Apartment Communities and the Increasing Carrier Companies

As ecommerce continues to grow at an astounding rate, the package delivery process has no choice but to expand.

Not long ago, FedEx and UPS were responsible for most forms of package delivery. Today, there are even more carriers in the delivery race with the innovation of services like UberRush and Roadie. Combine these new delivery services with the increasing number of national retailers – like Costco and Kroger and the recent announcement from the USPS about Sunday deliveries, it might grow increasingly more difficult to determine just who your carrier is.

This trend, naturally, is to offer increased convenience for consumers. But as apartment operators and community managers, are you ready for it?

Apartment communities are constantly devising and revising driver training as package delivery continues to mutate into a much larger entity. Training was a relatively simple task when there were only a few carriers to educate. Now it’s becoming more challenging with the possibility of several different drivers arriving on a daily basis.

The more prepared you are – whether its having a capable package management solution in place or have an all-encompassing training process that can easily be relayed to the endless stream of new drivers – the less likely it is that package management will disrupt your day. Here’s a look at some of the new carriers that will be delivering packages to your communities soon, or more likely, already are:

UberRush

Just like the popular ride-share service drivers are at the ready and those closest to the shipment can retrieve it and shuttle it to its destination. The service also partners and integrates with businesses such as Shopify, Clover, Bigcommerce and 1-800 Flowers to help build deliveries into day-to-day operations.

Roadie

These carriers are similar to Uber, Lyft and Amazon Flex drivers. Like the ride shares, these drivers set their own schedule and work at their convenience. That means apartment communities might see a different driver every time a shipment is delivered. Guiding them to your package locker system and showing them how to operate it can become a repetitive task, which is why it’s best to have a streamlined process in place.

DHL Parcel & eCommerce

For international shipments, a DHL driver might arrive at your community. The service supports work-from-home retailers by offering international and domestic ecommerce services. While the company sometimes seeks out reliable transit to deliver shipment, it offers last-mile delivery in some markets.

The overriding theme is that packages are coming from all angles, and like the ecommerce boom itself, the trend shows no signs of dissipating. Are you ready? If you have a solid solution in place and have educated yourself on the vast amounts of carriers, you’re one step ahead of the game.

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Package Concierge® Unveils Package Concierge Room

We are proud to be the multifamily industry’s preeminent supplier and innovator of digital locker solutions.  It is important for us to always innovate ways to exceed package management needs for both apartment renters and apartment operators.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the release of a new product designed to further expand the accessibility of package management capabilities industry-wide: Package Concierge Room.

As the latest extension in the Package Concierge locker collection, the Package Room completely eliminates the management burden of handling inbound and outbound packages by providing a designated, secure space for oversized packages that are too large to fit into the lockers. The Package Room can either be utilized as a standalone solution or paired with the Premier or Express Locker series. The overflow space additionally offers the capability to use the room specifically for carrier pick-up of resident shipping and outbound return packages.

“Package delivery continues to be on the rise and this trend isn’t going to let up anytime soon. It’s evident a solution is needed now more than ever to provide both apartment management and residents alike the most robust and convenient package management solutions,” said Georgianna W. Oliver, general manager and founder of Package Concierge. “With the Package Concierge Room, owner/operators are relieved of the burden of package management duties while residents can access their packages whenever is convenient for them. It’s win-win for the industry. Leasing teams will take back their time to focus on customer service instead of package management, and residents have ultimate freedom with shipping and receiving deliveries.”

Package Concierge Package Room Kiosk

A sleek surface-mounted kiosk that includes a 7-inch touch screen, barcode reader, still camera and effortless technology is used to control the Package Room. Automation with property management software creates efficiency for onsite staff and package carriers, allowing for easy drop-off or retrieval abilities. Residents have 24-hour access to retrieve and return packages with the ease of mobile app technology.

A recent survey conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council on renter preferences indicated that package management is top of mind, with 57 percent of residents saying they are highly interested or interested in package lockers. Almost half of the survey respondents said they receive at least three packages per month.

“The Package Concierge Room answers the package management needs of today while ensuring communities are prepared to manage the package needs of tomorrow,” said Oliver. “Consumer buying trends are changing, and more retailers are offering free or low-cost shipping on large items. Just imagine, an apartment resident can order a new TV on Cyber Monday, have it shipped in two days, and have it securely delivered to the Package Room. It is the ultimate convenience amenity.”

The new Package Room includes:

  • USA-made product
  • Mobile app convenience
  • Sleek-technology kiosk and user-friendly management dashboard
  • Maintenance and test-locker functions
  • Alternative space for carrier pick-up of outbound and return packages
  • Capability of refrigerated appliances for cold-storage deliveries

To learn about Package Concierge’s package management solutions, please visit www.packageconcierge.com.

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B2B Gift Giving – It Can Be Thoughtful & Notable

Holiday gift shopping for business clients can either be complex or painless, depending on your approach. While unique gifts may be memorable, such creativity requires extra time, and effort which are always hard to come by. The quintessential, go-to gifts are quick, time-tested classics that seldom fail – but they are not as impactful.

A rule of thumb for holiday gift giving such as sweets and alcohol are universally savored items. But how many people are getting that this year? Almost everyone.

Many businesses will send the standard chocolate and wine bundles to their clients for the holidays. Although the majority of people will happily knock back a tray of Fannie May fudge with a bottle of full-bodied red, there are some other overlooked present options that will surely make you stand out. Neiman Marcus offers a lot of fun, unique and memorable gift ideas.

Here are some options to spice up your B2B gift giving this season:

Leather messenger bags

Everyone needs luggage to tote around all of their most needed daily items, and leather is one classic trend that will never go out of style. For men or women, a nice leather messenger bag is a functional gift with a touch of luxury.

Tech gadgets and gifts

Everyone has a few tech minded friends and clients, but some tech items can break the bank. This fun site, ThinkGeek, always sparks a few creative juices to flow and ability to find a few one of a kind items. However, another fail safe, is a power bank. How many times have you misplaced your phone charger, left it at work or been caught out running errands with dead electronics? Mobile power banks or charging gear is something every person will value, because every person has something that needs to get plugged into a wall at some point or another.

Slippers

Work slippers are a thing now? Seriously, some businesses require their employees to wear slippers at work…as it’s now part of the company dress code (looking at you, millennials). Give slippers to your clients – even if they can’t wear them at work. Who doesn’t love spending their NFL Sundays in nothing but pajamas and slippers? Or if you just want to go the warm and cozy route, check out these gifts for less than $100 from Ugg.

Uncommon ideas

You can put any type of liquid you want in a coffee mug and drink it conveniently. And here’s the best part: everyone drinks. You can take it up a notch and combine coffee and donuts with this amazing mug from Uncommon Goods (seriously why did we think of this?!) and combine with a dozen donuts from LA classic Stan’s Donuts who ships nationwide.

Subscription services

This is pretty broad, but it depends entirely on the client. A nice, personalized gift for business clients can be a subscription for something that client values or represents the relationship between your companies. Do they go to a particular media outlet or love a certain magazine? Get them a digital magazine subscription.

For the places that value healthy lifestyles, subscriptions to meal delivery services could be hugely beneficial to employees. Graze is one option that delivers healthy snack boxes.

There are many different opportunities to get special, meaningful gifts for your clients. Really look at your bond and come up with different ideas that correlate to your connection. Happy shopping and remember it is always better to give than receive.

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Package Concierge® GM and Founder Georgianna W. Oliver Helps You Prep for the Holiday Package Rush

The holidays are right around the corner. Black Friday is eight days away and Cyber Monday is 10 days. Are you prepared to handle the holiday package rush headed to your property? Check out this Multi-Housing News Viewpoint from Package Concierge® General Manager and Founder Georgianna W. Oliver where she shares tips on how you can prep for this holiday season.

For apartment residents, the thought of an abundance of holiday packages is an enticing prospect. For a community manager and onsite team, it can be a lot to handle over a short period of time.

Package delivery continues at historic rates, and that trend is only exacerbated during the holidays. The communities unequipped to handle the mass influx can risk getting buried in a virtual sea of holiday shipments, a vast array of multi-sized boxes that can easily clog leasing offices and protrude out the door.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. More and more apartment operators and individual communities have discovered ways to ease the holiday burden. And, most importantly, ensure their residents happily receive their shipments safely and after office hours. Here are a few tips for conquering the holiday package rush:

Train and work with delivery teams

Whether it’s a traditional carrier such as FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service or something more cutting-edge such as UberRUSH, they need to know the drill at your community. The quicker you can communicate your desired process, the more rapidly you can pass along the packages to your residents.

Many of these outlets will have repeat carriers or even an exclusive delivery individual that comes to your property, so training them won’t be too cumbersome of a task. But it’s wise to have a process in place for each new carrier as well, a uniform training tutorial that is ready to be implemented.

Encourage residents to utilize ship-from-store and peer-to-peer shipping apps…

Want to learn more? Read her full article.

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Increasing Demand: Renter Survey Indicates Desire for Package Solutions Continue to Rise

High-speed Internet wasn’t a high priority for apartment residents in the past. Nowadays, it’s not only a demand – it’s an expectation.

The preferences of renters will evolve as technology evolves.

At the cusp of that ever-changing concept is the increasing demand for a package solution. According to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report, 57 percent of those renters surveyed were very interested or highly interested in package lockers. And 47 percent indicated they receive at least three packages per month, which coincides with the interest in package solutions.

The rising expectations correspond with the skyrocketing trend of ecommerce.  One can reasonably project that more than 80 percent of renters will desire a package solution within the next few years. Questions about packages weren’t even included in the 2015 version of the bi-annual renter survey. Since then, we have monopolizing e-commerce giants validating the need for the product and entering the multifamily industry.

Apartment renters are a clever bunch. They notice when a community cannot keep pace with the rising influx of packages. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at community reviews on Yelp, Google or Apartment Ratings.

While package preferences are definitely worth monitoring, here are a few other notable findings from the renter survey, which is the largest ever of apartment residents. More than 272,000 respondents took part.

Other must-have community amenities

Reliable cellphone reception, naturally, is an expectation for renters. Of those polled, 92 percent are interested and 78 percent of those interested won’t least without it. Secure resident parking (88 percent interest) and secure amenity access (84) also rate highly.

Must-have apartment features

We mentioned that high-speed Internet wasn’t always an expectation for renters. Now, 93 percent are interested and 63 percent will not lease without it. That is surpassed only by air conditioning with regard to apartment features, of which 94 percent are interested and 92 won’t rent without.

Renting is a lifestyle, not a necessity for many

People rent for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they just moved to town, are saving for a down payment on a home or are between homes. But the top reported reason, which is a key characteristic of the millennial demographic, is the desire for convenience and flexibility. Twenty-three percent of those polled rated this the primary reason why they rent.

Reviews, short-term rentals gaining popularity

Four out of five renters indicated that reviews influenced their decision, which is a concept that is continuing to evolve. Another growing trend is the desire to generate income through short-term rentals, utilizing home-share services such as Airbnb. This is particularly true among younger renters. Of those aged 25 or younger, 49 percent reported interest in short-term rentals (only 32 percent of those aged 65 or higher were interested).

Preferences of renters will continue to reconfigure, particularly with the onslaught of smart-home technology. The challenge for apartment operators is to keep pace with their demands.

 

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Package Concierge® GM and Founder, Georgianna W. Oliver, Talks with BostonVoyager

Package Concierge® GM and Founder Georgianna W. Oliver is passionate about bringing innovation to the multifamily industry. Recently, she spoke with BostonVoyager about starting Package Concierge and how it changed package management in the apartment industry.

Great things are happening in the world of package management. And we at Package Concierge are thrilled to continue to lead solutions in addressing today’s and tomorrow’s package management needs.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Georgianna Oliver.

Georgianna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Package Concierge was founded in December 2012 in Medfield, MA as the 1st innovative system for packages in apartment buildings. Our first live installation was in October of 2013 at Chelsea Place Apartments in Chelsea, MA. Now, there are over 800 systems (including over 100 in the Boston MSA) across the country and last week we hit the 10m package transaction point.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggle was changing the way the property managers thought about ways to manage incoming packages. Before Package Concierge, they had to log, store, notify and retrieve every single package or risk theft if the package was left at an apartment door. Once we had our first installations and the residents fell in love with the convenience, our sales doubled year over year as the industry embraced this new technology.

Read the rest of what Georgianna W. Oliver had to say here.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Package Concierge® Is Committed to Providing the Best Package Management Solution

Did you catch the latest news from Package Concierge®? We are so excited to have surpassed the 10 million packages managed mark!  We are committed  to providing the most innovative, Made-In-America package locker solution. Our software and lockers exceed expectations for both your on-site teams and your residents.

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Package Concierge® Delivers for Canvas LA

Canvas LA, a downtown Los Angeles luxury apartment community, offers more than 25 different floor plans of studio to three-bedroom units. The community includes resort-style amenities and aims to cater its residents. Canvas LA began using a package locker system from Package Concierge in March.

Challenge | Relieve management over-burdened with resident packages 

As a result of the rising popularity of online shopping, Canvas LA’s management team had become increasingly swamped with the influx of resident packages.

William Corwin, Canvas LA’s senior business manager, said the 210-unit apartment community sometimes received as many as 65 to 70 packages in one day. And that number was continually climbing.

“It was just getting too overwhelming for us in the office,” Corwin said. “We spoke to the owners about the package challenge because it was just taking up too much of our time.”

Corwin said management’s initial plan budgeted package lockers for 2018. But the package problem needed an immediate fix.

The Canvas LA leasing team was spending upwards of three hours a day on packages. The time spent on deliveries was taking away from overseeing other duties. They couldn’t focus on community tours, maintenance requests and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.

Solution | Sophisticated Technologies

Online shopping has been on the rise, and will continue to devour the consumer market. Internet sales made up 3 percent of consumer expenditure in 2006, and rose to 15.5 percent in 2016.

With such a growing preference for online shopping, especially among Canvas LA’s predominant demographic of young professionals, the solution to relieving management of package duties was to install a Package Concierge package locker system in the community.

Package Concierge had the edge over other systems because of its sophisticated technology.

“Some of the locker systems we considered, you get an email that gives you a number for each package. Then you go to a kiosk, punch in the number and it opens the locker,” Corwin said. “We love the fact that there is an app for Package Concierge. We also love that, when a resident gets their pin code number, if they have five packages, all of the lockers open.

Results | Diminished package hardship in office, satisfied residents

Three weeks after installing the Package Concierge package locker system, 71 percent of Canvas LA residents had already signed up.

The demand of Canvas LA’s onsite team to handle the increased volume of packages was mitigated after installing the locker system. Management has more time to focus on other issues affecting the community. Packages are more accessible than ever to residents.

“The residents are loving it. And of course we’re loving it in the office now that we’re not spending two to three hours a day logging packages and going through the process of contacting residents and giving them out,” Corwin said.

“We’re extremely happy. It’s a sophisticated but really easy-to-use system.”

Package Concierge Silver Speck 88-locker Installation at Canvas LA

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Superstitions Amok: Friday the 13th Brings Out the Most Irrational of Fears

Some people are naturally superstitious. Others pay little attention to curses, hexes, jinxes, voodoo, broken mirrors, spilled salt, the occult or any misfortune causing force. But even the most non-superstitious individual takes pause at Friday the 13th, particularly when its October 13th. Let’s take a peek at the some of the notable and more bizarre superstitions that accompany the “holiday.”
Triskaidekaphobia: This is the fear of the No. 13 itself. It’s not surprising that many people shy away from the number.  It’s closely associated with the vastly successful Friday the 13th movie series and the omnipresent slashing knife of villain Jason Voorhees. What is surprising is that there is an actual term to describe this fear. Many shy away from 13 at all costs. Whether it’s avoiding it as a uniform number, opting against buying a house with the number in the address or just plain creeping out whenever they see it. Others, in a contrarian move, embrace the number and instead believe it offers good luck.
Fear of the day itself: According to a study by British publication Mirror, the 14th most common fear among Brits is “Worried about Friday the 13th approaching.” Avoiding the number 13 – ahem, triskaidekaphobia – ranked No. 15 and fear of the No. 666 ranked 17th. The top three on the list were walking under a ladder, knocking on wood and blessing someone after they sneeze. Ranking last on the list of 30 was never giving gloves as a present. Hmm.
Oh, and there’s actually a term for fear of Friday the 13th, too. Make sure to include it in your phone’s dictionary, because it’s probably not there: paraskevidekatriaphobia.
If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, you will die: Perhaps that new style or trim can wait until the weekend. You know, just in case. Many also avoid beginning a trip on this day.  It’s a popular myth that if a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die. Others believe that any child born on Friday the 13th is essentially brought into the world under hex – as if that child had a choice.
While it’s difficult to point to the origin of Friday the 13th fears before pop culture exacerbated them, they have become a staple of society. According to National Geographic, behavioral scientist Jane Risen of University of Chicago Booth School of Business discovered that superstitions can even influence nonbelievers. Risen found many believe they can jinx themselves by talking about something, such as stating they’ll not get into a car wreck.
That, too, trends into pop culture. Baseball is the most superstitious of sports. Baseball players believe talking about a teammate’s no-hitter while it’s happening will undoubtedly jinx it. When the opposing team gets that first hit, blame is assigned to the player who brought it up. Watch out NY Yankees & Houston Astros in your game this evening….
Now go enjoy your day, if you dare. Remember the black cat that sauntered in front of you was no different than a tan dog doing the same. Just keep telling yourself that.
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What to Expect this Holiday Shipping Season – It Doesn’t Have to be a Jungle Out There

The holidays are right around the corner and so is holiday shipping. Black Friday is eagerly sitting on top of a massive pile of delivery packages with a Grinch-esque smile on its face just waiting for the festivities to begin.

As we enter the last months of the year, peak gift-giving season is upon us. Shopping and holiday shipping are about to get wild.

Online shopping industry continues to flex its market muscles as the go-to method. But the aura of the holiday season still holds a strong draw towards brick-and-mortar stores. Yes, people will still ship gifts purchased in person as opposed to ordering online. And with the emergence of shipping and returning apps, holiday gift shipping is going to be in full force this year.

Aside from cost-savings, a chief advantage to this shipping is that you don’t have to wait in line at the Post Office or FedEx. Stores like Crate & Barrel and Nordstrom’s will ship in-store purchases directly to an address. Now you don’t have to worry about dealing with that on your own.

Another popular trend, “ship-from-store,” is where brick-and-mortar retailers fulfill online orders from stores nearby; not from distribution centers miles away. This helps retailers stay competitive against e-commerce giants and also offers the customer faster shipping at lower costs and reduced markdowns.

But the game-changer in retail shipping is the peer-to-peer shipping app.

Dubbed Uber for shipping, apps like Roadie, Dolly, UberRush and more connect drivers/transporters and senders. Anything from packages to pets can be transported this way.  Apps like these, either for local or international shipments, are especially handy for holiday shipping.

The changing landscape of peer-to-peer shipping is something the multifamily industry should be cognizant of.  Many apartment communities have already had to come up with package management solutions with the influx of deliveries from the rise of online shopping. But many are still manually holding deliveries in the back office instead of in package lockers. A strong package management solution ensures the office staff is able to keep up with all the incoming deliveries. And it will also make peer-to-peer shipping much easier as well.

Regardless of where the package is coming from, technology has made shipping easier and more convenient for everyone. Contact us to get your package management solution installed before the holiday rush.

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