Tom Hanks playing a FedEx employee, ditches into the sea with a plane load of packages. Though reliable at the best of times, parcel services like FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, etc. also hit bottlenecks once in a while.
For these worst of times, knowing the exact location of your package helps you shout at the customer support desk with some authority. Or let them be.
The tracking/shipment code is like the unique fingerprint for your package. All these parcel services also have a little tracking ID box on their website which let you know about the whereabouts of the package.
The parcel service websites are good enough when it comes to package tracking. But there are a bunch of other package tracking website apps out there that give you alternatives. Like pinpointing the package location on a map, or getting the info to you via a tweet. They also help to reveal extra information which might not be available on the carrier’s website.
So, keep these ten web services bookmarked for the times when delivery schedules go haywire.
Boxoh presents a single tracking number box to track your parcels from USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL/Airborne. Typing in the number leads to a Google Map which shows the location of the package and the status. The delivery time is also mentioned and you can subscribe to the tracking information via a RSS feed.
You can follow your parcels and packages using the email alerts from FollowMyStuff.com. You don’t have to register on the site; just enter your tracking number and your email address where you want to want to receive the tracking alerts. Alerts are immediately sent out when the package status changes. The web app supports DHL, UPS, and USPS. Tracking info updates via SMS and Twitter are soon expected.
PackageTrackr.com covers the regulars like UPS, FedEx, and DHL. It also supports 21 other worldwide operators like EMS and more. You can let the web app match the tracking number to the service or pick the service yourself. The results display the route of the package as well as the transit points along the way. You can also connect to the parcel service from the results page. You can track your shipments from your browser, iGoogle homepage, RSS reader, Windows sidebar gadget, or your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Creating a user account on the site helps you use services like email forwarding, email notifications, SMS alerts, and Twitter notifications.
TrackMyShipments.com works on emails. It supports FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. You can create an account here and forward all your shipment confirmation emails to the online tracking service. TrackMyShipments automatically extracts the tracking number and start tracking your package. The email can be in any format and any layout. You get status alerts via email or by manually logging into your account. Using this online package tracker, you can keep tabs on 10 shipments at a time.
SimpleTracking.com gives you a browser based tracking tool, a Firefox extension and a small HTML widget to track deliveries. The site supports FedEx, DHL and USPS package tracking. You can also subscribe to the info with RSS.
Check up on the status of your packages via Facebook and Twitter. Email, SMS messaging, and RSS feeds are also there. You can also download its iPhone app. All you have to do give them the tracking number and a nickname for the package. The web service supports 13 carriers.
Track-Trace is basically a frontend for 10 parcel delivery services. Entering a tracking number in the carrier’s text box takes you to the package tracking info page of the respective carrier. Apart from the 10 services listed with field boxes against them, Track-Trace has a large alphabetically arranged links for numerous carrier services worldwide.
This one is another simple package tracking website that covers deliveries from UPS, USPS, DHL, FedEx, and a few more like Canada Post and Spee-Dee. The tracking info is represented on a Google map (or Google Earth). You can create an account and save all your packaging info on the site.
TrackThePack.com lets you manage and track all of your packages from UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, SmartPost, Global Mail, Canada Post and OnTrac. It gives you the status report on a timeline and a Google Map. Just like TrackMyShipments.com, it can also take in forwarded shipment mails and extract the tracking number. The web service gives you many-sided approached to tracking with a Firefox extension, a bookmarklet, and an iPhone app.
If you forget all URLs, it’s a good bet you will remember this one. Use Google’s search box to type in the tracking number and get the status report. If the number is error free, the parcel service will be the first result and all you have to do is click the link for the delivery report. The services supported are UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
All these websites use the respective package and courier services’ API to bring you the status results. What they help to do is extend the service to other presentations like Google Maps and Tweets. If you are a chronic eBay or Amazon shopper, having more than one way to track your shipments would be the way to go. Let us know about your preferred shipment tracking service.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons