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Porch Pirates Stole 119 Million Packages From Doorsteps Last Year Alone. Here's What You Can Do to Make Sure This Doesn't Happen to Your Customers. The rapid growth of ecommerce, fueled by the pandemic, has increased opportunities for "porch pirates" who target packages left on doorsteps, impacting both consumer confidence and business finances. This rise in theft underscores the need for effective security measures — read on for some suggestions from my 17 years in the industry.

By Johannes Panzer Edited by Kara McIntyre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For ecommerce retailers and brands, the spike in online shopping has been a double-edged sword. The revenue upside is immense — U.S. ecommerce sales are projected to hit $1.1 trillion by 2029 — however, growth comes with a rising threat: "porch piracy."

In 2023 alone, this crime impacted a staggering 76% of Americans, with thieves snatching an estimated 119 million packages from doorsteps valued at $8 billion.

While the financial losses sting, the erosion of consumer confidence cuts deeper. According to the Penn Elcom Global Parcel Theft report, 1 in 5 online shoppers expresses anxiety over package theft and 1 in 10 are reluctant to shop online because of fear of theft, making secure delivery mission-critical for protecting profits and brand reputation.

For ecommerce leaders, safeguarding the last mile requires a multi-pronged approach combining strategic solutions and operational vigilance. With this in mind, here are three tactics ecommerce leaders must implement.

Related: Report Reveals Controversy Surrounding Video Doorbells — and Why Delivery Drivers Don't Like Them

Offer insurance at checkout

In the realm of shipping, consumers are not just looking for basic insurance — they want assurance from brands they trust. A whopping 76% of shoppers say they would buy shipping coverage if offered during checkout on their favorite brands site, according to The Retail Protection Report. They're even willing to pay up to a 21% premium for this integrated, seamless shipping experience from brands.

This type of offering provides peace of mind that their purchase, especially high-value electronics and luxury goods, is fully protected end-to-end. Think about it — when a customer splurges on a $2,000 home theater system or even a $5,000 piece of jewelry, they're making an emotional investment. There's an expectation that their prized purchase will arrive safely and an assumption that the retailer has taken every precaution to safeguard its delivery.

This is where integrated third-party shipping protection gives brands a crucial competitive edge. The majority of carrier insurance policies have strict limits and lengthy exemption lists that leave expensive electronics, collectibles and other big-ticket items completely exposed.

For retailers, embedding insurance at checkout elevates the customer experience while reducing operational costs of reshipments and replacements. Simply put, it's a smart investment that keeps customers coming back. In today's competitive ecommerce landscape, integrated shipping protection is a revenue-generating differentiator that drives customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Related: A DoorDash Driver Was Caught Stealing Customers' Food On Camera

Provide delivery flexibility

In today's age of instant gratification, consumers not only expect real-time visibility into their order's journey, but they also expect the ability to control the final mile delivery. As real-time parcel tracking becomes an industry norm, providing delivery flexibility that accommodates customers' schedules remains an underutilized — and overlooked tool — for today's consumers. Notably, a 2024 ecommerce consumer sentiment survey found that 76% of respondents ranked the ability to track their delivery as "extremely important."

Today's shoppers — whether they're frequent buyers or spontaneous purchasers — value the ability to:

  • Reschedule or reroute deliveries to trusted neighbors if they'll be away
  • Specify secure alternate drop-off sites like workplaces or even secure delivery lockers
  • Provide options to allow customers share delivery notes with hiding instructions or access codes

Giving customers more control reduces package vulnerability and theft anxiety. It's also an easy way to elevate the overall delivery experience and perceptions of your brand.

Related: Stay Ahead of Supply Chain Slowdowns Using This Hybrid Delivery Option That Is Transforming The Ecommerce Space

Implement a porch piracy policy

Nearly half of Americans have been victims of porch piracy at some point, with 44 million reporting a stolen package in just the last three months alone. To get ahead of the issue, having an airtight porch piracy policy and internal protocols is crucial for protecting your bottom line from the scourge of package theft.

First, clearly define what constitutes porch piracy and outline which items are covered by your policy, especially high-value goods like electronics, jewelry and other luxury products frequently targeted by thieves. Ensure your claims process is fast and user-friendly, with options like an online portal and mobile app. Rapid, fair resolutions when things go awry can transform a negative experience into a positive one — 87% of shoppers would recommend a brand after a good claims interaction.

Educating customers about porch piracy risks and prevention measures is vital. Use social media, email newsletters and in-store signage to share this information. Provide detailed guides and FAQs on purchasing insurance and filing claims, along with video tutorials for better understanding.

Encourage preventative measures, such as using secure drop-off locations or delivery lockers, rescheduling deliveries or rerouting packages to trusted neighbors. Promote delivery notifications and real-time tracking services to keep customers informed.

Integrate with delivery and ecommerce platforms for seamless insurance options and real-time tracking. Utilize technology to predict high-risk areas and automate policy creation, pricing and claims processing for efficiency.

A robust porch piracy policy signals that you've got your customers' back and prioritize delivery security. When combined with insurance offerings at checkout and delivery flexibility, you create a secure ecosystem that elevates the customer experience, safeguards profits and enhances brand reputation.

Johannes Panzer

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Head of Industry Solutions for Ecommerce

With 17 years in ecommerce fulfillment and shipping in B2B and SaaS, Johannes Panzer drives the go-to-market strategy for Descartes’ ecommerce division globally. He leads the ecommerce industry strategy group, managing SMEs' software solutions, including Peoplevox, pixi, ShipRush and Ozlink.

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