12 min

Mobile App for Tracking Shipments and Managing Deliveries: Why We Were Perfecting It Instead of Launching New Features

The story of Boxberry

Suraiya Akhter

Product Manager

Eva Petritski

Content Manager

October 25, 2022

Boxberry is a delivery service for online stores, marketplaces, and individual senders. The company has been operating on the market since 2010, and has been engaged in customs clearance since 2011. Today, Boxberry ships from the United States, Great Britain, Europe, South Korea and the Middle East.

In October 2020, Boxberry released its first mobile app developed from scratch by HeyInnovations.

We talked to Sergius, who manages the Boxberry app development team. He assembled the team and is now involved in backlog management. He monitors deadlines, budgets, and works to improve KPIs.

Why Boxberry released the app

All the main competitors had apps. Some with over a million downloads, others with tens of millions. It was obvious that such a service was attractive to users.

Most users visited the Boxberry website from smartphones. Mobile devices made up 70-75% of overall traffic.

Mobile shopping is on the rise. In 2020, its share for the first time ever leveled with desktops. About 60% of mobile sales are now made in apps. In addition, a new generation that is used to solving all their tasks with smartphones is growing up.

The number of communication channels is growing too: SMS, emails, messengers. Mobile apps increase user loyalty, as they provide fast communication with companies and help businesses save on communication costs.

In September 2020, we launched a new website with its own admin panel, which provides flexible interface management. Later in October, the Boxberry app appeared in stores.

How Sergius chose a development studio

Boxberry has its own powerful IT department, responsible for backend and frontend development. But they had no competencies in mobile development, so we decided to outsource it.

We picked the outsource team together with our IT department team leader. We both worked in agencies, so we knew what challenges to expect, and that helped us a lot.

We went on GoodFirms and looked at the first 15 companies. Almost half of them did not have complex projects in their portfolios, so we filtered them out.‍

Then, we scheduled calls with the remaining companies. Talked to one team, but then saw a 404 error on their case study page. Strange! A friend spoke extremely negatively about the other one.

Started presales with the teams who provided relevant portfolios and satisfactory first communication. At this stage, we looked at the specificity of their project proposals. Three teams did not have a deep understanding of the project: the managers could not even explain how this or that point appeared in the estimate. We got a feeling that our project was evaluated by managers, not art directors or team leaders.‍

As a result, we had to choose between only two teams. We collected feedback from their customers and rated each of the finalists by 20 criteria. And started working with the team that scored the most.

Why the first version was finalized six months after release

Boxberry values their brand reputation on the delivery market. Therefore, it was important to them that the mobile app was well-thought-out from the very beginning and did not raise negative feedback from customers. They asked their colleagues to test the app, collected all bugs and comments, and sent them back to us. It took us 3 months to make all the changes, and then the app was tested again. It took us another month to test the API.

The app was released in October, but we didn’t promote it until March. Firstly, we wanted to detect and eliminate even the rarest of bugs.

“Usually we release the first versions of our apps with basic features, fix critical bugs, and add new features with each update. This way, we create a unique user–company interaction experience right off the bat, which can only be achieved in a smartphone. For example, adding a barcode scanner that allows to view product cards and receive parcels at pickup.”

“In the case with Boxberry, we took a different approach. We didn’t add any new features until we brought the first version of the app to perfection.”

Suraiya Akhter

Product Manager at Heyinnovations

You can explore the results on our website.

How the app helped reveal end-user problems

It’s easy to collect feedback through the app: customers readily report when something goes wrong.

After the launch of the Boxberry app, we learned that it was inconvenient for users to track orders. Almost half of the negative feedback was about unclear tracking. Customers did not have enough information about the exact location of their parcels along the way.

Tracking on the website and in the app are the same, but it was the app that showed us clearly that users were not satisfied. Currently, we are working on a new tracking system that would give more details on package location.

Why we separated the delivery and app ratings

In app stores, users rate not only the app’s usability and performance, but also the delivery speed and service quality at the pick-up locations. Customers are always ready to share feedback if something is wrong with the package, but if everything is fine, they just quietly collect their parcels. This can result in lower App Store and Google Play ratings.

We made in-app feedback forms so that our support team could respond to the calls faster and solve user problems on the spot.

Now, we are asking users to rate the app separately. It works for those who are ready to give us four or five stars. This way, the rating stays at the same level, although before, it used to go up and down all the time. The internal survey statistics shows that people give the app five stars seven times more often than one star.

If the app is somehow malfunctioning, users fairly give it one star in the store rating. After fixing the bug, Boxberry always reports it in the review replies. Then users change their review and give the app four or five stars. That’s why communication with users is extremely important.

Launch results: growing online registrations and saving customers’ time

Users need more information at hand. The main reason why they installed the app was to track packages. We were also surprised to learn that the most popular app section was Frequently Asked Questions.

As of now, the app processes as many parcel deliveries, as the client web services. It’s an awesome result for such an early stage of product development.

Users turn to the app for the most essential information: where their packages are, and when they will be delivered. Thanks to that, Boxberry customer service has more time to deal with difficult situations, and respond to users faster. The number of calls to the support team is decreasing with the growth of the mobile app users.

The app has a chat where users can clarify any request with the operator. The share of the mobile app support chat has already reached 30% of other Boxberry chats.

Sending messages instead of calling is convenient both for the customers and operators. Users have all the messaging at hand, and operators can simultaneously respond in several chats. At the same time, communication costs decrease, so the company is also saving money on that.

The app already has more than 260,000 downloads. While we were finalizing it, we attracted users through free internal channels: website and personal accounts, leaflets at the pick-up locations with a QR code for app download, and emails. Now, Boxberry is evaluating the potential effectiveness of paid promotion. By the end of the year, we expect to have about a million downloads.

The app is still in development. It is a long haul, and six months is too short of a term to sum up the results. Boxberry believes that the app will become the leading customer communication channel, as mobile traffic grows year to year.

Further plans: push notifications and integration with websites

We continue to develop the app. Soon we are going to launch push notifications to help customers learn that the package has arrived. It’s also a good way to reduce the cost of notifications.

Boxberry uses SMS, Facebook and WhatsApp to notify users about package arrival. The company pays for these services. When we launch notifications, users will get updates first through the app, and only then through the other channels.

Boxberry International launched delivery to the USA on February 1, 2021. Now users can order package delivery in their personal website account. We are developing a similar function for our mobile app.

The company’s team is actively developing online products and is confident of providing customers with the best service in the market.

The Boxberry app took the second place in Best Consumer App (B2C) at the Golden App contest. For Boxberry, it is yet another proof that the work has been done with high quality.

“The same steps can be made by any other business in any industry. If you are interested in using ecosystem strategies, our team is here to help. Try our guide to map out the process, or schedule a call to work out the specifics of your case.”

George Petersen

Head of Business Development at HeyInnovations

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