A lot of small businesses begin route planning by looking at tools like Google Maps Route Planner or Mapquest Route Planner for deliveries. They’re great products from some great brands and they can work pretty well when you have a small number of stops for deliveries.
Mapquest Route Planner is a route optimization planning tool built by Mapquest and launched back in 1996. Here are some resources to help you get started using their website, but you should keep in mind a few things before using the Mapquest Route Planner for your deliveries.
For one thing, you can only plan a route for one driver at a time. If you’re doing your own deliveries, this won’t matter, but if you need to dispatch multiple drivers, you will find making routes and getting them to your drivers can take hours and hours of time.
You are also limited to a maximum of 26 stops per route. If you need more destinations, you are unfortunately out of luck. EasyRoutes Pro allows up to 50 stops.
There is no way to factor in other important aspects of routing, such as driver breaks, delivery time windows, vehicle load capacity, etc.
If you are not dissuaded by the limitations, here’s a quick guide to how to use MapQuest.
1. Input your Addresses
With Mapquest, you have three options for inputting addresses.
Line by Line: This method gives you several fields to enter in your addresses. As you type them in, Mapquest will cross-reference them with their database to offer suggestions to help with accuracy.
Once you have entered an address, click on the “Add another stop” link to repeat the process up to a limit of 26 stops.
Copy and Paste: This method allows you to paste your addresses into one big textbox. If you have a list of addresses, this is an easy way to input them in to Mapquest. Simply select your list, copy it to your clipboard, and then paste it into this input box.
Import: Import allows you to input addresses by uploading a spreadsheet. You can drag and drop your file into the box in order to upload it, or you can click the “Browse” button to locate it on your device. You will need to format your spreadsheet in a very specific way for Mapquest to be able to read it.
EasyRoutes is directly integrated with Shopify and your orders, so you don’t need to do anything! Your orders will just show up in EasyRoutes for you to select and route.
2. Select your Route Options
Now you can select some route options. Here you can ask Mapquest to optimize the route by distance or time which is great depending on your business goals and strategy. You can also allow Mapquest to reorder your stops, and you can select the option to make the route a round trip. You can also toggle a bunch of different settings to avoid different kinds of roads.
3. Dispatch your route to your driver
Once you have made your route and you are happy with it, you can share the route with your driver. Mapquest lets you do this over social media, or by sending it to a mobile number or email. You can also copy a direct link to your clipboard.
Once a link has been created, it will live on forever. You should consider that these routes contain private customer information.
With EasyRoutes, any shared links you create will auto-expire after 48 hours, so you never need think about deactivating links after routes are created.
Which is better, Google Maps or Mapquest route planner for deliveries?
Google Route Planner and Mapquest Route Planner are both good route planning tools for a home delivery business with a limited number of drivers and a limited number of stops.
Mapquest offers a bit more in terms of route optimization options, and offers more stops (up to 26, while Google Maps works with up to 10 stops). However, Google Maps is known for it’s simplicity of use, and let’s you drag pins and routes.
EasyRoutes is the best of both worlds, but with the added benefit of allowing for up to 50 stops, and much better handling of multiple drivers.
Route planning can be complicated…or easy with EasyRoutes.
At EasyRoutes we live, eat, and breathe deliveries and routing, and we know that creating effective delivery routes can take hours of time to do every week. We know that efficiency is key to any business, so we offer the least amount of friction for turning your Shopify orders into Shopify delivery routes.
Get the EasyRoutes Multi-Stop Route Planner on the Shopify App Store. You can learn more about EasyRoutes on our website.