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Wednesday, January 26th, 2022
At Vanoma, we aim to equip sellers with the tools and services they need to sell online. Our delivery service, in particular, allows sellers to deliver merchandise to their customers fast with zero friction. This blog post will explore improvements we made on our delivery service to provide buyers with more visibility and full transparency on ongoing deliveries.
Typically, a buyer interacts with our partner sellers on social media (e.g., WhatsApp, Instagram) or the seller's website for product appraisal and price negotiation. When buyers commit to buying merchandise of their interests, they typically pay the seller using Mobile Money, and from there, that's where Vanoma comes into the picture.
Usually, the seller asks the buyer their physical address where to deliver their merchandise. The buyer's address is often a house and street number or a landmark (e.g., church, school) close to the buyer's location. Landmark-based addressing works well if street and house numbers are not assigned in the buyer's area yet.
Once the seller has the buyer's physical address, they log into our website (https://dashboard.vanoma.com) to request a delivery. A delivery request has two important pieces of information: the pickup location, usually the seller's address, and the drop-off location, which would be the buyer's address. After the seller places the delivery request, they keep track of the delivery progress through push notifications and delivery events accessible through our website. However, this type of visibility into the delivery progress is not available on the buyer's side. Unless the seller constantly sends delivery updates to the buyer (which rarely happens since most sellers are busy helping other buyers), buyers are in the dark as far as the delivery progress is concerned. In most cases, the latest communication between a buyer and a seller is when they ask for their physical address.
We released a new feature that makes tracking deliveries on the buyer side seamless a couple of weeks ago. When a seller requests a delivery, Vanoma sends an SMS to the buyer that they have a delivery. We send out the SMS once we assign a driver to the delivery request. The SMS contains the seller's phone number and a tracking URL (e.g., https://vanoma.com/tracking/?tn=4995592180597) that the buyer can use for real-time delivery updates. Screenshot of the tracking URL
On the tracking URL, we show the real-time location of the driver and delivery events beginning with the time Vanoma received the delivery request from the seller. Besides the initial SMS containing a tracking URL and the seller's phone number, we also send a second and final SMS when the delivery is complete. This last SMS serves as a way to close the communication loop so that even if the buyer is unable to access the tracking URL, they still get a final status of their delivery.
We believe these improvements will:
-- Theophile Nsengimana