Parcel tracking is one of the key things in shipping. It doesn’t only help in shipping from one country to the other but also sending that parcel from the local shop to a customer in another city.
Before I start explaining what the whole topic is all about, I want to explain a bit of what parcel means so;
What is a parcel?
A parcel is a package routed through a delivery courier to a recipient whose name and address are on it. Parcel sizes range from smaller than the size of a letter size envelope to a larger box size.
Parcels are not the type of items that you pickup from your postal box by just opening with a key but something that demands your signature to pick it up. No matter the size of your parcel, there is no way your postal service will drop it into your mail box like the normal everyday mail.
Every parcel must contain at least four key features
Recipient name: This is the name of the person who the parcel is being sent to. The laws in most countries demand that the name should be the documented name of the recipient. In other words, nicknames are not allowed on parcels.
Recipient address: Recipient address is the address of the person who is supposed to receive the item. Any form of address is allowed but you will have small challenges if you use C/O(Care Of). That old-fashioned style of receiving items is way gone so I am very sure no one is even thinking about doing that.
Phone number: Phone number is compulsory. In my country, the phone number on the parcel must match the number on the address holder’s profile.
Tracking number: Tracking number is also an important part of the parcel. I will explain the essence of the tracking number below.
There are a lot of things that go on the labels of parcels including item type, bar code,etc but these are just the four key things I wanted to throw some light on.
Now that I have explained what parcel is all about, lets delve into what the topic is really about.
What is parcel tracking?
From a layman’s point of view, parcel tracking is the systematic checking of the routing of a parcel. The parcels go through the same routes that human beings go through to move from one country to the other but since parcels are inanimate objects that can’t know where they are going, the parcels are tagged with unique ID known as Tracking Number which is used to check the parcel’s location from time to time.
What is parcel tracking number?
A parcel tracking number is a unique number through which the location information of the parcel are conveyed to the sender and the recipient.
The parcel tracking number helps you to see the location of the item from when it first left the senders house to when you pick it from the post office or it gets delivered to your doorstep.
The parcel tracking number relies on two mediums to work; A courier service and a website. I don’t really know how the courier services get to detect the packages with the tracking number but all I can say is; Maybe there is an agent for each of the courier services at every airport who logs in the item’s tracking number so it can get updated on their website.
I have tried thinking about how this work several times, I’m not sure that is how they do it. I guess I have to go interview one of them one day to update this post; “I really hate talking about things I don’t know”.
The sender or the recipient relies basically on the courier service’s website to get updates of where their package is.
Is parcel tracking important?
The answer to this question a hundred times will always be a big “YES”. Parcel tracking is very important and can’t be skipped in any way.
1. It helps get the parcel to the right owner
The parcel is not only identified by the recipient’s name or address. The tracking number on the package also helps to identify whose package it is. That is why most of the time when you want to pick a parcel at the post office, they ask for your tracking number.
2. It helps both recipient and sender to locate the package easily
You can easily check and see where the parcel is all thanks to parcel tracking services. When your parcel leaves the warehouse, to the airport and even when it arrives at the destination country, you will be able to see all that. See example in the image above.
3. Makes sorting of the items easy for courier services
Thousands of items are shipped everyday and out of those thousand items, maybe yours will be just two or three. When those items arrive, most of the courier services use the tracking number including the time and date the items arrived to sort them. That is one reason why when you take your tracking number to the post office, they easily locate your items and bring it to you despite the fact that there were thousands of similar packages that arrived alongside yours.
How to track a parcel
The parcel tracking starts right from the sender. Whenever someone is shipping an item to you, being it a family member sending you that gift or you doing your own small online shopping, the sender(seller) is supposed to provide you with a tracking number and the courier service website.
This number is what you will use to track the parcel on the tracking website.
I do most of my online shopping on Aliexpress and this is how I go about tracking my parcels.
Almost all the aliexpress stores I buy from are located in China and relies on CAINIAO for their tracking services.
First of all, I go to my order information and get my tracking number.
I then go to the cainiao international website which is global.cainiao.com and put in my tracking number.
I then click on “Track” to see where my parcel is.
After Cainiao indicates that the package arrived in my country successfully, I then go to my country’s postal website and use my tracking number to track whether the package is still at their warehouse or on it’s way to my local post office.
Most of the time, if the package is not yet in my country, the local post office doesn’t detect the tracking number. I don’t know how things work in your country so I can’t tell if it will be the same for your country. You just have to do some few research before you start shipping in.
Related: Why Should You Shop From Aliexpress?
Why you should be careful
Due to the fact that most people try to use everything around them as advantage for their own selfish benefits, parcel tracking becomes another layer of security in the shipping process. So before you start shipping, make sure you know what you are shipping is not illegal in your country.
Also the tracking number is very important when picking up a package. With most courier services especially the ones in my country, you can’t pick a package if you don’t have the tracking number.
Also take note that immediately you put your signature in that delivery book or sheet, the tracking will indicate “Delivered”. Meaning the sender will automatically know that you picked the parcel.
As time goes on, there will be more updates to this article but for now, this is where I will end.
Your questions and suggestions are very important so please leave one in the comment box below.