How to Develop a Courier Management System: Top Things to Consider
Delivery services have become a big part of our everyday life. From letters and private parcels to food, clothes and furniture - delivery is one of the top trends of our time.
This can be easily proven by Statista’s data:
The global size of the courier, express and parcel (CEP) market has kept confident growth over the last several years. By 2019 it reached the size of over 330.4 billion euros.
If you look at other stats that show the market share of same-day delivery services in the United States, you’ll find out that 63% of the deliveries are B2C parcels:
As a result, the industry is quite overcrowded with companies which are now competing for customers’ attention. Digitization is one of the proven ways to provide a better experience for your clients as well as make your business processes more efficient, transparent and controllable.
This guide on courier management app development will be the most useful for all kinds of businesses that want to develop their own delivery system. For example, restaurants, stores, providers of postal and courier services, and others. The most likely cases are:
- To create a brand new courier management system application from scratch.
- To update an existing delivery management system with new features.
- To replace the 3rd-party solution (like Uber Eats or FreshDirect) with your own courier management system.
The necessity of creating a courier tracking app became especially clear starting from 2019-2020. Here’s why.
🌍 The New World We Live In and What it Has to Do with the Courier App Development
COVID-19 lockdowns all over the world didn’t start the trend - we had had mobile apps, phones, eLearning tools and courier delivery much earlier. However, it is obvious that this global challenge “pushed” their popularity, dramatically raising the number of people using these services.
Moreover, it seems reasonable that their popularity will never get back to the level of pre-Corona times. A lot of people in many countries who had never used delivery services or had only used them a couple of times have seen how convenient they are and simply got used to them.
🚛 Worldwide lockdowns definitely boosted the popularity of delivery services, and this trend will stay with us for years.
On the other side, many businesses saw the benefits of implementing a delivery service, too. Due to automation solutions like mobile and web apps, it doesn’t require that much extra staff and resources to keep it working. At the same time, it noticeably increases the number of orders/purchases, allowing you to generate more revenue.
📱 With mobile and web apps you can implement a delivery service that doesn’t require a large staff or too many resources but noticeably increases your sales.
However, many choose an easy path and simply connect their restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses to existing third-party delivery solutions like Uber Eats, DoorDash, FreshDirect, etc. However, oftentimes, it’s really not the best choice. Why? Here are a few reasons.
👍 Why Having Your Own Courier Service Management Software is Better than 3rd-Party Solution?
Using 3rd-party courier services may seem like a fast and easy solution for your business. Actually, often it is: you just connect your business to an existing delivery system, start getting your revenue and don’t bother yourself with management hassle.
However, careful research shows that in many cases it’s much more reasonable to develop a courier company app of your own. Why? Well…
# 1: Tailor the system to your needs ✅
When using a 3rd-party solution, you have no choice but to face the limitations set by the provider. For example, it may have limited capabilities in terms of fleet management or it may not provide you with all the necessary tools for the implementation of Proof of Delivery.
At the same time, you may overpay for the features you won’t actually need or use.
When you build courier tracking software from scratch, you define and implement the scope of features that perfectly match your business processes and needs.
# 2: Don’t overpay 💵
You know it better than us that when using 3rd-party courier services like Uber Eats you pay up to 30% of your revenue to these providers. Moreover, as their platforms include many offers from similar companies, your products may just be left unseen in the app among this diversity.
You also overpay even if you have your own courier fleet but manage its work through a 3rd-party management system. In the long-term run, you’ll save more money by creating a courier tracking app of your own, rather than having to pay a monthly or yearly fee to the provider.
# 3: Don’t depend on someone 👨💻
By accepting the terms and conditions of another party, you become dependent on its policy. That means that one day, they may introduce new changes that won’t actually fit you but changing the platform will seem like an even bigger and more difficult task.
For example, they may change their pricing options, disable less popular features (that may be quite important to you, though), or even stop supporting the platform at all.
However, all of the above is not a problem for companies that create courier service software. They can rest assured that nothing bad will unexpectedly hit them.
But what are the key features that can make up your own courier management software? Here they are.
🛵 Сourier Management App Development: Features for a Courier App
Let’s see what features make up a good application to be used by your drivers!
Login + Personal Profile Management 🔐
Just like in any other app, it all starts with a login. As you may have already guessed, its main goal is to allow you to identify every courier separately.
Among all possible login options (like social, passwordless, email, etc.), we recommend sticking to the phone number and password login. Why so? Because your drivers will definitely need to enter their phone number sooner or later. So, why not make it “reusable” right from the start?
You should also enable personal profile management as couriers will have to add some extra details. Except for their mobile number, it also usually asks for a profile pic, name and driver’s license number.
Once it’s all done, your courier is ready to work!
Delivery Order Details 📦
This set of features is the heart of your courier management system application. Its central element is a Delivery Order Screen. From here a courier can access an active order (or orders if you assign a few at a time) and check all the info:
- Order number. Automatically assigned by the system.
- Order description. Items included in the order.
- Name of the recipient.
- The recipient’s phone number or a call button.
- Estimated delivery time.
- Pick-up location. However, not needed if you distribute your products from a single location or if every driver is strictly linked to a specific pick-up location which doesn’t change.
- Drop-off location. You have the possibility to display it on the map or just access it in written form.
- Payment details. Include payment type (card or cash), total sum and payment status (paid or not).
- Notes. Left by the customer to provide extra info on the order or pick-up location.
If you want to build a courier management software that allows assigning multiple orders at a time, this screen will require a few advanced features.
For example, couriers should be able to easily manage the list of available orders and book the one they want to complete now. Also, don’t forget to implement features like sorting and filtering that will help to reshape the list of available deliveries according to time, distance, etc.
Many companies also implement the possibility of changing the delivery status as they create a courier service software. Thus, your customers will be able to get real-time status updates on their orders from your couriers.
From this Screen, your drivers should also be able to access delivery history and see completed and canceled deliveries.
Proof of Delivery ✅
It’s also reasonable to implement a delivery status confirmation or a so-called PoD - Proof of Delivery. Usually, this feature can be accessed from the Order Details Screen as it links data (e.g., eSignature, photo, code) specific orders.
There are a few different ways to get confirmation that the order was successfully delivered and accepted by the customer:
- eSignature by the customer.
- Photo capture of delivery.
- QR-code scanning; the code is generated by the customer app.
- Code confirmation; just like the QR-code, this code is also generated by the customer app.
It’s possible to build a courier tracking software with any of the mentioned options, so it’s really just up to you.
Navigation & Route Optimization 🗺
You can hardly make a courier logistics software without a navigation feature.
As a rule of thumb, it looks like a standard in-app map on which users can build the optimal route between two points. The pick-up and drop-off locations can be either entered manually by a courier or set automatically by the app according to the order details.
Moreover, the feature is crucial if you want to develop a courier tracking system. It will always keep your managers updated on the exact location of your couriers. Thus, they will be able to easily check how far a driver is from the drop-off location or quickly help in the case of an emergency.
Except for that, this feature provides both the courier and the customer with ETA.
It can also improve the User Experience (UX) for customers. In some apps, customers can access this information real-time and see how their order is delivered on the map. This is the way the Glovo delivery service works.
Is it difficult to build a courier tracking software like that? The good news is that you don’t have to build it from scratch. Instead, your developers should integrate the existing Google Maps solution into your application. Since it’s quite popular technology, the learning curve for your staff will stay short.
Сommunication is quite essential for couriers. Sometimes it’s just impossible to finish the delivery without reaching out to the involved parties. Moreover, it should work both ways and enable your delivery men to contact both their customers and the support agent.
When companies develop courier management system, they usually create a Quick Call button that is placed on the Order Details screen. It helps to quickly get in touch with a customer to clarify some info and notify them about the upcoming delivery.
Your delivery men should be able to call your support service in the same way, by pushing a button. Alternatively, you may choose to just provide the support number, so the courier can call it manually.
Except for calling, you may also create an in-app chat as a communication tool for your drivers.
Push Notifications 🔔
Finally, we also recommend implementing the Push Notifications feature when you develop a courier tracking system.
Its main purpose is to keep your drivers updated on the most important matters: new delivery orders, changes in current orders, status updates, etc.
It can help your couriers never miss anything important and always react on time.
The exact list of cases to trigger Push Notifications can be set through an Admin Panel. Here’s all you should know about this part of your courier service management software!
🖥 Top Admin Panel Features for Your Courier Management Software
In this paragraph, we’ll review the key features you might need to develop a courier management system. However, the exact set of features may be different depending on your specific business needs.
For example, it may include a pretty big set of features to edit and manage available products or wider options for staff management. However, in this guide, we’ll focus on functionality that relates solely to the delivery part of your business.
Let’s take a look!
Sign Up 🔐
Just like couriers, your managers and admins should sign up first. The standard “mobile number + password” sign up option should work well here.
However, to prevent someone unwanted to enter the whole courier management system application, we also recommend implementing some extra security layers.
A Dashboard can be also considered as the Main/Home Screen of your Admin Panel. It usually visualizes the most essential data regarding your delivery system.
The exact look of this screen depends on your business needs. However, it usually includes such data as:
- Current and recent delivery order statuses: pending, in progress, delivered, canceled, etc.
- Your revenue and expenses can be filtered by time (over the last day/week/month/3 months/year), by product or however you need.
- Fleet status: how many couriers are working right now, how many of them are busy and free.
Except for that, this screen also often includes information on your most popular and profitable products.
However, that’s still not the full list of the possible features. Thus, during courier management app development, the Admin Panel can be tailored according to the needs of your company.
Manage Delivery Orders 📦
This is one of the Admin Panel’s key features to make a courier logistics software. From here you can review and manage all the delivery orders.
As a rule of thumb, every active order is listed and color-coded on this screen. It can be quite useful to be able to not only easily check the full list of your orders, but also quickly define their current status.
The most important information is usually shown right in the order line. It may include:
- Order number.
- Name of the customer.
- Order value.
- Current status.
To get more details (like pick-up/drop-off location, the list of ordered products, etc.), your admins should simply click the order. After that, they’ll either be redirected to a separate Order Details screen with all the info on that particular delivery or open a hidden list with that information.
Another important piece of functionality here is delivery dispatching, However, it’s something you should decide on before you create a courier service software. Actually, there are 2 approaches to choose from.
You can assign deliveries to couriers on your own. In this case, it can be done either manually by your admins or by implementing an AI-based autosuggestion dispatcher. This way, the system will automatically assign (or at least suggest) deliveries to drivers that match the set rules - for example, to the nearest courier or to the one that has been free for the longest time so far.
The alternative option is when your drivers pick deliveries on their own. However, even in this case, we still recommend implementing features for manual order management. It will help you to quickly re-assign orders to another driver if something goes wrong.
Admins should also be able to access the History screen with all of the completed, rejected and canceled orders as well as their invoice data. By keeping track of every transaction, you can use this data for further analysis or during disputes and claims.
Manage Couriers 👱♂️
Obviously, when you develop a courier company app, you’ll need to implement a set of features to manage your deliverymen.
This screen is usually organized somewhat like the Orders Screen. However, instead of orders, your managers will see the list of couriers and their records:
- phone number;
- current status — working, waiting, not working;
- if you perform car courier delivery: courier’s vehicle and driver’s license number.
Except for that, admins should have access to and be able to manage records like attendance calendar, salary, expenses (fuel expenses, for example), etc.
Fleet Management 🛵
This feature is needed if your company has its own fleet of delivery vehicles. In this case, it’s better to build a courier management software with the possibility to manage these vehicles as well.
On the one hand, it’ll be easier to keep everything transparent and under control since you’ll be able to check the number, status, and details of your cars, bicycles, and other vehicles at any time.
On the other hand, the system will remind you of unsolved tech issues, regular vehicle checks, and so on.
Your managers should also be able to assign a specific vehicle to a specific courier and track their performance and the location of the vehicle.
There’s no point to make a tracking software for courier without implementing the same features from the Admin Panel side.
Since you can already see delivery orders’ statuses on the Orders Screen, the tracking functionality can be implemented in the form of an in-app map. Your manages will be able to see all the drivers as they move real-time and update customers with this info.
Except for that, they should be able to set up a delivery service radius based on the address, least-long coordinates or postcodes and see it on the map.
Revenue & Expense Management 💸
Another great reason to develop a courier company app is that it makes your finances more transparent and accountable.
Now you can track all revenue in both cash and online payments. Until the courier checks out, the system will keep track of money they have collected in cash, checks and credit card transactions. Later on, this info can be used for analysis and strategy planning.
Except for the revenue, creating a courier tracking app will provide you with insights on your expenses. It may relate to couriers’ salaries, vehicle maintenance and fuel expenses.
Moreover, your admins should be able to not only check this data but also manage financial settings. For example, they should be able to set and change rates, extra delivery charges, drivers’ salary, etc.
Push Notifications 🔔
Finally, managers can use the Admin Panel to send Push Notifications to drivers. What’s good is they don’t have to do it manually!
It’s enough to set up a list of specific rules that will trigger automatic in-app notifications for your couriers. For example, you may notify couriers about newly assigned orders, changes in the delivery request, or that their current order is ready to be picked up.
How much can is cost to develop an Android & iPhone courier management system? Check the next paragraph!
💰 How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Courier Tracking System?
We asked our development team to make a rough estimate of needed development costs. Yet, the costs to build your courier management system may be different as we estimated just a generic idea of such an application.
The mobile client that is to be used by couriers may cost:
The costs to build the Admin Panel for your courier management system are:
To calculate the final costs to create both Android & iPhone courier management systems we took a rate of $45/hour. That's an average rate for Eastern Europe so don't expect it everywhere: teams from Western Europe and North America may charge up to $200/hour or even more while some freelance developers from Asia will take about $20/hour.
⚙️ Technology Tips to Make a Courier Logistics Software
As you could see, the development of an Android/iPhone courier management system is a quite complex project from the technical perspective. However, by using the right tools, you can facilitate this process, saving your time, money and other resources:
- We recommend using React Native as a framework — a key tool for mobile application development. With its help, you’ll be able to create both Android and iPhone applications with the same codebase.
- An in-app chat feature can be implemented with the help of Sendbird SDK.
- You’ll almost surely need Google Maps services to implement tracking into your delivery system.
- To cut down route planning time and show more efficient routes, you can use the Routific API.
- Some good Push Notifications services include Firebase Cloud Messaging, OneSignal and Urban Airship.
We hope this guide will help you build a courier management software that perfectly matches your business needs. Such a system can cut expenses, increase revenue and make your employees even more efficient. Moreover, you can hardly compete on the market without one!
The exact process of development can be briefly described in these 3 steps:
Any questions left on how to develop a courier management system? Want to get an estimate of such services? Need an experienced team to tackle this task? Drop us a line and we’ll see how we can be helpful!