3 Reasons Why You Need a Route Planner to Make Ecommerce Delivery Seamless

3 Reasons Why You Need a Route Planner to Make Ecommerce Delivery Seamless
Featured image credit : William Potter/shutterstock.com

L’Oreal CEO Jean-Paul Ago said it right, “ecommerce isn’t the cherry on the cake; it is the new cake”.

In fact, industry figures back this up. According to Statista.com, an online market research and business intelligence portal, retail ecommerce sales amounted to $360 billion in 2016 and are projected to surpass $600 billion in 2021.

But, ecommerce logistics, more specifically the delivery of goods, has several challenges. You need to plan well-optimized routes, ensure driver safety, deliver faster, meet the deadline, and make sure customers are available to receive orders. And, doing all this should not cost your pocket too much. Without a route planner, that’s not easy to achieve.

So, how does such software help? Read on to find out.

#1 Puts Route Planning on Auto-Pilot

A driving route planner optimizes your routes in 30 seconds, saving you from early morning routing chaos.

Just add the customer addresses manually, copy and paste or upload the list to the software, and set the parameters (such as whether the addresses are for a single driver or a team) and the trip planner will provide a well-optimized route within a minute. The software optimizes routes just as quickly when doing large fleet optimizations.

The route will be free from traffic, bad weather conditions, left turns or u-turns. So, you never need to worry about that again.

Ecommerce platforms usually don’t have route planning capabilities. So, you would normally have to transfer the orders stored on your ecommerce platform to the scheduling software manually and then plan the routes accordingly. This is time consuming and increases the risk of failed deliveries due to human errors made while transferring the data.

But, Route4Me comes with a dedicated plug-in for major ecommerce platforms (including Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento) that solves the problem by automating the entire order transfer and route planning process. You just have to integrate the plug-in once.

You can either send the orders manually to Route4Me’s fleet management software or automate this process. Simply select “Yes” or “No” under the “Auto Send Orders to Route4Me”, while setting up the plug-in. It’s that easy!

The plugin also has a built-in geocoder that flags incorrect addresses in advance and it’ll auto-suggest corrections if you key in wrong addresses.

Here’s a quick list of how Route4Me’s route planner can ensure dynamic ecommerce order dispatch:

  • Dynamically plans optimized routes when new ecommerce orders arrive.
  • Does dynamic fleet sizing with in-time routing.
  • Offers dynamic route optimization with inventory replenishment.
  • Provides dynamic routing with customer configurable address redirection.
  • Offers dynamic wave picking with optimal route sequencing.
  • Does dynamic SKU slotting optimization with optimal route sequencing.
  • Offers continuous flow picking to route optimization.

The delivery app even enables you to mark exactly where a package needs to go and helps you provide your drivers with exact drop-off locations. In this way, they don’t waste time and money circling around buildings to identify the correct entrances.

In addition, you can leave notes within the routes for additional instruction. So, your drivers won’t waste any time and your customers won’t get upset.

On average, fleet management software reduces the daily route planning chore to less than 10 minutes per day and  the drive time by 35%. The time and money savings will go up if you’ve got a large fleet.

Don’t you think that opting for a route planner would be the wise choice?


Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

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#2 Tracks the Drivers’ Movements on the Road

Planning routes is only half the battle. In addition, you need to ensure drivers follow the directions to get the best out of well-optimized routes and make deliveries on time. The best route planners come with a GPS tracking feature that can help here.

How does GPS tracking work?

GPS tracking helps you visualize your drivers’ activities on a map in real time so that you can immediately know if a field rep or driver makes an unauthorized stop or takes longer than planned at a specific destination.

Whether a driver is speeding, idles the engine for a long time, drives vehicles off the route or makes unplanned stops, you can see everything in the software. This would help you give immediate feedback to the drivers to keep things under control and to ensure driver safety.

You can even re-optimize a route in case a driver’s vehicle suddenly breaks down. And, you can re-assign the delivery to another driver who is nearby to still meet the deadline.

#3 Keeps Customers Updated about Scheduled Inbound Visits

Customers won’t wait if your drivers don’t show up on time. And, any failed delivery or service is bad for your business. This is because you’d have to send the order or field rep again, pay the drivers extra, and pay more for fuel to deliver the same order or provide the same service which will eat through your profits.

A surefire way to eliminate such failed deliveries is by updating your customers about inbound visits. A route planner with a vehicle tracking feature will help you give your customers the estimated arrival times (ETAs) of their orders or your field service reps so that they can make themselves available.

For example, Route4Me’s road trip planner captures locations from the drivers’ smartphones and third-party telematics systems to help you track the drivers in real time. And, when looking at the drivers’ progress on Route4Me’s mobile app, the refresh times are as low as one second. So, you’ll always know exactly where your drivers are.

Moreover, the mobile app is connected to your Route4Me company account so the travel and ETAs of your assets are automatically reflected in your route manifest. This provides you and your customers with up-to-the-minute dynamic route ETAs and dynamic route manifests.

In addition, Route4Me offers a customer portal feature that enables your customers to access the software (using a tracking number or their account ID) to monitor the status of their inbound visit themselves. You can even configure and send an automatic SMS text message and email with a tracking URL so your customer can see where the driver is as the driver approaches.

You can also set access restrictions, depending on how much information you want to reveal regarding the visit, including custom fields, driver identities, and ETAs.

Furthermore, a route planner comes with a custom alert and notification feature that helps you inform customers about their order arrival status. For example, you can let a certain customer know when a scheduled delivery is within 10 miles, 10 minutes or 10 kilometers of the customer’s location.

If you subcontract work to other drivers, the tracking and notification would still work with their routes and devices as well.

This would save you a significant amount of time usually spent on low-value activities, such as customer service, tracking and tracing, and keeping customers up to date with the status of their inbound visits.

So, how do you ensure seamless ecommerce delivery? Have you ever explored a route planner? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Also, here are three quick questions for you to ensure you understood the benefits of route planners and tracking devices:

  1. How does a road trip planner ensure all the customer addresses you plan routes for are 100% accurate?
  2. How does a vehicle GPS tracker help you provide correct ETAs to your customers?
  3. How does a GPS telematics app help reduce order returns?

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.