November 18, 2019
By Kevin George
E-commerce is growing at a rapid-fire pace. Your residents now have access to millions of products online, and they can purchase them at all hours of the day or night. And those purchases need to make it to your residents somehow, someway.
Ten years ago, package management was a task for the onsite leasing teams. It was something they could easily manage. However, as e-commerce grew and more and more packages were arriving onsite, it became obvious that managing packages was too taxing and too time consuming for your teams.
Enter package lockers. For the last five years, these systems effectively tackled the storage conundrum and gave your teams their time back. But now, as e-commerce continues its jaw-dropping growth, the industry is starting to realize that onsite lockers by themselves are no longer enough.
The number of carriers is no longer limited to the top three. Packages are arriving at all hours of the day, and your residents want to be able to retrieve and even ship their packages any time they want.
So, what is the next phase in package management? The way I see it, there are two choices.
Option 1: Potentially frustrate your residents by not accepting packages onsite
There has been a shift in the industry towards not accepting resident package deliveries onsite. Communities either require packages be shipped off-site or they make residents find other places to have them delivered, like work. The problem with this option is that while it makes your associates’ jobs easier, it seriously detracts from the resident experience.
As an industry, we are becoming more resident-centric to meet renter demand and expectations. Our communities are built with their needs and their desires for a sense of community and a luxurious lifestyle in mind. We are offering lifestyle services. We are hosting more experience-based events and offering amenities to better suit their busy lives.
Renters have already voiced they want to live in communities where package management and package delivery are an included amenity. So why, in a time when we’re focusing on enhancing the resident experience in everything else we are doing, are some communities moving away from accepting package deliveries?
Option 2: Deliver a greater resident experience with package logistics software
The next wave of package management needs to focus on logistics. This can be found in onsite solutions that not only incorporate the components of previous package management solutions – people and hardware – but expand upon those with advanced software.
Intelligent software built with AI, computer vision and advanced sensors enables packages to quickly and easily move in and out of a package room by centering on the logistics behind package delivery, shipments and returns. The results are a reduced need for more storage space, ensuring that leasing teams aren’t overburdened while renters have the onsite experience they expect.
As an industry, our efforts should be focused on delighting residents with convenience and speed and offering package management services that make their busy lives easier, not more complicated.