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The Growing Number of Multifamily Apartment Package Deliveries

Have you noticed the growing number of multifamily apartment package deliveries at your apartment complex? An afternoon walk around the block will reveal more beige uniforms and delivery vans than ever before. Retail products, groceries, mail, packages—these can all be delivered two, three, four times a day for a single-family. 

And when it comes to multifamily apartments, the sheer number of packages in a delivery service can be staggering.

What’s Behind The Growing Number of Deliveries?

The reasons behind this are simple. For starters, package delivery used to be primarily something done by the three largest mail and package couriers in the US: UPS, USPS, and FedEx. Which meant a tight schedule for the delivery time, usually once a day with the occasional extra stop for special packages. 

Now, Amazon has its own delivery trucks, apps instruct drivers to shop and deliver items, and more nationwide chains are starting to get in on the action.

Then there’s the other, perhaps more glaring reason: online shopping. More people are choosing to shop online and have their packages delivered to their door, versus shopping at a brick and mortar store. Which means more items are being purchased for delivery. Compound that fact with the number of brick and mortar stores offering mail services to customers, a way to buy in-store and ship home.
While the reasons for increased deliveries may be straightforward, the repercussions are not.

What Increased Package Deliveries Mean For Apartments

This increase in package delivery has to be met with a superior organization. Otherwise, property managers will find themselves entrenched in package overload. With apartment mailboxes fit for letters, most couriers will leave packages outside the front entrance of apartments, making missing or stolen deliveries all too prevalent. 

And it’s not just property managers that are feeling the heat with these new delivery demands.

  • Office Managers’ Loss in Time EfficiencyOffices are now offering their employees to receive more than their regular mail of stacked yellow and white envelopes. Those in charge of receiving, sorting, and dropping off mail for an office have suddenly become swamped by the increase in package deliveries sent per day. What seems like a straightforward process can eat away significant amounts of time. And since multiple companies now offer delivery services—the number of delivery drop-offs per day could be five, ten, or more (especially during the holiday season). 

A few minutes are needed for each delivery service. For instance, signing the delivery confirmation, the sorting, and distributing of shipments to the employees. The laws of mathematics are not kind when you aggregate that time over days, weeks, and months. 

  • Courier Services During The Holiday Season – The package deliveries become exponential around the holiday season, putting the traditional courier services in hot water for about 6-8 weeks every year. In response, companies like UPS need to hire about 100,000 seasonal employees just to keep up with demand. That’s a lot of extra hands.
  • Individuals Experiencing Package Theft – Lastly, the individuals who are awaiting their packages are becoming increasingly frustrated by the number of package thefts. Reports have skyrocketed in recent years, and police do their best to manage the situation, but the thefts are swift and often untraceable without video surveillance. 

 This leaves individuals wondering who to call for reimbursements about their priority mail—is it the companies’ responsibility (no), is it the delivery services’ responsibility (not usually), is it covered by insurance?
The consequences hit all sides of the online shopping equation. But to really understand the impact across the country, it’s best to jump into the numbers.

Package Deliveries: Statistics and Figures

When shopping online, there are a few different options nowadays. You can ship it to a nearby store for pickup, you can ship it to your work or home, or you can ship it to a nearby locker. For the majority of people, convenience wins, and packages are delivered to the home. Let’s compare some packaged delivery statistics that show how for multifamily apartments, this presents a demanding situation. How so?
Let’s look at e-commerce as a whole. Since 2010, the number of online purchases has been steadily (read, rapidly) rising.

  • 2010: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 6.4%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $171,000,000,000 (or $171B)

  • 2011: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 7.2%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $201B

  • 2012: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 7.9%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $231B

  • 2013: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 8.7%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $261B

  • 2014: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 9.5%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $299B

  • 2015: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 10.6%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $343B

  • 2016: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 11.6%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $390B

  • 2017: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 13%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $453B

  • 2018: – Percentage of Total Retail Sales: 14.3%

– Total Value of E-Sales: $517B
There are a few assumptions that can be made here. The inflation of price per purchase hasn’t caused significant increase in the total value of online sales (which has been increasing between 10% and 15% every year for the last nine years). And the primary delivery location to the home hasn’t changed over these years. 

In other words, this 10% to 15% increase in sales can be directly correlated to a 10% to 15% increase in package deliveries each year.

The Magic Number: 15

Property managers: here’s what you need to know. If online sales increase by 15% every year, that means 15% more packages are being delivered, which in turn means 15% more interruptions in the day to deal with packages, 15% more time being spent ordering and sorting through these deliveries, and 15% more complaints about stolen packages.
And for anyone who understands compound interest, 15% is a staggering number. Great for businesses, sure! Awful for those on the other end.

If you’ve yet to be overwhelmed by these numbers, then just wait until the holiday season kicks in. It’s package-palooza. And it’s only going to get worse. To avoid wasting time in the day, you need to develop a package delivery plan to create a smooth transition from courier to the apartment unit.

Package Delivery Service Plan

What can be done? It’s the follow-up question for any frustrating situation. And as the holiday season approaches, it’s a question many property managers are struggling to answer. Although not all hope is lost.
There are a few tricks managers have been adopting (particularly for the holiday season).

  • Automatic Notification System – For small to midsize apartment complexes, some property managers have taken to mobile devices to institute order amidst the chaos. As a package comes in from its courier services, the property manager can send an automatic text to the unit that a package has arrived. This helps to create an efficient system where packages aren’t idle in the hall or main entrance where their fate is uncertain. For larger apartment complexes, this can become time intensive.
  • Part-time Employee For The Holiday Season – When couriers drop off ten packages in the morning, at noon, and two mid-day, three in the evening, and five more at night, there’s not much you can do but pull out your hair. Alas, the reality of the holiday season is exactly that. However, you don’t have to be the one damaging your scalp—apartment managers have turned to seasonal employees to help service their tenants’ mail. This will definitely come in handy for the particularly frustrating weeks around the holidays to handle the package onslaught.
  • Smart Lockers – Instead of having to deal with packages coming in and sorting through them, multifamily apartments can have smart lockers installed into their mailroom. This allows for convenience on multiple fronts:
    • Per the courier – Smart lockers, such as the ones offered by Parcel Pending, are compatible with any courier services. Regardless if it’s UPS, USPS, or a small delivery startup, they will be able to navigate and operate the smart lockers.
    • Per the property manager – Knowing that the packages are being sorted and delivered safely means no more time spent in the day sorting through packages or placating package theft complaints.
    • Per the tenant – Having a secure location to pick up your packages at the convenience of your home is a worthwhile amenity for tenants. Renters have commented that they would pay more in rent if the apartment came with smart appliances and smart solutions.

Part of a property manager’s job is to assure the well-being of their residents. When a heater is broken, it’s their job to fix it or to hire someone to fix it. And when the increased package deliveries are resulting in loss, theft, damage, or time inefficiency, it’s their job to figure out a solution.

Optimal Solution: Automation Via Lockers

In terms of a one-time investment that solves the package delivery issue for the foreseeable future, all holiday seasons, and everything in between, the most efficient solution is to install smart lockers. Parcel Pending offers multifamily apartment lockers that cater to any sized apartment complex.
The benefits of Parcel Pending lockers include:

  • Text notifications for residents to pick up their packages as soon as they arrive
  • Customizable design to match the apartment’s aesthetic
  • Customizable lockers for packages big and small, refrigerated or regular
  • Works for any small, mid-sized, or large apartment complex

In an era where automation is increasingly becoming the norm, smart lockers provide an easy solution to a problem that’s growing 15% each year.

UPS. UPS To Hire About 100,000 For Holiday Season. https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1568030066733-734
Market Watch. Does insurance cover your stolen packages? It depends. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/does-insurance-cover-your-stolen-packages-it-depends-2018-12-10
Digital Commerce 360. US ecommerce sales grow 15.0% in 2018. https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/us-ecommerce-sales/
Buildium. Technology can save you time, money, and lost tenants, according to new research. https://www.buildium.com/blog/attract-new-tenants-with-technology/