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Beware, Online Shoppers: Here Be Porch Pirates

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For anyone in the fulfillment business, getting goods to their intended customer is the final mile of a job well done. While all of the preceding miles involve a lot of detailed planning, this Christmas it seems to be the final few meters that could be the biggest challenge.

Why, we hear you cry? Porch pirates, matey.

The Grinch Porch Pirates Steal Christmas

Porch Pirate Flag

Today is the biggest delivery day of the year for the US Postal Service, which also makes it attractive for another group of porch-focused people: package thieves.

Although the term "porch pirates" is new, the practice it describes is not. Packages stolen direct from the doorstep after delivery has been completed, leaving both carrier and customer with a challenge to solve.

23 million Americans have experienced having a package stolen in this manner, according to insurancequotes.com, and the holidays provide extra incentive for this land-based larceny. With approximately $11 billion spent between Black Friday and Cyber Monday according to Adobe - at an average order value of  $135.25 - it comes as little surprise that thieves are expected to be increasingly active this holiday season.

Indeed, expanded holiday eCommerce has opened up an even bigger activity period for porch pirates. What was once a short window between the start of the shopping season and delivery before Christmas is now a months-long surge of activity on America's doorstep.

So how can online shoppers protect themselves against this happening to them?

How to Avoid Holiday Package Theft

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting caught out by porch pirates this holiday season:

  • Select shipping methods that require a signature, especially for medium to high-value items.
  • Plan your order placement so that the shipping window coincides with a weekend or another day that you'll be home or, alternatively, select your place of work as the shipping address.
  • Ensure your shipment type has tracking and monitor the progress of your package online so that you can have someone home during the expected delivery period.
  • As an extension of that last point, if no one can be home then ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your porch during the expected delivery window and bring the package in for you.
  • Rather than home delivery, request the carrier hold your package at a nearby distribution center for pick up.
  • Consider a new service like Doorman or Swapbox to schedule and secure your package deliveries.
  • Explore technology-based solutions, such as installing a webcam to monitor your porch or investing in a "smart mailbox" to deter thieves from dallying on your doorstep.

Even with all the media focus on porch pirates this season, it's worth remembering that the vast majority of deliveries make it to their intended recipient in great shape, safe and sound. So don't worry too much, but do follow some of the steps above to ensure that no prize gifts go missing this month!

So don't worry too much, but do follow some of the steps above to ensure that no prize gifts go missing this month!

And if you're interested in seeing how your orders are handled before they hit the delivery truck, read our behind-the-scenes guide to seasonal order fulfillment from this time last year.

Contact Capacity with comments or questions at info@capacityllc.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!