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2021: The Year for Package Lockers at Multifamily Properties

If ever there was a time for electronic lockers, this year is it! A record-shattering $9 billion of online sales were rung up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday bested that number with $9.4 billion according to Adobe1,2.

This deluge of packages is among us with no signs of slowing down. In fact, same-day delivery is expected to grow 22% through 2024 aided by local restaurants, grocers, and retailers3. More importantly, shopping behavior has permanently changed, meaning that even with widespread adoption of a vaccine in 2021, a much higher percentage of online shopping and shipping is here to stay.

Investing in smart lockers from development to resident move-in and lease-up puts you on track to increase safety, lower labor costs, reduce package liability, retain residents, boost the community experience, and gain a competitive advantage. 

Successful multifamily investing revolves around creating the best commercial real estate locations to attract consistent rental income. Smart lockers are a unique investment opportunity for the multifamily market because they create happier residents who become long-term “customers” who may refer other residents to the community. 

New investors are beginning to attach automated parcel locker systems to their rental unit buildings because of their impact on their bottom line. Let’s look at each of these real estate property benefits.

Planning for Smart Lockers from the Get-Go

When multifamily real estate developers enable architects to design a property around experience as opposed to simply accommodating amenities, they make a significant investment in tenant experience. Now that COVID-19 has restricted access to many of a property’s most desirable amenities, providing premium contact-free amenities like package lockers is key to attracting residents to new developments. Building real estate property with package lockers is a relatively inexpensive way of increasing rental income, creating premium apartment building units, and attracting better residents. 

That’s why savvy architects and property developers are planning now to integrate intelligent lockers into their blueprints. Designing parcel lockers into the plan from the get-go is an investment that allows for a property to maximize available space, match the design theme, and reap significant cost benefits.

Parcel Pending’s team of design engineers can work side-by-side with architects and development teams to help plan for locker amenities from the start of a property’s development. We also offer several innovative pricing strategies including a “no money down” option as well as a subscription model that helps investors avoid an upfront capital expense.

Parcel Locker Systems Increase Safety and Social Distancing

The CDC is clear in its message to multifamily property management: promote behaviors that reduce spread4.

Smart lockers allow residents to retrieve packages without standing in-line or close together, thereby promoting social distancing. Moreover, with contactless access features, residents can pick up parcels without interacting with delivery company drivers, property staff, or even other residents. The smart parcel locker system sends recipients a unique access code and/or a barcode via text or email to their smartphone, allowing for easy and safe package pickup without ever touching a keypad.

Since its inception in 2013, Parcel Pending has successfully delivered over 57 million packages in North America! Almost all of these deliveries required zero interaction with property management, leasing consultants, or administrative staff. Property management technology can significantly improve your resident experience, save you money, and grow your investment portfolio. 

Smart Lockers Lower Labor Costs

Every multifamily investor or property manager today is looking for the most efficient use of staff. That is the multifamily investment strategy goal in 2021. Say goodbye to parcel sorting, resident package queries, and signature validation with the installation of smart lockers. It’s estimated that Parcel Pending’s smart lockers can save personnel up to 24 hours per week5!

Further, smart lockers allow residents to retrieve their parcels on their schedule without hassling your staff. Even “stale” packages are a thing of the past due to automated reminders that a package is awaiting pick up.

Reduces Package Liability with Automated Lockers & Reporting

Chain of custody reporting tools are critical in any smart locker system; it’s important to have complete visibility into where your residents’ parcels are at all times. Parcel Pending’s system takes you out of the liability loop and reduces the number of “disappearing” packages at your rental property. Recent data shows, for example, that 1.7 million packages are stolen or lost every single day in the United States6.

Parcel Pending’s locker systems also integrate seamlessly with your existing property management software system to ensure that resident data remains up to date. Office lockers also help keep important management documents safe for your staff. 

Retain Residents with the Number One Requested Amenity: Smart Lockers

Although it’s logical to focus on attracting new tenants, keeping residents in place increases rental income and reduces the marketing, leasing, and refurbishment costs of vacancies. According to Real Page, lease renewals paid an average of 4.5% more than their initial lease7. Most importantly, however, smart lockers can boost resident retention by 40%8

Competitive Advantage of Smart Locker

As residents adjust to using online ordering and local delivery, multifamily properties with lockers are at a competitive advantage. Not surprisingly then, residents state that smart lockers are the number one requested amenity.  

Refrigerated lockers will also play a bigger role as growth in grocery and pharmaceutical delivery accelerates. In fact, Parcel Pending has already seen a nearly 45% uptick in requests for refrigerated lockers this year.

Knowing that deliveries are secure and available on-demand and contact-free will become increasingly important to prospective tenants, especially since 87% of consumers already prefer contact-free shopping experiences9

Boost the Customer Experience

Strong customer experiences breed positive relationships and encourage them to become your brand advocates. 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties10; loyal customers are four times more likely to refer a friend to the company11. Brick-and-mortar stores are also learning how to increase footfall in store locations using smart lockers. These systems were designed to create repeat customers, both in stores and in apartment settings. 

It’s therefore essential to curate a positive resident experience from the very first interaction. Responsiveness is as key, as is automation. Marrying technology with communication puts you on the forefront of creating a happy resident. Apps such as MeetElise, Mobile Doorman, and Funnel all contribute to fast response times in different phases of the leasing process.

Accompanying the shift to online shopping, residents harbor the expectation that their packages will be stored safely and securely. Lockers allow residents to retrieve their parcels on their schedule without waiting in-line or taking up precious staff time. Knowing that packages are securely stowed via smart lockers also contributes to a positive community experience and overall peace of mind.

In short, online shopping behavior has permanently changed with forecasts showing continued growth and indicating that this change will remain a part of mainstream life. Now is the moment to install automated parcel locker systems to safely manage the onslaught of packages while saving you labor and boosting your property image.

Contact a Parcel Pending representative today to discover how we provide complimentary assessments and configurations of a smart locker system that fits your needs and budget. Learn more about our multifamily parcel locker solutions here.


  1. Durbin, Dee-Ann. Business Insider. US consumers spent a record $9 billion on Black Friday online shopping. (2020, November 29). https://www.businessinsider.com/black-friday-sees-record-online-as-us-shoppers-stay-home-2020-11.
  2. Lucas, Amelia. CNBC. Cyber Monday online sales hit record $9.4 billion, boosted by late-night spending spree, Adobe says. (2020, December 3). https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/03/cyber-monday-online-sales-hit-record-9point4-billion-adobe-says.html.
  3. Technavio. (2020, July 30). COVID-19 Impacts: Same-Day Delivery Market in U.S. Will Accelerate at a CAGR of About 22% Through 2020-2024 | Growing B2C E-Commerce Market in US to Boost Growth [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.technavio.com/newsroom
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multifamily Housing. (2020, December 3). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/multifamily-housing.html.
  5. Based on an average of 60 packages per day, 6 days per week, at 1 hour per 15 packages.
  6. Parcel Pending. Package Theft is a Major Issue: New York Times Reports That 90,000 Packages Disappear Daily in NYC. (2019, December 19). https://www.parcelpending.com/en-ca/blog/package-theft-is-a-major-issue-new-york-times-reports-that-90000-packages-disappear-daily-in-nyc/.
  7. Willett, Greg. RealPage. Apartment Resident Retention at All-Time High. (2019, January 15). https://www.realpage.com/analytics/apartment-resident-retention-at-all-time-high/.
  8. Parcel Pending. (2018, July 17). Parcel Pending Expands Partnership with Cortland After Initial Installs Demonstrate High Resident Satisfaction & Renewal Intent [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.parcelpending.com/en-ca/blog/parcel-pending-expands-partnership-cortland-partners-initial-installs-demonstrate-high-resident-satisfaction-renewal-intent
  9. Shekel. (2020, April 7). 87% of Shoppers Prefer to Shop in Stores With Touchless or Robust Self-Checkout Options During COVID-19 Pandemic [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/news/
  10. Clark, David & Puthiyamadam, Tom. PWC. Experience is Everything. Get it right. (2017). https://www.pwc.com/future-of-cx.
  11. Dorsey, Moira. Qualtrics XM Institute. Research Recap: ROI of Customer Experience, 2020. (2020, September 17). https://www.xminstitute.com/blog/research-recap-2020-roi-cx/.