Top 10 Hidden Holidays You Need To Prepare For

We all know about how the winter holidays always lead to a profound uptick in the number of packages your residents are receiving. But as ecommerce continues to rise exponentially, there are so many other times throughout the year when package delivery may surge at your properties. Check out our list of “Top 10 Hidden Holidays” you need to be prepared for:

You can find anything you need on the world wide web for the hidden holidays.

  1. Super Bowl Sunday. Once your team is out, you frantically buy gear for your de facto team of choice (let’s just say my son now owns a Falcons sweatshirt). Besides, how else are you going to get all football themes napkins, bowls, plates, etc. the Super Bowl Party?!
  1. 100th Day of School. Yes, this is a thing and not something we made up. It’s mostly celebrated by younger students sometime in February, as schools have fun with the number 100. Many Pinterest-loving mothers are known to order craft items at this time, which can lead to a sneaky increase of packages in some circles.
  1. Valentine’s Day. That oversized Vermont Teddy Bear isn’t going to drive itself to your significant other’s home. And neither is that sparkling necklace or whatever else you’ve ordered to make sure you’re not the goat on the international day of love.
  1. Memorial Day. Everyone wants to get away for Memorial Day. But it’s even better to leave town with that new tent, new fishing supplies, new tarps and other camping accessories. Late May always leads to a package boom.
  1. Independence Day. Yes, it’s illegal to ship fireworks by mail, so we’re not even going to go that route. But it’s also the heart of barbecue season and summer house parties, which leads to an uptick in online ordering of wide-ranging supplies.
  1. Amazon Prime Day. The monster online retailer held its first holiday exclusively for its own “Prime” members in July 2015, predictably resulting in an online ordering frenzy. 2016’s Prime Day, which Amazon touted as “one-day-only global shopping event,” was even bigger. The retail giant has vowed to bring back Prime Day this year although an official date has not been announced. So what can we expect from this year’s Prime Day?! If it’s anything like last year when we saw more than a 30% increase in packages two days after Amazon Prime Day, it will be one of the biggest package delivery days EVER!
  1. Back to School. Mid- to late-August means back-to-school time. This can create a sizable package rush, particularly for student housing communities. College students are continuing to seek alternative methods to purchase textbooks, such as sites like Chegg and eCampus, rather than buying them for full price on campus.
  1. Labor Day. While Memorial Day unofficially signifies the beginning of summer, Labor Day serves as its end-of-summer counterpart. That means one last chance to escape the grind. It also means heavy discounts on outdoor merchandise as retailers look to make a push before camping season ends.
  1. Pre-Halloween. While it’s a given that packages will arrive in droves during the Christmas season, this holiday can creep up on you. Some even call it a pseudo-holiday because no one ever gets the day off for Halloween, but expect a full package room as people continually opt to purchase their costumes online.
  1. Home Events. As families convene, host homes don’t want to disappoint. While orders of kitchen and culinary supplies increase, families also commonly spruce up their homes to make a favorable impression on their visitors.

Visit our website here to help you manage these holidays to come.

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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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Catch Residents with Pokémon Go!

Pokémon GoPokémon Go Can Help Multifamily

On July 6th, 2016, an event of monumental proportions happened: Pokémon Go was released. The game has already revolutionized mobile gaming and is uniting people across all generations. Niantic Inc. developed the game through a licensing deal with Nintendo, the majority stakeholder of the franchise. The deal has proven to be fruitful; Nintendo’s market value jumped an astounding $7.5 billion since release! The game is simple: “catch” Pokémon with your phone in different areas of cities and towns. The game is a based on “geolocation,” GPS locations and landmarks, so one has to walk around to progress through the game. There are “Pokestops” and “Gyms” where people can get rewards, play against other Pokémon and find new Pokémon. So why should you care? This can be a golden marketing opportunity for multifamily communities. You can actually drive potential residents to your property with the game!

Pokémon Go is a “free to play” style game. This means that one can play for free, but upgrades are purchasable through an online store. One of those items is a “Lure Module,” which draws Pokémon to a certain location for 30 minutes. They cost about 99 cents per lure. The lures need to be set within proximity of a Pokestop (currently). Your community may already be a Pokestop or Gym; you just need to check in the game. Super geeky, right? Well, businesses have caught on and are driving traffic to them because people playing see where lures are and stop to get the free items. So how can a multifamily community benefit?

Marketing With Pokémon Go

If you could set lures or Pokestops at and around your property, you have a lead generation tool at your fingertips. In an interview with the Financial Times, Niantic C.E.O. John Hanke said that “sponsored locations” are coming to Pokémon Go. When this becomes available, why not set Pokestops around key amenities on-site? The pool, the gym, the locker system, the clubhouse, etc.; the list goes on and on! While people of all ages are playing the game, Millennials are playing the game the most (it’s a nostalgia thing). You can put the word out on social media about having a “Pokémon Tour” around the property. When the event starts, have players provide their contact information and walk them around the property to the different stops. They get Pokémon while you’re showing off key amenities and layouts to potential residents! It’s a win/win for everyone!

What about a “Pokémon Go Mixer” for current residents? Provide food and drinks while setting up Pokestops around the property. Have residents team up in groups and send them around the property to collect their goods. This will encourage meeting new neighbors and friends. Right now, you can lead residents around the area and collect Pokémon and items. Pair this with your other marketing initiatives (are you live streaming yet?) and you’ll have current and future residents hooked.

Get Ahead of the Game

In conclusion, this is a huge opportunity to show off your community and gain some new faces. Pokémon Go is still very new and Niantic is working out the bugs and creating more features. The ideas above are just a few examples of how your multifamily community can capitalize on the excitement as new content and features are released. So go out there and “Catch ‘Em All”… residents that is!

To play and learn more, download Pokémon Go from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

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The Brexit and U.S. Multifamily

BrexitThe Brexit May Impact U.S. Multifamily

Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is one of the biggest shifts in recent history. Known as the Brexit, the British economy took a dive after the 52% – 48% vote and the future remains unclear. That’s because no one has left the EU, ever! Multifamily in the U.S. could stand to gain from the vote. While analysts have differing opinions, there’s a chance the Brexit may give U.S. multifamily a boost. Here’s how:

  • The Pound Has Fallen – The U.S. has one of the most lucrative multifamily markets in the world. If the pound continues to fall, British real estate may follow. Investors may turn their eyes across the pond to invest in various communities and projects. KC Sanjay, leading economist and analyst at Axiometrics, states “The (multifamily) sector accounted for 25%-30% exposure of all commercial real estate portfolios in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 – meaning multifamily is bringing in more than its share of investment compared to other sectors.” It would make sense to switch focus and with so many diverse offerings in the industry, the U.S. could be a safe bet.
  • An Extension of Low-Interest Rates – The Federal Reserve had planned on raising interest rates this year but has yet to do so. Globally, the impacts of the Brexit have yet to unfold, so there’s good reason to hold off on raising rates out of fear of recession. Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst predicts: “Mortgage rates will tumble following the Brexit vote, possibly hitting new record lows.” This could be big news for multifamily, especially for portfolio expansion and new development.
  • A Chain Reaction – The last two points hint towards a safe and stable invest in U.S. multifamily. If the British start investing, there’s a good chance other foreign investment may follow. For example, the Middle East has a history of investing in London. If they see the British shift towards the U.S., they will more than likely follow suit. A chain reaction of foreign investment may begin, giving the industry a stimulus shot to the arm. On the flip side, the U.S. might see an opportunity to invest in British real estate if the market makes sense.

The previous points made are pure speculation and depends on global markets holding on. But the right factors are in place to make it a reality. So will the Brexit turn into the Brenter for U.S. multifamily? Only time will tell, but be ready for a potential British Invasion!

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Summer Move-In Success

Move

Warm Up To New Residents On Move-In Day

As we all know, summer is upon us. The season filled with barbeques, vacations and shorts is also known for something else: moving. According to moving and storage company U-Haul: “17 to 20 million people may move this summer” and “Nearly 45 percent of all moves occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.” That’s a lot of people relocating during the warmest time of the year. Reasons vary on why many commit to a summertime move and many of them may be moving into your community. If this is the case, many in multifamily have an opportunity to make a good first impression. Just because a resident signed the lease doesn’t mean they feel comfortable and welcome in the community yet. We have a few ideas on how to break through this barrier to make a lasting impression.

  • Prepare the Property – If you’re about to see an influx of new residents, have the property ready. Will moving trucks be able to easily navigate once on site? Are there any obstructions in the hallways, breezeways or stairwells? Don’t forget that residents may have only seen the property a handful of times before moving in, so they may get confused. Is there any way to help this? These small fixes will make moving in a smoother experience for everyone. Even just being there to assure and answer questions will stand out to new residents.
  • Have Water Ready – Summer is hot. Moving heavy objects in the summer is even hotter. A great way to maintain the rapport you’ve established is to provide cold bottled water on move-in days. Think about it: new residents already feel the stresses of moving and this simple necessity may be overlooked. Your generosity can reinforce their decision to why they wanted to join the community in the first place. As we’ve always said, “A happy resident is a loyal resident.” There’s no reason why this can’t start over some H2O.
  • Summer Swag Bags – Before a resident begins to unload their belongings into their new home, they need to go inside it first. An awesome way to welcome them is to have a summer themed swag bag on the counter waiting for them. From some simple sunglasses to sunscreen, anything that can help the summer moving process is a good start. Not everything has to be summer oriented; throwing in a few essentials that can get overlooked work just as well. Coupons to local establishments are also a great incentive for residents. They can save money while exploring their new surroundings. The only restrictions on swag bags are budgets and imagination, but a little goes a long way! Check out sites like Pinterest for ideas.

Summer is a wonderful time of the year. But moving during it can potentially wear out a future resident. By taking the initiative to make the process slightly easier, you’ll be a hero! And there’s nothing wrong with sharing the move in excitement with social media either. Don’t get burned by summer moves; turn them into the best experience possible.

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Package Concierge and PMEXPO 2016

PCblog2-2Putting your expertise on display is a great way to spread awareness. For us, we try to attend as many events as possible to not only spread the name of Package Concierge but to show the world what we have to offer. We’ve attended many events in the past, but we’re especially excited for our next event coming up. On April 6th, Package Concierge will be attending PMEXPO 2016 in Washington D.C.

Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the PMEXPO is the nation’s largest one-day property management event. Filled with exhibitors from across the multifamily spectrum, PMEXPO allows property management attendees to explore product demos and new technologies. We’re proud to be an exhibitor and a sponsor of the event, but we’re also excited to learn more about the latest and greatest in our industry. And with over 250 exhibitors, it’s safe to say we’ll be learning, meeting, and greeting with many people!

On top of catching up with the newest innovations, PMEXPO offers an extensive educational program featuring acclaimed speakers, discipline-specific tracks, and continuing education credits. Everything from successful social media practices to HVAC management is up for discussion, making the event educational for all areas of multifamily. Combined with the networking aspect of the event, PMEXPO is an incredible resource for the industry. While we’ll be out on the floor taking in the sights and sounds, we’ll be at our booth showing everyone what we bring to the table.

At booth 710, we’ll have our small model Package Concierge for demonstrations. John Doyle and Andrew Robertson will be more than happy to show you how our system works and why it’s the best package management solution available. If you haven’t seen a Package Concierge in action before, PMEXPO will be a great opportunity to see what one can do for you and your property. Make sure you stop by and say hello.

If you’re attending PMEXPO 2016, we look forward to meeting you and learning with you. Rarely our industry can find the time to get together under one roof. So when there’s a chance to do so, you can count Package Concierge in. Ready to go? See below for details and we’ll see you on April 6th!

PMEXPO 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

9:00am – 4:00pm

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

801 Mount Vernon Place NW

Washington, DC 20001

Package Concierge: Booth 710

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