Parcel: Better Package Tracking Management

Ever been surprised by the arrival of something you ordered or have you found a package waiting for you after several days in some weird hiding spot created by the delivery person? Sure would have been nice to have known ahead of time that you had a delivery due so you could be on the lookout.

If you get a lot of things shipped to you or send a lot of stuff to others and are always trying to keep track of all of those tracking numbers, you could probably use a little assistance. Let’s take a look at Parcel and see if it can deliver on its promises to help you manage package tracking better.

You’re In the Know

You need to create a login to use Parcel, but if you’ve already been using the app on your phone, you can sign in with that account. The Mac version looks pretty similar to the mobile, so feel free to skip ahead if you do already have the iOS app. We’ll catch up with you.

Register with Parcel to track your packages.

Register with Parcel to track your packages.

Once you’ve got your account set up, you can start loading in your tracking numbers. Click the plus sign and paste–or if you’re feeling bold, type from memory–your package’s tracking number in the top field. Parcel was pretty good about grabbing the correct carrier for me, but if you end up with something like Deutsche Post as I did a few times, that’s easy to fix. Just grab the Courier drop-down and select the one you need. Parcel should have already narrowed it down for you.

Your package’s tracking information will appear to the right of your list of deliveries. Depending on how far along its path your package has found itself and how much info the carrier is willing to provide, you may have a ton of tracking data or just a check-in or two. Parcel will tell you an estimated delivery date if it’s available and where you package is right now, so you can plan when to expect the delivery person at your door.

Parcel gives you all the info you need to find out when your package will arrive.

Parcel gives you all the info you need to find out when your package will arrive.

If it looks like something’s missing, you’re not getting all the information you want, or you want to contact the courier, you can do that from the sharing icon by clicking Track on Website. Parcel will open the package tracking on the carrier’s website, and you can find anything you need from there. For instance, if there’s a signature confirmation, you can access that on the carrier’s website from within Parcel.

A Great Problem Solver

I like apps that solve problems. It’s phenomenally useful to have all of my tracking numbers in one spot and not just stuck in my email or my various online retailer accounts. A couple of friends had birthdays recently, and I was buying presents online and having them shipped all over. When I wanted to check the tracking on all of those packages, I had to either dig through my email–and after more than a week, they were buried under a ton of messages–or log into all the various websites and run through my purchases individually. This was a big pain.

Create a new tracking record.

Create a new tracking record.

Being able to manage all of that from one place would have made that couple of weeks a lot simpler and a lot less stressful, as I kept up with where all of my packages were going. What would have made that even easier would have been to connect a really awesome Mac app to my email account and let it just collect all of those tracking numbers itself. Parcel doesn’t do that, and I can’t seem to find any Mac apps that do. I’ve got an iOS app that will not only scour my email and automatically update itself, but I can also add anything that doesn’t make it in on its own if I need to. I can’t find an application that will get tracking accomplished so efficiently on the Mac, even Parcel, and that’s a bummer.

Premium Tracking

What Parcel does do, it does well. It looks good, and is easy to navigate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much of the good stuff without feeding some coins into the machine. Parcel is free to download from the App Store, but what you get is really more or less a demo. You can only track three packages at a time, and even if a package is delivered and tracking is no longer active, you’ll have to remove something before you can add that fourth tracking number to the list. You also won’t get any notifications if you don’t upgrade to premium. The whole point of the app is keep up with everything you’re shipping or is being shipped to you and get notified when anything happens, so the app isn’t very good as is.

Track your package's entire route.

Track your package’s entire route.

Upgrading to premium requires a yearly subscription. It only costs $1.99 a year, which isn’t much, let’s be honest, but it’s not clear why you can’t just purchase the app outright. I’d lay down $1.99 for a good package tracking app, but with a subscription, I expect something for that money over time, and except for some unnecessary access to the Parcel website, all the subscription does is unlock the full app.

Final Thoughts

Parcel actually works and looks great. I’d love for my tracking numbers to magically appear in Parcel, and though that doesn’t happen, it’s not hard to get the numbers for your shipments, especially your most important, into Parcel quickly and easily.

I’ll be honest and say I think the subscription service is kind of bogus. I don’t need web access, the only thing worth paying for on a rotating basis, because if getting all my tracking data on the internet was something I dig, I’d just go to the carrier’s websites myself. The subscription unlocks the app, and while you could keep three tracking numbers in rotation all the time, that’s not really practical, and it sure would be nice to have those notifications. If you can find value in the Parcel website and the subscription, though, it’s really a great little app.


Summary

A nice delivery tracking app, but you'll need to subscribe to the premium service to really make the best use of it.

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