Tackling festive ‘Porch Pirates’

porch pirate

As I write, we are now merely days from the start in earnest of the one of the most intense shopping weekends of the year.

It seems to have been virtually impossible of late to escape the advertising blitz by major brands trying to attract consumers with discounts available for both ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.

Judging by the amounts generated at the cash tills both online and in-store, marketing campaigns aimed at shoppers on both sides of the Irish Sea seem likely to succeed.

One recent forecast has suggested that sales in this four-day period alone will be worth £8.74 billion to UK retailers on the high street and the internet.

We must remember too that this is only the start of the busiest part of the year for the retail industry and the logistics firms upon which it relies to deliver the goods which are bought in the run-up to Christmas.

As one of the Republic of Ireland’s leading specialists in e-commerce deliveries and returns, COLL-8 will be very much involved.

In fact, we expect to be handling in the region of 100,000 items every single day during this peak season with a huge volume being routed via our award-winning drop2shop Pick-Up and Drop-Off (PUDO) network stretching right across the Republic.

However, just as brands eagerly eye business and consumers are on the hunt for bargains, such an incredibly lucrative few weeks will sadly not escape the attention of criminals either.

New research in the UK has highlighted the extent to which innocent online shoppers are preyed upon.

The London Times has reported that a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to police forces revealed a 57 per cent rise in the number of items shipped by couriers and left outside consumers’ homes which have subsequently been stolen.

More than merely opportunistic crime, delivery vans are believed to have been followed by gangs while on their rounds.

It follows a previous report by Citizens Advice which concluded that more 5.5 million purchases were taken each year by what have become known as ‘porch pirates’.

This is not an offence confined to the UK. After a rash of similar crimes committed throughout the Republic, An Gardai Siochana has actually advised consumers to take preventative action to avoid their orders being stolen.

In addition to the use of ‘click and collect’ options in store, officers have recommended that individuals consider other PUDO methods rather than risk packages being left unattended outside their properties.

We believe that such concerns are one reason why we continue to see a rapid rise in the number of deliveries and returned goods being handled by convenience stores which are part of the drop2shop system.

The issue does not just appear in the run-up to Christmas but is a year-’round threat.

With official Irish data published weeks ago showing that the volume of parcel traffic in the Republic has grown by 52 per cent in the last four years to just short of 139 million packages last year, the possibility for crime and disappointment is substantial.

Together with speed and convenience, security is one of the factors why more than 500 of the world’s leading retail brands offer drop2shop to their customers.

They know that buying online is only one part of the e-commerce equation. What really matters is having consumers take delivery of whatever they buy without a hitch.

If something prevents that happening, it can undermine customer confidence and scupper any prospect of repeat business.

drop2shop allows Irish shoppers to determine from where and when they collect and return goods bought online.

It means simply nominating their favourite branch of one of Ireland’s leading convenience store chains for an easy, paperless process too.

Their e-commerce purchases are dispatched on the very same vehicles which distribute store stock.

Avoiding the need for a dedicated drop2shop fleet and reducing our carbon footprint is an intended bonus along with removing any hassle and the potential for theft or headaches.

With the authorities recognising the merits of PUDO platforms like drop2shop, they are well worth considering by anyone placing online orders over this ‘Black Friday’ weekend, the festive period or at any other time of the year.