Have you ever shopped on-line only to find out a few days later that your package was missing in action? This happened to me in January when I bought some merchandise from allsaints.com. The UPS tracking information showed that my package was delivered at my home, but the package itself was nowhere to be found!
Fortunately, I have security cameras installed at my home so that I could find out what happened. UPS did drop off the package at my home, but never ringed the bell. I was actually home at that time and could have easily received the package had I known it had arrived. What’s more, my security camera revealed that within six minutes after my package was dropped off, a thief walked onto my property and stole my package straight off my porch! (For the full security camera footage, check out my video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/vdv9Wftq0Wc)
The UPS driver, dropping off the package.
The thief, stealing my package six minutes later.
The Weakest Link
As I shared my experience on Facebook and YouTube, I found out that I was not alone. In fact, several of my friends and team members have had packages stolen off their property in the past or knew someone to whom this happened. While eBay and PayPal have invested heavily in their e-Commerce and Payment platforms, we are still at the mercy of shipping providers. Shipping providers all have their own policies and may or may not handle your package properly or make sure that a person receives the package. Even with tracking systems, we cannot fully prevent negligence. Therefore, I believe that Shipping is the weakest link in E-Commerce.
How do we overcome this weakest link? I don’t think there is a solid solution yet, though there are several workarounds:
- Have packages shipped to the office. (Increases mailroom costs.)
- Wait at home for the package. (Takes away time from work or other activities. Doesn’t work if the shipping provider doesn’t ring the bell.)
- Require a signature for every delivery. (This option is not always available.)
- Post a sign to always ring the bell, like the one I posted below. (Shipping providers tend to ignore this sign.)
Sign for mail carriers to leave ring bell.
In my case, I filed a police report and shared the security footage with UPS, the merchant, and the police. Given that UPS repeatedly neglected to ring my doorbell when delivering a package which my security cameras show, UPS offered to mark my address in their system as “always requiring a signature”. I gladly accepted this offer, and this should solve it for me. But how can we solve this for you or any other consumers?
I challenge you to put on your innovative hats and come up with creative solutions to strengthen the weakest link. If somehow, you can ensure that any shipments are guaranteed to reach their buyers safely; this would be an awesome win for E-Commerce at large!