Three Tips to Prevent Porch Piracy Over the Holidays

A recent study found that nearly one in five U.S. homeowners has fallen victim to porch piracy, and this particular brand of thievery peaks around the holiday season.

Brands are often left with two choices: Replace the stolen items free of charge, cutting into profit margins, or risk losing customers and future revenue. By taking preemptive measures however, ecommerce brands can reduce theft and improve the bottom line.

Keep the Beauty on the Inside

While research proves that a gift-like unboxing experience can elicit excitement and trust to captivate customers, expand reach and spur additional purchases, intricate designs can draw unwanted attention to packages on the porch.

A smarter solution is to keep the design elements and marketing inside the box. It achieves the same positive results of branded unboxing, while making the exterior relatively inconspicuous. Consider using colorful tissue paper and branded stickers to secure the products within the package and keep the outside discreet.

This applies to package size as well. Porch pirates may see bigger boxes as larger payouts, so keep packages as small as possible. An added benefit when using smaller packaging is lower shipping costs, especially with carriers using dimensional weight pricing.

Allow In-Store Pickup

In many cases, especially with high-value items, shoppers would rather pick up an online purchase in store, time permitting, than let a package sit unguarded on their porch for hours. Brands with stores should enable buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS), which can result in incremental sales, fewer returns and reduced shipping expenses.

As customers enter stores, they will be exposed to more products and promotions, which lead to almost half of shoppers making additional purchases when picking up their order. Customers can also inspect their purchase before leaving the store, uncovering potential issues and reducing returns and their associated costs.

It also may be more cost effective for brands to have items delivered to a store instead of to a customer’s home. In many cases, the items may already be in stock at certain locations, further minimizing shipping fees, for both online sellers and customers alike.

Offer Flexible Shipping Options

As much as they’d probably like to, customers can’t always be home to receive their online orders. Thus many deliveries often sit on porches, exposed to the elements and potential thieves. If a storage locker is available, brands can have products delivered to a secure spot where customers can pick them up.

Another option can be requiring a signature upon delivery. Customers will appreciate the added security of having the package placed in their hands rather than left by a door, especially if it is a high-end item.

Many consumers only expect the most basic form of delivery, so providing options based on different needs and varied prices can prove useful for meeting diverse preferences.

Implementing a sound porch piracy policy that integrates these processes is important for brands to optimize online sales. That’s because 41% of survey respondents said they have avoided purchases for fear of package theft, according to a 2017 survey by Shorr Packaging.

Porch piracy has unfortunately become a reality in the age of ecommerce, so brands need a strategy in place to maintain customer confidence. By taking the necessary steps to avoid these incidents, they can avoid losing first-time buyers and keep their loyal customers coming back.

Maria Haggerty is CEO of Dotcom Distribution

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