Amazon And Walmart Take On Porch Pirates – Forbes


One thing that can make for a terrible customer experience is when merchandise is ordered but never delivered. Or maybe it was delivered, but somehow mysteriously disappeared. The cause of this disappearance? Simple … it was stolen.

A few months ago, I read an article about how Amazon was testing the concept of delivering merchandise to the trunk of a customer’s car. The person making the delivery would have one-time access to open the trunk.

There was another recent article about Walmart delivering merchandise inside a home, even with no one present to open the door. Again, the person making the delivery would have one-time access to drop the merchandise just inside the front door or, if the item needed to be kept cold or frozen, even placed in the refrigerator.

Is this all about convenience? Absolutely yes … but there is more.

This concept is about reducing the theft of packages left on the front porch of a customer’s home. The criminals who steal these packages are referred to as “porch pirates.” Shorr Packaging Corp surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 31 percent have had a package stolen, and 41 percent of those surveyed said they do not buy certain products online because they fear that the items will be stolen if left outside their front door.

Natalie Berg, an analyst at Planet Retail RNG, told CNBC, “Unattended delivery is the least desirable of the last-mile fulfillment options as it leaves the package exposed to all kinds of risk.”

However, there’s more to the issue than just the risk of theft, or even bad weather ruining a package left outside. For the consumer, it’s a hassle – the inconvenience of making a claim, having to reorder, and then waiting again for the merchandise to arrive. For the brand, it is a risk to their reputation. Sure, it’s not Amazon’s fault or Walmart’s fault that the package was stolen, but who does the customer call? The company that the item was ordered from.

Berg says, “It’s not just the financial cost, but also the impact that a failed delivery can have on brand reputation and customer loyalty. Nothing makes shoppers more irate than missing a delivery.”


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