How Advanced Shipping Notice Help With Customer Relationships
Learn what an advanced shipping notice (ASN) is, how it helps the supply chain process, and the benefits of advanced shipping notifications for your customers.
Let’s face it: Consumers are a little spoiled.
A recent survey we conducted taught us that 66% of Americans would stop ordering from a company or delivery app following a late delivery.
ECommerce consumers want things fast, on time, and complete with order tracking and visibility.
How do you stay ahead of the curve and make sure your customers remain happy?
Consider using an advanced shipping notice (ASN).
An ASN notifies the customer when their order is on its way.
It includes information like the expected delivery date, tracking number, and items in the purchase order.
Another recent survey showed that nearly all consumers actively track their packages.
ASNs help manage customer expectations by giving them up-to-date information on their order status so they’re in the loop.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about ASNs and how they can enhance transparency and improve customer satisfaction.
What is an advanced shipping notice (ASN)?
ASN stands for advanced ship notice, but it also goes by names like outbound ship notice, outbound ship manifest, DESADV, or EDI 856.
Basically, it’s a shipping order that contains information about what’s shipping, who it’s shipping to, where it’s going, and when it needs to arrive.
This notice is sent before the shipment so the receiving party can prepare for its arrival.
Companies can use an ASN for both physical shipments and electronic data transfers.
In the case of physical shipments, the ASN includes information about the physical characteristics of the shipment — like dimensions, type of packaging, weight, and mode of transportation.
For electronic data transfers, the ASN includes information about the file format and structure of the data being transferred.
So, an ASN is just a way to send an advanced notice about a shipment — whether that shipment contains physical goods or digital data.
What information does an advanced shipping notice include?
While the exact information included in an ASN can vary depending on the industry and company, it typically includes common elements like:
- Purchase order number
- Supplier name and address
- Ship-to name and address
- Bill-to name and address
- Carrier name and tracking number
- Shipping method
- Shipment weight
- Shipment dimensions
- Number of pallets
- Shipment date
- Expected delivery date
This information is great, but without an electronic data interchange (EDI) system, it can be difficult to actually send and receive ASNs.
An EDI system is a technology that helps companies exchange business documents electronically.
In short, it’s a way to send information back and forth between two businesses without using paper documents, easing the receiving process and delivery process.
EDI system automation helps avoid human error, speeds up the process, and makes tracking information along the supply chain easier.
The most valuable EDI document is an ASN because of its essential information.
When your company uses an EDI system to send an ASN, you can be sure the intended recipient will receive the information quickly and accurately.
The difference between an advanced shipping notice and a bill of lading
Let's explore the difference between an advanced shipping notice (ASN) and a bill of lading (BOL).
Both documents are important for tracking shipments, but they serve different purposes.
An ASN is typically used to alert the receiving party that a shipment is on its way and gives details about the shipment’s contents.
A BOL, on the other hand, is a legal document that outlines the shipment’s terms. It serves as a contract between the shipper and the carrier.
The ASN and the BOL have some of the same information — like the name and address of the sender and recipient. But the BOL is meant to accompany the load in transit, and the ASN is meant to give pending delivery information to customers before the delivery arrives.
How advanced shipping notices help with customer relationships
ASNs have important information for distributors, eCommerce retailers, and even consumers.
You can use the ASN to track inventory levels at your distribution center and make sure products are shipped out as soon as they’re received.
(Check out our posts on inbound logistics and centralized dispatching.)
You can also use this information to help with forecasting and overall demand planning.
But ASNs don’t just help businesses with supply chain management — they can also help consumers.
Let’s say a customer is expecting a shipment of items they ordered online. They can use the automatic shipping notification to track the package and get an idea of when to expect the delivery.
Let’s explore some of the benefits of an ASN.
How ASNs help to increase order visibility
ASNs increase visibility into the order process and give information about where an order is in the shipping process.
This information can help your business avoid surprises and delays.
For example, when an order arrives at your warehouse, store, or distribution center, your receiving team can use barcode scanning to quickly add the order to your warehouse management system (WMS).
This helps with inventory management and order tracking — and can ultimately improve customer satisfaction by avoiding canceled orders due to out-of-stock merchandise.
The ASM also has information on estimated delivery dates so consumers know when to expect their goods.
Let’s say a customer is expecting a shipment of ten boxes, but the ASN says they’re only receiving eight. The customer can adjust their expectations, double-check the product details on their original order, or contact the company’s customer service team.
Using ASNs to increase visibility can help businesses avoid potential customer service issues like the one above. This leads to better order management overall.
How ASNs help with order confirmation
Companies can also use an ASN to confirm that an order was received and is being processed.
For example, if a customer places an online order and doesn’t get more information about their order status, they might assume something is wrong and reach out to customer service.
But if the customer receives an order confirmation and ASN, they can see that the order was received and is being processed. This can prevent customer service issues.
An advanced shipping notification can answer questions for your customers like:
- Has my order shipped?
- What’s my order number?
- What items have shipped?
- When will my order arrive?
- What’s the tracking number and delivery company?
We already know consumers love tracking their packages.
For items shipped directly to a customer by dropshipping or any other shipping method, an advanced shipment notice is essential for giving tracking numbers and carrier information.
This can save time by answering customers’ questions before they even have to ask.
It’s a small thing that can make a big difference in the customer experience.
How ASNs help improve customer communication
ASNs can also help improve communication with customers.
You can use an ASN to proactively reach out to customers and give them information about their orders.
For example, if a customer’s order is delayed, you can use the ASN to reach out and let them know.
This proactive communication can help avoid potential customer service issues.
It also helps internal communication and data sharing within your company.
For example, you can access delivery statuses for customer support questions and monitor stock levels for product reorders.
How ASNs help improve trust
Advanced shipping notices are for building trust.
When customers see that you’re shipping their order and sending tracking information, it can build trust between the customer and your company.
This trust can lead to repeat customers and improved customer satisfaction.
It also helps build trust with new customers because it shows that your company is organized, efficient, and committed to good customer service.
ASNs help maintain transparency between your business, suppliers, and customers — so everyone knows when you will fulfill, ship, and deliver the order.
Wrapping up: advanced shipment notices
Advanced Shipping Notices (ASNs) are a crucial tool in managing customer relationships in the ecommerce industry. ASNs give your customers critical information about their orders, including expected delivery dates and tracking numbers. Leading to a better customer experience and increased loyalty.
By implementing ASNs in your business, you can reduce errors, improve communication, and increase the overall efficiency of your supply chain and delivery process.
Help manage the delivery process with Circuit for Teams
If you want to keep your customers happy and informed on their orders, you need Circuit for Teams to give your customers accurate, automated delivery notifications so they’re not waiting around all day for their orders.
Best of all, Circuit for Teams offers effortless route optimization for all your drivers, the key to efficient, accurate, and cost-effective shipping.
Plus, you’ll get proof of delivery for every shipment, so you know your packages are delivered on time and as expected.
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