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Amazon’s Latest Innovation: Helping You Obsess Over Package Tracking

Following a limited release late last year, Amazon Map Tracking is now live nationwide for all orders in the U.S. delivered through its proprietary logistics carriers.

It’s the e-commerce giant’s latest effort to bring even greater convenience into the delivery process—especially the last mile. The feature shows customers their order’s real-time location with details as granular as how many stops the delivery driver has to make before the package arrives at their door. For now, Amazon Map tracking is not compatible with orders fulfilled through FedEx, UPS or USPS.

“The Amazon Map Tracking feature is another delivery innovation we are working on to improve convenience for our customers and provide them greater visibility into their deliveries,” Alana Broadbent, an Amazon spokeswoman, told CNET.

Amazon Map Tracking aims to demystify the opaque block of time between products leaving the warehouse and successfully uniting with customers. But the real benefit is helping shoppers to manage expectations—and their time. Real-time delivery status can help unchain consumers from their delivery location, freeing them to make the best use of their time in the interim. Missed a delivery? That might trigger an inconvenient trip to the post office or haggling with carriers to reschedule.

Though RSR Research managing partner Paula Rosenblum called the GPS-based tracking feature “superfluous,” noting that a two-hour window is sufficient,” Amazon Map Tracking likely will resonate with heavy Amazon shoppers expecting a steady stream of packages.

Rising customer expectations are compelling companies to improve their delivery estimates and avoid earning “cable guy” status. But more important, supply-chain visibility is now even more critical to competing and excelling in today’s retail environment. Aiming to offer even greater convenience and peace of mind, the e-commerce company has debuted controversial new options such as Amazon Key, which enables in-home deliveries, or packages left in your vehicle trunk via the In-Car service.

Amazon has consistently set the bar for the consumer digital experience and even has reset expectations for brick-and-mortar with the rollout of the digital-meets-physical Go convenience store—which is expanding from its initial Seattle location to cities including Los Angeles.