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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Packages Everywhere! You need a plan.

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By Georgianna W. Oliver, CEO

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of media focused on the question of whether properties should continue to accept package deliveries – a task that requires time, energy, and resources that could be spent more effectively in other areas of the business. Laura Kusisto, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, has analyzed the rise of online shopping and writes “U.S. online retail sales are expected to swell to $334 billion in 2015, up from $263 billion in 2013, according to Forrester Research Inc., a research and advisory firm. The increase is proving to be problematic with properties scrambling to figure out where exactly to safeguard these packages.” This is where Package Concierge comes in (as featured recently on the Today Show on NBC). I founded Package Concierge 3 years ago with the belief that we can help to solve the package management dilemma in multifamily housing.   Now, with installations across 24 states, a growing list of very satisfied customers, and a knowledge base about what works and what doesn’t across a range of property types, we are finding ourselves in the role of consultants on this issue. So, which Package Concierge solution would best meet your property’s needs based on your property type?

Garden Style Apartments – Should we even be accepting packages?

Are delivery carriers attempting delivery to the resident door? If so, a leasing office at a garden style property may reasonably refuse to accept packages. Camden Property Trust received a lot of press that made it sound like they were refusing all package deliveries at their communities — which is not the case. They are simply saying: let the delivery carriers do their job and we don’t want to be liable for those packages.

If you do accept deliveries at a garden style community, then use your lease addendum to define the weight and size of the packages you will handle. To track and store these packages, you may choose to purchase a Package Concierge.

Only purchase a size that you will need for non-delivered, overflow packages. Based on the fact that the average 200-unit property receives 30-40 packages a day, and only a limited percentage (non-delivered) should be received in the leasing office, approximately 54 lockers of varying size will meet this demand. Keep in mind that for garden style communities you will need an indoor or covered space for a Package Concierge.

Mid-Rise Buildings – What a great amenity!

Mid-rise communities offer some of the most attractive communities for city-dwellers, many with Starbucks cafes, theatre rooms, dog parks, and swimming pools. These communities still have to deal with the untidy issue of packages. Based on whether the community has exterior doors or security gates, property management may or may not allow delivery carriers to deliver to the units. If you do not allow carrier access, then you should consider offering Package Concierge as a value added amenity. Our system can be installed in all kinds of locations such as: vestibules, hallways, exterior breezeways, parking garages, gyms, cyber cafes, or in areas adjacent to another amenity in the community.

The most important things to keep in mind in mid-rise buildings:

  • Delivery carrier access – If is not accessible to the drivers, then you may receive pushback from individual carriers. While we can help to solve that problem, we strongly recommend making access easy.
  • Resident convenience – When a package locker is located in a convenient location, residents will stop by on their way home from work/school.

For a 200-unit mid-rise building we would typically recommend our standard 66- locker system (which requires just over 13 lineal feet of wall space).

High Rise Buildings – Do we have space?

Unless you are willing to hire a full time person to handle packages, high-rise buildings must have a solution to address the inflow of packages.

For security purposes, most high rise managers do not want delivery carriers roaming the halls to attempt resident delivery— especially now that Amazon is subcontracting to practically anyone to deliver packages. Packages are arriving to high-rise apartments in all types of vehicles with non-descript delivery carriers. Imagine Keith the bartender from the local pub whose side jobs include being an Uber driver and delivering packages for Amazon!

Many urban buildings are seeing an average of 60+ packages a day in 200 units, with packages often cluttering up common areas. So, high-rise buildings are great candidates for Package Concierge.

For high-rise communities, space constraints are often an issue in determining whether you can invest in Package Concierge. The number one question to ask before even talking to any locker provider is: Do we have space? For a 200-unit high-rise building, you will need a minimum of 13 lineal feet to make a dent in the package load.  The good news is that Package Concierge is modular and we can install the system in an “L” or “U” configuration if necessary.   And for high-rise properties, dry cleaning and oversize lockers are a great add-on.

Based on all of our client feedback, Package Concierge is offering a value added solution that is helping properties to address the package management dilemma. Ultimately, you have to be thoughtful regarding what will actually work for your community. Contact us for statistics, recommendations, and space requirements as you consider investing in this exciting new amenity!

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Package Concierge makes life easier for residents and workers at Observer Park in Hoboken, N.J.

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Observer Park, Hoboken, N.J.

115 units – PC7-70

Overview

Observer Park gives residents the ability to enjoy the perks of New York from the perspective of a tree-lined street across the Hudson River. Its 115 units receive an average of 150 packages a week, with that number climbing higher during peak delivery times. With only a small office to store and sort deliveries, the community’s two-person leasing staff dealt with space constraints for package storage and spent too many staff hours receiving, logging, storing and retrieving packages.

The residents, principally working professionals who commute daily to the city, grew increasingly frustrated by the inconvenient package delivery process. Leasing staff tested many strategies to ease the last mile of delivery, including an unstaffed package room, an outsourced part-time concierge professional and a full-time employee to alleviate the administrative burden of handling packages. However, leaving packages unattended wasn’t a secure option and manual package management limited pick-up times to office hours, preventing many residents from receiving their packages before the office closed.

Our solution

Observer Park needed a package management solution that simplified package delivery for residents without requiring staff maintenance. The solution also needed to be secure and compatible with all delivery and mail carriers.

The Package Concierge system’s convenience, security and ability to complement the community’s existing amenities attracted the property owner and leasing staff. Since the Observer Park team previously considered the addition of a full-time staff member, it became clear that redirecting budget to cover Package Concierge’s upfront installation costs would prove more valuable over time.

Observer Park worked with Package Concierge to install a 7-foot, 70-compartment locker system in the secured lobby that connects the community’s two buildings. After the installation was complete and Package Concierge was ready to launch, the leasing team hosted a party for the residents to introduce the new amenity and to build excitement around the new system for handling packages.

 Results

For Observer Park’s leasing team, Package Concierge has practically eliminated the distraction of package management and has resulted in more time for daily responsibilities. Team members have saved an average of 90 minutes per day and are now spending this time planning community events, following up with prospective renters and improving the daily operations of the property.

Residents don’t have to rush home on a crowded train to make sure their packages aren’t sitting in the lobby or left outside the building, leading to increased satisfaction and fewer complaints. Every resident at Observer Park uses an automatic key fob to enter the building, and the exact same fob is used to collect packages from the Package Concierge system, further adding to the system’s convenience and security.

Automated delivery lockers from Package Concierge are helping to increase current residents’ renewal rates at Observer Park, as well as incoming tour requests and leases signed by new prospects. On multiple occasions, prospective residents have extended their initial visits to the building in order to see the process when a package is delivered or picked up. Observer Park includes Package Concierge in each unit’s amenity fee, allowing the community to recover the initial cost of the system.

Testimonial

“Package Concierge is a definite plus, and it helps us stand out,” said Michelle Gallagher, property manager at Observer Park. “Residents love knowing their deliveries have arrived safely, and that they can retrieve packages at the times most convenient for them. Prospective and current residents find great value in the system, giving it an important role in renewal decisions and new leases.”

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A Case Study for Student Housing

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Cambridge Oxford of New Haven, CT

84 units – PC7-70 L Shaped System

Overview

Cambridge Oxford is adjacent to Yale University and caters to a large student population. Because many students don’t have vehicles, they shop online for even basic necessities. As a result, property management was challenged by an inordinately high number of package deliveries on a daily basis. This influx required more than two hours a day just to log and deliver packages to residents.

Packages that could not be delivered had to be stored in the office or a common area, but that left items either inaccessible to students returning home at all hours, or unattended and unsecured. At times, packages went missing and Cambridge Oxford was liable for those costs. With residents’ trust at risk, Cambridge Oxford sought a more efficient and secure solution.

Our Solution

Cambridge Oxford wanted a solution that required no oversight or manual application. Initially, the management team looked into a package logging application, but determined it would require too much time and still not address the security issue. After seeing a locker system in an area gym, the property manager, Jessica Molson, thought a similar solution would fit Cambridge Oxford’s needs. She considered the Package Concierge locker system.

Cambridge Oxford had several criteria in mind when evaluating the system. One important consideration was experience with the residential market. Package Concierge is exclusively focused on the residential, multifamily industry and understands the unique needs of residents and property managers.

Impressed by the technology behind the Package Concierge system, as well as the high quality, attractive lockers, Cambridge Oxford’s decision ultimately came down to the user experience. The system had to be easy to use and reliable to ensure adoption by both residents and carriers. After seeing another Package Concierge system in action in nearby Stamford, the property manager felt confident that Package Concierge was the best solution for the Cambridge Oxford community.

Decision made, the property management team worked closely with Package Concierge to customize a 7ft x 13ft 70 compartment locker system in a L shape that provides residents with a secure, convenient package delivery experience.

Results

Cambridge Oxford receives 60 packages per day all of which are delivered without a hitch via the Package Concierge system. Leasing managers are able to focus on managing the property and ensuring resident services are running smoothly, while its student residents appreciate the convenience and security of this modern amenity. Most important, residents enjoy the peace of mind knowing that their packages – from toothpaste to textbooks – are there when they get home.

 Testimonial

“Students get a lot of packages. Not every package contains expensive items, but every package is valuable to the recipient. It’s important that they get the packages sent to them. Package Concierge allows us to deliver on our goal to provide convenient, reliable delivery of residents’ packages, with no manual oversight. It benefits everyone.” – Jessica Molson, property manager

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Show your student that you care!

The Package Concierge innovative locker system provides a secure and convenient way for student residents to get their packages 24/7. With all of the packages that get delivered to our systems every day, my favorite are the ever popular- care packages! 

Why wait until a birthday or a special occasion to show your college student that you care? Nothing says, “I Love You” or “I Miss You” more than a care package full of college-life essentials.

So, What do you put in these boxes o’ love?

Here are the top five most requested gifts! 

1. Gift Cards. 

Sure, Cash is great! But gift cards to the grocery, retail or drug store are always a special treat! Not only will your student thank you but you can rest easy knowing that they can only spend that money on groceries or other essentials.

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2. Baked Goods and Snacks.

Let’s be real! Little Johnny misses your home-made chocolate chip cookies or dad’s secret family recipe for jam! Send him a little piece of home- he really does miss it.

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3. School Supplies. 

You can never have too many pens, highlighters or pricy ink cartridges!

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4. Healthy food. 

Forget about the “Freshman 15”- be that amazing parent that sends oatmeal or protein bars that your student can carry with them to class.

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5. A hand written note. 

Yes. They will read it. And yes. They will love it. Nothing is better than a few words of encouragement from mom or dad!

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Although they may not say it, they love and miss you too.

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