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Aspect at Cortland

Cortland Uses Parcel Pending Lockers to Delight Residents

“Our communities will continue to see increasing numbers of package deliveries, and Parcel Pending lockers will keep us above this rising tide – and enable us to delight our residents for years to come.”
Brian Ericson, Vice President of Marketing Insights, Cortland


With a mission of “Creating Value for a Better Life,” Atlanta-based Cortland, is a full-service multifamily real estate acquisition, development, and operating entity focused on providing superior living spaces and experiences to its residents and producing high-quality NOI performance that generates outsized, risk-adjusted returns for its investors. Cortland owns over 40,000 apartment homes in 18 markets throughout ten states, primarily in the Southeast and Texas. Cortland has been recognized as a National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) Top 50 Owner and Manager (2017) and one of Atlanta’s “2017 Top 25 Large Workplaces.”

Situation: Managing Packages Instead of Properties

Two years ago, Cortland was struggling to manage the rising tide of incoming package deliveries. When packages arrived, they were accepted by the community team, and, somewhat sporadically, tracked in three-ring binders. There was no formal resident notification system, so residents had to track deliveries themselves, and proactively retrieve their packages during conventional office hours.

Eventually, Cortland launched a resident notification solution called “Notifii” to track packages electronically and alert residents when they had a delivery. While this was a big step forward, the system still did not fully solve the problem. Many Cortland communities continued to receive a growing number of packages – with annual increases of 40% or higher – resulting in overcrowded storage rooms. Even more importantly, the teams at these communities were required to spend more and more time managing packages, rather than attending to other resident needs.

One of Cortland’s communities in Austin, The Aspect by Cortland, was receiving between 25-30 packages per day, each requiring about 5-6 minutes for the team to manage and facilitate their delivery. In addition, the majority of the resident pick-ups took place from 4–7 pm, when the office team was typically busy working with prospects or addressing other resident requests. As such, package pick-ups inevitably created interruptions and distracted property managers from other, more important tasks. “Our property management teams were spending too much time on package management, taking them away from their primary responsibilities of managing the property and serving residents,” said Brian Ericson, Cortland’s Vice President of Marketing Insights.

Action: The Selection of Package Lockers from Parcel Pending

Cortland executives believed electronic parcel lockers could be the solution to their package management challenge. As a key member of the Cortland management team, Ericson knew such lockers were a natural progression for Cortland and offered what their residents desired: automated, any time, service. He knew he would have to align Cortland stakeholders and build a business case in order to test the use of lockers, which would have to meet various criteria:

  • Parcel lockers would need to cost-justify their investment
  • The lockers would not reduce the “personal touch” provided by Cortland management to its residents
  • Parcel lockers would need to retain the quality aesthetic appearance of their communities
  • Parcel lockers would need to meet the package delivery volumes of their communities for years to come

Cortland considered several package locker providers to meet their needs. At the top of their list was Parcel Pending, the leading provider of innovative package management solutions. Cortland chose Parcel Pending for several reasons:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Innovative, user-friendly technology
  • Renowned customer service (reaffirmed by an employee’s previous experience)
  • Established relationships with the major package couriers
  • Flexible management and contract terms

In polling residents within their communities about parcel lockers, Ericson found that they were universally excited about the potential to use them. “I knew parcel lockers would be a hit with residents, a ‘no-brainer’ for our company, and that such lockers didn’t require any cost discounting to be successful,” said Ericson.

Results: Surveys Show Lockers a Hit with Residents

Locker Rating of “Very Good” Office Rating of “Very Good”
Convenience 90% 22%
Speed of Pick-up 95% 29%
Notification 77% 33%
Package Security 89% 51%

Cortland’s first locker installation at The Aspect by Cortland took place in October 2016 and was a huge success with both residents and the community team. Managers saw the immediate elimination of time involved with managing packages. Not only were they getting time back to their busy days, managers really enjoyed the drop in interruptions and distractions that increased their efficiency in accomplishing larger, more important tasks.

Even more impressive was the overwhelmingly positive feedback Cortland received from its residents, who were surveyed two months after the lockers’ installation. While most residents admitted they didn’t even know package lockers existed before they were implemented, 82% of them said they preferred the lockers to the previous office-pickup system, and 70% reported they “strongly preferred” them.

“The survey results regarding lockers were about the most positive I have ever seen. Our residents loved having the ability to pick up their packages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even though most of them still actually collected them during relatively normal hours,” said Ericson. “It was evident that many residents were previously unaware of parcel lockers. Even if package pick-up hadn’t been a clear pain point before, after the lockers were installed, they realized what they had been missing.”

By providing innovative, convenient package lockers that are so popular with residents, Cortland is confident this will serve as a positive influence when it comes time for renewals. In fact, 40% of The Aspect by Cortland residents suggested they would be more likely to renew as a result of the lockers. Cortland also believes the lockers will be a popular feature to appeal to the new residents it is looking to attract.

The Future: Parcel Pending Lockers Everywhere

82% 40% 70%
Very Good Satisfaction (versus 31% prior to lockers) Significantly More Likely to Renew Strongly Prefer Package Lockers

With the initial implementation an unqualified success, Cortland moved to install parcel lockers at additional properties. It has already installed lockers from Parcel Pending at three additional communities – in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Austin. The resident feedback from these additional implementations has also been overwhelmingly positive, and the company currently has contracts in place for 6-7 additional communities – with plans to continue rolling out lockers as part of most of their renovation projects in the near future.

“We’ve been so satisfied with Parcel Pending Lockers that we are now planning to implement them at the vast majority of our communities where we are projecting significant package volume of 15 or more deliveries per day,” concluded Ericson. “Our communities will continue to see increasing numbers of package deliveries, and Parcel Pending lockers will keep us above this rising tide – and enable us to delight our residents for years to come.”

Parcel Pending, the leading provider of innovative package management solutions for multifamily communities, was founded with a simple goal in mind: to make package delivery easy and intuitive for everyone. With nearly 4 million packages delivered monthly, we offer a wide range of solutions that ensure convenient, secure, contact-free resident package retrieval.