University Mailrooms Are Making Room for Lockers

As students start arriving back on campus, university mailrooms are preparing for the rush of textbooks that will soon be arriving as well. In the age of ecommerce, it is no surprise that many students choose to skip the line in the campus bookstore and order their textbooks online instead. Websites such as Amazon, eCampus, and Chegg offer textbooks at significant savings- giving students yet another reason to order online. But while ordering a textbook is one thing, receiving it is another.

Although many websites offer speedy delivery, the journey a package takes across campus before arriving in a student’s hands can be lengthy. Mailroom staff must manually sort through the abundance of packages they receive each day, slowing down delivery time. This process can be stressful for the mailroom staff managing packages as well as students who have time-sensitive shipments.

Automated, self-service Package Concierge® locker systems offer a solution to these package management problems. Student housing communities equipped with package lockers and package rooms make it easy for their students and staff alike. Lockers relieve stress on mail center staff and allow students to retrieve their packages when it is convenient for them – whether that is between classes or late at night; their packages remain secure until they are able to pick them up.

The Package Concierge® system is designed to be “carrier agnostic.” Whether your Campus Mail Services organization exclusively delivers packages across campus – or if carriers such as UPS, FedEx and USPS deliver their own packages – our package management solution will work for you.

If your university mailroom is swimming in packages and in need of a solution, click here to learn how Package Concierge® can be the management solution for you or contact us directly to discuss your immediate needs!

Introducing the New www.packageconcierge.com

By now we are sure that you have noticed our  website has a new look! As our products and markets have expanded, we wanted to make it easier for you to find information and explore solutions to automate your package management. Naturally we have all the cool features you’d expect, like mobile responsive design and plenty of ways to contact us. Some of the other cool features our new website includes:

But we’re not stopping there- the next phase of improvements is already in the planning stages. Because we are always looking for ways to improve, if you have any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please email us. Happy surfing!

Package Concierge®: Florence Built, Gibraltar Owned

You’ve known us as a great automated locker solution for your package management issues. But since it is what’s inside that matters, here is a little bit more about our story…

Our automated locker solutions are a fusion of the best of two companies:

  • Package Concierge® – who has been innovating package management software for over a decade
  • Florence Corporation – who has been setting the pace for innovation in the centralized mail and package delivery industry since 1934

Automated Lockers solve package management issues.

Package Concierge® founder Georgianna Oliver spent a year developing a solution to the escalating problem of package management before introducing her company in 2012. We were first to market with a solution that went beyond software that could only track the growing mountain of packages, and instead went directly to the heart of the issue – storage and security.

Partnering with Florence Corporation to develop an innovative automated locker that is Made in America, Package Concierge® offers the highest-quality solution in the industry. From its intuitive mobile app to shipping and returns, we are the only secure and seamlessly integrated system for 24/7 package management that also meets all fire and safety standards.

Package Concierge® was acquired by Florence Corporation’s parent company, Gibraltar Industries in 2017. A leading manufacturer and distributor of building products for the industrial, infrastructure and residential markets, Gibraltar’s mission is to achieve best-in-class value creation and shareholder returns through a business strategy focused on operational excellence, product innovation, acquisition growth and portfolio management. As part of Gibraltar Industries, Florence Corporation and Package Concierge® have the resources and reach to be your solution provider of choice.

With more systems and users being added every week, our automated locker solutions are installed throughout North America in a variety of business types:

  • Apartments
  • Retail
  • University
  • Corporate Office

We’d love to explore locker solutions with you! Together, let’s see how Package Concierge® can help improve your package management process. Simply contact us through our website, or by calling 888-989-7225.

Package Concierge® Unveils Package Concierge Room

We are proud to be the multifamily industry’s preeminent supplier and innovator of digital locker solutions.  It is important for us to always innovate ways to exceed package management needs for both apartment renters and apartment operators.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the release of a new product designed to further expand the accessibility of package management capabilities industry-wide: Package Concierge Room.

As the latest extension in the Package Concierge locker collection, the Package Room completely eliminates the management burden of handling inbound and outbound packages by providing a designated, secure space for oversized packages that are too large to fit into the lockers. The Package Room can either be utilized as a standalone solution or paired with the Premier or Express Locker series. The overflow space additionally offers the capability to use the room specifically for carrier pick-up of resident shipping and outbound return packages.

“Package delivery continues to be on the rise and this trend isn’t going to let up anytime soon. It’s evident a solution is needed now more than ever to provide both apartment management and residents alike the most robust and convenient package management solutions,” said Georgianna W. Oliver, general manager and founder of Package Concierge. “With the Package Concierge Room, owner/operators are relieved of the burden of package management duties while residents can access their packages whenever is convenient for them. It’s win-win for the industry. Leasing teams will take back their time to focus on customer service instead of package management, and residents have ultimate freedom with shipping and receiving deliveries.”

Package Concierge Package Room Kiosk

 

 

A sleek surface-mounted kiosk that includes a 7-inch touch screen, barcode reader, still camera and effortless technology is used to control the Package Room. Automation with property management software creates efficiency for onsite staff and package carriers, allowing for easy drop-off or retrieval abilities. Residents have 24-hour access to retrieve and return packages with the ease of mobile app technology.

A recent survey conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council on renter preferences indicated that package management is top of mind, with 57 percent of residents saying they are highly interested or interested in package lockers. Almost half of the survey respondents said they receive at least three packages per month.

“The Package Concierge Room answers the package management needs of today while ensuring communities are prepared to manage the package needs of tomorrow,” said Oliver. “Consumer buying trends are changing, and more retailers are offering free or low-cost shipping on large items. Just imagine, an apartment resident can order a new TV on Cyber Monday, have it shipped in two days, and have it securely delivered to the Package Room. It is the ultimate convenience amenity.”

The new Package Room includes:

    • USA-made product
    • Mobile app convenience
    • Sleek-technology kiosk and user-friendly management dashboard
    • Maintenance and test-locker functions
    • Alternative space for carrier pick-up of outbound and return packages
    • Capability of refrigerated appliances for cold-storage deliveries

To learn about Package Concierge’s package management solutions, please visit www.packageconcierge.com.

Increasing Demand: Renter Survey Indicates Desire for Package Solutions Continue to Rise

High-speed Internet wasn’t a high priority for apartment residents in the past. Nowadays, it’s not only a demand – it’s an expectation.

The preferences of renters will evolve as technology evolves.

At the cusp of that ever-changing concept is the increasing demand for a package solution. According to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report, 57 percent of those renters surveyed were very interested or highly interested in package lockers. And 47 percent indicated they receive at least three packages per month, which coincides with the interest in package solutions.

The rising expectations correspond with the skyrocketing trend of ecommerce.  One can reasonably project that more than 80 percent of renters will desire a package solution within the next few years. Questions about packages weren’t even included in the 2015 version of the bi-annual renter survey. Since then, we have monopolizing e-commerce giants validating the need for the product and entering the multifamily industry.

Apartment renters are a clever bunch. They notice when a community cannot keep pace with the rising influx of packages. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at community reviews on Yelp, Google or Apartment Ratings.

While package preferences are definitely worth monitoring, here are a few other notable findings from the renter survey, which is the largest ever of apartment residents. More than 272,000 respondents took part.

Other must-have community amenities

Reliable cellphone reception, naturally, is an expectation for renters. Of those polled, 92 percent are interested and 78 percent of those interested won’t least without it. Secure resident parking (88 percent interest) and secure amenity access (84) also rate highly.

Must-have apartment features

We mentioned that high-speed Internet wasn’t always an expectation for renters. Now, 93 percent are interested and 63 percent will not lease without it. That is surpassed only by air conditioning with regard to apartment features, of which 94 percent are interested and 92 won’t rent without.

Renting is a lifestyle, not a necessity for many

People rent for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they just moved to town, are saving for a down payment on a home or are between homes. But the top reported reason, which is a key characteristic of the millennial demographic, is the desire for convenience and flexibility. Twenty-three percent of those polled rated this the primary reason why they rent.

Reviews, short-term rentals gaining popularity

Four out of five renters indicated that reviews influenced their decision, which is a concept that is continuing to evolve. Another growing trend is the desire to generate income through short-term rentals, utilizing home-share services such as Airbnb. This is particularly true among younger renters. Of those aged 25 or younger, 49 percent reported interest in short-term rentals (only 32 percent of those aged 65 or higher were interested).

Preferences of renters will continue to reconfigure, particularly with the onslaught of smart-home technology. The challenge for apartment operators is to keep pace with their demands.

 

 

 

 

 

Package Concierge® Delivers for Canvas LA

Canvas LA, a downtown Los Angeles luxury apartment community, offers more than 25 different floor plans of studio to three-bedroom units. The community includes resort-style amenities and aims to cater its residents. Canvas LA began using a package locker system from Package Concierge in March.

Challenge | Relieve management over-burdened with resident packages 

As a result of the rising popularity of online shopping, Canvas LA’s management team had become increasingly swamped with the influx of resident packages.

William Corwin, Canvas LA’s senior business manager, said the 210-unit apartment community sometimes received as many as 65 to 70 packages in one day. And that number was continually climbing.

“It was just getting too overwhelming for us in the office,” Corwin said. “We spoke to the owners about the package challenge because it was just taking up too much of our time.”

Corwin said management’s initial plan budgeted package lockers for 2018. But the package problem needed an immediate fix.

The Canvas LA leasing team was spending upwards of three hours a day on packages. The time spent on deliveries was taking away from overseeing other duties. They couldn’t focus on community tours, maintenance requests and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations.

Solution | Sophisticated Technologies

Online shopping has been on the rise, and will continue to devour the consumer market. Internet sales made up 3 percent of consumer expenditure in 2006, and rose to 15.5 percent in 2016.

With such a growing preference for online shopping, especially among Canvas LA’s predominant demographic of young professionals, the solution to relieving management of package duties was to install a Package Concierge package locker system in the community.

Package Concierge had the edge over other systems because of its sophisticated technology.

“Some of the locker systems we considered, you get an email that gives you a number for each package. Then you go to a kiosk, punch in the number and it opens the locker,” Corwin said. “We love the fact that there is an app for Package Concierge. We also love that, when a resident gets their pin code number, if they have five packages, all of the lockers open.

Results | Diminished package hardship in office, satisfied residents

Three weeks after installing the Package Concierge package locker system, 71 percent of Canvas LA residents had already signed up.

The demand of Canvas LA’s onsite team to handle the increased volume of packages was mitigated after installing the locker system. Management has more time to focus on other issues affecting the community. Packages are more accessible than ever to residents.

“The residents are loving it. And of course we’re loving it in the office now that we’re not spending two to three hours a day logging packages and going through the process of contacting residents and giving them out,” Corwin said.

“We’re extremely happy. It’s a sophisticated but really easy-to-use system.”

Package Concierge Silver Speck 88-locker Installation at Canvas LA

What to Expect this Holiday Shipping Season – It Doesn’t Have to be a Jungle Out There

The holidays are right around the corner and so is holiday shipping. Black Friday is eagerly sitting on top of a massive pile of delivery packages with a Grinch-esque smile on its face just waiting for the festivities to begin.

As we enter the last months of the year, peak gift-giving season is upon us. Shopping and holiday shipping are about to get wild.

Online shopping industry continues to flex its market muscles as the go-to method. But the aura of the holiday season still holds a strong draw towards brick-and-mortar stores. Yes, people will still ship gifts purchased in person as opposed to ordering online. And with the emergence of shipping and returning apps, holiday gift shipping is going to be in full force this year.

Aside from cost-savings, a chief advantage to this shipping is that you don’t have to wait in line at the Post Office or FedEx. Stores like Crate & Barrel and Nordstrom’s will ship in-store purchases directly to an address. Now you don’t have to worry about dealing with that on your own.

Another popular trend, “ship-from-store,” is where brick-and-mortar retailers fulfill online orders from stores nearby; not from distribution centers miles away. This helps retailers stay competitive against e-commerce giants and also offers the customer faster shipping at lower costs and reduced markdowns.

But the game-changer in retail shipping is the peer-to-peer shipping app.

Dubbed Uber for shipping, apps like Roadie, Dolly, UberRush and more connect drivers/transporters and senders. Anything from packages to pets can be transported this way.  Apps like these, either for local or international shipments, are especially handy for holiday shipping.

The changing landscape of peer-to-peer shipping is something the multifamily industry should be cognizant of.  Many apartment communities have already had to come up with package management solutions with the influx of deliveries from the rise of online shopping. But many are still manually holding deliveries in the back office instead of in package lockers. A strong package management solution ensures the office staff is able to keep up with all the incoming deliveries. And it will also make peer-to-peer shipping much easier as well.

Regardless of where the package is coming from, technology has made shipping easier and more convenient for everyone. Contact us to get your package management solution installed before the holiday rush.

Work-at-Home Businesses Require Package Efficiency

The rise of the Internet has impacted the globe in many ways. One of the biggest changes from the digital age is the fact people don’t have to leave their homes anymore… for anything, really. People can have a work-at-home business.  They can shop from home. They can get groceries delivered straight to their front door. It’s easier than ever before to place orders online with the click of a button.

But it doesn’t stop there.

An increasing number of millennial and Gen-Xers are operating businesses out of their homes; representing companies such as LuLaRoe, Matilda Jane, Thirty-One and Etsy.

Many are enamored by the ease of running a home-based business. However, apartment renters, who make up a large portion of the millennial/Gen X demographic, can find it to be quite challenging because of the abundance incoming and outgoing shipments. These businesses require frequent, if not constant, deliveries that are shipped and received at home. Lost or delayed shipments can result in an immediate negative impact to their business success.

Apartment communities can assist here. Any community equipped with a 24-hour package locker system and a package room for larger shipments can dramatically help residents successfully run their home businesses. Depending on the industry supply contents can vary. However, in nearly every case, timely shipments are the lifeblood of the business.

Here is a look at some of the most common products shipped to these types of home-based, digitally run businesses:

    • Clothing
    • Home Decor
    • Skin Care/Cosmetics
    • Craft, Textiles & Other Homemade Goods

As work-at-home business continues to expand, so will their presence at apartment communities. Shipments will be amplified for these residents, and having an effective package management system in place can be the difference between losing and retaining them. With the sizable increase of work-at-home businesses, having a package solution onsite can serve as a marketing tool on its own. Prospects are already excited when they see package locker systems at a community they are touring. Having this amenity could be an even bigger draw to someone who is interested in or has already established an at home-based business.

Technology Implementations Today, Avoid Budget Busters in 2018

Overwhelmed leasing team members were creatively dealing with package management by stacking packages to clear out enough space to get to their desks and start the day.

Sound familiar?

It’s a plight many in the multifamily industry have become privy to. There has been a spike in online ordering but a lack of space to store the overabundance of packages. Currently, Americans spend more than $300 billion annually on online retailers. Community managers, leasing agents and team members burn several hours a week organizing these packages. That organization is just so they’ll have some idea where to look when residents come to pick them up.

To end the madness, communities are adopting package management technologies as a brisk, effective solution. However, communities shouldn’t wait until panic-mode sets in to make the call. Rather than grasping at contingency funds, planning ahead by adding a line item into the 2018 budget to implement a technology that best suits community needs will be a true life saver.

There are five options available to create more efficient package management. When evaluating which is the most appropriate solution for your community, keep in mind factors like your community size, accessibility, possible locations and even your renter demographic.

    1. Package Logging Software: Through this service, residents receive text and email reminders that a package has arrived. This eliminates the steps in which residents call to check if a package has arrived, or a community team member calls the resident to notify them that it’s in. This is a solid option for smaller and midsize communities. It is cost-effective and allows for near-immediate implementation. However, some of the existing hurdles will remain. This solution still requires some staff involvement and doesn’t allow for round-the-clock package retrieval.
    2. Software-Driven Package Rooms: This service remains cost-effective, further reduces staff involvement and allows residents round-the-clock access to retrieve their packages. Residents receive a text and email with a one-time code and their signature is required for entry into the package room. However, privacy and security isn’t as thorough with the packages on shelves rather than in lockers.
    3. Smart Package Room Systems: This is a more technologically savvy version of the software-driven package room and features similar benefits.  Camera footage of those retrieving packages is available to assist with accountability. Licensing fees might also be a little higher. While it offers a high level of security, it still isn’t quite as secure as a package locker system.  Technology innovations are moving towards greater security.
    4. Digital Package Locker Systems: The most convenient solution. It has the highest level of security, greatest privacy and the least amount of staff involvement. It also serves as a 24/7 amenity. This solution is also a future-proof solution, with the capability to incorporate any technological updates into the existing framework. While this solution has the highest upfront capital expenditure, the ROI in staff time saved and resident satisfaction can cover the cost within the first year.
    5. The Full Package Package Management Solution: eCommerce trends are shifting. Residents are ordering more, bigger items and looking to ship items to their friends or family and want an easy way to return items. A key solution is combining the convenience and security of locker systems with the flexibility and size of smart rooms. With lockers installations that can be customized to fit any aesthetic or configured in a variety of ways, this comprehensive solution is primed to meet any future package management needs a community may have. Consider a new comprehensive package center for your residents with secure, easy-to-use lockers next to a smart room with a commercial grade freezer for all possible shipments that need refrigeration, custom shelving units to fit packages of any size or even tables equipped with packaging materials for every carrier. With this solution, the options are truly limitless.

Online package ordering is increasing nearly 10% each year and the trend, if anything, is increasing. If your community team can handle the influx, that’s fantastic. If not, we recommend budgeting now and planning ahead for one of the above solutions.

Skip the Stores: Browse the Web This Year for Back-to-School Necessities

A new school year is upon us. Time to gear up – mentally and physically.

Traditional back-to-school shopping in stores can be overwhelming. Aisles and checkout lanes get congested, hot supplies can sell out quickly.  Sometimes you run around all over town looking for that one thing that doesn’t even seem to exist – like that elusive yellow pocket folder.

Purchasing school, even college, necessities online can be a huge time-saver. It can also be extremely beneficial for sparing sanity and conserving the bank account. Here are some of the top websites for all your back-to-school necessities from clothing to classroom supplies:

Target + Walmart

Target offers a larger variety of brands and price ranges in-store, but nothing really beats the Target.com feature “School List Assist.” It allows users to order a student’s entire school list with one click. Find all your supplies behind a desktop or click of a mobile device, and you’re all. Shoppers can either have the haul delivered or pick it up at a store. Like Target, Walmart.com also allows users to purchase entire school supply lists with one click.

Amazon

The retail giant is an obvious go-to online shopping choice, especially when it comes down to big savings on textbook expenses. Amazon really does have it all in addition to reliable, fast delivery options. Students can also gain significant savings with a six-month free trial of Amazon Prime Student, and 50 percent off a Prime membership upon upgrade.

Staples + Office Depot

Staples has every type of in-classroom gear any student at any level could ever need, sometimes accompanied by great sales. Office Depot offers free delivery on qualifying orders of $9.99 or more if you’re in one of its local delivery areas. Oh, and your online order will be ready in an hour.

Pinterest

This isn’t really a typical place to shop for school necessities. It does offer great ideas for all types of school supplies, it also has so many different, unique products for purchase. You can search under “buyable pins” for anything from clothing to pencils or even dorm room decor. Simply browsing Pinterest can also give people plenty of great ideas for repurposing old items or finding cheap, easy DIY projects.

DormCo

Here’s a website where you can purchase bulk packages of dorm essentials at massive bundled savings. Everything you need for college, from bed sheets and cooking gear, to desk supplies and backpacks, is on dormco.com. And shipping is always $2.95 on your entire order, whether you order one time or 100.

Dollar Tree

If you’re just going for mega-savings, this is your best option, hands down. This is a great place to help stock up your teacher’s supplies too. Think pens, notepads, stickers, sticky notes, antibacterial wipes, tissues and even zip-lock bags. It is a one-stop shop to help provide some much needed supplies for those teachers who work so hard for our kids.

Back-to-school in Multifamily

Keeping in mind that 37 percent of American households rent rather than own – and 61 percent of these renters live in apartments – having a reliable way to retrieve packages is a must for a significant segment of back-to-school shoppers.

This is where apartment operators should take heed. Roughly 25 percent of your residents are currently in some state of back-to-school mode, and they crave a safe, secure and convenient place to get their items. This is another hidden season in which a package locker system – or package room for larger purchases such as bedding and desks – can make a world of difference for your residents and keep your leasing offices from pulling up with back-to-school supplies.

Whether consumers are picking up school gear at the store or getting it delivered, online shopping has undoubtedly transformed the art of back-to-school shopping.  Apartment communities that provide a reliable place to receive the influx of new goodies are ahead of the game.