From laundry rooms to concierge services, apartment buildings have always offered amenities to attract quality tenants. Perhaps one of the most valuable amenities to come along in recent memory is the smart package room. These smart package rooms support the buying preferences that have dramatically changed in favor of online purchases—to the tune of $82.5 billion in May 2020. Those who work at large apartment complexes are typically not trained to process and secure such a large volume of packages delivered, which can attribute to lost or stolen merchandise for tenants.
As originally seen in Connect CRE, Position Imaging takes a look at the challenges owners of large apartment complexes are facing when receiving packages as well as some of the latest technologies to properly track movement, and securely store and notify residents that items are waiting for retrieval.
Smart Package Rooms Are The New Must-Have Apartment Amenity
By Mo Cheema, Position Imaging
It’s an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed consumers’ buying preferences, shifting them much higher in favor of online purchases as the mandatory quarantine took hold in the U.S. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index (DEI), consumers spent $70.2 billion in April 2020 and $82.5 billion in May 2020—which is 7% higher than the $142.5 billion spent online during the November and December 2019 holiday shopping season.
Unfortunately, the increase in package delivery also heightened the opportunity for theft and according to the researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, this equates to 1.7 million packages stolen or lost every day in the U.S. Because of the lockdown, many of these items were necessities as opposed to “nice to have” purchases dominated by pre-pandemic times.
According to C+R Research, 36% of Americans have had a package stolen and 56% know of someone who has had a package stolen. All these thefts have left people a bit on edge, especially in densely populated cities where tenants are now pointing their finger in the landlord’s direction for a solution. But a New York Times article titled, My Packages Keep Getting Stolen. What Can I Do? says, “The landlord could argue that they were taken when a tenant buzzed in the wrong visitor; that a tenant mistakenly took the wrong package; or that the delivery was lost in transit and never arrived.” These statements claim the landlord has no responsibility for tenants’ packages. This sounds a bit absurd since e-commerce is now such a critical part of our lives. If landlords don’t offer a secure service they won’t be competitive in the marketplace.
Package thefts severely impact the bottom line for businesses. C+R Research also concluded that it costs businesses $109 on average to replace stolen items. This includes the full cost of the stolen item and the shipping and handling of the same order, twice, not to mention the additional time spent to serve a single customer that could be used to grow the business.
It seems the landlords whose opinions helped shape this NY Times article were not aware of recent developments in apartment package delivery systems. Sure, many New York City apartment buildings don’t have a lot of empty spaces that are just gathering dust, but they do have rooms for storage that can easily be transformed into a smart package room. From a Net Operating Income (NOI) perspective, smart package rooms bring in more residents while saving staff time (which also equates to money) by not dealing with so many packages. And once tenants have this type of high-tech amenity, it is very hard for them to relocate to a building without it.
Position Imaging works with properties such as The Dime to make the most out of every square foot available, designing a solution to fit their specific need. The smart package room combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computer vision to provide a complete self-service experience for tenants receiving packages. This is not a fork-lift upgrade construction process—it’s an elegant Lozier-based shelving system that typically installs in a day.
This automated package management system provides a new level of convenience for tenants. They don’t have to fumble with apps to arrange deliveries and schedule pick-up times, their items are safely waiting for retrieval when they want them. For landlords, these systems are a simple way to increase NOI because it makes better use of space to store many packages more efficiently.
If landlords expect to keep high-quality tenants they need to start taking more responsibility for protecting package deliveries. The volume of packages will not be diminishing anytime soon and these people have their eyes on a suburban lifestyle—why not make it more convenient for residents to remain? With 68% of the World’s population expected to live in urban areas, according to the United Nations, package delivery management solutions need to be considered seriously. Embracing smart package rooms not only benefits the residents but also the landlords by increasing the property’s Net Operating Income. Depending upon the ownership type, NOI is the most important metric used to measure success. Landlords, heighten your NOI bar by embracing smart package rooms today.
Mo Cheema is the Director of Solutions Design and Implementation at Position Imaging. He is designing omnichannel retail fulfillment solutions using the iPickup platform. He also had a highly influential career at UPS, where he spearheaded several new product and business concepts, developed a strategically aligned product road-map to streamline the global last-mile delivery for drivers, and routinely engaged with the senior-level executives to influence investment decisions.