As the world continues to move online, and online deliveries and exchanges are increasingly common, parcel tracking has become a major priority to a number of concerned customers.
This has resulted in parcel delivery companies increasingly making the most of advanced GPS systems to ensure that their customers get their parcels at the right time and place.
But can you really track a parcel from door to door?
We took a closer look at just how parcels are tracked, how accurate this information can be, and the advantages that you can enjoy when you pay a little more to invest in parcel tracking.
What Is Address-Based Tracking?
Address-based tracking is a method of shipping parcels to a specific location. This is done using a unique code assigned to each customer.
When you enter the code into the courier’s website, you can view the details of your shipment, including the estimated delivery time.
If you want to track your parcel from start to finish, then you need to use address-based tracking for the clearest and most accurate results.
To use address-based tracking, you first need to register with the courier company. Then, you simply enter your recipient’s address into the courier’s website.
You can either choose to have your parcel delivered to a local depot or to a nearby sorting office, or straight to the intended address.
How Does Postcode-Based Tracking Work?
Postcode-based tracking is similar to address-based tracking, but instead of having to enter your recipient’s address manually, you just need to enter their postcode.
It is worth noting that this method does require a little bit of research beforehand, so be sure to double-check your recipient’s postcode before entering it into the courier’s website.
When shipping packages abroad, a postcode may not be required – in many cases, you will simply need the address and the destination country.
What Are The Advantages Of Tracking Your Parcel?
There are several advantages to tracking your parcel online, and some of the main ones include:
- You Can See Where Your Parcel Is At Any Given Moment?
One of the main advantages of tracking your parcel is that it allows you to see exactly where your package is located at any given moment.
You can even check its current status, such as whether or not it has arrived at its final destination.
- You Get An ETA For Your Delivery
Another advantage of tracking your parcel is the fact that you get an estimated delivery date for your package.
This means that you can plan ahead and make sure that you aren’t waiting around all day for your parcel to arrive.
- You Can Receive Text Messages About Delayed Deliveries
Tracking your parcel also gives you access to a number of useful features, including being able to receive text messages whenever there is a delay in the delivery process.
These messages will usually contain the reason why the delivery was delayed and will give you more information about the situation, helping you to feel more in control.
- You Enjoy Extra Peace Of Mind With Valuables
As well as receiving updates on the status of your parcel, you can also rest easy knowing that your valuables are safe with the courier service.
They will take extra care to ensure that they deliver your items safely, and they will keep them secure until they reach their intended destination.
How Are Parcels Tracked?
Now that we have taken a closer look at the two main types of tracking – address and postcode based – you may be wondering just how the whole parcel tracking thing actually works.
Well, here is what happens when you ship a parcel:
- The Courier Company Receives Your Order
When you place an order through one of our websites, we send your request directly to the courier company.
Once they receive your order, they assign a unique reference number to your parcel.
- They Send Your Package To The Sorting Office
Once your parcel has been dispatched, the courier company sends it to the sorting office. Here, the parcels are sorted by type (e.g., letters, small goods, large goods).
- Your Packages Reach Their Final Destination
Once your parcel reaches the sorting office, it is then sent out to the local depot. Here, it is stored while awaiting collection from the customer.
- Your Package Arrives In Its Desired Location
Finally, once your parcel arrives at its desired location, the courier company will contact you via email or phone to let you know that your item has reached its destination.
This is the basic path that every parcel will follow, but just how are they tracked? There are two main options here: via a tracking number, or using GPS. Let’s take a closer look at each option…
- Via Tracking Number
If you choose to track your parcel using a tracking number, this is the method that most couriers use.
It involves entering a special code into the system, which is then used to update a database that keeps track of your parcel’s progress.
A tracking number is assigned to your parcel when it leaves the shipping company warehouse. You can find this number on any label attached to your parcel.
When your parcel is delivered, the courier company will enter the tracking number into their own database.
This way, they can see exactly where your parcel is located and when it should arrive at its final destination.
- Via GPS
GPS technology allows the courier companies to track your parcel even if it does not have a tracking number.
Instead of manually entering a tracking number, the courier company uses satellite signals to pinpoint your parcel’s exact location.
GPS technology is becoming increasingly popular among couriers because it provides a much better level of accuracy than traditional methods.
Which Option Is Better For Me?
There are pros and cons for both tracking numbers and GPS, and we took a closer look at the main categories to consider:
As a rule, tracking numbers are generally cheaper than GPS tracking. However, there are some exceptions, so make sure that you check with your chosen courier.
Tracking numbers also provide a higher degree of security, as they cannot be hacked – provided that you do not share them with others.
On the other hand, there is a risk that GPS tracking systems are less secure because anyone who knows your postal code could potentially hack them.
In terms of speed, GPS tracking is usually faster than tracking numbers. However, this depends on the courier company you choose.
Some offer free services, while others charge extra for the service.
- Level Of Information
The information that you receive via tracking numbers is limited in comparison to what you get with GPS tracking.
With tracking numbers, you only get an estimated time of arrival, whereas, with GPS tracking, you get more detailed information about your package’s journey.
For example, a tracking number might give you a message saying “your parcel is expected to arrive between X and Y days”.
With GPS tracking, you would instead receive messages like “Your parcel is currently located at address Z, and it is expected to reach its destination within 24 hours.”
Overall, tracking numbers is probably the best option for those who want to keep things simple. They are cheap, easy to use, and give you all the information you need.
If you’re looking for something more advanced, though, GPS tracking is definitely worth considering.
Tracking parcels from an address is a great way to stay informed about your order, and there are a number of methods available to help you achieve this.