SMS in Logistics

The 3-Legged Journey: How SMS Streamlines Logistics Operations

Published May 01, 2015 by James Winter

Logistics operators deal with the complexities of information flow, material handling, production, packaging, transportation and warehousing. The delivery of goods becomes a journey with three legs: merchant to carrier, carrier to carrier and carrier to consumer. Implementing the use of SMS messaging for communication during this process creates a competitive advantage for your company by streamlining the process and increasing the level of customer satisfaction.

Merchant to carrier leg

In this first leg of the journey, merchants should have quick access to shipping information. When postal and logistics operators make data easily available to merchants, it enables faster time-to-deploy and creates a lower cost of deployment. Merchants can then make this information available to the customers who will eventually receive the delivery. SMS messaging is one efficient way to deliver this data. Integrating an SMS API (Application Program Interface) into your process allows you to smoothly push updates and alerts directly to merchants and customers. This also makes a timely response from the message’s recipient possible.

Carrier to carrier leg

Manage your customer’s expectations by designing a communications solution for the span of time in which they are waiting on a delivery. The more information pertaining to a customer’s order you make available during this time, the less time you will need to spend answering time-consuming inquiries. Know your customers’ expectations ahead of time. Then, meet these expectations by keeping your customers up to speed before they can even think of calling to ask a question.

Package delivery

Carrier to consumer leg

During this leg of the journey, the carrier takes on the challenge of delivering information to all parties involved, including the merchant, the logistics manager and the consumer. They also must provide a way for consumers to change the time or place of an expected delivery if needed. This change should then be reported back to the merchant. The most efficient way of doing this is through SMS and voice channels. Integrating an SMS provider’s API with a logistics system allows automatic initiation of outbound messages. Consumers will know when to expect a package and where to collect it.

Nexmo uses adaptive algorithms to monitor live SMS flows and analyze the quality of their delivery. Each message in the logistics process is business-critical and needs to be directed along a successful path. You wouldn’t want a customer to receive a notification after a parcel has already been distributed.

Taping Box

Return-related communication

But what about when a consumer wants to send something back to the merchant? While you hope consumers want to keep their products, return-related data flow is an important part of the customer’s experience. Utilizing SMS for this type of communication allows you to quickly and clearly get the message across.

Direct and simple, SMS has proven to be the most efficient way to communicate with users across all legs of the logistics process. With a 95% read rate, recipients read and respond to text messages more quickly than any other communication method. For non-SMS users, carriers can route an SMS to a text-to-speech API, which converts text to spoken word so the message can become a voice call. Simplify your communication and data flow with SMS services. Nexmo provides communications services based on cloud APIs that are used by many clients including Google, Twitter, Samsung, Nokia and thousands more.


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