Wayfair has launched a live-tracking feature that allows customers waiting for furniture deliveries to track the locations of their delivery drivers in real time through an interactive GPS map, the company said in a press release.
The new feature, dubbed "Day of Delivery Tracking," is currently available in 10 markets, including New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. Wayfair said it would continue to launching the service in new markets throughout the year, including Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Orlando, FL, and Richmond, VA.
Customers using the feature receive an e-mail and text message on the morning of their scheduled delivery that provides a link to a GPS map showing the location of their Wayfair driver with an arrival countdown. Customers with questions can access a “click-to-call” link that routes to either a local deliver center or the retailer’s customer service line, depending on the status of the delivery.
Logistics and fulfillment companies have started experimenting with new ways to make sure customers get their deliveries. These include efforts like UPS' Access Point delivery lockers. But a sofa is not going to fit in a deliver locker.
Traditionally, delivery of major items like furniture has required extraordinary patience on the part of customers, as well as a willingness to be a shut-in for the day, as it's hard to know just when that delivery truck is going to come rolling up your street.
Wayfair's new service holds the potential to significantly change that scenario. For example, if a customer checks the delivery truck's location, and finds out it's an hour away, there could be time to run an errand and maybe pick up lunch. The customer doesn't need to feel stuck without any sense of when the delivery might show up.
Being able to track a delivery truck via GPS is not exactly a new idea, but the trend could pick up as retailers look to smooth out wrinkles anywhere they can to achieve the best possible customer experience. Overall, this is another technology move by a retailer that has been fairly aggressive in exposing its customers to new capabilities, including augmented reality, virtual reality and visual search, among others.
Fulfillment has been an expensive thorn in Wayfair's side in the past, and the company has been working on optimizing various aspects of its logistics network. (The company did not immediately respond to a request for details about what drove the move.) The tracking feature could potentially save Wayfair on delivery costs, as it could help ensure customers are home when trucks arrive, which in turn could save Wayfair return trips and costs associated with fuel and labor.