What Are Delivery Notes and How Can You Create Them?

ALINA KOSTUKOVA

10 min

·

January 29, 2024

When it comes to getting goods to customers on time, businesses rely on a wide variety of essential documents. Invoices, packing and load lists, proof of delivery, and delivery notes are all part of this paperwork. 

Often overlooked, the delivery note is a crucial document for facilitating quick and easy transportation of goods. 

Delivery notes carefully list important details like the number of items, their description, and condition. This crucial document not only acts as proof of delivery but also provides a valuable reference for resolving any potential issues with the order. 

If you want to deliver exceptional customer service, you should make sure your delivery notes are clear, detailed, and visually appealing. This article will explore the concept of delivery notes and provide five ways to ensure your delivery notes are distinctive and effective.

What is a Delivery Note?

Simply put, a delivery note is a document that you send with each shipment of goods you send out to your customers. This delivery note will have a description of everything in the shipment, and the quantity in the order.

Once your order makes it to your buyer or the consignee, they’ll sign a copy of your dispatch note signaling that they received the shipment and it was correct. The signed copy comes back to you to keep as proof of delivery.

What is the Purpose of a Delivery Note?

The purpose of delivery notes is to provide a detailed account of the items being delivered, serving as a confirmation between the supplier and the recipient. They ensure that the contents of the delivery match the order, facilitate accurate record-keeping for inventory management, and can be used to resolve discrepancies or issues with the shipment.

What is a Delivery Note

When to Use Delivery Note?

Ideally, you want to use a delivery note each time you send out a shipment of goods because it’ll help your business if a customer accepts the shipment and then disputes the payment due. It helps to prevent discrepancies between you as a business owner and your customer.

If you plan to ship a large quantity of items, or if the items are more expensive, it should have a delivery note attached to the shipment. However, you should also double check any shipments you send out to ensure that everything you listed in the delivery note is in the shipment, everything is in good condition that is free of damage, and you didn’t accidentally add any additional items that you don’t have on the delivery note.

You should also plan to keep these delivery notes for at least five years from the point of delivery. You want to attach your copy to your invoice to ensure that everything stays together and organized so you can find it should you ever need proof that you held up your end of the contract with your customer.

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5 Ways to Create Delivery Notes

Explore five effective methods for creating delivery notes that improve clarity and efficiency in your order fulfillment process.

1. Use the right tools

The days of paper delivery notes are long gone. There are plenty of modern and convenient tools to automate this process, from the best invoicing software to proof of delivery apps, to automate this process. 

Let’s start with the basics. You should be familiar with both paper (traditional) and electronic delivery notes.

Paper

Paper is the traditional way of sending or issuing shipping notes. Either you can hand write this delivery note, or you can use a delivery note template and fill in the relevant information before you print it off and send it with your order. You usually send two copies along, and you get the copy that the customer signs while they get the second copy.

You can attach this paper copy to their invoice once you send it out, and this helps you keep everything organized and easy to find if you need to refer back to it. This delivery note should contain all of your relevant information like your business name, address, phone number, email, website, and fax in the header. You should also clearly list your customer with their information, the items, quantity, and the price.

Electronic

The second form for delivery notes is electronic, and it’s quickly becoming extremely popular with large and small businesses because it’s convenient. You can build up a database with your customers and items that you can then add straight to your proof of delivery template. When you finish with your dispatch note, you can either download it as a delivery note PDF file and print it off to send with your shipment, or you can attach it to an email and send it to your customer.

If you use software to create your delivery note template in word, they’ll usually have a tracking system in place so you can pull it back up and review it. You can also usually enable signatures for electronic delivery notes, and your customer would sign this note upon receipt before it updated in your database.

Even though many businesses nowadays prefer electronic delivery notes, some e-commerce companies also include a printed copy with the delivery.

Those two sound fundamentally different but can in fact be created using the same software and online tools. You only have to print the physical version if you want to attach it to your shipment.

Let’s look at the tools that can be used to make delivery notes.

Delivery note generators

Many providers of invoicing software now offer online delivery note generators as an additional feature. Online generators allow you to use pre-made templates to make delivery notes that look professional and are easy to understand.

One significant advantage of using online tools is that you can simply fill in the pre-defined fields. As a result, all the elements of your delivery notes will be placed correctly.

For example, Billdu has a free delivery note generator that you can use to quickly build your notes. 

Using online generators, you can include all the necessary details about the shipment (discussed further below), as well as branding elements and other information. 

Once generated, notes can be downloaded, sent to your or your client’s email address, or printed. 

Delivery note generator

Proof of delivery software

Businesses that buy delivery management tools can also use the proof of delivery apps that are often part of the software.

Proof of delivery apps are created for couriers to confirm their deliveries and generate delivery confirmations for customers. 

Proof of delivery apps can include photo capture, e-signature, timestamps, barcodes, custom notes, geotags, and other necessary order details. 

This information will also appear on the delivery note. Delivery note in that case is generated once the order is marked as delivered and proof of delivery is added if necessary.

Logistics management software can automate the process of sending delivery notes to customers. It can also keep track of your delivery documentation.

Customizable templates

You can also download editable Word and Excel delivery note templates. You can choose a template style that works for you, download it in the right format, and manually fill in all the necessary information.

These templates can be used with popular software such as Word, Excel and Google Docs. This makes them easy to edit and print. 

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2. Showcase your brand identity

Individuality is important for both people and brands. Use elements of your company’s visual identity to make your delivery notes easily recognizable and unique. This will help to reinforce your brand and make a lasting impression on your customers. 

You can include the following brand identity elements in your delivery notes:

  • Company logo
  • Brand color scheme
  • Unique graphic elements/textures
  • Your official motto or slogan

Tip: Add a personal message or a thank you note to show appreciation and create a positive customer experience.

3. Include all necessary elements

One of the primary purposes of delivery notes is to document the receipt of all ordered goods. 

Make sure that the delivery note is easy to read and well-organized. You should include everything the customer needs to know about each item in their order.  

Order information

Include a delivery note number and/or order/invoice number for the records purpose. This will come in handy in case a client needs to contact you in the future to return, exchange or dispute their order. 

The date of delivery will show that the order was delivered on time. You can also include the delivery note issue date (if it differs from the order delivery date).

Company (shipper) details

Providing your business details ensures that customers can reach you whenever necessary. It also proves that your company has fulfilled legal responsibilities and delivered the order.

The company information section should include the following:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Business ID /Tax ID (optional)
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address
  • Website (optional)

Customer details

To make sure the right person or legal entity gets the goods, you need to include the following information:

  • Customer name
  • Customer address or business address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Business ID / Tax ID (optional)

Order items description

It would be beneficial to provide a comprehensive description of the items that are being delivered. This will ensure the order is fulfilled accurately. 

If there is a disagreement, the client can refer to the delivery note. The document will show what was delivered compared to what was ordered.

The following elements must be included in the delivery note:

  • Item name(s)
  • Item code
  • Item description 
  • Quantity
  • Unit (Kg / L / etc.)
  • Price (optional)
  • Photo (optional)

Delivery note template

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Additional elements

Delivery notes can be expanded with the help of last-mile delivery software. 

If you use a proof of delivery app to populate your delivery notes, you can add the following extra fields:

  • E-signature
  • Geostamp (delivery location/map)
  • Driver information
  • Vehicle information
  • Reasons for order rejection
  • Image evidencing rejection

Reasons for rejection and proof of rejection presented on delivery notes show that the order could not be delivered. It serves as proof that your courier attempted to deliver the order, but the customer was not at home or rejected the package for another reason. The customer will receive an updated delivery note if the second delivery attempt is successful. 

Driver and vehicle information are useful in many situations. For example, it can be used to review the order delivery process, respond to customer feedback, or address complaints. 

Proof of delivery, like a photo, geostamp, or e-signature, is also helpful in case of a dispute and to keep the most accurate delivery records.

These details, however, are secondary for some types of businesses. It is up to you whether you need to include them in your delivery notes.

Your delivery note can also include some optional details:

  • Bank/invoice details
  • Special delivery notes/instructions (for example, if the package is fragile, etc.)
  • Returns/exchanges information

Delivery note structure

4. Go sustainable

As we’ve already discussed, some companies like to print physical copies of delivery documentation as well. 

If your business model allows that, you should definitely switch to electronic delivery notes and digital purchase receipts, and we’ll tell you why.

Environmental impact

Printing proof of delivery on paper is wasteful and causes more trees to be cut down. You may reduce your environmental impact and save trees by going paperless. 

It’s a smart decision for any company since it builds a positive and sustainable profile.

Saving on paper costs

Physical delivery notes require paper, ink, printers, and servicing. Paperless reduces these costs and saves money over time. It will save you much more than just one penny a day.

Accessibility and efficiency

Digital delivery notes can be easily accessed and shared electronically. Digital notes can be sent to customers immediately through email or online platforms, making communication quick and easy. This creates a smooth and efficient customer experience.

Always up-to-date

In contrast to paper delivery notes, digital ones may be updated instantly to reflect any changes to the order. If there are any issues with the order, a new digital delivery note can be sent out immediately.

Integration with other systems

Digital delivery notes are easily integrated with digital systems like inventory management or accounting software. This reduces the risk of human error, streamlines routine procedures, and saves time.

Marketing potential

Along with paperless copies of delivery notes, you can send your customers other promotional content, such as special offers, discount codes, and information about how returns and exchanges work.

Eco-friendly paper

Some local regulations or customer preferences may require printing delivery notes. In that case, you should stick to more eco-friendly types of paper.

For instance, you can choose recycled, FSC-certified, or biodegradable paper. This will show your customers that you care about how your business affects the environment and choose greener options, even if you still have to print the documents.

Eco friendly delivery notes

5.  Make a difference

You can always stand out from the competition by adding extra elements to give your customers a better experience.

QR code bonus

Add a QR code to the delivery note, leading customers to a secret deal or surprise. It could be a special discount, a personalized video message, or access to a hidden page on your website.

Creating QR codes for your business can be a simple yet powerful way to engage customers by offering them easy access to digital content, deals, and exclusive surprises with just a quick scan from their mobile devices.

Elevate your business processes by incorporating the Billdu barcode scanner into your operations.

Returns simplified

No business wants to encourage returns. Yet, making the process as easy as possible for your customers is an absolute priority. After all, it will make them want to come back.

You can include a return label that your customers can print out and stick on their order if they want to send it back. As a result, your clients and support staff will both appreciate the time savings.

Include useful tips

Include helpful instructions on using the product to its full potential alongside the delivery note (or on the reverse side).

For example, you could include recipes with the delivery notes if you sell food or drinks. This makes the purchase more valuable and encourages customers to use your products in new ways.

You can even add a link to a video tutorial or other kind of interactive content. This personalizes the delivery note and makes it memorable.

Seek feedback

Getting customer opinions on delivery notes and the delivery process is incredibly valuable. 

Perhaps, some of the document’s elements are unclear or missing; the font is too tiny, or the design is confusing… Your customers will let you know. Fresh opinions can make a real difference.

By providing interactive components under the delivery notes, such as checkboxes or rating scales, you can encourage consumers to submit feedback. It is critical for small business owners in particular.

Best delivery notes

Don’t overload

Naturally, after reading those tips for including extra elements in your delivery notes emails, you want to try them all. 

Even if they are all awesome, limit yourself to one or two extras to keep the notes professional without overloading customers with information. Remember, the primary purpose of delivery notes is to provide crucial information about the order and ensure a smooth delivery process. 

Benefits of Delivery Notes

There are many benefits that come with creating delivery notes for your business. We’ve picked out the top benefits that come with implementing them into your daily operations, no matter how large or small your business is. They include:

  • Reduces Disputes – The last thing you need is to have a dispute with your customer because they claim that they didn’t get all of the items they ordered, and you’re positive that you sent them. Since you double check your shipment when you compare it to your delivery note, you know everything is there. Additionally, your clients sign this note stating that they got everything in the shipment, and this lowers your chances of any disputes. 
  • Improves Accountability – Maybe something did happen in transit, and your driver noticed it but chose not to say anything. If you know everything was fine when it left your business, but it wasn’t when it reached your customer, something happened in transit. This can make your drivers more careful if they know they can get held accountable for their driving. 
  • Protect Your Bottom Line – Delivery notes are one way to prevent fraud and chargebacks from happening. If a customer accepts your delivery and signs for it, you’ve upheld your end of the contract. If they decide to dispute it later down the line, you have proof that everything was correct at the time of delivery, and this can help protect your company’s bottom line.

To sum up

Let’s review the most important points we talked about that will help you improve your delivery notes.

  • To create great delivery notes, focus on clear, concise information and strike a professional yet friendly tone.
  • Do not forget to include all the required information, such as a list of the ordered items, business details, and customer contact info. It will simplify things for customers and your accounting. 
  • You can use online delivery note generators and editable templates to make documents that look nice and professional. 
  • You can also use proof of delivery and last-mile software, which can automatically create and send delivery notes to save time and reduce mistakes.
  • Give the digital version of delivery notes more weight because it will save more than just trees. It will also save you money on expensive printing equipment and maintenance. 
  • Make your notes memorable by using your brand’s visual identity and personalized details. 
  • You can further enhance your delivery notes by providing helpful information like return/exchange policies, product use advice, and bonus materials. Yet, keep your delivery documents concise – everything is good in moderation.
  • Double-check your delivery notes for accuracy and seek client feedback to improve continuously. 

By following these guidelines, you can create delivery notes that are informative, unique, and leave a positive impression on your customers. 

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ALINA KOSTUKOVA

Content Creator at Track-POD

Alina Kostukova is an experienced Content Creator with a background in digital media and public relations, enthusiastic about all things technology.

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