The technological revolution of the 21st century ushered in an era of sweeping change. And, while these updates caused by digitalization solved many problems, they also resulted in a series of unintended consequences. 

If you’re a property manager of multifamily housing units, one such unforeseen ripple effect created by technological innovations and the e-commerce boom has been a significant uptick in the number of packages being sent. While, at first glance, this may seem like a minor issue, it has very likely become a logistical nightmare for both you and your residents; and to make matters worse, multifamily apartment package delivery is expected to continue its exponential increase. 

So, what’s the solution? 

Below, we’ll answer this and more! 

Multifamily Apartment Package Delivery is Increasing

Package deliveries being sent to multifamily buildings are growing year over year and projected to continue trending in that direction. Based on package delivery statistics, in 2017 alone, Amazon announced that it had shipped more than 5 billion packages using its Prime Program. This staggering figure doesn’t account for the hundreds of other companies providing online shopping, nor the various services that do monthly deliveries such as Hello Fresh, Dollar Shave Club, and Quip. 

The Multifamily News had this to say about the problems caused by increasing package volume:

            61 percent of community managers report that package deliveries have increased year over year. For the average apartment community, that’s roughly 150 packages per week delivered to their door. However, that number jumps to an average of 270 packages per week during the holidays—that’s an 81 percent increase during peak package season. 

       While most apartment buildings (77 percent) now have a dedicated space for package storage, some property managers say their buildings’ package storage solution is inadequate, especially during high volume periods. To further complicate the matter, packages are becoming more difficult to store with residents ordering heavy, oversized, and perishable items.

In addition, per the 2018 National Multifamily Housing Council (NHMC)/Kingsley Package Delivery Survey, this issue has become a growing concern for property managers. The report covers a variety of issues, but the relevant ones include:

  • How staff notifies residents of package delivery
      • Package check-in system with e-notifications – 45%
      • Text/email – 34%
      • Phone call – 18%
      • Paper notification – 6%
      • Lobby/mailroom display – 6%
  • How packages are stored 
    • Store them in a management office or mail room – 52%
    • Deliver to residents’ doors – 32%
    • Keep packages in separate storage area – 22%
    • Leave packages in package locker area – 13%
    • The carrier takes back package until in-person delivery – 10%

In summation, the vast majority of multifamily apartment complexes are inadequately prepared to handle the continuous influx of deliveries. Their mailrooms are too small and the staff is too unprepared. Naturally, this causes tertiary concerns. 

The Package Problem is Costing You 

In a separate study on the mounting problem, AvalonBay found that it was averaging 1,000 package deliveries per month, and this was creating significant labor costs for their complexes. Happy Co. writes:

But the issue at hand isn’t simply the volume of packages received. The drain on your staff’s time and labor are preventing them from attending to more important property concerns. Houston-based Camden Property Trust estimated 10 minutes in lost productivity for each package across its 59,000 units in 2015. At a rate of $20 an hour for employee wages, package management was costing them an estimated $3.3 million annually.

Even if it only takes a few minutes of your time to receive, store, sort, and deliver a package to residents, that time stacks up, ; not to mention all the time that gets wasted due to constant interruptions to workflow. While effort spent on a distraction may seem trivial, the time it takes for your brain to return to its task and focus is significant. A recent U.C. Irvine study found that, following a significant distraction or interruption to work, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for a person to return to their original focus.

It Impacts Your Residents’ Happiness

On top of the cost to your staff, residents report growing concerns over package theft, damage, and loss. The unfortunate truth is that the steady stream of packages being delivered and left unsecured provides derelict with seemingly limitless opportunities to steel such easy pickings. In fact, in 2017, Xfinity Home conducted a survey that showed 50% of those surveyed knew someone who had had a package stolen, and 33% had themselves experienced package theft. 

In addition, according to an August Home Study:

  • 11 million homeowners reported a stolen package in the last year.
  • 53% of homeowners reported fears about packages being left outside their home or apartment being stolen.
  • 74% of packages were stolen during the day when homeowners were away working.
  • The average value of stolen packages is $50 – $100.
  • Victims spend close to $200 to replace each stolen package.

A stolen package not only costs residents money, but it also leaves them feeling insecure about the place they live in. This sense of anxiety over the safety and security of their apartment can be an influencing factor in whether or not they decide to recommit when their lease comes to term. It also might impact what they have to say about the apartment on social media and apartment review sites, ; and prospective residents could very easily be scared off by complaints of package theft. 

So, what’s the solution to package theft and mailroom logjams? 

Smart Package Mailrooms – The Answer to The Package Problem

Seeing that this issue wasn’t going to solve itself, companies such as Parcel Pending sought to create a game-changing solution in the form of smart parcel lockers. These apartment package and lite lockers use state-of-the-art technology in order to accept, store, protect, and deliver various packages sent to multifamily apartment complexes. 

They come in modular builds, allowing you to mix and match as required. Some properties may have just a few lockers, while others have dozens. That said, each system has a tower with a touchscreen that allows packages to be either delivered or retrieved. Useful features of the smart lockers include: 

  • Smart Technology – The touchpad technology and infrared scanning allows the locker to categorize packages in compartments and then alert residents about their arrivals. 
  • Mobile-Friendly – The mobile app works for both iOS and Android and allows residents to:
    • Receive instant notifications without needing a text or email
    • Open lockers through and retrieve package with just the touch of a button
    • Set vacation mode
    • Access your package delivery history
  • Courier Agnostic – The smart lockers will accept packages from any courier service and eschews the need for signature upon delivery. 
  • Secure – The lockers have cloud-based security with 24/7 cameras monitoring each and every interaction with the locker, whether delivery or retrieval. With them, thieves don’t stand a chance.
  • Fast –Barcode technology makes it easy for courier services to deliver, and simple for residents to pick up. 
  • Modular – Not all packages are the same. You need a locker capable of accepting practically any package weight, size, or shape. If you expect a higher than average volume of large packages, Parcel Pending can design lockers built for that. 
  • Custom Aesthetic – The lockers come in multiple colors and can even be customized with wraps. Currently, color and style options include:
    • Oyster White
    • Stone Grey
    • Brown Grey
    • Jet Black
    • Custom Color
    • Custom Wrap
  • Temperature Controlled – A growing number of people are having their groceries or medicines delivered to their homes. Parcel Pending’s lockers are refrigerated in order to accommodate temperature-sensitive goods.  

Benefits of Smart Lockers

Simply put, smart lockers are the solution to the package problem and provide a host of tangible benefits to both residents and property managers. Reasons that are often cited include:

  • Reduced Operational Costs – Parcel Pending found that lockers can eliminate up to 24 hours of time wasted each week accepting, sorting, and distributing packages. 
  • Increased Resident Satisfaction – A Cortland Partners Resident Survey found that “76 percent of residents strongly preferred having lockers compared to traditional office pickup, and 40 percent of residents said that they were more likely to renew their leases due to the added amenity of the parcel lockers.”
  • Increased Revenue – Although you could simply offer it as a free amenity to residents; if you’re looking for ways to increase revenue, some property managers have begun to charge a moderate monthly fee in order to use the smart lockers. In such cases, residents happily paid for the service in exchange for the peace of mind it brought them. 

Prepare For The Continued Package Onslaught

The last decade has shown a year-over-year increase in the volume of packages shipped annually, and it appears it’s not about to slow down. As shoppers continue to migrate from brick and mortar locations to virtual showrooms, your package problem will only get worse. That is unless you do something about it. 

Fortunately, Parcel Pending has everything you need to curb this problem. The biggest package theft prevention tip we can give is to install smart lockers. By installing smart lockers, you assuage resident fears of porch piracy and ensure that your staff isn’t wasting time pretending to be post office workers. So, reach out today and let us see how we can partner with you to curb the package problem!

 

Sources:

Business Wire. Amazon’s Best of Prime 2017 Reveals the Year’s Biggest Trends. (2018). https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180102005390/en/

Haughey, R. Multi Housing News. Handling the Package Delivery Challenge. (2019). https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/signed-sealed-delivered/

National Multifamily Housing Council. 2018 NMHC/Kingsley Package Delivery Survey. (2018). https://www.nmhc.org/research-insight/research-report/nmhc-package-delivery-report/

Happy Co. Package Problems? https://happy.co/blog/multifamily-resident-package-management-solutions/

Mark, G. UCI. The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress. https://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/chi08-mark.pdf

Weise, E. USA Today. Package theft hits nearly one-third of Americans. (2017). https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/11/20/package-theft-hits-nearly-one-third-americans-video-surveillance-answer/874554001/

August. Research: Package Theft Report. (2016). https://august.com/blogs/home/research-package-theft-report

Global News Wire. Parcel Pending Expands Partnership with Cortland Partners after Initial Installs Demonstrate High Resident Satisfaction & Renewal Intent. (2018). https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/07/17/1538472/0/en/Parcel-Pending-Expands-Partnership-with-Cortland-Partners-after-Initial-Installs-Demonstrate-High-Resident-Satisfaction-Renewal-Intent.html