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3 Distribution Metrics for Understanding Shipping Performance

Every ecommerce merchant knows how vital shipping performance is for the success of their business, and tracking distribution metrics is a great way to stay on top of your shipping. There’s a treasure trove of opportunities sitting in shipping data to make every brand more profitable and improve customer experience.  That said, here are three distribution metrics to track to ensure that your shipping game stays on route.

Transit Time

The what: Transit time is the amount of time elapsed between a pickup point or point of departure (usually a warehouse) and delivery. It is one of the fundamental distribution metrics to track for shipping performance. 

The how: If you’re a Shopify merchant, your Shopify account can track USPS, UPS, FedEX, and DHL, but any shipping provider will keep a shipping log. 

If the provider does not also include visualizations that display transit time over different time periods, you may have to export the data into an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet. There, you can create an additional column to calculate transit time based on the departure delivery dates (date of departure – delivery date = transit time). 

The why: Having a strong understanding of your brand’s transit time means that you will be able to identify areas to improve delivery times. Additionally, you will be able to prioritize orders to fulfill based on transit times. 

Time to Delivery

The what: Time to delivery is the amount of time elapsed between when an order is placed to when an order is delivered. Note the difference with transit time, which only covers the actual delivery process.

The how: You can calculate time to delivery similarly to how you calculate transit time. You may have to pull data from two sources, depending on how your data is organized. Instead of finding the difference between departure date and delivery date, you’re finding the difference between date of order placement and delivery date. 

The why: When a customer makes a purchase, and you provide an estimated delivery date, the more specific you can be with the date, the better. If you can give a range of 5-6 days instead of 5-10 days, your customers will have a significantly better experience, and trust your brand more.

Shipping Performance by Carrier

The what: Although not a codified metric with an acronym that people like to throw around, if your brand has the ability to track and analyze the shipping performance for the carriers that you use (USPS vs UPS, e.g.), we highly recommend it. 

The how: Unless you are using a data analytics platform, this one may be difficult to track without a whole lot of Excel work (or a data team). 

However, we recommend breaking down transit time by carrier, along with other distribution metrics, such as % of on-time shipments.

The why: Tracking and comparing carrier performance can lead to optimizations around your shipping performance. If you find, for example, that one carrier works better on some days, you can work to switch your fulfillment schedule to better align with the carrier that gives you the best results. You also may even find that you simply can’t use one carrier based on their performance with your type of product. 

The Importance of Tracking Shipping Performance (feat. Maev)

You may have not heard of Maev, a subscription service that ships vet-backed, human-grade raw frozen dog food to owners across the U.S. 

Last year, Maev developed a delivery problem: customers were reaching out because their orders were delayed and they received thawed orders. For a frozen food company this caused order shipments and rework for the team,. which really chewed into their margins. 

Although they tracked their basic shipping performance information, they weren’t able to figure out why some orders were getting delayed. Once they started more closely tracking their shipping performance data they found that orders shipped on Thursdays had longer transit times and time to delivery.

As a result of these insights, Maev adjusted their fulfillment schedule and no longer ship orders out on Thursdays, and they no longer face the shipping performance issues. 

Bottom Line 

If you can track these three distribution metrics, your brand will have a significantly better understanding of your shipping performance. You may even get a look at your shipping in detail for the first time. Although these metrics can be calculated manually, the Daasity team has worked to automate each of these so that your ecommerce business can always track the (shipping) metrics that matter. 

About Daasity

Daasity is transforming the way companies access and use their data. It is the first and only company to design a proprietary platform specifically for the direct-to-consumer industry that makes business-critical data accessible and usable for strategic decision-making. Daasity’s mission is to make business-critical data accessible for all D2C brands.

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