Package Volume Increase Means Greater Need for Automated Lockers

Whether you are a retailer who ships orders to customers, or a multi-family property receiving those packages for your residents, you can attest to the continued increase in the amount of packages being sent.

According to the recently released Pitney Bowes Shipping Index Report for 2017, the United States has had an 8% increase in package volume from the previous year. What does that look like? A total of 11.9 BILLION packages sent in 2017. . .or an average of 37 packages per person! Multiply that number by your total residents and suddenly you have a number that can easily require a full-time job to manage. And, with that growth being attributed to the continued rise of eCommerce, retailers are also feeling the pressure to meet customer delivery demands.

Both retailers and multi-family property owners are meeting this challenge head on by utilizing automated locker systems as part of their solution. With a secure location for packages that can be accessed 24/7, automated locker users appreciate the convenience of retrieving their packages on their own schedule. But how do you determine how many automated lockers are needed per delivery?

A good rule of thumb is 1.75 lockers multiplied by the number of packages per day. So for instance, if you are managing 50 packages per day that would mean you would need to provide a minimum 88 lockers (1.75 x 50 = 88). Of course this just provides for an average delivery day and doesn’t take into account seasonality, like back-to-school or the holidays, where more lockers would most likely be needed.

Our product experts would be happy to help you determine the number of automated lockers appropriate for your situation. Simply contact us and see how easy it would be to add Package Concierge® locker systems into your location.

Lockers are the Icing on the Cake for Your BOPIS Strategy!

As ecommerce continues to grow, more and more consumers are choosing to do their shopping online. “Buy online/pick-up in store” (BOPIS) is becoming a favored option for both consumers and retailers alike. The convenience of shopping from the home, office, etc. and avoiding shipping costs has made this method a popular addition to the standard brick and mortar shopping experience. But how do retailers take this increasingly popular trend to the next level in order to provide the seamless experience customers demand?

One way that retailers are evolving with the trend is by incorporating automated locker systems, such as Package Concierge®, into their stores for order fulfillment process. Package Concierge® automated locker systems are a time and cost friendly solution on both ends of the spectrum. Lockers draw customers into the brick and mortar location, giving them the opportunity to make additional purchases and retailers can leverage the store for inventory and fulfillment. The Package Concierge® cloud-based proprietary software is designed to easily integrate with existing retail systems and if the locker is placed outside it offers 24/7 accessibility for order pickup. This accessibility increases customer satisfaction while providing a process that is efficient for customers and employees alike.

Ready to give lockers a try? Put us to the test! If you are ready to explore a pilot program we can have an automated Package Concierge® locker solution in your location, ready to use in as little as four weeks.

With an *NPS of 87, customers have spoken and they love using lockers!

Contact us today to learn more about our no-cost pilot program at (888) 388-6680 or retail@packageconcierge.com.

*Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty metric that measures customers’ willingness to… return for another purchase or service or recommend to their family, friends or colleagues. NPS is a number from ‐100 from 100. Scores higher than 0 are typically considered to be good and scores above 50 are considered to be excellent. Reference: Ikea ‐9; Costco 79. Source: Customer Guru 2018.

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.

Digital Journal Article Highlights the Importance of Package Management

Penny Lasater, Package Concierge®
Senior Product Manager

As eCommerce continues to grow, more and more consumers are choosing to do their shopping online. Buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS) is becoming commonplace due to the convenience of shopping from your home or office, combined with free shipping and faster delivery. But how do retailers take this business imperative to the next level in order to become a true omni-channel retailer?

One way retailers are evolving with this growing trend is by incorporating automated locker systems, such as Package Concierge® into their stores for order retrieval. Package Concierge® offers a time and cost friendly solution.

Our Senior Product Manager, Penny Lasater, recently spoke with Digital Journal about Package Concierge® lockers and the future of eCommerce. In the interview, Lasater discusses the importance of last mile delivery fulfillment and the technology behind Package Concierge® lockers. Check out the full article here to learn how automated lockers can be a solution for you.

How The Digital Locker System Can Benefit Your Business

Chances are, if you’re reading this digital article, then you’ve ordered something online. A lot of you have purchased something online within the past week. Some of us have ordered things online today and some of the packages may even be sitting in a digital locker system awaiting your retrieval.

According to a recent study from Forrester Research Inc., online retail sales in the U.S. are expected to increase 49.7 percent from $334 billion (2015) to nearly $500 billion (2019).

Today’s consumer is increasingly turning away from brick-and-mortar stores and shopping online, and with that comes an increased expectation when it comes to package delivery from retailers and e-tailers. Consequently, businesses strive to keep up in an increasingly competitive market.

To challenge big online brands like Amazon and eBay, brick-and-mortar retailers are creating their own online shops and turning to delivery and pickup alternatives to compete while also cutting costs.

 

How, then, are these smaller businesses competing with online giants? More and more online retailers and e-tailers are investing in intelligent lockers to beat the last-mile delivery problem – all while making it faster, safer and more accessible to the consumer.

A digital locker system benefits small businesses because it is a smart, secure way to store those packages, but also convenient to the consumer when they are ready to pick up their package. An added bonus: It drives foot traffic to their store. During a time when showrooming is becoming more popular (or when someone shops in-store and then actually purchases online), the added benefit of in-store foot traffic means that smaller businesses benefit from in-person sales, online sales and a decrease in the expense to package and ship the item to the consumer.

Condo and apartment complexes, dorms and school-based housing, and businesses alike are also benefiting from locker systems by improving their package delivery experience. Even traditional malls are getting in on the action. After the transformation from warehouses of retail stores to centers of experiences with game areas, fitness centers, bars and amusement arenas, malls are now becoming a location of choice for locker systems as consumers look for ideal places to enjoy their lives and still pick up their packages.

Digital locker systems provide a safe and secure place where packages can be managed without significant amounts of time invested by management staff – a location open 24/7 for residents to retrieve their packages whenever it’s most convenient for them.

Package Concierge® offers three levels of American-made, customizable locker storage solutions. All solutions allow users to manage their accounts through an app or desktop portal, and provide reports detailing the delivery history and other data can be accessed quickly and securely.

The Premier Locker Series

The Premier lockers can be customized to fit any space, including a condo hallway, business corridor or dorm parking garage, and feature a design being lauded by online publications. Have an L-shaped location perfect for a locker system? Package Concierge® can customize the design, shape and colors, and even split the system up if needed.  To top it all off, the Premier series features an 8″ x 10″ commercial-grade touchscreen interface with RFID reader, built-in camera and barcode reader.

The Express Locker Series

With a slightly smaller touchscreen (5″ x 7″) but still featuring a built-in camera and barcode reader, the Express series has three popular colors to pick from. The modular design allows for the Linux-compatible kiosk to be used either as a standalone system or with a more extensive system.

The Package Concierge Room

What do you do when someone orders an oversized package such as tires or a custom chair? The Package Room creates that safe, secure space for oversized parcels (or when the locker system is extra full!) and can be used as a standalone product or paired with the Express or Premier systems.

Three Ways To Improve The Package Delivery Experience

Experience is Everything

Isn’t it all about the experience? When it comes to improving package delivery service, we have learned that many e-commerce merchants simply don’t know where to start. We’ll highlight three ways any merchant can begin the process of delivering a seamless experience, which in turn improves a buyer’s package delivery experience.

Major e-commerce giants make mistakes all the time. In fact, they seem to make their worst mistakes at the worst possible times, so merchants of all sizes should be proactive when managing communications in general. As merchants develop a better package delivery experience, brand image strengthens to grow the business.

Empowering customers with different ways to receive packages

The struggle is real when e-commerce merchants try to find solutions to the problem of last-mile delivery. Getting pilfered by a porch pirate is the least concern. A smart business understands the benefit of giving customers a number of package delivery options from which to choose.

Major shipping brands offer their customers as many as eight delivery options, based on how timely customers want their deliveries. We’ve seen small, growing merchants have much success with in-store pickup service alongside a range of delivery options. A smart merchant understands which products need shipping at all and which products require a more thorough experience for the customer.

Sending frequent delivery notifications

In any context, businesses that send their customers a variety of frequent communications have an edge over their rivals. Email, text messaging and a customer order-tracking page are three easy wins; however, social media has finally turned the worm for everyone, especially for merchants.

Social media puts customers in near-constant contact with brands as users share, rate and review content. It’s all about visibility to the customer, which is why successful brands take the time to address any negative publicity online.

Emailing delivery status updates has become par for the course, so if merchants don’t want to shank a drive and double bogey, they must develop constant communications with customers.

Offering branded and eco-friendly packaging

It’s a common mistake for merchants to focus on branding before operations, but once business starts flowing, the need for better branding becomes apparent. The good news is, offering green, eco-friendly packaging kills two birds with one stone.

To qualify as eco-friendly packaging, also known as sustainable packaging, packaging material must be: reusable, recycled or biodegradable. Paper, cardboard and biodegradable plastics are three basic types of eco-friendly packaging that are both safe for the environment and recyclable.

Eco-friendly packaging demonstrates that a merchant has the customer’s lifestyle in mind. Our recommendation is to make sure your packages are as eye-catching as possible. Customers come to associate with and, best of all, promote a brand that solves a common problem after delivering a package.

After all, it’s all about the experience. Improving a customer’s package delivery experience doesn’t happen overnight. Our advice is to start with these three basic tactics before thinking about a more comprehensive package delivery strategy.

At Package Concierge, we show the benefit of combining traditional package delivery services with innovative electronic package management solutions.

Valentine’s Day Gifts & Delivery

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Are you prepared with that special gift for that special someone? Is your building prepared for the onslaught of gifts that may arrive on that special day?

If you think that you can treat February 14 as “just another day at the office,” think again. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans shelled out over $18 billion in gifts last year – most of them purchased online. The NRF also noted that pet gifts comprised an astonishing 20% of the purchases!

Just as Cyber Monday rivals Black Friday shopping around Christmas, online retail sales for Valentine’s Day is on the rise. How will you handle all of the packages that will come into your building? Will your residents and office tenants be satisfied with the level of service that you are able to provide with your current equipment and personnel?

Most residential and office buildings have a system of check-in whereby the carrier delivers the packages to one, central location. Building and leasing staff then notifies residents that packages are available for pick up and during what hours. Of course, this system usually entails dedicating at least one staff member whose day will consist of constant interruptions to retrieve packages or allow residents into the secure package area.

If you are still looking for ideas for your Valentine, here are some helpful items.

What to Buy Him

You know him almost as well as you know yourself. You can, and do, finish one another’s sentences. Yet when it comes to choosing the perfect gift, you are stumped.

Don’t fret! The Huffington Post compiled a list of Valentine’s Day gifts for him that are not over-the-top lovey-dovey. Some of the gifts involve shaving products – not necessarily romantic, but perfect for the practical side of your man. Other gifts include clothing items, whether or not your man is infatuated with the great outdoors. Fitness items, concert tickets, home décor and electronics round out the list.

Framing his favorite photos or having them reprinted on glass presents another great option.

What to Buy Her

Flowers and candy are always good options and greatly appreciated but can be construed as trite. Jewelry may be out of your price range or simply not make the right statement at this point in your relationship. And clothing? Unless you can guess the perfect size and style, it is probably best to avoid this option.

Fortunately, The Washingtonian rides to the rescue with unique and creative Valentine’s Day gifts that will send the right message without breaking the bank.

Books of any sort show that you respect her mind, whether it is a kitschy coffee table book or a beautifully bound journal in which she can write her own story. Throw in a stylish pen set or a pack of fun, colored writing utensils, and you can show her that you truly understand her personality.

Gifts that pamper – whether a lovely, scented candle, a stove-top espresso maker, hair or skin care products, or something to make her home more cozy – always hit the mark. For additional pampering, try a box of scented bath oils or salt scrubs, or a gift certificate to a local spa.

What to Buy Your Building

Package Concierge provides durable, digital, fire-resistant lockers that safely store packages for pickup any time of the day or night, seven days out of the week. A simple, four-step system ensures that all packages are ready whenever your residents are.

Residents receive an instant notification that their packages have arrived. They can then retrieve the packages from their lockers using a pin number.

No stolen packages. No perishable items wasting. No upset resident that wasn’t able to access their special gift because the leasing office was closed before they could get home. In short, Package Concierge takes one huge worry off of your mind and your residents’ – whether or not packages will arrive safely. Now the only thing they need to decide is what that package will contain!

Ten Things To Look Forward To In 2018

As we say so long to 2017, we can’t help but wonder what the New Year is going to catapult our way.

Tech innovations are getting more advanced every day. The nation’s political climate is changing by the minute. Industries have been constantly adapting to our ever-evolving world – especially multifamily – which some say is a late technology bloomer and has plenty of room for growth.

What can we expect from 2018? Here are ten things that we can look forward to:

1. Purple is 2018’s Official Color

Pantone selected ultra violet as the color of 2018: a “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade,” Pantone said. Inventive and imaginative, complex and contemplative and intrigue into what lies ahead.

2. AI and Smart Homes

Remember that Disney Channel movie from the 90s, “Smart House?” Sans the bossy AI-computer named PAT who goes rogue and takes control of the entire house and locks the family inside, smart houses are an actual thing. And smart apartment features are regularly being incorporated into new developments. This trend is not only a luxury; it’s becoming embedded into the workplace, is creating the biggest buzz in HR circles and ids becoming an expectation in apartments as technology becomes more mainstream for consumers.

3. Virtual Reality May Go Mainstream

Or it may not. But VR platforms are really appealing to people these days, and the tech industry is on a roll. We have seen VR enter the multifamily space and it has been steadily growing in the consumer world. Will it make a big jump in popularity in 2018? We’ll see.

4. eCommerce Wins Consumer Race

2018 might be the year eCommerce jumps ahead of traditional retail in the consumer-purchasing race. Online shopping isn’t running out of steam. More and more people find the notion of 2-day shipping or the potential for 2-hour shipping to be very appealing. But will it be too good to be true? It will be interesting to see if package delivery carriers can keep up with the demand.

5. Increased Marketing Automation

More and more industries are adopting marketing automation to keep up with consumers online. Apartment owners and operators have been investing in automation software to streamline processes that are eating up too much time out of leasing associates’ schedules.

6. The 2018 Winter Olympics

Who doesn’t love a good major international multi-sport event? The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea in February. The best from all over unite for days of competition and we root for the Red, White and Blue and always the underdog with the heartfelt story.

7. Redheads Get An Emoji

This is really a thing that’s being voted on by the Unicode Technical Committee. If it’s a “yes,” expect redheads coming to your emoji keyboards in June. Also, being voted upon: a frowning pile of poo. Because the happy poo just isn’t enough.

8. New Entertainment Releases

From movie releases to new TV show series, from new albums to released concert dates, the entertainment industry always churns out new content to look forward to. We hear rumors of a new Beyoncé album, so we will have to wait and see along with the rest of the Beyhive, but 2018 should rock.

9. It’s Not Just Planes That Can Fly

One way to beat stifling rush-hour traffic: fly past it. That could be a reality in the near future, as Uber is set to team with hovercraft creator Kitty Hawk in 2018 in hopes of developing a flying taxi program. Additionally, the bike-share market will continue to evolve. China and parts of Europe are already using a dock less system in which that allows users to park and share rented bikes anywhere using an app or QR code. This will soon enter the U.S. and might cause cities to rethink their current approach.

10. Super Bowl LII

Since the Super Bowl is one of the first things to happen at the beginning of a new year, we spend most of the year pining away for the next one. The 52nd Super Bowl is right around the corner on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and Justin Timberlake is performing sans Janet Jackson. Apartment communities should capitalize on such a celebrated non-official American holiday.

What will 2018 have in store for us? We will have to wait and see but we do wish everyone a healthy and happy year.

Looking Back on Memorable Moments of 2017

The most anticipated solar eclipse on record. The emergence of bitcoin and continued technology advancement. One of the most devastating hurricane seasons on record. The #MeToo movement. Selena Gomez retained her status as most-followed celebrity on Instagram with more than 130 million and #love was the most used hashtag. Massachusetts earned designation as the healthiest state (shout out to our home state!) followed by the Aloha state Hawaii. Meanwhile, Florida and Utah, experienced the largest improvements. 2017 has certainly been filled with memorable moments.

The multifamily industry produced its share of news as well, as hints of a slowdown were premature and the latest tax bill might prove to have numerous wins for the industry. With that in mind, here are some of the industry’s most noteworthy and memorable moments from the year:

      • Package Concierge® sold to Gibraltar

        An exclusive multifamily partnership was forged when Gibraltar Industries acquired Package Concierge® in February. As the apartment industry’s leading supplier and innovator of electronic package management solutions, and Gibraltar, a leading manufacturer of commercial building products, come together multifamily properties gain access to the most innovative package management solutions. We are excited about what 2018 holds for us and the Gibraltar team!

      • Apartment List getting aggressive with ads

        Apartment List got hard-hitting with its social media marketing strategy by partnering with Facebook and Realtor.com. Now the ILS will display ads more prominently on platforms visited by millions on a daily basis. The move represents the massive shift in the way renters are searching for and finding their apartments online.

      • NMHC/Kingsley survey recognizes package boom

        The emergence of ecommerce is a new-school concept that the largest resident survey didn’t even include package questions on its previous edition. In August, the NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report unveiled 57 percent of respondents were very interested or highly interested in package lockers. And 47 percent of those individuals indicated that they receive at least three packages a month.

      • New tech companies make waves

        Technology has been shaping many different industries. But the ways it’s playing into the multifamily industry is groundbreaking as it has notoriously behind the tech curve. SOCi, STRATIS and ApartmentJet are the three biggest shake-ups. SOCi is changing the social media and marketing management game. STRATIS is innovating through its mobile access for residents and property managers to adjust energy and automation control for their units. ApartmentJet is the only existing short-term rental platform to assist multifamily operators to generate revenue through vacant units.

      • Bitcoin emerges

        We’ve been hearing about the infamous bitcoin everywhere. So it isn’t surprising the emergence of the digital cryptocurrency has been seeping into multifamily as well. Bitcoin can be used to purchase real estate in the U.S. and other countries.

These are just a few of the defining moments of the past 12 months and some of the apartment industry’s. As we move into 2018, these trends can suggest that even more tech and digital marketing changes are on the horizon.