Take a moment to put yourself in your tenant’s shoes. Imagine the impact of a single lost or stolen parcel. It might be anything from attire for a special occasion to supplies for a dinner party. Think of a tenant who pays for expedited shipping, only to discover a delay occurred right at their property.
This is the reality that property managers face in 2020. Yesterday’s package delivery pipelines allowed modest package volumes to flow from seller to buyer. Today, the nationwide package delivery system is more of a fire hose, blasting high volume parcels from online shopping fulfillment centers. One source indicates that while e-commerce represented 9.0 percent of U.S. retail sales in 2017, it will account for 12.4 percent of sales in 2020.
An article entitled Important Property Management Trends states the case well: “We’re in the era of Amazon. Tenants will need some way of accepting packages at their apartments, many of which don’t have suitable storage.”
It’s easy to see how this dramatic increase in online shopping poses logistical challenges for property managers. Fortunately, it also creates opportunities. Delivery management is yet another way for property managers to deliver superior customer service to tenants who prioritize convenience.
Increased Demand for Package Deliveries
Package delivery issues impact buildings both large and small. A survey of 84,000 renters by Multifamily Executive examined tenant experiences. More than 27 percent of respondents said they have had a problem with package delivery.
The sheer volume of packages presents challenges. For example, it’s common for a 200-unit apartment building to receive an average of 40 parcels per day. Earlier building designs did not account for today’s unprecedented package volumes. One property management executive estimates that every package delivery consumes 10 minutes of worker productivity.
Fortunately, there are smart package delivery management solutions that property owners and managers can take advantage of in order to improve the tenant experience.
Package Delivery Solutions
Here are some tips on how to be proactive about package delivery.
Smart lockers are already serving residents across the country. Residents enjoy 24/7 access using codes delivered via a smartphone app. Real-time notifications speed delivery. An increased level of security benefits all parties. Some smart locker systems include HD surveillance cameras, which take photos as each delivery is completed. Open API integration and advanced analytics appeal to some property managers.
Estimates vary, but one locker for every three to four units often meets demand. A locker layout in a 100-unit building requires about eight linear feet of hallway space. Random locker assignments deter theft.
For a SatisFacts survey, researchers asked participants if it is very important to have 24/7 access to parcel lockers. More than 28 percent ranked it a “10” on a scale of one to 10, and nearly one-third of respondents said they’d be willing to pay a little more to live in a community offering such lockers.
Smart locker systems must still address the challenge of extra-large parcels. Some vendors provide oversized lockers. Others include secure access to a package room. Shipments of perishables are another challenge, particularly as more tenants use grocery delivery services. A report compiled by Nielson and the Food Marketing Institute estimates online grocery shopping will comprise 20 percent of the market by 2025. Accordingly, some services now offer refrigerated lockers.
For some properties, offsite receiving is another package delivery solution. This third-party service addresses some of the limitations of locker systems, as large parcels and refrigerated/frozen items go to an alternate location. It’s likely that demand for offsite receiving will increase. The results of one survey revealed that 70 percent of residents have ordered oversized items that are best served by offsite receiving, such as rugs, furniture ,and exercise equipment. Furthermore, 42 percent of respondents order perishables.
Residents can also elect to activate offsite receiving when they are on vacation, on a business trip, or just working late. Tenants then use a smartphone app to notify the service when they are ready to take the delivery.
Smaller properties might benefit from full-building smart access systems. Delivery people gain access using a code sent via a smartphone app.
Management should weigh the value of personal interaction vs. the efficiency of a tech-savvy system. Tenant demographics and the number of units are variables to consider. Some will still prefer to hand parcels directly to tenants. White glove service is an expected amenity at some boutique properties. In such settings, personal contact is both valued and appreciated.
Assuming secure office space is available, text and/or email notification is an option. Text notifications do require written consent in advance. They also demand the use of a secure platform. With cloud-based package tracking software, a member of the staff scans an arriving package, and the resident will receive automated notifications via text or email.
The SatisFacts renter study supports the idea of email and/or text notification. Eighty-eight percent of respondents preferred an email notification. Interest in text notifications increased from 28 percent in 2011 to 50 percent by 2017.
Permission for apartment access
Another option is to get permission to allow doormen to enter apartments. There is property management software that provides residents with this option. Residents make decisions on a delivery-by-delivery basis.
Return on Investment
An updated package delivery system benefits both residents and property staff. As a property manager, you can reduce labor costs and package support liability while increasing tenant satisfaction at the same time. Your residents will place orders online knowing they’ll receive them in a secure and reliable manner. Likewise, your property staff will welcome an end to parcels piling up in the office–especially during the holidays.
With a streamlined package delivery system in place, you also have a new amenity to highlight. Your prospective tenants may see state-of-the-art package delivery as yet another reason to sign a lease.
Learn More About Our Properties
To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s portfolio of luxury properties, visit draperandkramer.com.