By Meeghan Fuhr
The rapid growth of e-commerce has fundamentally changed the holiday shopping season with consistent growth in package deliveries each year.
According to the First Data Holiday 2016 SpendTrend Report, about 21 percent of all holiday spending was conducted online, an increase of almost 6 percent from 2015. This trend will likely continue, as FedEx expects to see a record 380-400 million packages shipped and handled this holiday season.
Finding ways to adequately handle the surge in package deliveries is at the forefront of many apartment owners’ and managers’ minds, and smaller firms typically don’t have the space or resources to accept packages at their leasing office, install locker systems or set aside a mail and package room. Many property managers grant carriers access to their buildings to have packages delivered to residents’ doors or common lobby areas. Yet, according to a study done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, an estimated 23 million Americans have had a package stolen from their home, and package theft is a real concern for renters.
With the holidays quickly approaching, how can small-balance apartment owners and operators best manage their residents’ packages?
Be Proactive in your Package Management Plan
As online shopping continues to dominate this holiday season and beyond, there are things property managers can do to help them and their residents better handle the influx of packages.
- Beef up Security
While many renters enjoy the convenience of having packages delivered directly to their door, many still fear that their package will be stolen before they can retrieve it. Although there aren’t many surefire options for smaller firms to combat theft, taking a proactive approach can show residents that you take package management and safety seriously.
Installing additional security cameras in common lobby areas or hallways and putting up signs indicating that the area is being monitored can be great ways to deter theft and bring peace of mind to residents. Making it clear that theft prevention is a priority for management will bring comfort to residents who appreciate the time savings and convenience of at-home deliveries.
- Do Your Research and Educate Residents
Doing research on delivery options for residents ahead of time can provide great value to those who don’t want to risk leaving their packages unattended at home. Carriers such as FedEx, UPS and USPS have addressed package delivery concerns and now provide numerous options for customers. “While we do our utmost to ensure the safe and secure deliver of every package, there are steps our customers can take for added peace of mind,” said Ashley Allen, FedEx Media Relations.
Residents have options for alternate places to send packages, such as their work office, the carriers’ office, or local grocery stores, pharmacies or print shops that partner with the shipping company. Residents may also schedule their delivery date and time directly with the carrier at an additional cost. Doing the legwork and providing a list of local options for residents is a great way to provide additional value to your rental communities.
- Take Note of Emerging Services
Newer companies such as Fetch and Doorman are addressing package delivery issues by allowing residents to ship items to a local warehouse and then schedule a convenient time for their package to be hand-delivered to their door. “E-commerce growth rates continue to accelerate, and at a certain point properties simply don’t have the on-site space or time to dedicate to packages. Our model allows us to scale alongside growing package volumes,” said Michael Patton, founder & CEO of Fetch.
According to Patton, all Fetch customers have signed up their entire building for the service and passed through the cost to residents either through rent or amenity fees. “I think it’s a great option for smaller companies who may not have space in the building or room in the operating budget or capex,” he said.
Package Delivery Issues Won’t Go Away
Package management will always be an issue for apartment communities. Taking a proactive approach and providing options for your renters can set you apart this holiday season, and beyond.