All Encompassing: Package Concierge Offers Package Shipping and Returns

One in three.

That’s right: 30 percent of every online purchase is returned.

Did you know around 49% of retailers offer free return shipping now? Package concierge is here to help.

According to invespcro.com, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

We already know that ecommerce is bigger than ever with people spending more than a $200 billion annually – a steadily rising number. It is estimated that online shopping has grown more than 17 percent over the last decade. And as more and more brick-and-mortar stores close their doors ecommerce is projected to further skyrocket.

While online shopping offers a greater convenience with the ability to shop 24/7 and from various devices, it still lacks the sensory appeal that comes with shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer. As such, 60 percent of returned packages are due to either damaged goods, the product looks different than what was online or it was simply the wrong item.

A report released by Sanford C. Bernstein indicates that Amazon ships an average of 608 million packages each year, or 1.66 million daily. According to UPS, they deliver approximately 18 million packages daily during typical non-peak shipping periods while FedEx boasts 13 millions daily packages.

So what does this mean?

While these figures don’t take into account the massive upswing in package deliveries during the holiday season (think double the volume), we are looking at roughly 9 million packages returned every single day.

Package Concierge is further improving your package management solutions, and ensuring your leasing office and leasing team no longer have to deal with mountains of packages.

Shipping and Returns is now available from Package Concierge and operates through its package locker system. Similar to package pickup, residents have access to shipping and returns capabilities 24/7.

With Shipping and Returns available from Package Concierge, apartment owners and operators:

  • Provide even greater convenience for your residents by allowing them to returns items they are unhappy with, as well as ship packages to their friends and family.
    • Satisfied residents are more likely to renew their leases – more than 80 percent indicate that effective package management positively impacted their renewal decision.
  • Offer efficiencies to burdened delivery carriers
    • By taking advantage of their regular stops, carriers no longer have to make extra trips to pick up outbound shipments or returns.
  • Generate ancillary revenue
    • Whether or not you chose to charge residents for this service, you garner improved ROI through enhanced resident satisfaction.

Contact us today to learn more about how Shipping and Returns can further improve your package management!

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I-85 Bridge Collapse Could Impact Package Delivery Scene in Atlanta

After our initial shock when we saw the unprecedented traffic jam and bridge collapse on Atlanta’s major thoroughfare Interstate 85, the first thing we thought was: How is that going to affect package delivery?

When you’re in this business, those are the connections you make.

Atlanta features notoriously heavy traffic to begin with – the fourth-worst in the nation, according to INRIX – and the bizarre I-85 incident clearly won’t help. The bridge collapse on March 30 reportedly was due to a homeless man starting an accidental fire beneath an overpass. If that wasn’t enough to compound things, a portion of Interstate 20 buckled on April 17 due to an underground gas leak, which sent a biker airborne.

We’re not here to criticize traffic situations in particular towns, and we’re eager to see the vibrant city for the Atlanta Apartment Association’s 2017 Trade Show. But this spurred thoughts as to how much package delivery could increase in Atlanta, considering two of its major vessels have endured significant setbacks. Will the city’s residents be less eager to commute to brick-and-mortar stores when they can simply order items online? Will lunch-break shopping trips decline as residents are foregoing the traffic challenges and opting to work from home?

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, freight traffic traveling through the city is now being directed to I-285 to bypass the city until the projected June 15 reopening of the bridge on I-85. As more vehicles use the alternate route, times will slow for commuters and logistics firms alike. Toby Jorgensen, a senior analyst at CBRE research told the newspaper: “The hardest part is the last-mile consumer and business delivery.”

It will be compelling to see how consumers, businesses and apartment communities adapt to the newfound challenges.

In the tech-savvy city, perhaps drone delivery will start to become a larger part of things as well. Drones have the capability to bypass heavily congested freeways and drop off packages at an apartment community much more efficiently. Residents will have their shipments in their package lockers right on schedule. In the future, this might even advance a step further. Imagine living on the 18th floor of a swanky urban high-rise and having your package drone-delivered to your balcony.

Perhaps we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, but these are the things we think about when we’re heading to a new city for a conference.  We’re excited for Atlanta and the opportunity to learn more about how different regions utilize package management. We’re just hoping we don’t have to spend too much time on the freeways.

P.S. We will be back in Atlanta for the National Apartment Association Education Conference and Expo starting on June 21st – wonder how the package situation will be different then? Either way, be sure to stop by and see us!

Meet Tim and Alexis on Wednesday, April 26th 2017!

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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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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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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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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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The Importance of the USPS to Apartment Developers & Leasing Agents

By Georgianna W. Oliver, CEO

Did you know that according to statistics analyzed by Package Concierge almost 40% of packages are delivered by the United States Postal Service? As the sheer number of packages being delivered to apartments continues to grow, an apartment manager’s relationship with their local Postmaster has become more and more important. And now the USPS is delivering packages for Amazon on Sundays! A day when most leasing offices are not even open…

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From the beginning of construction where it is necessary to obtain local USPS Delivery Operations approval to use Package Concierge as an alternative to traditional parcel lockers for handling packages – to ongoing daily package delivery operations – it is essential to establish and maintain a cooperative relationship with your local Postal Service and all delivery carriers. This is not a one-sided relationship though…it is important to remember that as multifamily residential providers, you are a high density USPS customer. If you have specific delivery requirements for your property, they will make every attempt to honor your requests. Postal regulations governing the delivery of mail are not all applicable to packages – so local USPS Delivery Operations can be more creative in the delivery of packages.

As stated by Megan J. Brennan in her inaugural news release as Postmaster General, her strategy is to …”encompass better use of data and technology, speed the pace of product and service innovations, and continue process improvements throughout the organization”. Postmaster General Brennan added, “We can reinvigorate the way we serve our customers and the public by constantly looking forward as an organization, anticipating the changing needs of our customers, and adapting as quickly as we can to a competitive and evolving marketplace”. Package Concierge has experienced this cooperation first-hand with the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS has embraced delivering packages to this new electronic parcel locker product in apartment communities across the United States. We are all in this together with the shared goal of meeting end-user / consumer / resident needs by providing timely, secure and convenient package deliveries. We look forward to continuing to work together with you and with the USPS to achieve the highest level of service possible.

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Myths About Packages

packagesBetween FedEx and UPS, nearly 25 Million packages were shipped each day in 2012. That’s half a million going to each state—day in and day out. With that many packages traveling across the country and even more internationally, it’s no wonder myths about shipping packages pop up everywhere. We’ve collected some of the biggest package myths and have put the rumors to rest. Here’s the truth:

Shipping in More Boxes Saves Money: If you have several items to ship, the myth is that packaging them separately will save you money. Unfortunately that’s not true. Since delivery carriers charge the most for your first pound, you would end up spending more by splitting up what could be in a single package.

Mail Doesn’t Move on Sunday: If you mail something at the end of the week, or on Saturday, people assume their package will take an extra day or so to ship. In reality, mail never stops moving. Sunday is a work day for package carriers and what you send at the end of the week, will be there Monday morning.

Smaller is Cheaper: Since weight is a factor in shipments, it makes sense that the lighter the object, the cheaper the package. However, because the first pound is the most expensive pound (as previously mentioned), a small package can set you back just as easily.

 Insurance Isn’t Worth It: When sending packages, people think paying for insurance is a waste of money. Where in fact, it is best for you to ensure the safety of your shipment no matter where you send it. Also some food for thought, UPS and FedEx cover the first $100 value of your package free.

Go Big or Go Home: If you need to ship something, the rumor says that it’s best to use the big companies—that they’re bigger, better and all around more trustworthy. You can certainly use the big brand name locations, but the hometown shipping companies are just as cost effective.

With this brand new knowledge, you can go about your shipping needs feeling confident that you can add as many packages to that 25 Million a day as you want.

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