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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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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What Makes An Amenity Awesome?

Amenity

An Amenity Today Means Residents Tomorrow.

The world of multifamily is competitive. With diverse communities duking it out for residents, location (while important) isn’t enough. That’s where amenities make all the difference. Amenities can be a true differentiator when a market is full of new communities. A pool and fitness room are industry standard now and let’s be honest, are these enough? Or would you rather live in a community with a pool, fitness room, and a rooftop cinema? We know the answer already. Amenities are subjective and communities need to provide amenities that cater to their demographic. So how does one determine if an amenity will make a difference? Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • Increased Value for the Resident: An amenity may be a deciding factor in community selection for future residents. It just depends on what they place value in. Since rent prices are largely dictated by location, an amenity is an added value. A good metric to pay attention to is who’s living in the community. Will Millennials prefer a wine cellar or a high-tech social lounge? Know who your residents are and what they want; it’ll make a huge difference.
  • It Makes Life Easier: A good amenity is one that makes users question how they lived without it until now. Basic examples include laundry capabilities and on-site transportation services like Zipcar. Another great example of an amenity while transcending demographics are our Package Concierge systems. Everyone can’t always be home for a package delivery and our lockers hold the delivery until it’s ready for pickup. Not only does our package management solution work for all, it just makes sense.
  • Keep It Simple: Amenities don’t need to be elaborate. Sure, property managers across the country may be jealous of The Oosten, located in Brooklyn N.Y. and developed by Xin Development Group, for giving out a free trip to Europe to meet the building’s designer, but a little can go a long way too. In an NMHC survey conducted in conjunction with Kingsley Associates, 80% wanted secured community access. Is that so much to ask for? Electronic and keyless entry systems are affordable and a community maintenance team can install them. This is a simple upgrade and may be just the amenity needed to boost leases.

Amenities make all the difference. They’re the added incentive to those looking for a new community to call home. Check your local market to see what you’re up against. Go visit other communities with the amenities you’re interested in incorporating into your own. If an amenity is within the realm of possibility and it suits the community’s demographic, go for it! You can even reach out to your current residents and ask them for suggestions. However you decide to do it, go out and get the game-changing amenity!

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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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Self-Serve Dry Cleaning Lockers & Seamless Integration

IMG3726The world moves faster than ever since the rapid evolution of technology. From the rise of artificial intelligence to sneakers that can finally self-lace, we don’t have the time to complete the tasks we once took time to do. For Package Concierge, our streamlining life solution lies in our locker systems. Taking the stress out of package delivery is what we’re known for and what we’ve delivered nationwide. However, Package Concierge isn’t just about packages deliveries. We’re regularly pursuing ways to make our high quality lockers more utilitarian, lockers that support dry cleaning delivery is another step towards making life easier.

Let’s face it; picking up dry-cleaning is just another addition on the laundry list (no pun intended) of daily tasks. Because we feel your pain, we decided to create a solution. The steps mirror the package delivery and receiving process! The dry cleaning service delivers the cleaned items directly into the system using our touch screen. As soon as the locker door is shut, the resident receives notification that their dry cleaning has been delivered and they can retrieve their clothing at their convenience.

The Package Concierge dry cleaning lockers are slimmer in design and include hooks. The units come in two configurations as well. They’re designed with clothing in mind and can accommodate everything from suits to long dresses, ensuring your valuables are kept wrinkle free once delivered. If the facility already has a Package Concierge, the dry cleaning lockers can be simply added on and fully integrate with the preexisting system.

There are also revenue opportunities. Many of our clients explore leasing the lockers to a local dry cleaner on an exclusive basis in return for getting the property’s business. It’s truly a “win-win” for all involved.interior_picMoving soon and quickly realizing this is an essential amenity? In addition to the amazing Harbor Pointe community (shown above) in Bayonne, NJ, the Package Concierge dry cleaning lockers can been seen in communities in the following cities:

Los Angeles, CA

Denver, CO

Miami, FL

Atlanta, GA

Boston, MA

Cambridge, MA

Watertown, MA

Ardmore, PA

King of Prussia, PA

Package Concierge strives to make life easier for every person using one of our locker systems. We will continue to push our hardware and software forward and be the drivers of innovation within our space. After all, deliveries and packages come in many shape and sizes. Package Concierge plans on playing a major part in all things delivered.

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Client Spotlight: Central Park at Whisman Station

Whisman_SceneicOur latest client spotlight is host to some of the most scenic views of any property we’ve featured. Central Park at Whisman Station is located in Mountain View, California. The vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains compliment this luxurious multifamily property and create a beautiful landscape of the surrounding area

Managed by Alliance Residential, Whisman Station is just one example of their dedication to multifamily living done right. They also are advocates for luxurious living with a reduced carbon footprint. Alliance’s “Focus Green” program seeks to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources at each community, as well as educate and encourage residents to participate in eco-friendly lifestyles. As they celebrate their management leadership this week, Alliance Residential truly has the best interests of their residents in mind.

Whisman_Lobby

After taking in all of the glorious scenery, you can explore even more of Mountain View on the bike path, or one of the numerous jogging/walking trails of the Whisman Station community. Other amenities include a fitness center, a relaxation spa, and a resort inspired swimming pool. And for members of the “green” team, there are new energy efficient appliance packages and electric vehicle charging stations.

Whisman_PoolIn an area where technology companies thrive and innovation is around every corner, Central Park at Whisman Station also provides its residents with a technologically advanced Package Concierge. The system is cozily tucked away in a convenient alcove, but don’t be fooled by its discreet location; this system has received more than 2,000 packages since it’s installation this past November!

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Package Concierge provides secure storage for items intended for Whisman Station’s residents. Brittany, a Sales Associate at the property, mentioned how the system has improved the lives of the residents. “The Package Concierge system works well, everyone likes it.” Brittany also said, “The notification that Package Concierge sends to residents when packages have been received are very convenient.” When we asked Brittany how often the Package Concierge system was utilized, her response was, “It is used quite often; we’re actually considering ordering another one!”

Not too long ago, Mountain View was just a stagecoach stop in the newly settled west. Now, it’s the home of “tech giants” like Google, Mozilla and Symantec. And for those that call Central Park at Whisman Station home, Package Concierge is the package management “giant” that they can depend on for convenience and security.

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