The Cyber Monday Package Problem
Forget Black Friday, it’s Cyber Monday that really gets renters jazzed up. (It's also easier than getting trampled at the door of a Walmart.) Last year’s e-commerce sales on the big day totaled $2.3B, but how do you get the goods to 37M renters?
Package volume at a typical apartment community nearly doubles during the holidays (and communities receiving 300-plus packages/week triples), National Multifamily Housing Council VP Rick Haughey tells us, citing a recent NMHC/Kingsley Associates survey. In fact, one community manager recently told Rick she’s Facebook friends with her UPS driver because they see each other so much, and her management office becomes almost impassable with packages during the holidays. Of the buildings that have package lockers, half say capacity can’t handle this increased volume, Rick says, while a quarter of survey respondents now employ package tracking software to efficiently notify residents.
Other big challenges: cost and time commitment (community managers have other things on their to-do lists), he tells us. Security is also a big concern, so about 90% of surveyed communities accept packages on behalf of residents. A 2013 survey even reported package holding areas as the second-most desired amenity next to fitness centers, Rick says. E-commerce today is only 6% of all retail sales (Americans will spend $300B online this year), meaning these shopping trends will only grow, forcing apartment owners to react before their management offices overflow. In the future, providing 24-hour self-service options with adequate capacity to handle packages may be apartments' biggest differentiator, Rick predicts.
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