“Piracy is not a victimless crime.”  We see this meme-worthy phrase every time we watch a video – but had you thought about the fact that it has special relevance for Amazon shoppers?  The Parcel Pending blog reports “A staggering 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year, according to August Home and a study produced by research firm Edelman Intelligence. In the same report, it was also revealed that 74% of packages are stolen from homes during the day when homeowners are at work and that the average value of stolen packages is $50-100.”

This disturbing crime wave has led to some inventive solutions, including a police department that has set up a special room so that online shoppers can pick up their parcels there instead of at home. If people are willing to drive to police headquarters to get a package, why not go to a store?

There are several ways you can use this growing concern in order to promote your shop.  The first is of course to emphasize the fact that buying local not only means eliminating the risk of porch piracy – it also gives customers the satisfaction of supporting their community’s economy.  Adding the instant gratification of taking purchases home right away to the avoided environmental cost of shipping an item bought online some great distance, and you have a clear win-win.

How can you entice people to come into your store who really don’t like to shop? The answer may be BOPIS, an acronym for By Online, Pickup In Store (see the Specialty Shop Retailing blog post on this concept here.)  If you have a website offering a secure shopping cart, invite your shoppers to make their purchases online and then stop in to pick them up. It won’t be hard to make this a more pleasant experience than picking up packages at a police station.

Another option for leveraging the fear of porch piracy is to serve as a pickup spot for purchases made from other businesses.  Kohl’s is doing this with Amazon, and independent retailers have the option through a platform called Wish Local.  They say that you can attract new, relevant foot traffic by being a pickup location for online orders placed through Wish, and claim that 46.5% of surveyed pickup users said they made a separate purchase from their Local Pickup store.  Wish is apparently now the third largest e-commerce marketplace in the US by sales, but it is not without its detractors. You might want to talk to other stores using this program before signing on.

Porch piracy is an opportunity for independent retailers to show customers yet another reason why it pays to patronize our shops.  Feel free to use the graphic above if you’d like (I’d be happy to email it to you), or to create your own.  Let’s show the world that piracy is not a victimless crime – and that buying local does pay!

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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