We’re more than building services – We’re building relationships

Influence of E-Commerce on Residential Buildings

The “new normal” means most of us are working and shopping from home these days.  This paradign shift of online purchases of clothing, household items, grocery more restaurant take-out delivery options, etc is here to stay.  Online sales hit $791.70 billion in 2020, up 32.4% from $598.02 billion in the prior year according to Commerce Department figures.

That’s the highest annual online sales growth of any year for which data is available.  Over 3 Billion packages were shipped between Thanksgiving and Christmas alone in 2020.

This increase in online shopping is causing high-rise communities’ mailrooms and lobbies to become overwhelmed with packages and more frequent visits from residents to the front desk to retrieve their packages.   For example, a 250+ unit, high-rise residential building can receive between 100-150 packages per day.  This means a single front desk person is now expected to accept, sort and organize 100+ packages a day – taking them away from the front desk for periods of time.  This becomes a logistics and security issue that must be handled with care. 

What major problems are high-rise communities facing with this trend & what actions can be taken?

Demands on Staff
Now, there is more pressure and stress on the front desk than ever before. Residents are demanding more from a customer service and security standpoint. The industry is changing and the concept of concierge and front desk services is not what it was 20 years ago when they were called “doormen.” 

In years past, a building of 250 units could be serviced by one person at the front desk.  However, the higher influx of packages and resulting front desk visits is making it nearly impossible for one person to handle.  In many buildings, hiring a second concierge representative is necessary to help accept deliveries and sort packages.  Moreover, concierge staff now require higher skill sets required by the computerization of building systems.

Hiring the right concierge company can help alleviate some of this stress.  A more experienced and qualified concierge firm can help put in place best practices to organize and secure package inventory and ensure the residents receive white-glove courtesy service. 

Package Security
Making sure the right packages get to the right recipient can become a major problem if the building does not have the right people and systems in place.  Each year, it has become more common for residents’ packages to be stolen from mail rooms or off their front porch.  What can be done to alleviate this?  Incorporating solutions where the concierge representative does not have to leave the front desk area helps with package security.  They have more time to interact with residents and less time sorting through packages. 

Making more space for inventory & packages
Many high-rise communities are being tasked with finding adequate space.  Most are running out of space in their mailrooms and lobbies and must seek alternatives.  Some of which include infringing on other amenities, such as the billiards room becoming a mailroom to accommodate more space for packages.  A building services company can assess your current incoming load of packages and recommend what type of system is best suited for your property and the space and shelving is needed. 

Some solutions include electronic apps, software and storage lockers.

Amazon Hub Locker
One example is the Amazon Hub Locker.  This is a secure, self-service kiosk that allows you to pick up your package at a place and time that’s convenient for you — even evenings and weekends. No more worrying about packages left at your door while you’re out.  These lockers can be installed in residential buildings as a way to organize and sort packages while keeping them safely stowed and reducing the risk of theft. 

How they work
Recipients add an Amazon Locker to their Amazon address book and select the location as the shipping address during checkout.  Once a package is ready for pickup, customers receive an e-mail with a unique 6-digit code that they’ll use to remove the package from the designated slot.

What building software programs are common? How do they work?

There is a multitude of programs and apps property managers and owners can use.  Some popular ones include My Building, Building Link, ButterflyMX, and Virtual Doorman.   

Some of these systems will help keep packages organized and notify the recipient when they have a delivery without having inhouse staffing touch every package delivered.  Others will require a “package handler” to receive and inventory the packages.

There are many front desk improvement options available and having a concierge consultant can help you find the right fit for your building.  STAR is an expert concierge services provider with over 15 years of experience.  STAR can consultant with you to find the best solutions for your building.  If you want to get organized and have a properly run front desk operation, please give us a call today:  888-876-7827 (STAR) We’re more than building services…We’re building relationships.