4 Ways for eCommerce Businesses to Avoid Porch Pirates


Ordering holiday gifts is a special kind of excitement. You come home from a long day looking for that package outside your front door, excited to finally open and see it. But what if that package isn’t where you were expecting it? Porch pirates are one of the biggest problems facing eCommerce businesses right now, and finding ways to outsmart them can be essential to your sales. 

If you’re an eCommerce owner, or a retailer with delivery options, you might have a problem on your hands. If you’ve never seen a customer be a victim to a porch pirate, you probably want to keep it that way. As we enter the holiday shopping season, porch pirates become more of a problem and need to be avoided at all costs. 

Nearly 1 in 4 Canadians have had a package stolen from them. It’s time to change up how deliveries are made to protect what you sell. 

What Are Porch Pirates?

Porch pirates, or package thieves, are people who steal delivery boxes right off the porches of the rightful owner. Over the last few years, plenty of videos of packages being stolen by these porch pirates have gone viral. In some cases, it even seems like people are waiting in neighbourhoods to find packages being left for the owners and take them after they’re dropped off. 

Porch pirates affect everyone, from the merchant, to the delivery provider, to the customers. The customer, of course, loses their product and is forced to go back to the merchant or courier to report it stolen. While some delivery providers and merchants are helpful in circumstances like this, it would be a stretch to say everyone is. If a customer has a parcel stolen, they have to hope everyone else involved is helpful enough to replace it. 

On another note, merchants face their own difficulties when it comes to stolen goods. Now, they must pay for another item to be shipped to the customer, costing them plenty of extra money along the way. Porch pirates can also cause merchants to lose trust in deliveries as a whole, worrying if this is going to happen again. 

Delivery providers face a lot of heat when or if packages are stolen. For example, merchants will often question if the driver followed the instructions correctly or if they left the package somewhere it was not supposed to be. For merchants, it’s especially important to work with a delivery provider who follows all steps necessary to get packages to customers to avoid problems just like this. 

How to Stop Package Theft

Porch pirates cause headaches for everyone involved. As a seller, you’ll face a ton of added stress as you’re trying to place your finger on who is at fault. Plus, you need to rule out any wrongdoing from the delivery courier at the same time. 

This is when picking the right delivery provider really comes into play. The best thing you can do for yourself as a seller is to pick a partner who does all the right things to prevent stolen packages. Although there is no guarantee that every delivered package will steer clear from thieves, there are plenty of measures you can put in place to avoid them as best as possible.

1. Offer scheduled deliveries with specific time frames 

For starters, one of the best ways to avoid stolen packages is to deliver with specific time frames. Delivering within a specific window helps customers know when orders will arrive, making sure they’re left outside for less time.

To strengthen this point even more, you should work with a delivery provider who delivers at the time when most customers are at home and available. For example, delivering between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. is not ideal. Although it does provide a clear window, most customers will be out at work. This extended period of time increases the likelihood that a thief might take action to intervene in the delivery. Delivering in the evening hours means customers will probably be available to pick up the parcel at the time of drop-off, or at least shortly after. 

The same goes for commercial address deliveries. Thieves do not only target residential customers, and businesses receiving packages should also receive the same amount of care. Your delivery provider should only be delivering during business hours when someone is available to collect the parcel, rather than leaving it outside for hours on end. This makes it much easier to complete the delivery without having to worry about the customer’s overall experience. 

2. Keep tracking pages updated & provide notifications 

The second tip to keep clear of porch pirates when offering deliveries is to keep customers as updated as possible. 

The main way porch pirates are able to steal packages is by preying on customers who are not home at the time of drop off. By taking packages that are dropped off and left to sit alone for hours, they have enough time to take parcels without anyone noticing its disappearance. 

Live tracking and real-time notifications significantly reduced the likelihood of packages being stolen. Since customers have a clear idea of when parcels arrive, they’re more likely to pick them up and not leave them outside. The less time parcels are outside for, the less likely they are to be stolen. 

Live tracking in specific is a great feature for reducing the risk of porch pirates. Customers are able to see their delivery driver live on the map, giving a precise estimated time of arrival. This removes the need to guess the ETA for parcels and helps customers see exactly where drivers are and when they’ll arrive. 

While some couriers give limited updates to customers waiting to receive packages, modern delivery providers provide real-time notifications. The ability to view drivers live on a map gives more visibility to customers and increases the percentage of successful first attempts at delivery. Successful first attempts mean packages are not left outside waiting, which is great for eCommerce businesses and online sellers. 

3. Offer in person pickup 

Another way to avoid the risk of stolen packages is to offer various methods of both pick up and delivery. Instead of only offering home delivery, sellers can offer more ways for customers to pick up parcels, even if they choose to order online. 

Other options can include using service points as a delivery service. For example, all your parcels can be dropped off at one spot where they can be picked up by customers. On the other hand, you could allow in-store pickup, so buyers can still purchase online but come to your store to collect their order. This completely eliminates the parcels being left outside on their own, while still giving buyers the chance to shop from home. 

4. Offer POD and signature confirmed deliveries 

Finally, one of the best ways to avoid porch pirates is to work with the right delivery company. In other words, someone who offers proof of delivery and drop-off signatures. 

Proof of delivery is a photo of the parcel in the place it’s been left for the customer. For example, on a porch or beside a front door. These photos are helpful for showing customers exactly where parcels are left. In addition to this, they can help merchants rule out delivery couriers as the reason for the stolen parcels. If there is proof that the delivery was made as instructed, it helps the seller understand what went wrong. 

Signatures are also one sure way to avoid stolen deliveries. Signatures require the customer to be present at the time of delivery in order for the parcel to be delivered. If they are not, the delivery driver will keep it with them until it can be returned to the courier’s warehouse. 

How Porch Pirates Affect Overall Experience 

Protecting from porch pirates can be critical to keep sales high this holiday season. The cost to replace stolen parcels is one that can’t be taken lightly and can quickly pile up. Plus, paying for a second delivery adds additional fees on top of the cost of goods alone. Stolen goods have to be replaced, costing the seller to lose everything from the first order and repay for another. 

The delivery experience plays a large role in a customer’s buying journey. If customers face a good delivery experience, they’re likely to buy from the same seller again. A bad delivery experience, however, can limit the chances they’ll ever return. How smooth a delivery process is is directly related to how trustworthy a customer deems a seller. Hence, protecting your customers from porch pirates to the best of your abilities will improve customer loyalty. Plus, you can easily increase customer return rates by building trust and delivering successfully.

Overall, porch pirates can really hurt the delivery experience as a whole. It’s your responsibility as a seller to control what you can and find the partners that can safely deliver parcels. But, the customer also has the responsibility of being home to receive their parcel within a reasonable amount of time. The only way to do this is work with a courier who can provide precise ETAs and not leave customers waiting for hours or days for an update on their order. 

How FlashBox Can Help 

FlashBox delivery is ideal for stopping thieves from getting their hands on your packages. Thanks to modern tracking features and technology-based processes, packages are delivered on time and everyone is in the know. Our modern solution increases order visibility, something that has seemed like a distant dream for too long. 

Live tracking

First of all, the FlashBox live tracking experience gives customers the opportunity to see exact arrival windows. There is no guessing as to when parcels will be delivered, since customers can see where they are. Customers can view driver’s locations live on a map once they are on their way to the destination, meaning buyers can see exactly when driver’s will arrive. In addition to this, customers receive live notifications throughout the delivery process. Hence, parcels are less likely to be left unattended since customers know when to collect them. 

Proof of delivery

Secondly, FlashBox offers free proof of delivery for every order and signature collection when requested. If you ship valuable goods that you prefer to be signed for and not left unattended, FlashBox is for you. While most couriers charge extra for signature collection at drop off, FlashBox does it for no extra charge. And even if you choose not to require signatures, every delivery will still come with proof of delivery pictures. These include photos of the parcels as well as photos of the house or unit number. This way, you know exactly where your goods were left. 

Professional drivers

Finally, FlashBox drivers are vetted and professional, making it easier to know your deliveries are well taken care of. Driver’s follow specific delivery instructions for each customer. As a seller, you can share these requests with us at the time of placing an order. If there’s a specific location the parcel needs to be left or other instructions, our driver’s take care of it. 


Porch pirates ruin all the trust included in normal deliveries. While there was once a time where packages could be left unattended without being touched by anyone else, more and more consumers are now fearful of deliveries arriving when they are not home for this exact reason.

With all of this in mind, FlashBox is one of the most reliable couriers to trust. We help limit the chances of stolen parcels with innovative tracking features and advanced communication between everyone. 

Especially during the holiday season, protecting against package thieves is one way to protect your profits as a seller. Managing second deliveries and customer complaints are far more exhausting than making deliveries safe the first time around. Keep your customers happy and avoid porch pirates with FlashBox’s trackable, visible, same-day deliveries. 

Want to get started today? Talk to a delivery expert and get your account set up today for deliveries as low as $6 per parcel. 

Follow us on social media to find other tips to having a successful eCommerce or retail business this holiday season!

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