I pointed out earlier that Zappos and most online retailers are not doing a great job after shipping. Rather than just sending out a tracking number, online retailers should keep customers informed of the latest delivery through notification messages. If you are an online retail storeowner or Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos who cares about customer service, this post will be useful to you as we take a look on the delivery notification services of UPS and Amazon , and how an online retail can learn from them.

Example 1 - UPS My Choice**

In Sept 2011, UPS started to offer a free service – “UPS My Choice” for customers to receive a text before the package is delivered. Feedback was great so far and readers even commented that this should have come sooner. But wait

3 key problems with UPS My Choice for online retailers

  1. Requires customer to fill in 5 pages for registration…Seriously, 5 pages?
  2. Support UPS and US only, how about USPS, Fedex and other countries?
  3. Messages come from UPS but not the online store or sender

I don’t spend time explaining the first point. The key point is that UPS My Choice does not really benefit e-ecommerce directly: If the customers do not register, no messages will be sent out. For online retailers using multiple couriers to ship out their orders locally and internationally (very common), sorry – UPS My Choice can’t help.  Moreover, notification messages are sent by the courier - wouldn’t it a better customer engagement if the messages come from the online retailer instead?

Example 2: Amazon's Delivery Notifications**

Amazon has also implemented a similar service some time ago for customers to receive text messages when package is shipped, out for delivery, delivered or encounters an exception. Amazon’s service after shipping is good…but not great. Here’re why

3 key problems with Amazon’s Delivery Text Notifications

  1. Requires customer to register
  2. Only support US customers and products sold by Amazon.com (not by Merchant sellers)
  3. Um…who know about this service?

Your view: Should Zappos text customers before the package is delivered?

If you were Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, or own an online store, should you inform the customers before the package is delivered? If yes, what can we learn from UPS My Choice and Amazon?

I leave the first question to you guys. My view is yes - otherwise, UPS My Choice or Amazon won't put money on developing it. For the second question, I think...

  1. No registration required for end customers
  2. Support all couriers your online store use
  3. Messages come from your online store instead of UPS / Fedex / USPS

If you know Tony Hsieh, please forward him this post..please :) . And of course, please tell us what you think.