Fear of seasonal doorstep thefts driving PUDO usage, says COLL-8

Dave Field - Chief Operations Officer

Concerns about the possible of online deliveries from doorsteps is fuelling an increase in volumes being handled by Irish PUDO [Pick-Up, Drop-Off] networks.

COLL-8 Logistics has announced that it expects to handle in excess of 30,000 parcels a day during this year’s pre-Christmas parcel peak – three times the figure which it processed during the same period in 2020.

The company operates drop2shop, which allows consumers to collect and return online purchases through a network of more than 400 convenience stores across the Republic, as well as offering last mile delivery via a number of specialist partners.

COLL-8’s founder and Chief Operations Officer, Dave Field, revealed that PUDO volumes had already begun to increase “substantially”.

He added that some consumers had described opting for drop2shop because of anxieties about purchases being stolen.

His comments follow warnings after a series of thefts of delivered goods from homes in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

Mr Field said: “The amount of online shopping has continued to increase since last year’s peak, which was driven by the fact that high street stores weren’t open.

“At that time, doorstep delivery didn’t present a problem because many people were working from home and able to collect items immediately after they were left by couriers following rules on social distancing.

“However, a good number of consumers are now back working from factories and offices and purchases are being left outside their homes, which police recognise as a something of a temptation to thieves.

“The potential for theft is only likely to grow as the volume of online shopping rises in the run-up to Christmas.

“Recent reports of ordered items being stolen corresponds with the surge in goods being sent through our drop2shop network and the anecdotal accounts of individual consumers who we have dealt with.

“Drop2shop has found favour with consumers not only because it offers security but familiarity too.

“Consumers can pick up what they have bought online from the same place and at the same time that they do their grocery shopping rather than having to arrange their schedules around trips to sorting offices or out-of-town locker banks.”

COLL-8 launched the drop2shop platform in September last year having partnered with one of the country’s leading retail and wholesale businesses, BWG Foods.

In addition to enabling collections and returns through premises which are part of market-leading brands, including SPAR, MACE, Londis and XL, drop2shop avoids the need for multiple courier vehicles by using BWG Foods’ existing 280-strong distribution fleet.

Mr Field explained that it had had “instantly boosted” the capacity of the country’s delivery network by 10 per cent.

Ireland is one of Europe’s most rapidly expanding e-commerce markets, with one piece of recent research suggesting that online sales had grown seven  per cent last year – three times the rate in more established territories such as the UK and Germany.

The same study concluded that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of consumers bought items from overseas retailers.

Nevertheless, the problem of doorstep thefts is a headache for consumers in other countries too.

According to a report by Citizens Advice published in July, more than five million people in the UK had a parcel lost or stolen in 2020.

Meanwhile, a paper compiled by academics at Middle Tennessee State University, in the United States, has detailed how so-called “porch piracy” now poses an increasingly costly threat for consumers, couriers and retailers alike.