Prepping for the Holiday Package Management Rush

For a community manager and onsite team, abundant holiday packages can be a lot to handle over a short period of time. Georgianna Oliver of Package Concierge offers tips on how to make this process more manageable during one of the busiest times of the year.

By Georgianna W. Oliver

Georgianna Oliver, CEO of Package Concierge

Georgianna Oliver, CEO of Package Concierge

For apartment residents, the thought of an abundance of holiday packages is an enticing prospect. For a community manager and onsite team, it can be a lot to handle over a short period of time.

Package delivery continues at historic rates, and that trend is only exacerbated during the holidays. The communities unequipped to handle the mass influx can risk getting buried in a virtual sea of holiday shipments, a vast array of multi-sized boxes that can easily clog leasing offices and protrude out the door.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. More and more apartment operators and individual communities have discovered ways to ease the holiday burden. And, most importantly, ensure their residents happily receive their shipments safely and after office hours. Here are a few tips for conquering the holiday package rush:

Train and work with delivery teams

Whether it’s a traditional carrier such as FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service or something more cutting-edge such as UberRUSH, they need to know the drill at your community. The quicker you can communicate your desired process, the more rapidly you can pass along the packages to your residents.

Many of these outlets will have repeat carriers or even an exclusive delivery individual that comes to your property, so training them won’t be too cumbersome of a task. But it’s wise to have a process in place for each new carrier as well, a uniform training tutorial that is ready to be implemented.

Encourage residents to utilize ship-from-store and peer-to-peer shipping apps

While some Millennials and Gen Z’ers wouldn’t even consider shipping a holiday package offline and visiting an actual brick-and-mortar store, many of them will. There’s something about the aura of the holiday lights that brings out even the most steadfast of online shoppers into the real world. Physical stores are helping ease the convenience with a ship-from-store option, in which brick-and-mortar stores fulfill orders from within rather than from distant distribution centers. In an effort to stay competitive in the ecommerce space, this also allows residents to ship a purchased item immediately rather than standing in line at the post office.

Likewise, peer-to-peer shipping apps such as Roadie and Dollie essentially serve as an Uber for shipping. This is particularly consumer-friendly in the holiday season to help sidestep the package madness. Residents can also utilize the concept of printing shipping labels from within their apartments and dropping off their packages without having to go offsite.

Keep in mind the hidden holidays

While the traditional holiday season undoubtedly will produce the most sizable surge of package delivery, don’t forget a few others can result in a sneaky uptick. Amazon Prime Day, for instance, has already become a global phenomenon in its first two years. Launched in July 2016, it resulted in the largest sales day ever for the online retail giant. Prime Day outdid itself this summer, as the self-created holiday surpassed the combined sales total of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016. We saw an increase in packages delivered two days after Prime Day of close to 40 percent!

Other hidden holidays include Memorial Day and Labor Day, the linchpins of the pre and post-summer package delivery. Back-to-school time is also increasing its ecommerce presence as the shipping of clothes, school supplies and textbooks is vastly increasing in popularity. Traditional back-to-school outlets such as Target and Walmart are allowing consumers to skip the whirlwind of the in-store experience and purchase an entire-back-to-school list with a single click. Office Depot provides free shipping on orders above $9.99 and will have it ready to go within an hour.

The pre-Halloween weeks are responsible for a growing number of costumes purchased online, and Thanksgiving season results in rising food supply shipments. Some hidden holidays that aren’t as apparent include Super Bowl Sunday. Fans flock to order gear for the big game, even if their own team is eliminated—and the 100th Day of School. We’re not making this one up, as it is an emerging holiday for younger students, which takes place sometime in February and usually includes a craft-related component and rewards for students.  

And although we haven’t gotten through the 2017 holiday season yet, remember Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

All of these hidden holidays can provide varying degrees of increased shipments to your community, and being aware of them will help onsite teams manage them. Nothing will compare to the Holiday season rush, however, and following these ideas will create not only a better experience for your leasing teams, but for your residents as well. That’s what’s truly important, as the last thing you want is a grumpy resident base during what is supposed to be the most cheery time of the year.

Georgianna W. Oliver is the general manager & founder of Package Concierge, a leading package management provider in the industry with more than 10 million package transactions, as well as 65,000 installed lockers serving over 200,000 residents across the United States.

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