Proof of Delivery: Meaning and Importance of POD in Shipping

The rise of online sales has been a gift to the logistics industry, and delivery companies are booming. Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of deliveries across North America has risen exponentially. However, incorrectly scanned items, late deliveries, and package thieves often translate to the sender paying for mistakes out of pocket. If an item arrives late or fails to arrive at all, your reputation is directly affected. This guide will explain what proof of delivery is, how it can be beneficial, and why a standard proof of delivery document is so important.

What is Proof of Delivery?

So, what does POD mean in shipping? POD (proof of delivery) is confirmation that the order has reached its destination, as well as what time the delivery was made. There are several ways to use a POD, meaning isn’t confined to eCommerce. It can also be used in the service industry, known as a proof of completion document. Depending on the delivery company, paper or electronic proof of delivery may be used. Increasingly, modern couriers and postal organizations are turning to electronic proof of delivery exclusively. In this case, customers must provide an electronic signature when the item is delivered. Alternatively, delivery drivers can take a photo to facilitate contactless delivery (the preferred method during the pandemic) or when nobody is physically present to collect the package.
Proof of Delivery vs. Bill of Lading
A proof of delivery document is not to be confused with a Bill of Lading. A Bill of Lading (BOL) goes beyond a POD document because this is a legal document between a carrier and a shipper. BOLs include comprehensive information about the shipment and prove that the carrier received the items. A POD in logistics is not a legal document itself, it’s for the benefit of the business sending the item, so they know that their customer received their order.

Why is Proof of Delivery Important?

Now that you know that answer to “what does POD stand for in shipping,” you may be wondering why proof of delivery is such a vital part of a business that delivers items directly to customers. For customers, it’s a confirmation that their goods or services have been delivered. Companies also use proof of delivery to save on costs by not issuing unnecessary refunds. Providing proof of shipment and delivery is crucial because it offers benefits for both the customer and the business. 

Benefits for Customers

  • Customer Control – Today, customers expect easy and efficient tracking in real-time. 97% of customers now demand the ability to track their orders.
  • Reduce Theft – Correct receipt of shipment reduces incidences of theft by notifying customers the moment their item arrives, especially if they aren’t home.
  • Keep Customers in the Loop – With delivery services, a POD demonstrates that the work has been completed. It also allows customers to recommend any changes or ask about follow-up work.

Benefits for Businesses

  • Better Customer Experiences – Sometimes deliveries are lost, or drivers mark a package as delivered when it hasn’t been. PODs give you more visibility into the status of orders.
  • Slash Costs – When you have proof of delivery, you know the customer has their hands on the item. This prevents you from issuing unnecessary refunds or shipping out repeat products.
  • Improve Accuracy – Ultimately, your business keeps your finger on the pulse of what’s going on with your supply chain. The implementation of this simple document can dramatically improve accuracy.
  • Increase Backend Efficiency – Automated proof of shipment improves your backend efficiency. These days, many businesses automatically connect a company’s backend with an app carried by the driver. It cuts down on manual tasks and the amount of physical paperwork involved.

How Do I Request a Proof of Delivery Document?

Businesses increasingly opt to provide a POD as standard, and there’s no need to make a request. These documents may differ in their layout and delivery. Some may opt to use QR codes or simply scanned barcodes. Customers can confirm that they will have access to a POD by requesting one from the business directly, assuming it isn’t automatic. Most major carriers already have a shipping portal where customers can make such requests at no extra cost. Every business and shipping carrier has its own system. At CSA Transportation, we provide proof of delivery to our customers via our online shipping portal in the form of a scanned document, so you always know when an order has reached its destination.


Something as simple as a proof of delivery document can make an incredible difference in your business’s operations and reputation. There’s no reason not to secure it as a foundation of your logistics. Getting your logistics right is part of ensuring your business can be successful and that your customers stay satisfied. With the help of one of our 250+ shipping agents, you gain access to PODs no matter where you want to ship in the United States and Canada. For the best in comprehensive shipping services, contact the team at CSA Transportation to learn more about world-class shipping and handling services now.

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