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.

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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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Student Housing Wants and Needs

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This week marks a special time for many college students: the beginning of the fall semester. Students may be feeling the pressure of getting all their books, supplies, and living essentials in order, especially if this is their first time away from home. One aspect that many may overlook or not spend enough thought on is exactly where they’re going to live. Students may be unfamiliar with the area and unsure of what to look for in a student housing community. Many have already made their living arrangements but there’s still an opportunity for “late registrations.” Here are the top things students look for in a community.

Proximity to Campus

Students will seek communities close to campus. However, these communities fill up and are more than likely completely leased. On the flip side, don’t count out students who are seeking a good deal on rent. If your community can’t offer a short distance to campus, make up for it through affordable rent. Students will trade a longer commute for savings in the long run.

Student Room Sizes

College dorms can be the equivalent of living inside a closet. That’s why many seek off-campus housing. Students need room to study in peace; there’s nothing worse than having a roommate playing video games three feet away from you while studying for the big exam. They also desire privacy; that’s why they’re interested in an off-campus community. Show students how you can provide space and privacy and you’ll have an upper hand.

Furnished Spaces

Think about this from a student’s perspective: the less they have to move, the more appealing a community is. Beyond the obvious, such as a bed and furniture, consider offering higher-end accommodations. These come in the form of installed televisions, kitchen utensils, and anything you can think of. Students move a lot when in college; give them an incentive to keep coming back. Making their lives easier for moving in can also help you with rent prices.

College is an important time in a person’s life. Your community can appeal to new student residents by finding a good balance of the list above. If your community isn’t that close to campus, have your rent reflect it, but know when to draw a line. Provide generously sized rooms and community spaces for peace and quiet. Finally, the less they have to move, the more likely they’ll come to you. If you can provide these staples, you’ll get more than just an “A for effort!”

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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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More than Half Way There!

Red_Gray_Map_NEW315-01Recently, Package Concierge entered a thrilling chapter in our company’s story. We’re excited to let all of our friends and partners know that we’re now in 26 states across America! This is big news for us, especially since we’ve only been a company since December 2012. Even though our expansion across the country has been fast, we’d like to let everyone know that the credit goes to our amazing clients who believed in us early on such as Alliance Residential, The Bozzuto Group and The JBG Companies, and partners like Florence Manufacturing and The Container Store. When you think about it, our growth is great for everyone. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Expanding Technology: As we receive feedback from system users, we alter and tailor the user experience to truly reflect their wants and needs. In previous blogs, we mentioned examples of this such as our mobile app, systems with dry cleaning pick up, and even resident shipping and returns from Package Concierge lockers. These ideas stemmed from our expansion and user feedback. As this grows, so will the possibilities.
  • Secure and Safe Deliveries: Our expansion hasn’t been by accident; our clients and partners know that the name Package Concierge is synonymous with the words security and safety. This is a big driver in our growth and the more Package Concierge systems are out in the world; the more deliveries reach their final destinations instead of ending in the hands of unintended recipients.
  • Organization and Value for All: A Package Concierge system doesn’t just provide a delivery point for packages; it stimulates growth in other areas as well. For example, our customers see an increase in resident satisfaction, the end of untidy/messy package rooms, organized storage of packages on-site, and most importantly the saving of staff time. Also, because of the quality of our system, it is considered a valuable property asset, not just an amenity that is in high demand. These attributes help keep both residents and leasing agents happy, which in turn can keep a community thriving and growing.

As you can see, growth can be a very good thing. We’re not about to lose sight of what’s important to us, which is all who have helped guide us into this position. We assure you, we’re going to maximize upon our growth to make Package Concierge the best it has ever been. And soon enough, we’ll be crossing our 27th state line.

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Leap for Free Rent Day!

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What are you going to do with this extra day of the year? We have arrived at another intercalary year; better known as leap year. But when you think about it, this year renters receive an extra day in their properties for FREE! That’s right! So whom do we need to thank for this extra day of multifamily living? That answer goes back farther than you may realize.

Around 46 B.C., Julius Caesar decided that every four years we get an extra day added to the year to balance out the 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds that accompanies the 365 days it takes the earth to orbit the sun. Now, Mr. Caesar didn’t quite get leap year right the first time. That’s why over 1,500 years later Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar to better regulate the bonus time of a year. His calendar added centuries to the equation, thus making years that are divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400.

The benefit of that extra day in February every four years is a “rent free day.” Most leases are based on 365 days in a year, which means renters score an extra day in their homes for free! This is definitely a reason for celebration and the last time we welcomed an extra day in the year, Package Concierge was just gearing up as a company.

In the leap year of 2012 Package Concierge was founded. And after only a few years we are in 26 states providing our services to multifamily and student housing properties. In 2015, we received the Customer Experience Innovation Award, a crowning achievement for a company less than 5 years old. Package Concierge believes in making the most of the time we have, and that’s why we are committed to providing our customers with the latest technological advancements in package management.

Package Concierge is serious about security and convenience all year long, whether its 365 days or 366. So, what are you going to do with your “rent free” day this year? Maybe, host a “rent free day” party? Whatever you do, make sure you and your friends thank Julius Caesar for the extra time we have in 2016!

 

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Valentine’s Day Recap

Vday-01-1At Package Concierge, we value our customers 365 days a year, but on Valentine’s Day, we like to show a little extra love. Last week, you may have noticed a lot of twitter pated people receiving packages from love birds near and far. For example, Ten Faxon (a Greystar property) and the Allegro (a Bozzuto property) saw close to double the amount of deliveries when compared to the week before. Here are some interesting facts and statistics about Valentine’s Day that might make you rethink the significance of packages on February 14th.

Did you know that next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day stands as the most active holiday for shipping gifts? In 2015, more than $18 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day cards and gifts; with items like flowers, jewelry, apparel and specialty gifts totaling more than $155 million. Valentine’s Day gift buying is expected to exceed $19 billion in 2016 according to Fundivo.com, with $142 being the average amount spent on gifts.

So what do these stats mean? Delivery carriers often face the challenge of ensuring that these tokens of affection reach their final destination on time and in pristine condition. While loved ones make the purchase, gifts go through many hands to ensure that Valentine’s Day is special for everyone. At the end of the day, gift givers want to make sure their sentiments are securely delivered. That’s where Package Concierge steps in.

Security isn’t just found in our rigorously tested materials but also in our technology. When a recipient is sent a gift, they’re immediately notified that a package has arrived. Then, they simply go to the Package Concierge where their item is being held to pick it up. We believe every package that goes into our system is priceless. So whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, just know that gifts of all sizes, shapes and prices are made more secure inside a Package Concierge locker and we hope that your treasures found their recipients quickly for the special day.

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Client Spotlight: Lorenzo Student Housing

This Package Concierge client spotlight takes us to the left coast. The Lorenzo, a new upscale student housing community located in Los Angeles, California occupies some prime real estate in the heart of the LA scene. The Lorenzo community offers USC students an upscale alternative to on-campus living while providing convenient access to venues such as LA Live and the Staples Center; it’s also the largest luxury student housing community in the U.S.Lorenzo 1

With so much to do in a city unlike any other, the amenities at The Lorenzo will add to your list. Free Wi-Fi across the community, four libraries and numerous study rooms meet the needs of every student. And when it’s time to socialize, check out the rooftop sundeck that features grilling and picnic stations or the karaoke room if you are in a singing mood. Need to blow off some steam or test your athletic abilities? Shoot some hoops on one of two Lakers and Clippers themed regulation sized courts or you can climb the two story rock climbing wall; its up to you. Need a pick me up? Enjoy free Starbucks coffee before you catch the complimentary shuttle to class and when you return, be ready to indulge in “Chick-Fil-A Days” or other fun events. There’s a 100-stadium seating movie theater and a social lounge too. But in Eddie’s opinion, the best amenity is the onsite Package Concierge system.

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Being that Eddie is the Package Manager at The Lorenzo, he knows what life was like before they installed the Package Concierge system. “We would spend all day logging in packages and sending our residents an email to come pick up their package.” And since use of the Package Concierge has begun Eddie says, “Now the carriers come directly to the system, deposit the packages, and the residents can come pick them up whenever they want, anytime of day, 24/7.”

lorenzo-student-housingtheater01It’s this level of satisfaction that Package Concierge aims to meet with all our clients and their residents. Eddie also mentioned to us, “I don’t see why all mail can’t be like this. It’s perfect, it works and it’s great.”

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Package Concierge’s 456 lockers are conveniently located in the nearby community courtyard. We are proud to make easier the lives of more than three thousand students living at The Lorenzo!

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Online Shopping Trends

As more retailers move their products to online stores and exclusively online retailers gain popularity, online shopping will only continue to increase. Today, 73% of people do at least half their shopping online (Source: Lab42.com). Why? It’s easier to sit at home and surf the web in your pajamas than going out in public–especially in today’s busy world where everyone is multi-tasking day in and day out.

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It is important to remember that we are part of a society defined by e-commerce. Online spending is expected to increase by 62% between now and 2016 (Source: Forrester Inc., January 2013). To understand these staggering numbers, all you need to do is look back to the beginning of online retail. In 2000, online sales were $27 billion even when the internet was still in its infancy. In 2014, online sales are expected to be $291 billion. And by 2017, they will exceed $434 Billion (Source: eMarketer, April 2013/ U.S. Department of Commerce, Internet Marketer). That is a lot of deliveries!

Even UPS and Fedex know their trucks and planes will be full to the brim with packages as online shopping grows. Recently, UPS put out an article about retail trends for 2014 and we couldn’t agree more with their findings. Free shipping and free returns will make online shopping more appealing to people who currently shop at brick and mortar locations. Without fees to ship the package, buying online is essentially just like buying at the store. Only more convenient.

Other outlets such a mobile shopping or social media discounts will aid in the e-commerce boom. These factors among others have been highlighted in additional articles about looming trends that will become the face of online shopping in the coming years. The greater question we need to consider is how this will affect multifamily apartments who are already inundated in packages? The answer is simple. The mountain of packages will continue to grow.

Watch our video to learn how we can help.

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Best Student Housing Amenities

When deciding between schools, many students narrow down their choices based on the amenities across campus and more specifically, in student housing. As universities and colleges tend towards the more tech savvy crowd, the demand from students to stay current continues to grow. Many amenities are chosen by necessity such as televisions or mobile apps, but some are added to keep student housing convenient,  luxurious and enjoyable for the young residents.

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Architects and designers are keeping this in mind when constructing new buildings. A community with more to offer will likely draw millennial students toward that school over another. Wondering what are some of the latest and greatest amenities topping the charts? Here are a few:

Larger Apartments: Micro-units might be a hot trend in urban areas, but 27% of students report that the size of the apartment factors into their desire to live there or not.

Study Rooms: While college is a place for fun, it is also a place for learning and these academic focused rooms rank second overall in importance to students.

Cyber Cafes: While a location to work and get a snack or drink isn’t as important as a study room, students still desire these spaces in their apartments.

Theaters: The peak of luxury for some is having a small scale theater in their building or union to enjoy the latest feature films.

Bike Racks: Millennials have a growing environmentally conscious attitude and seek out ways to stay green– riding bikes to class being one option, and as such, they will need a place to store them.

Convenient Transportation: Whether the apartment is on campus or off, students enjoy having convenient modes of transport to get them to class and other area venues especially considering nearly half of students want to live within two miles of campus.

What will be the next big student housing amenity? We don’t have a crystal ball, but given students desire to go-paperless and their interest in self-service kiosk, we can only see a trend emerging. Couple these wishes along with the increased usage of online shopping and the small, untidy mail rooms or offices at these communities, we can venture to guess that it won’t be long before on and off-campus housing begins to eye a simpler way to handle packages.

Sources:

http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/student-housing/common-areas-amenities-grow-in-student-housing-design-.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/15/us/in-luxury-student-housing-gym-tan-and-study.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/colleges-spending-amenities_n_2583593.html

http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/research/survey-says-the-top-student-housing-common-areas-and-amenities.aspx

http:/www.multifamilyexecutive.com/technology/7-must-have-tech-amenities-for-gen-y-residents.aspx#articlecomments

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Packages for College Prep

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Sheknows.com

The holidays have passed and college students are returning to their studies. This means a whirlwind of packing, shipping, travel and other items to check off the to-do list. Before making the journey, remember that there are certain essentials any college student needs when going back to dorms or student housing for the spring semester. We’ve skipped some of the more obvious items—pens, backpacks and the like—and put together a checklist (of sorts) to make it easier for you to prepare:·

        

·         An extra hoodie (or two) for those long morning classes

·         An alarm clock with snooze and extra alarm functions

·         Vitamins and supplements to get you through the inevitable colds

·         Chocolate bars for that extra boost while studying

·         Soups, easy mac and frozen meals

·         Extra toiletries to replace the ones that go missing

·         Hats, gloves and an umbrella to get you through the weather

·         A reusable water bottle to bring to class

       These ideas are great ways to start the semester off on the right foot, but really, the list could be endless. College students require so much these days to get them through school, so we’ll make it easier for you to collect the necessities in one simple step! Check out these great companies that cater to students with some amazing care packages:

Redship.com – An eco-friendly company with a large variety of on-the-spot packages to purchase. They have a unique cylinder package and give-back philosophy that really sets them apart!

Coedsupply.com – The big orange box of incredible goodies can be delivered monthly to your dorm and it’s a great way for your family to show that they care—hint, hint!

Pjionbox.com – As another company with an animal mascot, we can’t help but love pijonbox and their mission to offer great monthly boxes as well as a store filled with all their treats!

Have you received one of these awesome college care packages? Show us your photos! And if you know of other great services, let us know about them 🙂

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