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.

Universities Evolve With Digital Lockers

Lockers have long played an important role in student life. If you look at movies and TV shows filmed on school campuses, students are almost always shown hanging out and socializing around their lockers. Mingling in the hallways near lockers was a huge part of school life. Fast-forward to modern day and traditional lockers no longer meet student needs.

Out With The Old

The allure lockers held for earlier generations have all but vanished in this decade. Why are traditional lockers going the way of the dinosaur? The reason is pretty clear – technology. Today’s younger set loves its tech; after all, it’s all they’ve ever known. Old-school models no longer fit in the current educational setting. You figure between texting, social media and various chatting apps, students have multiple ways to communicate via technology so there is no real need to congregate and meet at lockers between classes.

In With The New: Digital lockers

One option many educational facilities are gravitating toward are digital lockers.

These locker systems offer a safe and secure way for students, staff and faculty to pick up their packages 24/7. The growing popularity of these smart lockers is not surprising considering the rapid rise and integration of smart technology and demand of expected amenities from students and staff

The locker systems are streamlining the campus mail centers and reducing labor costs by allowing all delivery carriers to access the systems. The tracking software and robust reports provided are a win-win for Universities and Colleges. The lockers have been seen across the country being installed in the spaces formerly occupied by cubbies and shelves. The students are thrilled not to have to stand in line for their mail or package delivery, and enjoy the ease of access with the swipe of a barcode from their phone or the entry of a PIN.

Technology is driving the future, and it’s not surprising school campuses are trying to adapt. For instance, today’s colleges and universities are looking at alternate solutions, which include tech-enabled classrooms and internet-ready shared spaces. Installing digital lockers decreases the logistic headaches for colleges not equipped to deal with the high demand for textbook delivery from purchases made at online bookstores.

Why Schools Should Seek Efficiency When It Comes To Lockers

Realistically, students today are all about smart technology and it’ll be increasingly important for higher education facilities to recognize this if they want to continue to draw applicants. Not only will tech add a great marketing aspect when trying to attract students, it’s also more practical for students and more cost-efficient for the schools themselves. Additionally, by integrating smart lockers, campuses better utilize their space, providing a higher level of practicality and feasibility.

Package Concierge® uses innovative technology to help college campuses gravitate toward meeting the needs of today’s faculty, staff and students. Made in America, our high-quality lockers are found on campuses across the U.S. Our 24/7 package management solutions can be sized and configured to meet the needs of any campus.

Package Concierge® Helps Ivy League School Manage Shipments and Adds College Logistics Expert to Meet Growing Demand

Today, Package Concierge, the innovator of the digital locker system for apartment buildings, announced it is helping one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools in the country manage packages for its students. The company has also appointed former Pitney Bowes College Sales Director, Lance Whitson, as its new national university sales manager.

“The addition of Lance to our team signals our commitment to delivering the highest-quality solution on the market to more industries that need it,” said Georgianna W. Oliver, founder of Package Concierge. “College campuses must implement a more efficient way to manage the influx of shipments and our digital locker system makes package management hassle-free for both students and faculty.”

Package Concierge is currently working with numerous college campuses across the country and is continuing to gain considerable momentum. The company processes 30,000 packages a day, and that number will only get bigger as shipments worldwide have increased 48 percent in just the past two years.

“University bookstores no longer sell books – everything is done online, which has resulted in colleges being overwhelmed by the process,” said Whitson. “Package Concierge delivers security, reliability and cuts down on the wait time for students, while also lowering labor expenses for the staff and schools. And with a system that is both technologically-savvy and beautifully designed, I’m particularly excited to join the innovator in the market.”

Having dedicated the majority of his career to the mailing and shipping industry, Whitson brings a proven track record for growing teams and growing market share for logistics companies. He was recently at Pitney Bowes, where he pioneered the launch of its intelligent locker offering. Previously, he served as the National Vertical Market Manager for Colleges and Universities at Neopost.

To-date, Package Concierge has managed more than 15 million package transactions nationwide, and serves over 250,000 apartment residents and students. For more information about Package Concierge and its solution, please visit packageconcierge.com.

Technology Expectations of Gen Z

Technology Expectations of Gen Z – It is bananas to think that younger generations will never know life without lightning-fast internet speed, instant and constant connectivity.

 

The first generation to grow up with continual online access, Generation Z – also known as the iGeneration, Post-Millennials and the Homeland Generation – is getting ready to enter the rental world. Gen Z’ers consume technology at a higher rate than any other demographic – checking their smartphones every three minutes! With smart home technologies having played such a big role in their lives, they have some pretty high expectations about what life outside of mom and dad’s house should be.

Gen Z’ers want a personal, meaningful and unique living experience, which can create a challenge for some student housing operators. But it’s a challenge that should be accepted with open arms.

Here are some key items to consider when building out a technology plan to meet the demands of this new generation of renters:

      • Personal connective devices like Google Assistant: These items were top sellers this holiday season. These devices are personal and connected to each individual user via apps and accounts, many owner/operators are considering these as move-in gifts for new residents. Being mindful of the user experience of each before making a final purchase.
      • Consider Makerspaces: Do you know what a makerspace is? With the rise and greater accessibility of technologies like 3D printing and the increased interest in STEM programs, Gen Z’ers are drawn to spaces where they can interact with others, invent, create and innovate. This collaborative work space, inside any public or private facility, would have more than just some computers and a printer – it would truly be a space built on technologies, tools and the ability to learn too.
      • Package management solutions: Package lockers have quickly become an expected amenity in the multifamily housing industry. Gen Z will expect the convenience of accessing their purchases when and how they want. Consider looking into a comprehensive package management solution that includes lockers, smart room technologies and personalized access capabilities.

Want to learn more and hear what the potential ROI is on some of these smart home technologies? Be sure to attend Gear Up; What Technology-Focused Gen Z Wants on Feb. 14, at 10:15 a.m. at the NAA CampusConnex Conference in Orlando, FL.

Industry experts include, Package Concierge’s National Director of Sales, Regan Hartley, moderating a compelling discussion between Scott Casey, Chief Technology Officer & SVP of Strategic Business Development for EdR; Alex Eyssen, Vice President of Student Housing for The Bainbridge Companies; and Henry Pye, Vice President of Resident Technology Services for RealPage, Inc.

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.

B2B Gift Giving – It Can Be Thoughtful & Notable

Holiday gift shopping for business clients can either be complex or painless, depending on your approach. While unique gifts may be memorable, such creativity requires extra time, and effort which are always hard to come by. The quintessential, go-to gifts are quick, time-tested classics that seldom fail – but they are not as impactful.

A rule of thumb for holiday gift giving such as sweets and alcohol are universally savored items. But how many people are getting that this year? Almost everyone.

Many businesses will send the standard chocolate and wine bundles to their clients for the holidays. Although the majority of people will happily knock back a tray of Fannie May fudge with a bottle of full-bodied red, there are some other overlooked present options that will surely make you stand out. Neiman Marcus offers a lot of fun, unique and memorable gift ideas.

Here are some options to spice up your B2B gift giving this season:

Leather messenger bags

Everyone needs luggage to tote around all of their most needed daily items, and leather is one classic trend that will never go out of style. For men or women, a nice leather messenger bag is a functional gift with a touch of luxury.

Tech gadgets and gifts

Everyone has a few tech minded friends and clients, but some tech items can break the bank. This fun site, ThinkGeek, always sparks a few creative juices to flow and ability to find a few one of a kind items. However, another fail safe, is a power bank. How many times have you misplaced your phone charger, left it at work or been caught out running errands with dead electronics? Mobile power banks or charging gear is something every person will value, because every person has something that needs to get plugged into a wall at some point or another.

Slippers

Work slippers are a thing now? Seriously, some businesses require their employees to wear slippers at work…as it’s now part of the company dress code (looking at you, millennials). Give slippers to your clients – even if they can’t wear them at work. Who doesn’t love spending their NFL Sundays in nothing but pajamas and slippers? Or if you just want to go the warm and cozy route, check out these gifts for less than $100 from Ugg.

Uncommon ideas

You can put any type of liquid you want in a coffee mug and drink it conveniently. And here’s the best part: everyone drinks. You can take it up a notch and combine coffee and donuts with this amazing mug from Uncommon Goods (seriously why did we think of this?!) and combine with a dozen donuts from LA classic Stan’s Donuts who ships nationwide.

Subscription services

This is pretty broad, but it depends entirely on the client. A nice, personalized gift for business clients can be a subscription for something that client values or represents the relationship between your companies. Do they go to a particular media outlet or love a certain magazine? Get them a digital magazine subscription.

For the places that value healthy lifestyles, subscriptions to meal delivery services could be hugely beneficial to employees. Graze is one option that delivers healthy snack boxes.

There are many different opportunities to get special, meaningful gifts for your clients. Really look at your bond and come up with different ideas that correlate to your connection. Happy shopping and remember it is always better to give than receive.

Finding Cheaper Textbooks Half the Battle, Receiving Them Promptly is the Challenge

Some college textbooks seem to weigh about 12 pounds. Yet, it’s often the cost of these textbooks that weigh students down more than the actual pounds in their backpacks.

Textbooks have often-astronomical costs, adding several hundred dollars to an already pricey tuition fee. So now students, more than ever, are seeking alternative options in the form of used textbooks.

Websites such as Amazon, eCampus, Chegg and Valore Books offer textbooks at significant savings, changing the book-buying ways of many students. But ordering a textbook is one thing. Receiving it is another.

Student housing communities equipped with package lockers and package rooms make it easy for their students. Order it. Receive a message when it arrives. Pick it up. But for the many who live at communities that don’t offer a package service, the time-sensitive shipment might take significantly longer to get into your hands.

That puts the student in a tough spot, because you need a quick turnaround. You don’t want to be the one glancing at your neighbor’s textbook during the lesson, or someone who has to borrow one from a classmate while awaiting the arrival of yours.

Hopefully your student housing community has a reliable package management solution. But if it doesn’t, here are a few options for to consider for those who have ordered their textbooks but don’t have a surefire way to receive them in a timely, hassle-free manner:

    • Have them shipped to the home of a local friend.

      Odds are that you know someone who lives in a house off campus, particularly if you’re an upperclassman. Ask if you can have the textbooks delivered there. Even if it means you have to pick up lunch on your shoestring budget, at least you’ll have your books in time.

    • Have them delivered to your hometown address.

      If you have early access to the textbooks you’ll need, order them early. You can have them delivered to your parents’ house before your summer vacation ends. This also works if your college isn’t far from your hometown and it’s no problem to go retrieve them.

    • Get an off-campus post office box.

      If you’re concerned about the way packages are handled at your community, perhaps it’s worth spending a few extra bucks on a P.O. Box. That way you’ll receive a slip in the mail when packages arrive instead of wondering how long it will take for your shipment to be sorted from the other hundreds of packages at the community.

Receiving your textbooks from a secondary source – often at a fraction of the rate – is a magnificent idea. Just make sure you have a way to retrieve them in a timely manner so it doesn’t backfire.

Student Housing Wants and Needs

Student

This week marks a special time for many college students: the beginning of the fall semester. Students may be feeling the pressure of getting all their books, supplies, and living essentials in order, especially if this is their first time away from home. One aspect that many may overlook or not spend enough thought on is exactly where they’re going to live. Students may be unfamiliar with the area and unsure of what to look for in a student housing community. Many have already made their living arrangements but there’s still an opportunity for “late registrations.” Here are the top things students look for in a community.

Proximity to Campus

Students will seek communities close to campus. However, these communities fill up and are more than likely completely leased. On the flip side, don’t count out students who are seeking a good deal on rent. If your community can’t offer a short distance to campus, make up for it through affordable rent. Students will trade a longer commute for savings in the long run.

Student Room Sizes

College dorms can be the equivalent of living inside a closet. That’s why many seek off-campus housing. Students need room to study in peace; there’s nothing worse than having a roommate playing video games three feet away from you while studying for the big exam. They also desire privacy; that’s why they’re interested in an off-campus community. Show students how you can provide space and privacy and you’ll have an upper hand.

Furnished Spaces

Think about this from a student’s perspective: the less they have to move, the more appealing a community is. Beyond the obvious, such as a bed and furniture, consider offering higher-end accommodations. These come in the form of installed televisions, kitchen utensils, and anything you can think of. Students move a lot when in college; give them an incentive to keep coming back. Making their lives easier for moving in can also help you with rent prices.

College is an important time in a person’s life. Your community can appeal to new student residents by finding a good balance of the list above. If your community isn’t that close to campus, have your rent reflect it, but know when to draw a line. Provide generously sized rooms and community spaces for peace and quiet. Finally, the less they have to move, the more likely they’ll come to you. If you can provide these staples, you’ll get more than just an “A for effort!”