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Emerging Delivery Service Trends and What They Mean to Shipping Industry

A new trend in package delivery could provide the answer to goods that are hijacked by porch pirates. With e-commerce continuing to grow year to year, shippers face a growing demand to ensure the safety of the packages they transport. Retail giants have taken notice and will be rolling out new services in the coming year.

Package Theft

During the holiday season, UPS and USPS expect to deliver 750 million packages each. Twenty- three million Americans experienced package theft during previous holiday seasons, and that number will likely be even higher this year.

Thieves realize the popularity of online shopping and they know packages often contain valuable items that are easily resold. The holidays are a popular time for giving electronics like cell phones and gaming systems and expensive jewelry like engagement rings. Thieves watch porches and mailboxes to grab packages before their owner even knows they’re there.

Homeowners insurance covers theft, but for most people, their deductible is close to the value of the gift, so they don’t make a claim. Either they pay for a replacement item out of pocket or the recipient gets a less expensive present.

Often the package owner doesn’t realize it has been stolen and blames the retailer for a shipping mix-up. In that situation, if the shipping company doesn’t store tracking information that confirms delivery, they or the retailer might have to provide a replacement.

Amazon’s Solution

Amazon recently announced a new service that doesn’t just deliver packages to homes, but places them inside. Their new Amazon Key In-Home kit allows Prime members in select cities to install an app, a camera and a compatible smart lock.

When customers order a package, if they select “free in-home delivery” at the time of payment, Amazon will send them a notification right before they deliver the order. Just before delivery, the driver scans the package, sending a signal to the online shopping giant. Amazon activates the camera and unlocks the smart lock.

Users can watch the delivery in real time on their smartphone or mobile device, or they can opt to store a video for later viewing. After delivery, Amazon relocks the door and sends a notification the package is safely dropped off.

In-home delivery is free for Amazon subscribers, but the kit costs $249.99. Amazon’s Peter Larsen says the company will perform a background check on all delivery drivers. In response to customer concerns about cybersecurity, Larsen says all parts of the system that allow access to customer’s homes are heavily encrypted and can be updated if new security concerns arise.

Smart locks allow customers to deactivate the remote access feature so entry requires a physical key. The new technology also allows users to let guests or housekeepers in when they’re away.

Other Retail Giants Offering Home Delivery

Walmart has been bringing groceries to shoppers at their vehicles for a few years now, but the retailer wants to take things even further. In Silicon Valley, Walmart partnered with smart lock company August Home to test same-day delivery service that doesn’t just deliver groceries, it puts them away.

Walmart Vice President Sloan Eddleston says same-day delivery will help busy families save time and keep fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy perishables on hand. The service works much like Amazon’s package drop-off and allows users to watch delivery on a mobile device.

However, the service might not be as popular as Walmart hopes. 95 percent of participants in a TODAY poll said they would not feel comfortable having a stranger deliver groceries when no one was home.

In-Home Delivery Alternatives

Customers who aren’t comfortable giving a stranger access to their home can still guard against porch pirates. Devices like Package Guard sit on the porch continually connected to WiFi. They notify users when packages are delivered and if someone tries to remove them, the device triggers an alarm. Other options include having packages delivered to an Amazon locker or rescheduling delivery for a fee using FedEx or UPS’ app.

E-Commerce Growth Forecasts

This year, retailers will ship more packages than ever before. The National Retail Federation expects overall retail sales to increase between 3.7 and 4.2 percent in 2017. The growth for online shopping shows an even higher uptick. Here’s what experts say:

  • Online retail’s growth rate will be three times greater than total retail growth at between 8 and 12 percent.
  • Based on Census Bureau data, experts predict e-commerce sales will total between $427 billion and $443 billion for 2017.
  • Brick and mortar retailers will likely only see growth of around 2.8 percent.

Increased consumer confidence, reduced unemployment, a robust housing market and growing income all contribute to a climate that’s right for e-commerce spending. As online shopping
continues to increase, consumers, shipping companies and e-commerce owners will continue to face challenges with getting products from online shopping carts safely into their possession.

Sources:
https://www.insurancequotes.com/press-room/holiday- hazards-to- avoid
http://www.businessinsider.com/national-retail- federation-estimates- 8-12- us-e- commerce-growth-in- 2017-2017- 2
https://www.today.com/food/walmart-wants- stock-you- refrigerator-even- when-you- re-not-t116656

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/amazons-service- drivers-inside- home-deliver-packages/story?id=50694370