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Shipment Tracking
Generating Status Emails
RossWal




msg:647389
 6:54 am on Aug 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I want to send updates to customers as their shipments progress towards the recipient doorsteps. In otherwords, get the info from the carrier, (could be UPS, FedEx or DHL), and email the customer as the package hits certain milestones.

Has anyone dealt with this? Is there a service out there already? I want the process to be under my brand, as opposed to emails coming from the carriers. The emails should be under my umbrella, whether by domain, title, or whatever.

Any input is appreciated.

 

martyt




msg:647390
 9:20 pm on Aug 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is that a service that customers really want? Another e-mail every time their package makes it to the next UPS hub?

Just giving the customer their tracking number *and* a link to the UPS tracking page ought to be plenty.

But if you're determined, I'd think you'd need to work it out with UPS/DHL/whoever that you were going to be interrogating their system repeatedly; they might not be too interested in your "service."

philbish




msg:647391
 9:39 pm on Aug 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

You could write a script to query your tracking numbers every so often (once a day, 3 times a day, etc...) and if there is an update, email the customer accordingly. You'd need to store the results in a database.

sharbel




msg:647392
 10:53 pm on Aug 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Honestly, as a customer I would get a little annoyed with all the emails with every scan update. Ever look at a UPS or DHL detail track? You would be sending 4-10 emails per shipment.

That said.. Something like that wouldn't be too too difficult to develop. It would be easier if you had an API to work off to get the results. You could also send requests to their website's tracking pages and extract the results and dynamically create your email messages with the resulting string.

This type of application would best be served as a service type component instead of a web-application. A Windows application, or better yet a Windows Service running on your database server would be a good way to accomplish it.

RossWal




msg:647393
 6:47 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Honestly, as a customer I would get a little annoyed with all the emails with every scan update. Ever look at a UPS or DHL detail track? You would be sending 4-10 emails per shipment.
Agreed. While the target opportunity is technically ecommerce, it's not ecommerce as most on this board would normally think of it. This would be a premium service for those needing it.

That said.. Something like that wouldn't be too too difficult to develop. It would be easier if you had an API to work off to get the results. You could also send requests to their website's tracking pages and extract the results and dynamically create your email messages with the resulting string.
There's a commercial webservice available, but until you scale up pretty big its pricey on a transactional basis. But not too bad, so maybe it's a place to start to measure the market.

This type of application would best be served as a service type component instead of a web-application. A Windows application, or better yet a Windows Service running on your database server would be a good way to accomplish it.
My thoughts as well. Hoping there was something off the shelf availavble though. Thanks all.

grandpa




msg:647394
 7:24 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not to sound discouraging, but the answer is already given here...
Just giving the customer their tracking number *and* a link to the UPS tracking page ought to be plenty

That one mail with a link will allow any customer to check the current status and location at any time. Heck, these days one only needs to type the tracking number into a certain search engine, eliminating the need to open an e-mail more than once.

In the trucking industry (and others) there is a thing called EDI which is used to transmit (among other things) the current location and status of a shipment. If your customer needs are that great then maybe EDI is a solution for you too.

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