benefits of adding last-mile tracking to your delivery operations, sign up for a free trial of Circuit.

Why Your Delivery Team Needs Last-Mile Tracking 

Without last-mile delivery tracking, your dispatchers and route supervisors will be on the phone fielding calls from customers who want an updated ETA. This isn’t just bad for the customer (who had to take time out of their day to call and now has to wait for you to find out about their order); it’s also bad for your back-end operations. 

When delivery teams don’t have up-to-date, real-time tracking information, they have to use manual processes (e.g. calling drivers and inquiring about their status). One of our customers, who runs a local retail store and manages just one driver, said that before she started using Circuit she spent roughly an hour a day taking calls from customers and then calling her driver to get an update. This becomes completely unsustainable as your delivery team grows. 

Plus, without knowing your delivery driver’s location, it’s increasingly difficult to make changes to the route. If a customer calls and asks for a specific time window, you need to reach out to your driver to see if that request is doable. Or if a customer calls to cancel their order, you can’t easily see whether your driver has already completed that delivery or not.

In short, without last-mile delivery tracking, your delivery service will struggle to bring on new clients, remain profitable, and provide a customer-centric delivery experience

But while there are several different ways to share delivery information with your customer, not all of them are created equal

Some delivery teams can only give vague time windows. While being told that your delivery will arrive between noon and 6:00 pm is better than nothing, the narrower you can get that delivery window, the better the customer experience. Plus, as the delivery goes on, that window does get narrower (as more stops are completed, a more concrete ETA comes into view) — the problem is that information isn’t shared with the customer or with your dispatch team.

Other delivery teams require that their customers sign up for an account or download an app to receive tracking updates. This is common with even large sophisticated last-mile carriers like FedEx, USPS, and Amazon*. 

For delivery tracking to be worthwhile, it needs to be accurate and cover the entire last-mile journey, from when the driver starts their route to when they reach the customer’s doorstep. It also needs to be customer-friendly, with reliable updates that are easy to access. 

*FYI: You can use our free global package tracker to input your tracking or routing number and get immediate up-to-date information about your delivery from dozens of different last-mile carriers.

How Delivery Teams Use Circuit’s Last-Mile Delivery Tracking Software 

Driver tracking with route planning software like Circuit means you can know not only where your drivers are, but where they are in the context of the day's route, too.

Circuit is delivery software that offers route planning, driver tracking, recipient notifications, and proof of delivery. 

Circuit is used by small-to-midsize local businesses who make a dozen stops a day and courier teams who need to make hundreds of stops a day — and everything in between. 

Note: You can read case studies from our customers here, where we talk to eCommerce stores, brick-and-mortar retailers, restaurants, bicycle couriers, and other businesses who have used Circuit to optimize their delivery process.

Below is a high-level view of how Circuit helps you provide accurate and transparent last-mile tracking for your delivery team and your customers:

  1. The fastest — and most accurate — routes possible are made with Circuit’s route optimization software.
  2. As your drivers navigate their routes, dispatchers can track progress with a real-time dashboard. Meanwhile, your customers receive SMS and email messages alerting them to updated ETAs.
  3. When the routes are completed, drivers can capture proof of delivery, which is shared with dispatchers and customers, giving both parties complete peace of mind.

By using one easy-to-use platform to keep everyone in the loop and offer complete transparency, Circuit not only helps you provide your customers with a great delivery experience, but it lets your dispatchers and delivery managers focus on other aspects of their work while Circuit handles all the delivery tracking.

Now, let’s take a more detailed, in-depth look at how you can use Circuit as a last-mile tracking platform.

Optimize Your Routes for Accuracy and Speed

While last-mile delivery tracking can provide updates to a customer throughout the day, it’s a much better customer experience if the first ETA you provide doesn’t change drastically.

(For example, if your customer gets a text that their delivery’s ETA is between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm and then an hour later that switches to 10 am, they may need to quickly change any plans they made.)

With Circuit’s route optimization software, we work to bring you the fastest and most accurate delivery routes possible, which helps reduce how many changes will occur to a route in progress. We do this by factoring in variables such as time, distance, the number of drivers per route, traffic patterns, and more.

To get started, add your addresses to Circuit.

Addresses can be added manually (through either our web app or our mobile app) or by uploading a spreadsheet.

Bulk add addresses button for uploading data from various types of files

Once the addresses are loaded into Circuit, you can customize the route, such as selecting specific time windows or setting a stop as top priority. When you’re ready, Circuit optimizes your stops into a fast and efficient route.

When the routes are optimized, drivers log into Circuit on our free mobile app (that works with both iOS and Android devices) to access the route and start making deliveries*. 

*Note: Drivers can use their preferred GPS app with Circuit, such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze.

Route Monitoring (for Your Team)

You can monitor in-progress routes from your Circuit dashboard. 

Circuit’s route monitoring feature is more advanced than a simple GPS tracker because Circuit tells you where your drivers are within the context of the route you made

This means you know what stops your drivers just finished, where they’re going next, and the updated ETA.

From the dashboard, you can make changes as needed (such as adding stops or removing stops) and can provide any updates to customers who call in asking for information.

But as we said at the beginning of this post, you can provide a better customer experience by directly sharing accurate delivery information with your customers. We cover how Circuit does that with recipient notifications in the next section.

Delivery Tracking (for Your Customer)

Phone message saying "Your package is out for delivery - Track it here". Second phone message saying "Your Package is arriving soon - Track it here"

Because you loaded your customer’s information (address, phone number, email, and name) into Circuit to plan the routes, you can also easily set them up to receive delivery tracking updates (what we call recipient notifications). 

Customers can get either a text message, an email, or both. 

The first update goes out when the driver starts the route. Here, the customer gets the first estimated delivery time (using the same accurate ETA made by Circuit when it optimized your routes).

But the customer is also sent a link to a dashboard similar to the route monitoring dashboard we discussed above. The customer can click this link anytime they want to check on their delivery’s status. 

The second update goes out to the customer when the driver is close to arriving

On this update, the customer can now directly communicate with the driver over text. This is helpful in case you need to relay any information to the driver, such as giving them a gate code or asking the driver not to ring the doorbell because you just put the baby down for a nap.

Proof of Delivery 

The last update your customer gets from Circuit is a copy of proof of delivery.

With Circuit, you can provide electronic proof of delivery in two ways: through a photograph or by collecting the customer’s signature.

Proof of Delivery: Delivery Successful, Left in safe place 07:23; Note for recipient: Parcel placed at side door [POD photo attached]

If the customer isn’t home — or doesn’t need to physically receive the package — most delivery teams leave the parcel in a safe place. But to offer peace of mind, your driver can use their smartphone to take a photo of where they left the package. Then they can upload that photo to Circuit.

Circuit sends a copy of that photo directly to the customer so they know their delivery was made. A copy is also stored on file in the cloud, so your back-end team can pull up the customer account and confirm delivery was made.

If the customer needs to be present for the package, then Circuit can collect an electronic signature. The driver simply uses the Circuit app on their smartphone as a signature pad which the customer signs with their finger.

Similarly, a copy of this is sent to both the customer and your Circuit dashboard to make sure your files are up to date. 

Final Thoughts: Increasing Customer Satisfaction by Offering Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery tracking benefits both your delivery managers and your customers. 

With last-mile tracking, delivery managers and dispatchers can monitor routes in progress, making changes as necessary. Meanwhile, customers can better plan their day knowing when their package will arrive.

Plus, by using a last-mile delivery tracking system that utilizes recipient notifications, your customers don’t have to call your delivery dispatchers because they’re getting updates directly sent to them. This saves everyone time — your team, and your customer.

Because Circuit is a delivery management platform that helps teams create accurate (and fast) routes, monitor drivers, send out delivery updates, and provide proof of delivery, we’re the right tool to help you optimize your last-mile delivery process.

If you’re ready to see the benefits of adding last-mile tracking to your delivery operations, sign up for a free trial of Circuit.

  • David Klose

    Freelancer Writer

David is a content writer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. He has written for SaaS and e-commerce companies, as well as several mattress blogs. His work on sleep health has been featured on Today.com and Yahoo! Lifestyle.