Porch Piracy: How Merchants Can Prevent Package Theft

Posted by Benjamin Meskin on Nov 17, 2022 2:10:33 PM
Benjamin Meskin

Online shopping traditionally increases at the end of the year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and end-of-year sales make it prime time for high-ticket purchases and holiday shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic only strengthened demand in the e-commerce industry and continues through this holiday season. 

While this landscape benefits merchants and consumers, it’s also a golden hour for porch pirates. In 2022 alone, over 260 million packages reportedly vanished from porches in the U.S., an increase of 50 million from a previous study. 

Ultimately, e-commerce merchants bare much of the financial burden. Still, there are tools in place that offer protection against package theft. We explain how merchants can reduce liability and decrease porch piracy risk. 

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What Is a Porch Pirate?

A porch pirate is a thief who steals packages off of front porches, doorsteps, or anywhere within view. It’s a crime of opportunity that has affected at least 1 in 7 (or 49 million) Americans over the past year. Nearly every state has a rising number of porch theft reports. Pirates target any type of community and may frequent homes with regular package deliveries. 

Fortunately, porch piracy awareness is high among consumers. Many consumers install security systems and doorbell cameras to prevent theft and other crimes. Others check the mail regularly and leave floodlights on drop-off spots. These measures can deter criminals, but law enforcement efforts often end with security camera footage.

More shoppers opt to use package lockers for frequent deliveries or PO boxes. Many companies also require signatures at delivery or offer secure pickup locations only their customers can access. 

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Who Is Responsible for Stolen Packages?

There’s no one answer for who bears responsibility for porch thieves. It’s a legal gray area and varies by retailer. Large companies like Amazon prioritize refunds and replacements after a report of porch piracy. Other retailers have followed suit as consumers have learned to contact the seller rather than carriers.

However, these practices aren’t sustainable for every brand, especially those without shipping insurance. In that case, customers can file claims with the shipping carrier–though their liability typically ends with proof of delivery. That’s also when most shipping insurance coverage ends.

With the rise of porch pirates, customizable shipping insurance is more necessary than ever. Read on to learn about your coverage options and other preventative measures.


How to Prevent Porch Piracy

Frequent package theft doesn’t just upset a customer. It can harm a merchant’s bottom line. Resources spent addressing theft claims, processing refunds, and preventing a lousy customer take up time and money. It’s a trickle-down effect with lasting implications for a company.

Thankfully, merchants can take precautions that reduce stolen packages, limit financial liability, and get orders into the hands of their customers.

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Be Discreet With Packaging

There’s no need to attract porch pirates with loud color schemes and packages covered in your branding. Avoid any text on the exterior box that describes what may be inside the package. Reduce package size as much as possible, as thieves tend to think larger containers are of more value. Packaging that fits the product without too much extra room is a cheaper delivery on the merchant side.

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Send Real-Time Delivery Notices

Real-time delivery tracking lets customers anticipate when a package will be delivered. Provide a tracking number for every order and give customers the option to get real-time updates. With enough notice, customers can plan to be home at the right time. 

Parcels shouldn’t be outside long enough to entice porch pirates. Tracking notifications are also helpful in inclement weather. Most tracking services easily integrate with existing shipping carriers like Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and more.  


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Offer In-Person Pickup

Prominent merchants like Amazon allow most consumers to retrieve packages at drop boxes and secure facilities. If you’re a local merchant, consider opportunities to cut out home delivery services where it makes sense.

For deliveries to rural areas, consider flexible options like same-day delivery or a choice of delivery date and time. Work with a dependable delivery company so your customer can plan their delivery day accordingly. 

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Add Delivery Requirements for High-Value Items

Requiring in-person signatures may be a valuable strategy with high-value deliveries. It adds a layer of security for both the merchant and the recipient. If that’s not possible, encourage customers to include a layer of protection for valuable items. Suggest using an office address instead of a home, sending a package to a secure locker, or adding package insurance.


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Provide Shipping Insurance & Package Protection

Package theft insurance, particularly for high-value items, is already highly recommended if not required for customers by many luxury brands. E-commerce merchants should consider package shipping insurance across the board, particularly as the volume of deliveries increases around busy shipping times. 

Providing customers with a good experience, which includes that added layer of security during the ordering process, is good business. 


Get Shipping Insurance for Any Commodity with Cabrella

A third-party shipping insurance company like Cabrella can help you manage shipping insurance and ensures your insurance covers all your unique goods. Our comprehensive coverage allows you to save money in the long run without changing your delivery methods. 

Are you ready to reduce your risk and improve your delivery methods? Get a quote from Cabrella today.

Tags: Shipping Insurance

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