Property Managers everywhere are fighting a losing battle trying to keep up with the increasing number of parcels arriving at their multi-family buildings.
Performing a function they had never planned for, building personnel spend an excessive amount of their time receiving, storing, and retrieving parcels with limited space and concerns over losing parcels; in the process, they trade off doing other jobs that need their attention. In a building without a concierge, the problem becomes one of many missed deliveries, unwanted foot traffic, and parcels left throughout the building where theft and fire hazards are serious concerns. The problem, unfortunately, is only going to get more significant in the upcoming years.
Online shopping drives parcel delivery! It is now normal for millions of urban dwellers, with the shopping universe at their fingertips, to order any product online instead of venturing out to traditional “brick and mortar” retail locations. In 2020, oniline retail spending in North America accounted for 12.4% of all sales, an increase of 55% from four years ago, and that growth trajectory is expected to increase over the next five years.
So many Property Managers are asking the question, how can I efficiently solve this problem? One of the most promising ways is by using Smart Parcel Lockers. These devices are prevalent in other parts of the world but have yet to gain widespread acceptance in North America. That is about to change!
Smart Locker Basics
Smart Parcel Lockers are reliable, easy-to-use, self-serve machines that allow for the automated deposit and pickup of parcels. They remove the work done by building personnel in managing parcels by enabling any courier to directly deposit parcels into a secure compartment that holds that parcel until it is picked up. Sensors detect the parcel, and the software sends a notification to the intended resident via email and text message.
The notification includes a unique pickup code that the resident uses to pick up their parcel by scanning it or entering it at the locker. Like bank ATMs, Smart Parcel Lockers are self-serve machines that allow users to get what they want efficiently, any time of day or night. Unlike ATMs, where you need a bank card and a PIN, Smart Lockers typically only require a scan of a barcode, allowing users to retrieve their parcel in just a few seconds.
The wonderful thing about Smart Parcel Lockers is that they provide demonstrable benefits to building personnel and the residents. Key benefits include:
- Eliminate the time spent by building staff managing inbound parcels
- Allow residents to pick up their parcels in less than 20 seconds
- They provide a secure and private way for residents to receive their parcels, 24/7
- Eliminate lost or misplaced parcels
Residential Parcel Locker
Smart Parcel Lockers have a host locker and a series of locker banks, with each bank having several individual compartments of varying sizes. The host locker contains the computer, the terminal screen, keypad, and scanner. In addition, most lockers come with a camera system that take continuous video from around the locker for surveillance and security. The locker’s intelligence comes from software that resides on the locker and in the cloud. This software provides a console view of everything that is going on with the locker and is often integrated with today’s leading property management software packages, making resident registration and setup for the locker a breeze.
Smart Parcel Lockers are expandable so that as your parcel volume grows, you can add to your locker to accommodate the delivery of more parcels (provided you have the space). For reference, a locker with 100 slots will be about 20 feet long and 2 feet deep and will stand at the height of between 6 to 7 feet.
Smart Locker Advantages
Today’s Smart Parcel Lockers are not anything like those lockers that you had while in high school or what you might find at parks and pools. Instead, these lockers are sturdy, tamper proof, and aesthetically pleasing. They can come in an array of standard colors, and vinyl can be applied to them to match your decor or even your brand. The customizations allows lockers to be installed in any location and coordinated with their surroundings.
Smart Lockers can be purchased, and in some cases leased, and typically come with all the necessary software and support services. Costs can vary widely between vendors but as a rule of thumb, consider that the cost of a locker will run at about $1.00 to $1.75 per month per inbound parcel after factoring in the monthly cost of the hardware, software, and all service fees. So if you have 1,000 parcels arriving at your building every month, you’re probably looking at a total monthly cost of between $1,000 and $1,750.
Like with many new technologies (remember the first ATMs?), residents can be skeptical of having a machine serve them for their parcel deliveries. Residents are sensitive about their parcels, and rightly so given they contain items that can be expensive, time-sensitive, or essential. After their first experience, however, such concerns quickly disappear. There is something almost magical about receiving a message with a barcode and going to the locker, scanning that code and having a compartment door suddenly open with your own parcel inside. Resident acceptance is fast, and many will comment on how superior the experience is and how much they love it.
Like any technology, Smart Parcel Lockers will evolve and become more intelligent and versatile. For example, future lockers will have the ability to automatically detect a resident who is near the locker and who have a parcel waiting and allow them to open the compartment door on their mobile phone. Further, the Smart Locker will evolve beyond parcel delivery and likely support outbound courier shipping, laundry, odd delivery, and key exchange services.
To learn more about how your organization can maximize smart lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting www.theParcelPort.com or calling 1-800-818-0870.