Flawlessly Deliver the Gift of Love

Has this ever happened to you?

You spent hours researching and planning the perfect gift for your special someone. You went so far to make your purchase with a prepaid gift card online so they wouldn’t see what your ordered on the bank account. You had it all planned – nothing could ruin it. Or so you thought.

Valentine's Day packages

The package arrived but you weren’t home when it arrived so your special someone picked it up. They mindlessly open it and that perfect gift you spent so much time trying to surprise them with is staring them directly in the face.

All of that planning ruined with a misstep in the package delivery process. It is probably safe to say a lot people can relate to some part of this shipping mishap, and that’s unfortunate.

What is fortunate though, there is a solution for apartment dwellers: a package locker system.

Package Concierge® offers a robust and innovative interface for our locker installations providing every resident a unique, individual access code. That’s right, each person, not a code for the apartment home, ensuring there is no longer a potential the wrong person will pick up the package.

This practice in individuality will certainly come in handy this Valentine’s season when residents are really hoping to surprise their special someone with something they will love. In the last 3 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of packages delivered the week before and the week of Valentine’s Day – some communities are receiving 50 percent more packages in these two weeks and seeing their package volume return to normal the week after.

How heartbreaking would it be if any of these packages were discovered before they were given? Show your residents some love and contact Package Concierge® today to set up an installation!

Still looking for that perfect gift? Check out these 5 online sites still offering 2-day shipping:

  1. Amazon.com – This is a no brainer if you are an Amazon Prime member. With access to hundred of thousands of gifts, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. And if you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to make sure your package arrives in time.
  2. Walmart.com – Now this may not evoke the spirit of Valentine’s Day but the major retailer has recently announced free 2-day shipping for any purchase more than $35. If your loved one is looking for something like a FitBit Charge, new camping gear or even the uber popular InstaPot, this might be a new go-to shopping site for you.
  3. Sharperimage.com – For those who enjoy a tech-savvy treat, Sharper Image has unique high-end gifts such as a light and massage therapy hair brush or heated indoor-outdoor slippers. Use promo code VDAY99 to get free 2-day shipping for orders over $99 till February 10th!
  4. MichaelKors.com – Speaking of high-end, this top designer ensures that amazing purse, luxurious wallet or killer pair of sunglasses will arrive on time if ordered by February 9th. Just be sure to use the code VDay for free 2-day shipping.
  5. Apple.com – For the tech lover in your life, order any Apple product by 5pm today to receive free 2-day shipping. Apple Watch for all!
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5 Million Mark: A Measure of Skyrocketing Ecommerce Industry

In some ways, 5 million represents the perfect storm.

While package delivery continues to increase exponentially in the ecommerce market, Package Concierge® has tirelessly aimed to keep a steady pace by installing innovative package lockers in as many locales as possible.

In Spring 2016, we surpassed the 2-million mark in package transactions. At the time, it signified a hefty achievement. But as consumers continue to gravitate to online shopping and nationwide demand for package solutions rises accordingly, we’ve experienced more than a 200-percent spike in package lockers installations.

With that, the number of package transactions has quickly ascended to 5 million.

5 million

To be clear, the 5 million figure isn’t something we’re thumping our chest about. In our eyes, the number more represents the thriving ecommerce industry and the suddenness of it. This hasn’t been a gradual rise – it has been meteoric. There is a reason why businesses are closing brick-and-mortar stores but continue to thrive overall. It’s because their merchandise is being ordered through a few clicks online, and consumers are utilizing package delivery at ultra-historic rates.

Ecommerce Increase Means More Deliveries

Internet sales accounted for a mere 3 percent of consumer expenditure as a whole in 2006. That number rose to 15.5 in 2016 according to Business 2 Community, and the U.S. is at the forefront of this global movement. Ecommerce is a $220 billion market in the U.S. and has grown at annual rate of 17 percent over the past decade.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that is it offering free two-day shipping.

The trend within the trend is that consumers are not only shopping online, but increasingly doing so through mobile devices. Experts predict that mobile transactions (those conducted through smartphones and tablets) will account for 26 percent of retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. by the end of 2017.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that it is offering free two-day shipping.

What to expect?

Packages are being delivered at such a fervent pace that Amazon is unveiling its own delivery service. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that ecommerce growth played a key role in 3.2-percent profit growth for the United Parcel Service. Naturally, Amazon’s decision to utilize its own deliverers could put a dent in overall numbers for UPS, FedEx and USPS. But no matter the method in which they are shipped, the packages will continue to arrive.

Looking to the Future

Along with the demand, residents are expecting to receive their packages in a convenient, hassle-free manner. That’s why we believe it is important to parallel the growth of ecommerce with solutions that fit.

Perhaps in six months or a year, we’ll view our 5 million package transaction as obsolete, as antiquated as the dial-up modem. But for now, the figure holds some clout when looking at ecommerce as a whole.

5 million.

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Amazon’s Forthcoming Addition of 100,000 Employees Underscores Package Boom

Warehouse worker taking package in the shelf in a large warehouse in a large warehouse

Warehouse workers search for their packages in an unorganized package room.

It is no secret that the trend is there. Package delivery is increasing on a daily basis, as millennials prefer the convenience of shopping from their phone.

Even older generations are beginning to resist shopping in stores, opting for the alternative of making a few clicks and waiting a few days for the package to arrive at their doorsteps. That’s why, despite strong industry-wide sales, prominent retailers such as Macy’s and Sears are closing many of their brick-and-mortar stores.

This trend is not a momentary blip. In fact, a recent proclamation by tech giant Amazon indicates package delivery will continue to steamroll in this direction for the foreseeable future. Amazon, widely known as the king of package delivery, has indicated that it will create 100,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2018, according to a recent article by USA Today.

Apartment operators should prepare accordingly, as this is not a knee-jerk move by Amazon. First Data reports that ecommerce’s share of retail sales in the holiday season was 21.3 percent, a hefty increase from the 15.4 percent of 2015. Expect the numbers to rise again in 2017, as the Internet now represents six percent of the total U.S. economy. And it’s not only going to grow during the holiday season. Package delivery is steadily increasing year around, with significant upticks around back to school, Halloween and even Mother’s Day.

If your apartment communities have not yet adopted a solution to combat the influx of packages – such as a smart room, package lockers or a package management team – now is the time. While many apartment owners/operators were ahead of the curve and enjoyed a much smoother 2016 holiday season, still a large number of the industry saw overflowing packages, leaving overburdened members of the leasing team with the cumbersome task of sorting through them.

In September, Amazon announced intentions to deliver its own packages, eschewing traditional delivery services UPS, FedEx and USPS by building its own delivery service. Now comes news of Amazon’s hefty six-figure addition of employees, with many of the positions slated for four soon-to-come fulfillment centers.

The additions of fulfillment centers in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas have clear objective in mind: Get packages out more quickly. Amazon went from 56,200 employees in 2011 to 306,800 last year. Now 100,000 more are on the way to keep up with the country’s propensity to shop online.

The packages are coming at a historic rate and, as indicated by the actions of one of the nation’s premier tech giants, the breakneck pace will continue. Make sure you’re proactive rather than reactive, or you might end up beneath the pile.

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Package Deliveries Doubled Last Week!

package deliveriesGeorgianna W. Oliver, CEO

Package Deliveries Are on the Rise!

Everything just exploded for packages for 2016 holiday season. Last week, Package Concierge saw an increase in package deliveries from 87,500 packages to 151,000 in just one week! This includes carry over from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, but the numbers are still impressive. The package load has doubled and will continue at this pace for the next two full weeks.

What Can Property Managers Do to Tame the Package Beast?

1. Keep the Lockers Moving. Send out mass notifications to all residents about their package deliveries. Packages sitting in the lockers can create storage issues. Space is a premium and the failure to pick up their packages can impact future package deliveries. There is only so much space to go around and package deliveries won’t wait!

2. Implement Daily Storage Fees for Packages Left 3-5 Days. Contact your salesperson or client services manager for help with turning on the daily storage fee feature.

3. Turn off Shipping and Returns until January 1st. If your property is currently using the function that allows residents to ship/return packages through the lockers, it’s taking up valuable space for deliveries during this high peak time.

4. Increase the Number or Frequency of Notifications. You can increase the number of notifications residents receive about their packages in a day. How? Through the Package Concierge management portal! More frequent notifications will help expedite pick up times.

5. Double Check All Lockers Are Available. Remember, the Package Concierge automatically takes a single locker offline if there are any issues. An example is an open locker for an extended period of time.

This is a busy time of year for property managers in apartment buildings! Package Concierge is here to help ease the pressure of all your package delivery needs.

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Budget for Amenities!

budget

A Budget Including Amenities Can Help You See and Save Green!

It’s that time of the year again: the preparation of next year’s budget for your community. Your budget is likely to cover a lot of different areas; from marketing and sales to staffing and screening. While these are necessary for the property to keep functioning, make sure to make room for amenities. Amenities can increase occupancy and drive increased revenues. It can also be used in your marketing efforts to generate leads. When budgeting for amenities, there are a few things you need to consider. If you follow these three steps, you’ll be good as gold!

Survey

The best amenity is a wanted amenity. A good way to gauge interest in a potential amenity before purchasing is to survey your community. What do they want? What amenity adds convenience for them? What’s going to make them want to renew their lease? You may think your community desperately needs a guinea pig playroom, but you better check first. An amenity collecting dust is a waste of money and isn’t generating ANY revenue.

ROI

Stemming off of the first point, when you figure out what amenity or amenities your community wants, it’s important to consider the ROI. You don’t want to commit to an amenity with a short lifecycle. You’re looking for an investment with long-term results. This can be challenging, especially when trends can come and go. Doing your due diligence through research will be vital to making sure your addition isn’t a dud. Find industry resources that can provide the data you’re looking for. Numbers don’t lie and they can be a great guide for keeping up with trends in multifamily!

Scout

Ok. You’ve listened to the community and you’re devastated about their lack of concern for the guinea pig playroom. You’ve also taken their suggestions and done some research on your own. Still hesitant about pulling the trigger on a certain amenity? Find a community that has what you’re looking for and go see it! For example, if you’ve been researching package lockers, find a community with a system. When you get there, ask to see the system, but also ask their opinion. Have the lockers made residents happier? Have they seen an ROI yet or expecting to? How do they work? Don’t hesitate to ask questions from an unbiased party before going into a sales process.

No one likes to budget. It’s time-consuming and can be difficult to stick to if problems should arise. But a proper budget can drive additional and recurring revenue if there’s room for an amenity. Then it’s just a matter of researching and selecting the amenity that will have the highest impact on ROI. Finally, go see it in action somewhere! An amenity can be just what your community needs to grow and thrive. Choose wisely and budget appropriately!

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Package Management Is the New Expectation

Package Management

Package Management More Than an Amenity – It’s Expected

According to a recent National Multi-Housing Council study on renter preferences, package management ranks second in importance after fitness centers and before WiFi, shared Barry Hume, president of Package Concierge.

Hume moderated the Package Management, From Courtesy to Competitive Necessity: Why It Matters session at the 2016 National Apartment Association Education Conference and Exposition in San Francisco.

“NMHC has done study after study on the topic and package management comes up as one of the most important amenities to residents every time,” Hume says. “There’s going to be a point in the not too distant future that it will become the most important amenity.”

The panel shared that Amazon Prime now offers free memberships to college students while its general membership has more than doubled in the last two years. The service now boasts 64 million paid memberships. Further ramping up the package delivery game, the e-commerce juggernaut has launched same day delivery in 27 regions across the country.

“Residents are ordering packages, and their expectation is that the packages will be delivered to their homes,” Hume says. “Residents also believe it is our problem to deal with the packages, not theirs. As an industry, we need to figure out how tackle the problem.”

Package Management No Longer Optional

Fellow panelists Dean Holmes, COO, Madison Apartments and Craig Meddin, COO, The Postal Solutions Companies echoed Hume’s sentiments in that now is the time for apartment owners and operators to shift their view of package management from one of a resident courtesy to being a competitive necessity.

“A proactive and well-evolved package management policy can be a competitive differentiator,” Holmes says. “Most of us are choosing to find solutions to manage packages for our residents.”

But why should an apartment community justify the shift from courtesy to competitive necessity? The answer, according to the panel, is two-fold. First, it improves resident satisfaction and, second, the return on investment can be profound.

It was shared that although the direct impact of package management varies, 30-60 percent of residents indicated that package management solutions/effectiveness have a positive impact on their decision to renew.

“A planned package management solution is definitely impactful,” Hume says. “There’s a real business case for having something in place that will affect the resident.”

If resident satisfaction isn’t enough of a reason to make package management a must-have amenity, the numbers are intriguing.

It is estimated that the time it takes on-site personnel to deal with a single package is five to six minutes, according to the panel. That is roughly one hour for every 10 packages. Data shows that a 250-unit property averages 30 package deliveries per day, which equates to three hours of package management. When processed manually, the average cost to accept and deliver a package is $2.08 per package.

“Package management is an expectation now, an expectation that most of our residents and prospects take for granted,” Holmes says. “It’s not an optional amenity anymore.”

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Future Proofing for Packages

future By Georgianna W. Oliver, Founder & CEO of Package Concierge

The Future Is Just Around The Corner.

To use a term I credit to Jennifer Coogan at Avalon Bay, “future proofing” your community is essential to assure you are not only meeting the resident demands of today but also preparing for future demands. Can you imagine your current holiday-season package rush becoming the year-round norm for your property?

Currently, one of our clients receives over 600 packages per day on one property. They currently have the package situation under control, but will it be enough in future years? Smaller properties with less than 250 units can probably handle the influx of packages more easily, as they currently average 40 package deliveries a day. But larger properties are more complicated and will require a more robust future proofing plan.

For the Package Concierge team, that means arming you with the innovations and technologies to manage the escalation of packages in the future. We accept the challenge of continually innovating our technology to address all of a community’s package-handling needs, now and in the future.

A Solution That Matters

Our high-quality lockers are designed to resist wear and tear. Our advancing technology handles all aspects of delivery and provides a secure method of communication between the locker system and residents. It also features the industry’s only mobile app.

We offer all the tools and reporting needed for the management of packages. Returns and shipping capabilities are coming soon as well. But, it is not enough. Today, we are addressing overflow options and developing a Package Concierge Smart RoomTM solution to meet the needs of tomorrow.

We understand package management solutions are more than locker systems or smart rooms. To that end, we are in constant communication with communities to improve our training for UPS, Fedex, and USPS carriers, discuss data management and advise about how to handle Uber and Lyft drivers showing up on-site to deliver more and more packages.

The solutions for handling packages will continue to evolve and so will the engineers at Package Concierge. We are working to stay ahead of the curve. You can count on that.

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Client Spotlight: The JBG Companies

The JBG Companies: Multifamily Done Right.

JBG Logo

Good partnerships are hard to come by. Since the beginning, we’ve been lucky to align ourselves with forward thinking organizations. These groups aren’t just leaders within multifamily, they’re true innovators. This year, we’ve made strides to showcase these partnerships through our “Client Spotlight” series. The series has displayed properties with Package Concierge systems and has received positive feedback. Today, we take it a step further and not only showcase a property but a series of properties under the same roof. In our first two-part series, we showcase the JBG Companies (JBG for short) a premier developer and a firm with eyes set to the future of our industry.

JBG has been changing the landscape of multifamily for over 50 years. Despite their growth and longevity, JBG hasn’t lost touch. If there’s an award one can win, JBG already has. They put communities first and display this mission on their website: “JBG believes that each development we undertake should enrich a community. We are dedicated to developing active, sustainable communities, advancing affordable housing and promoting public art.” Who wouldn’t want to team up with a company with these values? Our partnership with JBG has been a great experience and we look forward to our future together. So without further ado, here is part one of our spotlight.

The Gale EckingtonJBG Gale

Set in the thriving streets of D.C. the Gale is a central social hub, offering unparalleled access to the best of Eckington and NoMa. Its location lends itself well to walking, biking, and transit so nothing is far from reach. The amenities aren’t anything to balk at either; with a screening room, courtyard parks, and two pools, who says you have to leave for fun? And with an on-site Package Concierge, staying close to home couldn’t be easier. Check out the Gale Eckington for an exclusive D.C. experience.

JBG Gale

Kennedy RowJBG Kennedy Row

This newer community resides in one of America’s most historic neighborhoods. That being said, Kennedy Row claims the very first Package Concierge installation and has flawlessly served the community ever since. Being right in the middle of everywhere you’d want to be, you’re minutes away from it all. Metro access is right outside your door just in case your needs aren’t around the corner. Residents enjoy fulfilling amenities: an on-site fitness center, underground parking, and a Package Concierge. Sound like your next community? Jump over to their site to see just how quickly you can get around.

JBG

The AlaireJBG Alaire

Located in Rockville, M.D., the Alaire takes pride in their lifestyle services for every resident. On-site retail and dining is a huge asset to the Alaire since a day in D.C. can be exhausting! Key amenities are a Package Concierge, KICK fitness center, and electric vehicle charging stations. If you need to be in D.C. but the thought of living inside the city limits keeps you up at night, the Alaire is your answer.

JBG

Falkland ChaseJBG Falkland

Set in the lush vegetation of Silver Springs, M.D., Falkland Chase makes D.C. seem miles away. Shopping and entertainment are around the corner so residents seeking R&R can do so. Falkland Chase offers easy access to both Metro and the beltway, so getting around is easy! A well-equipped fitness center, a Package Concierge, and beautifully landscaped grounds make living easy and comfortable. If you’d like to live close to D.C. without realizing it, Falkland Chase is where it’s at.

JBG

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you next week for the conclusion of our two-part series covering the JBG Companies.

 

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3 Things Millennials Want In An Apartment

Millennials

Getting Millennials To Settle In Your Community

If there’s one generation breaking the mold, it’s Millennials. Born between the years of 1980 thru 2000, they constantly attract the attention of the media through their job-hopping habits, their diversity and their high levels of education. Being the most studied generation in history, Millennials have a different outlook on life than previous generations and are gearing up to change the spending habits of our current economy. This all might sound a bit intimidating at first but it’s great news for the multifamily industry. Millennials are drawn to renting for a variety of reasons and they cherish the ability to pick up and move whenever they like. Because of this, renting has never been more attractive. So how can apartment developers capitalize on these tech-savvy nomads? Here are the top three things Millennials look for in their future communities.

  • Technology – This should be obvious but not all communities understand it. It’s not about Internet access and gaming areas; it’s also about the little things. Great examples making all the difference are USB chargers built into wall outlets, keyless electronic access throughout the property and even a simple digital rent payment system. These all display your community’s commitment to keeping up with the times. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have tech-savvy amenities, such as a Package Concierge. They order a lot of packages and they want to receive them on their schedule!
  • Attractive Apartment Layouts – For Millennials, less is more. They’re willing to downsize the bedroom for a larger living room where social interaction takes place. Michael R. Ytterberg, principal at BLT Architects, believes in this characteristic as he states: “Within the apartment itself, one of the most important features that Generation Y renters look for is an open floor concept with a large living space. As a result, smaller bedroom spaces aren’t a drawback if the living space can support their naturally social lifestyles.” This makes sense given Millennials thrive socially.
  • 21st Century Health and Wellness Centers – A barren room stocked with treadmills and rusty weight systems won’t cut it anymore. In its place, fitness centers in multifamily communities have been placing a heavy emphasis on yoga studios, pilates and “fitness on demand” digital classes broadcast through large TV’s. Millennials care deeply about wellness and are inarguably one of the healthiest generations ever.

These three characteristics will help your community be lively and vibrant. While Millennials enjoy having the ability to come and go as they please, statistics show that if they’re happy, they’re willing to rent longer, which is great news for the apartment industry. Ytterberg reiterates this point when he says “Many Millennials today are willing to spend more on their monthly rent to live in a prime location that offers them convenience, comfort and choice.” If apartment communities can provide what they’re looking for, it may turn a generation of wanderers into a bunch of homebodies. And what’s better than happy residents who want to stay a while!

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The Art of the Install

package locker systemsEvery amenity in a multifamily community should add value and make life enjoyable. Amenities shouldn’t be an eyesore; they should be inviting, exciting, and easy to use. Each Package Concierge we deliver is both an asset and accent for communities. We don’t just drop off an assembled locker system and drive away. We’ve created a dedicated installation process, which complements the community’s surroundings. Since every community is different, every Package Concierge is unique and tailor-made. This bespoke approach to package management isn’t the easiest, but every community deserves it and the installation is what makes the difference.

For a Package Concierge to be an anchor of the community, we have to think outside the box. No two communities are exactly the same and different configurations compliment architectural features, foot traffic, space, and even line of sight. Because we’ll visit the community beforehand to ensure the proper placement of the new system, we’ve become the top package locker system for architects and designers alike. The installation is where all points blend together.package locker systemsAn installation is an exercise in design thinking. It requires custom solutions for every inquiry and sale that comes in. This divergent approach has helped solve the package management problems of our customers. A Package Concierge never interferes with the lives of residents when not in use and the experience is naturally fluid when it is. Every installed system achieves both of these principles.package locker systemsYour package management problem is our solution. Our solution happens to be an installed amenity. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word amenity as “something that makes life easier or more pleasant.” This definition is the core of Package Concierge. Our goal as a company is to make lives easier. Whether you’re a resident, property manager, or delivery carrier, our system serves everyone in different ways. We’re going to take the time to not only deliver a system but ensure its seamless integration into the community. That’s the Package Concierge difference, the art of the install.

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