Porch Pirates: How They Impact Your Business and How to Avoid Them

If the pandemic has greatly increased the number of online sales, it has also increased the number of porch thefts. With customers not always available to receive their parcels right away, those parcels are often left at the doorstep. This makes it easy for thieves to steal them without anyone noticing.

As an eCommerce company or a 3PL business, it is your mission and in your best interest to make sure that your customers’ packages don’t get stolen. First, you want to retain your customers, and you want them to trust you. Second, you don’t want to have to replace every parcel that has been stolen.

Find out more about porch pirates, how they can impact your business, and the solutions to avoid parcel theft.

The “Porch Pirates” Phenomenon

The term “porch pirates” has become more and more popular since the rise of eCommerce and the fast increase in online sales. When parcels are left at the doorstep, people can take them and leave without looking too suspicious.

One of the biggest fears your customers have is their package being stolen. Who has never experienced a little anxiety knowing their parcel will be left at their doorstep and that they won’t be able to pick it up right away?

This fear comes for a good reason. A recent survey by FedEx Canada indicated that one-third of customers had a parcel stolen in 2020 compared to 2019.

Online shopping is not without any risk and your customers know that. They have probably experienced or heard of others’ experiences with missed deliveries or package theft. Therefore, they probably have some anxiety when they order your products.

If you deliver high-value items, you should be even more careful as those porch pirates tend to steal packages that look expensive. Besides, those thieves are not always professionals as you might think but can also be people with a compulsion towards theft who will also seize this opportunity.

The Impact on Your Business


Customers ask for a replacement

Those thefts have a direct impact on your business as your customers will demand a replacement, claiming that the driver didn’t hide the package well or put it in public view. They are frustrated as they bought the product but never got the chance to have it in their hands.

To calm down customers and avoid bad reviews, you send them another product right away. However, this costs you money, and it might greatly affect your profits. As we mentioned, in 2020, 1 parcel out of 3 was stolen. Imagine if you had to send 30% of your products twice but only get revenue for 1 item out of the 2 you sent.

Customers are reluctant to buy again

As soon as they purchased your products, your customers have a feeling of ownership. This is the same feeling that makes them very impatient to receive their parcels. Therefore, when their package gets stolen, you will most likely be the first person at whom they are mad.

They will be reluctant to buy again from you, even if you send them a replacement as they will not trust you as much as they did initially. The feeling of having been robbed is not a nice one, and you certainly don’t want your customers to associate your brand with this feeling.

“Nine out of ten online shoppers will stop purchasing and purchase less frequently due to poor customer service”, a UPS study said. It is pretty much guaranteed that if your customers don’t get their parcel, they will have a negative opinion of your customer service.

How to Minimize Those Packages Thefts


Luckily, it is possible to greatly reduce the risk of theft using technology. To offer a great delivery experience and reduce customers’ anxiety, many delivery software have a live tracking option. A study by UPS found that 56% of customers who got access to live tracking use it for some or all their deliveries.

Live tracking allows customers to track drivers in real-time and to receive notifications to tell them how many deliveries are left before theirs and when their package will be delivered. This will help to ease the anxious feeling they have, and it will allow them to better organize their day to be home when their parcel will be delivered. This also means fewer missed delivery windows for your drivers.

A survey from Dropoff reports that 88% of consumers say that being able to track parcels is important. Tracking parcels in real-time relieves anxiety for your customers as they can have a good idea when the driver will deliver their package. They won’t be scared that it will be left in public view or taken to the post office where they will have to go retrieve it.

If customers can’t be there when the parcel is delivered, they can still send SMS or emails to the driver to give them instructions to hide their parcel. For example, they can say, “Put packages behind the flowerpot,” or “Put packages under the carpet” if the parcels are small. Make sure to choose a delivery software that offers a full offline mode to communicate with your drivers at any time.

Meet CIGO

CIGO is a best-in-class, cloud-based platform to increase deliveries, service calls, and pick-ups for your business. It scales as you need it and provides a state-of-the-art, “last mile” delivery experience that will thrill your customers.

At CIGO, we are always on the lookout for adding new features to our delivery software that will improve your daily operations. If you would like to learn more about our delivery software, book a demo today.

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