Flawlessly Deliver the Gift of Love

Has this ever happened to you?

You spent hours researching and planning the perfect gift for your special someone. You went so far to make your purchase with a prepaid gift card online so they wouldn’t see what your ordered on the bank account. You had it all planned – nothing could ruin it. Or so you thought.

Valentine's Day packages

The package arrived but you weren’t home when it arrived so your special someone picked it up. They mindlessly open it and that perfect gift you spent so much time trying to surprise them with is staring them directly in the face.

All of that planning ruined with a misstep in the package delivery process. It is probably safe to say a lot people can relate to some part of this shipping mishap, and that’s unfortunate.

What is fortunate though, there is a solution for apartment dwellers: a package locker system.

Package Concierge® offers a robust and innovative interface for our locker installations providing every resident a unique, individual access code. That’s right, each person, not a code for the apartment home, ensuring there is no longer a potential the wrong person will pick up the package.

This practice in individuality will certainly come in handy this Valentine’s season when residents are really hoping to surprise their special someone with something they will love. In the last 3 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of packages delivered the week before and the week of Valentine’s Day – some communities are receiving 50 percent more packages in these two weeks and seeing their package volume return to normal the week after.

How heartbreaking would it be if any of these packages were discovered before they were given? Show your residents some love and contact Package Concierge® today to set up an installation!

Still looking for that perfect gift? Check out these 5 online sites still offering 2-day shipping:

  1. Amazon.com – This is a no brainer if you are an Amazon Prime member. With access to hundred of thousands of gifts, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. And if you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to make sure your package arrives in time.
  2. Walmart.com – Now this may not evoke the spirit of Valentine’s Day but the major retailer has recently announced free 2-day shipping for any purchase more than $35. If your loved one is looking for something like a FitBit Charge, new camping gear or even the uber popular InstaPot, this might be a new go-to shopping site for you.
  3. Sharperimage.com – For those who enjoy a tech-savvy treat, Sharper Image has unique high-end gifts such as a light and massage therapy hair brush or heated indoor-outdoor slippers. Use promo code VDAY99 to get free 2-day shipping for orders over $99 till February 10th!
  4. MichaelKors.com – Speaking of high-end, this top designer ensures that amazing purse, luxurious wallet or killer pair of sunglasses will arrive on time if ordered by February 9th. Just be sure to use the code VDay for free 2-day shipping.
  5. Apple.com – For the tech lover in your life, order any Apple product by 5pm today to receive free 2-day shipping. Apple Watch for all!
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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 Depotblg

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.

All Encompassing: Package Concierge Offers Package Shipping and Returns

One in three.

That’s right: 30 percent of every online purchase is returned.

According to invespcro.com, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

According to invespcro.com, 30% of all products ordered online are returned as compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.

We already know that ecommerce is biggerthan ever with people spending more than a $200 billion annually – a steadily rising number. It is estimated that online shopping has grown more than 17 percent over the last decade. And as more and more brick-and-mortar stores close their doors ecommerce is projected to further skyrocket.

While online shopping offers a greater convenience with the ability to shop 24/7 and from various devices, it still lacks the sensory appeal that comes with shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer. As such, 60 percent of returned packages are due to either damaged goods, the product looks different than what was online or it was simply the wrong item.

A report released by Sanford C. Bernstein indicates that Amazon ships an average of 608 million packages each year, or 1.66 million daily. According to UPS, they deliver approximately 18 million packages daily during typical non-peak shipping periodswhile FedEx boasts 13 millions daily packages.

So what does this mean?

While these figures don’t take into account the massive upswing in package deliveries during the holiday season (think double the volume), we are looking at roughly 9 million packages returned every single day.

Package Concierge is further improving your package management solutions, and ensuring your leasing office and leasing team no longer have to deal with mountains of packages.

Shipping and Returns is now available from Package Concierge and operates through its package locker system. Similar to package pickup, residents have access to shipping and returns capabilities 24/7.

With Shipping and Returns available from Package Concierge, apartment owners and operators:

  • Provide even greater convenience for your residents by allowing them to returns items they are unhappy with, as well as ship packages to their friends and family.
    • Satisfied residents are more likely to renew their leases – more than 80 percent indicate that effective package management positively impacted their renewal decision.
  • Offer efficiencies to burdened delivery carriers
    • By taking advantage of their regular stops, carriers no longer have to make extra trips to pick up outbound shipments or returns.
  • Generate ancillary revenue
    • Whether or not you chose to charge residents for this service, you garner improved ROI through enhanced resident satisfaction.

Contact us today to learn more about how Shipping and Returns can further improve your package management!

5 Million Mark: A Measure of Skyrocketing Ecommerce Industry

In some ways, 5 million represents the perfect storm.

While package delivery continues to increase exponentially in the ecommerce market, Package Concierge® has tirelessly aimed to keep a steady pace by installing innovative package lockers in as many locales as possible.

In Spring 2016, we surpassed the 2-million mark in package transactions. At the time, it signified a hefty achievement. But as consumers continue to gravitate to online shopping and nationwide demand for package solutions rises accordingly, we’ve experienced more than a 200-percent spike in package lockers installations.

With that, the number of package transactions has quickly ascended to 5 million.

5 million

To be clear, the 5 million figure isn’t something we’re thumping our chest about. In our eyes, the number more represents the thriving ecommerce industry and the suddenness of it. This hasn’t been a gradual rise – it has been meteoric. There is a reason why businesses are closing brick-and-mortar stores but continue to thrive overall. It’s because their merchandise is being ordered through a few clicks online, and consumers are utilizing package delivery at ultra-historic rates.

Ecommerce Increase Means More Deliveries

Internet sales accounted for a mere 3 percent of consumer expenditure as a whole in 2006. That number rose to 15.5 in 2016 according to Business 2 Community, and the U.S. is at the forefront of this global movement. Ecommerce is a $220 billion market in the U.S. and has grown at annual rate of 17 percent over the past decade.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that is it offering free two-day shipping.

The trend within the trend is that consumers are not only shopping online, but increasingly doing so through mobile devices. Experts predict that mobile transactions (those conducted through smartphones and tablets) will account for 26 percent of retail ecommerce sales in the U.S. by the end of 2017.  This figure is likely to increase even more with Walmart’s recent announcement that it is offering free two-day shipping.

What to expect?

Packages are being delivered at such a fervent pace that Amazon is unveiling its own delivery service. The Wall Street Journal reported in July that ecommerce growth played a key role in 3.2-percent profit growth for the United Parcel Service. Naturally, Amazon’s decision to utilize its own deliverers could put a dent in overall numbers for UPS, FedEx and USPS. But no matter the method in which they are shipped, the packages will continue to arrive.

Looking to the Future

Along with the demand, residents are expecting to receive their packages in a convenient, hassle-free manner. That’s why we believe it is important to parallel the growth of ecommerce with solutions that fit.

Perhaps in six months or a year, we’ll view our 5 million package transaction as obsolete, as antiquated as the dial-up modem. But for now, the figure holds some clout when looking at ecommerce as a whole.

5 million.

Amazon’s Forthcoming Addition of 100,000 Employees Underscores Package Boom

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It is no secret that the trend is there. Package delivery is increasing on a daily basis, as millennials prefer the convenience of shopping from their phone.

Even older generations are beginning to resist shopping in stores, opting for the alternative of making a few clicks and waiting a few days for the package to arrive at their doorsteps. That’s why, despite strong industry-wide sales, prominent retailers such as Macy’s and Sears are closing many of their brick-and-mortar stores.

This trend is not a momentary blip. In fact, a recent proclamation by tech giant Amazon indicates package delivery will continue to steamroll in this direction for the foreseeable future. Amazon, widely known as the king of package delivery, has indicated that it will create 100,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2018, according to a recent article by USA Today.

Apartment operators should prepare accordingly, as this is not a knee-jerk move by Amazon. First Data reports that ecommerce’s share of retail sales in the holiday season was 21.3 percent, a hefty increase from the 15.4 percent of 2015. Expect the numbers to rise again in 2017, as the Internet now represents six percent of the total U.S. economy. And it’s not only going to grow during the holiday season. Package delivery is steadily increasing year around, with significant upticks around back to school, Halloween and even Mother’s Day.

If your apartment communities have not yet adopted a solution to combat the influx of packages – such as a smart room, package lockers or a package management team – now is the time. While many apartment owners/operators were ahead of the curve and enjoyed a much smoother 2016 holiday season, still a large number of the industry saw overflowing packages, leaving overburdened members of the leasing team with the cumbersome task of sorting through them.

In September, Amazon announced intentions to deliver its own packages, eschewing traditional delivery services UPS, FedEx and USPS by building its own delivery service. Now comes news of Amazon’s hefty six-figure addition of employees, with many of the positions slated for four soon-to-come fulfillment centers.

The additions of fulfillment centers in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas have clear objective in mind: Get packages out more quickly. Amazon went from 56,200 employees in 2011 to 306,800 last year. Now 100,000 more are on the way to keep up with the country’s propensity to shop online.

The packages are coming at a historic rate and, as indicated by the actions of one of the nation’s premier tech giants, the breakneck pace will continue. Make sure you’re proactive rather than reactive, or you might end up beneath the pile.

What We’re Thankful for This Holiday Season

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2015 has been a stellar year for Package Concierge. We reached a personal milestone of 1 million package transactions without a service call; we began developing industry leading technologies such as our mobile application and becoming the first locker solution to offer both shipping and returns; and we received major publicity through the Today Show on NBC. These accomplishments haven’t been easy but as a leader in our industry we strive to set standards and trends. We have A LOT to be thankful for and we wanted to share this with all of our partners and readers.

  • Our Momentum – 2015 was the year of building our momentum within the industry. Earlier this year, our presence in 18 states expanded to 24. This represents a 200% increase in our installations in the last 6 months! We are very thankful to be growing our footprint.
  • Our Staff – The Package Concierge staff, whether in the home office or located elsewhere, is the lifeblood of our business. Without their tireless dedication, Package Concierge wouldn’t have accomplished our previously mentioned growth. It’s not often that a company is fortunate enough to have employees who give their whole hearts to seeing a business thrive, and we know it. To our staff – Thank you very much.
  • Our Clients and Partners – In our last blog post, we thanked our partners and clients for believing in us, and we cannot say that enough. The business and opportunities we’ve developed together has been extremely beneficial to us, and we hope it has been for you as well. Let’s keep building together in 2016.

This year was full of accomplishment and growth for us. 2016 is going to be an even faster year and we’re already starting to build our New Year’s Resolutions (stay tuned for an upcoming blog). We’re setting our sights on bigger hopes and dreams for the New Year and we can’t wait to see what it brings. Until then, happy holidays from Package Concierge!

Package Concierge Announced as a Recipient of the 2015 Customer Experience Innovation Awards

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It’s not often that hard work and dedication gets recognized. In some ways, it shouldn’t; if a job is done well and correctly, no one should notice. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule where going the extra mile is recognized. Recently (as in very recently) Package Concierge was announced as a recipient of the 2015 Customer Experience Innovation Awards. We won this award thanks to our innovative use of Salesforce Sales Cloud to keep our sales processes aligned and help us put our customers at the center of everything we do. We’re very proud to be recognized as a leader in serving our clients and customers, but it wouldn’t be possible without them.

Package Concierge was founded in 2012, with the mission of providing a solution to the package management dilemma in multifamily housing. Since then, we’ve made major strides in both process and technology to help properties nationwide maximize efficiency and make lives easier to manage. With the power of Salesforce Sales Cloud to track our entire sales cycle in one unified customer relationship management (CRM) system, our installations have increased by more than 200 percent in the last 6 months. We’re now in 24 states and we couldn’t be prouder. That being said, YOU have helped us get there. YOU took a chance on a small company with big ideas. YOU gave us opportunities where others wouldn’t. For that, we’re forever grateful and our day doesn’t end unless all of your needs are met. Thank you all for your fervent belief in what we do and all that we will become.

Accepting this award comes with great responsibility; we need to maintain and improve upon what we’ve established. Growing pains are never easy, but we’ll get through them by keeping the customer experience in mind. We’ve learned invaluable amounts of information over the past three years that we plan expanding upon, which will further improve upon the customer experience. We will become faster, stronger, and more productive because you’re our motivation. They say good things come to those who wait, but having an invaluable client base of innovative thinkers doesn’t hurt either.

Thank you!