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Two of the most frustrating phrases when waiting for a package delivery are “scheduled delivery pending” and “awaiting delivery scan.” These two status updates from carriers indicate that your package is moving, but something has interrupted its planned route. Ultimately, you’ll face a slight delay, but it isn’t guaranteed to be a long one.

Here’s a quick explainer if you’re looking at one of these status updates or have customers asking. That way, you’ll know what scheduled delivery pending” and “awaiting delivery scan” mean, plus what you should do next.

What is ‘scheduled delivery pending’?

The “scheduled delivery pending” message has become relatively common during the ongoing supply chain issues and pandemic, unfortunately. It’s a catchall term that generally means that your package has been delayed for reasons outside of the carrier’s control. Think of it as a notice that your carrier has the package and are working to get it delivered, but a delay has caused a slowdown and they’re not sure when it will arrive.

The delivery is ongoing but scheduling it — in terms of giving you a solid day or time for the delivery — is pending.

FedEx schedule delivery pending notice

In the past, that was largely weather and natural disaster events, or large accidents along major routes. Today, this status can also indicate larger supply chain issues at work that are causing a delay. The delivery commitment has changed because of these delays, and the carrier is working to update the status.

Carriers use different versions of this status update. FedEx is the best known for this terminology. If you’re researching a delay from them, it’s good to use FedEx’s tools to regularly the track your package or the FedEx Delivery Manager for updated information on package. The hope is that you’ll seen see a shift to a message that the package is out for delivery. If you see a “Delivery Exception” notice instead, it’s time to contact FedEx.

What does ‘awaiting delivery scan’ mean?

USPS awaiting delivery scan notice

Like other carriers, USPS has its own set of delivery statuses. One you may see from time to time is “awaiting delivery scan.” This status can mean a few different things, some a little better than others.

What you’re going to hope that “awaiting delivery scan” means is that the package is out for delivery or has been delivered but the system hasn’t been updated. Sometimes this occurs when the delivery person forgets to scan the item. Other times it can be an issue with the USPS system simply not updating to note that a delivery happened.

This status can also indicate that something occurred preventing the delivery. Maybe there was an issue with accessing your home, the mail carrier missed the package when going on their route, or there was too much mail and your package got pushed to the next truck. It can take longer for some mail to be delivered now due to the high volume, which has caused many regions to double up on routes and personnel.

What you know is that the Postal Service has your package and scanned it out for delivery. Then, something happened. It can be as simple as forgetting to scan the package during the holiday rush or falling between the cracks or behind other packages during the drive. Usually, it takes just a few days to get rid of the “awaiting delivery scan” message.

If it’s lasting more than a couple of days, reach out online or go to your local post office to see if they can help.

A quick USPS note

If you’re not sure what to do next with this status, start with the USPS FAQ. If possible, create an account and turn on the alert systems for carriers like USPS. Those alerts and notices (usually SMS text messages) will give you updates as soon as they happen, and sometimes these provide a little more info. We’ve noticed a time or two when the “awaiting delivery scan” system showed up at first but signing in and looking for alerts around the delivery showed that it had been delayed due to weather.

SKU scanner

What are these delivery scans?

For fulfillment, whether you’re a business working with Red Stag Fulfillment or a person just trying to send a package to a friend, deliveries involve a lot of scanning. Barcodes on your package or shipping label are scanned multiple times throughout the delivery process.

Typically, there’s a scan every time a package changes locations and is moved. That means scanning when it is mailed by you. Scans when it arrives at a processing location and when it leaves that location. Scans when being put on a truck and then either dropped off at a new processing facility or on your porch. Awaiting delivery scan means there hasn’t been a scan at the final point in the delivery process. Scheduled delivery pending will mean that there have been scans to get the order to a facility, but no recorded scan to have it out for delivery.

A carrier’s platform tracks scans of the labels. This was true even before they gave us all access to track our packages daily obsessively. Now, the same platform updates internal statuses and ones visible to shippers and shoppers. Today’s statuses come with automation options so you can be notified via text when there’s a change.

Integrating with carrier platforms and portals can send these same updates to your order management tools if you’re an eCommerce seller. That way, you can know the status of a package and share this with customers when they ask. It’s worthwhile because that can speed up most of your customer service requests, which will improve your reputation with customers.

Customer service for Scheduled Delivery Pending and Awaiting Delivery Scan statuses

What if your customers are getting these notices?

Unfortunately, many customers get upset at the company that sells the product when a delivery is late. That’s often not your fault, especially during COVID-19. So, what’s a seller to do when you’re getting complaints about “scheduled delivery pending” and “awaiting delivery scan” notices?

Your best bet is to communicate early and often. Tell customers when you’re experiencing delays in general as well as for their specific orders. Push people to get text updates or download apps from carriers. If you’re a Shopify seller, the Shop app can do this for you and directly work with the customer’s accounts.

Move them to the carrier for updates but have your support team ready. And if something goes wrong, send them an email to help. If you’re not sure what to say, we’ve got you covered. Start by downloading this free shipping delay email template. And then, here are some tips from experts on how to write the best delay email, whether it’s COVID and supply chain concerns or just an individual issue with a carrier.

How to write a shipping delay email

And here are a few other helpful options for you: