Consumers are shopping online now more than ever in light of social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. In fact, e-commerce spending in the U.S. is up more than 30% from the beginning of March through mid-April compared with the same period last year1. That is about 50% more than the annual 20% growth in online shopping from recent years.
As a result, many multifamily communities are receiving a growing volume of resident packages and deliveries each day. This influx is becoming a major pain point for property managers, many of whom are now looking to invest in electronic lockers to solve their package problems.
However, package lockers can be a big investment for many multifamily properties. That is why it is important to identify the right smart locker vendor to ensure a solid return on investment.
There are a few key questions to ask potential locker vendors to ensure the selection of the best package management solution to fit the property’s needs and provide a sizable return on investment:
Understand the Property’s Package Needs
First and foremost, an understanding of the property’s package management needs ensures that the property can get the most out of the electronic lockers and avoid potential headaches down the road. Be sure to know how many packages the community receives each day, how many residents currently live in the community, what the property’s capacity is, what the budget is and what space is available for lockers.
Some questions to ask vendors include:
- How many lockers will apartment residents need?
- Will residents need office staff assistance in order to use the lockers?
- Are there self-service locker options?
Safe & Secure
It is important to know exactly how a vendor’s lockers will keep apartment residents’ packages safe and secure. Questions to ask about safety and security include:
- Do the lockers have cameras?
- Are the lockers made with theft-proof durability?
- Do the smart lockers help to eliminate stolen packages and missed deliveries by electronically logging each parcel delivery and retrieval?
- Is full chain-of-custody tracking provided with each parcel locker to reduce package theft and liability issues?
- Are the lockers weather-proof?
- Are refrigerated lockers available?
- Is there a contact-free way for residents to retrieve their packages from the lockers?
- How will property staff know when there is a packaged delivered?
- How will residents know when they have a package delivery?
- Are the lockers compatible with all delivery carriers?
Parcel Pending by Quadient’s multifamily lockers, for example, make it quick, easy and safe for residents to retrieve their packages at their convenience while also saving property managers valuable time and giving them peace of mind.
The way Parcel Pending works is simple. Recipients are instantly notified by text, email, or app notification.when they have a delivery. Once the notification is received, the recipient can pick up the package using the unique code provided in the notification, or by using our mobile app. Property managers do not need to sign for, sort, or distribute packages to residents. Instead, our multifamily locker solutions provide a secure, fast and easy way for residents to retrieve their own packages at their convenience.
Our lockers provide much-needed personalization, making residents’ lives easier as they no longer have to rush home to pick up a delivery from their management office during business hours. Residents also value the fact that parcel lockers keep their packages safe and secure.
Next, be sure to clarify how the potential supplier’s electronic lockers will provide long-term ROI for the community. After all, the property will be making an investment into their technology so it is important to get an understanding on the long-term value that the lockers will provide.
Consider asking detailed questions on how exactly the lockers will work for the community and its residents and what some potential returns could be. Sample questions include:
- How will these lockers help boost resident satisfaction?
- How will these lockers drive resident renewals? Attract more prospective residents?
- How much will property managers or the management office have to be involved with resident packages once the lockers are installed?
- How much time will staff save by using lockers? How will they improve staff efficiency?
- What are the anticipated operational cost-savings?
- How will these lockers impact resident renewals?
- Can the company provide customer testimonials, references or case studies?
- Should the property charge a fee to residents? If so, how much?
For example, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s multifamily electronic locker systems help to save up to 24 hours of staff time each week and drive resident renewals by 40 percent. Our lockers can accommodate 67 percent of residents’ most desired amenities including grocery, food and online order deliveries.
Additionally, 98 percent of Parcel Pending’s users rated their experience with their lockers as “very satisfied.” One of Parcel Pending’s main competitive differentiators is its customer service support. Parcel Pending offers professional installation and maintenance along with local service staff who are on call 24/7 to provide support and answer questions.
Other key benefits of our lockers include:
- Advanced: Flexible API allows for seamless integration with property management software systems
- Weatherproof: Durable lockers protect packages from sun, rain, wind, and snow
- Accessible: Multi-sized lockers accept most package sizes; ADA compliance supports any user
- Versatile: Multiple locker sizes to accept most packages
- Contact-free Pick-up: Scan the barcode in the delivery notification or push a button in the mobile app
- Mobile-friendly: Receive delivery alerts, manage packages, and retrieve deliveries with your smartphone
- Customizable: Custom configurations, color choices, or wraps to match property aesthetics or branding
- Efficient: Streamlines delivery process; flexible solutions reduce space needed to accept deliveries
It is important to ask a potential vendor if their locker system is customizable. After all, lockers should fit in with the aesthetics of the property, brand image and community culture. Make sure to ask any potential electronic locker supplier if their lockers are customizable in color and design.
Wide Selection of Locker Sizes
Along the same lines, confirm that the lockers can meet any indoor or outdoor space requirements and/or accommodate multiple package sizes. Ask how extra-large packages will be handled. For example, will oversize packages be delivered to the leasing office front desk or directly to residents’ doorsteps? Will they be sent back to the courier hub?
Most premium smart locker companies will offer a wide selection of locker sizes to accommodate packages of all sizes.
Scalable & Easy to Install
Ask any potential locker vendor if their lockers are easily scalable. For example, will the property have the ability to easily add additional lockers if needed? Will a building manager or mailroom supervisor be able to customize locker features, including how long the recipient has to pick up their package?
Next, inquire about the installation process. Are the electronic lockers quick and easy to install? How long does it usually take to have the lockers fully up and running?
These questions will help clarify how the delivery lockers will address the property’s package needs.
Integration & Analytics
Having a safe, secure smart locker is great but it is important that the supplier can easily integrate with multiple property management softwares and offer analytics so that property staff can understand how the lockers are being used.
For example, Parcel Pending properties have access to robust analytics and dashboards that provide instantaneous summaries that show how the lockers are being used, when stale packages need to be removed, as well as tracking locker turnover and capacity. All of this information is useful in order for properties to provide a seamless package management experience to their residents.
Hands-on Customer Support
Finally, properties should also ask about the vendor’s customer support. What happens if property staff have questions after the lockers are installed? Does the vendor have a dedicated customer service support team? Ensure that the locker vendor will support the property if there are any issues, especially for resident issues. After all, these lockers are an investment in providing a premium experience for residents.
Is Parcel Pending Right for You?
Parcel Pending is dedicated to helping multifamily communities of all sizes find the right locker solution to fit their package management needs. From planning, to implementation, to ongoing support, we partner with each property to ensure our smart lockers provide a special experience for the community and its residents. Parcel Pending lockers provide an easy, secure, contact-free way to manage the overwhelming influx of daily resident deliveries.
Let us take care of package management so you can get back to property management. We want to help you save money by streamlining your package management, and are committed to helping you create long-term ROI. Discover a multifamily locker solution that is right for your community here.
- Rakuten Intelligence. Available at : https://www.rakutenintelligence.com/observer
- CNBC, As coronavirus restrictions drag on, Americans shift online spending from stockpiling to entertainment. Availabe at https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/19/coronavirus-what-americans-are-buying-online-while-in-quarantine.html