Benefits of Parcel Lockers for Apartment Communities
9 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
The delivery of packages has quickly become a large headache for property managers. Every day, front office staff must contend with a rising tide of incoming packages that must be quickly routed to residents. For front office staff in apartment communities, the situation is untenable in the long-term. Residents don’t like the situation either. Dealing with front-office staff for the receipt of packages is, in most situations, inconvenient and less than ideal. One solution that many property managers have begun utilizing is multifamily parcel lockers.
There are many benefits associated with the adoption of parcel lockers for apartment homes. In this article, we’ll look at some specific reasons why you should consider adopting parcel lockers for apartments. Parcel lockers enhance the security of the entire property, offer an extra layer of convenience for your residents –whether it be smart lockers, refrigerated lockers, etc.–and reduce the labor costs associated with managing package deliveries.
Today, package lockers are becoming an important component of last mile logistics for apartment homes. Parcel lockers enhance the efficiency and speed with which packages can get in your resident’s hands, fulfilling their expectations for expedited delivery.
There are two different perspectives from which we can view the benefits of parcel lockers for multifamily communities. On the one hand, we can look at their benefits from the property management team’s perspective. On the other hand, the benefits that parcel lockers bring to the residents themselves are important. Because both of these are important to consider, we’ll try to look at both. In some cases there is overlap.
For example, the enhanced security that parcel lockers offer benefits both the resident and property manager by reducing instances of theft. So, whether you are a property manager looking to streamline your own operations or simply enhance your offerings to your residents, there are important reasons why you should consider utilizing a parcel locker to improve your innovative property management solutions.
Greater Convenience for Residents
One of the strongest benefits that parcel lockers offer is greater convenience for your residents. One thing that both property managers and residents can agree on is that without a parcel locker, getting your packages becomes less convenient. Without a parcel locker, packages are delivered directly to front office staff. Those staff then have to log each package, notify each recipient that their package has arrived, and secure the package. Once a resident receives a notification they have only a limited window within which to pick up their package, given the fact that a front office staff member must be present to retrieve the package and mark it off of their list.
The result of this process is a huge headache for most residents. The process alone offsets much of the reason that individuals are ordering more packages online in the first place. Shipping for products that have been purchased online has been steadily becoming faster and faster in recent years, in response to demand from consumers for that feature. Put another way, today’s consumers expect that purchases they make online will be delivered to their door in as little time as possible. This expectation has been cultivated by online retail giants like Amazon, which offer free expedited shipping options for subscribers.
The challenge for property managers has been to not upset the dynamic that exists between online retailers and their customers. While this isn’t their primary responsibility, the blame will ultimately fall on their shoulders when a package is delayed getting to a resident. The first step is that property managers recognize that this is a real problem. Most property managers that have dealt with packages know that residents can quickly become frustrated if they have a package that has tracking information showing as delivered but is nowhere to be found. Although property managers can implement additional processes to ensure that packages don’t slip through the cracks, this only addresses part of the problem.
A big issue with front office staff handling packages is that once the staff has locked up the front office for the evening, residents can no longer receive their packages. When you are paying for expedited shipping options such as same-day or two-day, it is understandable to get frustrated when you can’t retrieve your package after it has been delivered.
Parcel lockers are the ideal solution to this situation. With a parcel locker, front office staff or the package delivery driver themselves can enter packages into individual lockers. These lockers can then be accessed by the residents at their convenience. Residents that work extended hours will no longer be incapable of picking up their packages when they want to. Residents will also be assured that when a package says it was delivered that it is retrievable, without them having to interact with a staff member and wait while their package is retrieved.
With online grocery shopping becoming the future of grocery retail, refrigerated parcel lockers provide an even greater convenience to residents. By offering on-demand package retrieval, parcel lockers address some of the major convenience issues that arise with front office staff handling packages.
Once you start talking about package deliveries, one of the first things that comes up is security. No one wants to find out that the package they thought was delivered to their door was actually stolen from their doorstep. Sadly, this is an all-too-common occurrence today. The reason for the frequency of package theft is fairly simple to understand. Packages left out in the open on someone’s doorstep are a very tempting target for would-be thieves.
Whether it’s a planned event or someone that happens to be walking by sees an opportunity, the truth is that packages are stolen off of people’s doorsteps all day, every day. Although there aren’t nationwide statistics for the rate that packages are stolen from private residences, there are notable increases during the busy holiday season. Each year the problem seems to be getting progressively worse, which makes sense given the increasing number of packages being delivered.
One of the challenges in keeping packages secure after they have been delivered is that most people simply aren’t home when packages are delivered. Most package deliveries occur during the day when the resident is at work. So, how do shippers, carriers, and consumers ensure that their packages arrive when and where they are supposed to? Through the use of safe locations. More and more people are opting to have their packages delivered to a safe location rather than their front door so that they can be assured the package will be safe. For homeowners, this means having your package delivered to a local carrier store or parcel locker, but for apartment communities or multifamily properties, parcel lockers are the best option for helping with package theft prevention.
For individuals living in apartment homes, parcel lockers retain much of the convenience of having a package delivered directly to your doorstep but with a much higher level of security. Parcel lockers limit public access to the package by having packages go directly from carrier to locker. This isn’t just a benefit for residents. The added security of parcel lockers can reduce crime for an entire property. With fewer packages sitting on doors, thieves will be less likely to target your specific property. At the same time, thefts that arise due to opportunity and proximity will be limited as well.
Greater Efficiency for Property Managers
No property manager wants to see their front-office staff spending hours of each day receiving, sorting, and distributing packages. From a management perspective, that time could be better spent bringing in new residents or conducting more outreach to existing residents. Yet most front-office teams have no choice but to incorporate some degree of package management into their operations. This requires not only the labor to deal with the packages, but also space to store them securely. On top of all of that, you’ll inevitably have packages go missing, which can quickly lead to frustrated residents and staff that are having to resolve conflicts rather than do their actual job.
The simple solution to these problems is to begin utilizing a parcel locker. Parcel lockers are a straightforward solution to many of the problems front-office staff are facing when handling packages. Parcel lockers allow packages to be directly entered into the lockers themselves, can automate the notification process, and allow for residents to retrieve packages without assistance from front office staff. This results in front-office staff having significantly more time to focus on their regular job duties, rather than serving as package carriers or a package management service. Additionally, you’ll have fewer conflicts with residents that are frustrated when a package isn’t where it is supposed to be.
A Need that Isn’t Going Away
One thing that property managers need to recognize is that many of the problems that parcel lockers solve aren’t going away any time soon. Let’s take a moment to consider what the basic problems are with delivering packages to multifamily dwellings, and how a parcel locker for home solves these issues. The lowest hanging fruit is security. The way packages are delivered today is inherently lacking in security. Packages are left on doorsteps in multifamily communities, making them an easy target for would-be package thieves. A motivated thief could simply walk down a hallway and there is a high likelihood they will be able to find one or more packages waiting outside of a door.
There are a number of ways that property managers can address these security concerns, including: keyed entry to the building itself, regular patrols and an increased security presence, and the implementation of some type of surveillance. But these solutions don’t get to the root of the problem, which is that valuable property is sitting out in the open every day. The only solution that addresses this problem at its root are parcel lockers. Parcel lockers eliminate the chances that a package will ever be stolen because there is no public interaction with the package itself.
A second thing to consider is that the frequency of package deliveries is increasing. More and more people are doing their shopping online. While online shopping used to be reserved for items that were more obscure or hard to find, today’s online shopping consists of anything from clothes to groceries and household supplies. What this means is that there are regular deliveries that are smaller in size and more frequent. This frequency is only expected to increase in coming years. Additionally, shopping online is about convenience. People who shop online want to receive their item(s) as quickly as possible, hence why they tend to focus on stores that offer low cost expedited shipping options. Without a parcel locker that allows residents to retrieve the package or have package acceptance whenever they want, the convenience of buying online is largely diminished.
A final thing for property managers to consider is that the number of people renting has gone up every year. Whereas in 2005 roughly 9 million people were renters in the United States, that number has risen to over 43 million in 2015. Demand for rentals is clearly high. While some of the main drivers behind this increase are economic, one of the main reasons that people choose to rent is the convenience it offers. Renting gives residents more flexibility to choose their living situation or move quickly in response to new employment opportunities.
Moving forward, property managers must incorporate the features that residents want into their operations in order to retain existing residents or attract new ones. A main driving force behind the increased number of individuals renting is the fact that millennials are getting older each year, result in an ever-increasing number renting. Property managers must incorporate an understanding of the features that a younger generation of renters, which are much more likely to purchase items online, are going to want to see. Making packages easier to receive, streamlining the notification process, and ensuring the security of packages is an increasingly important feature that can help attract new residents and retain existing residents in apartment communities.