The Resident Perspective
Fetch, a better delivery experience than package lockers.
How switching from lockers to direct-to-door delivery improved community experience
Multifamily has largely turned to storage lockers as its package management solution of choice. But the viability of package lockers is now called into question by residents and operators alike, after finding lockers and rooms serve simply as a band-aid for a more complicated problem.
Over the past decade, multifamily largely turned to storage lockers as its package management solution of choice. But the viability of package lockers was almost immediately called into question by residents and operators alike. Now, as package volume at apartment communities continues to climb, lockers are not only proving inadequate, they’re causing more problems than they cure.
“We had package lockers on-site, but there were always packages scattered everywhere,” said renter Michelle Wood. “Once delivery people know there are lockers, they never attempt delivery to the door. The lockers were always so full that there were always packages stacked up outside the lockers. My community installed lockers just after we moved in three years ago, and they’re already removing them.”
After its failed locker experiment, Wood’s community recently implemented Fetch as its new package solution. Fetch removes on-site storage from the equation, instead receiving resident packages at an off-site facility and scheduling delivery direct-to-door.
“I’ve just been blown away by Fetch. I have express delivery on, so regardless of what time my package arrives at the Fetch warehouse, it is automatically scheduled to deliver in the next two-hour window. I get a pop-up on my app that my packages are at my door,” Wood said. “It’s so easy. Sometimes the delivery person is still there when I open my door, and they have always been friendly.”
Wood, who has worked in multifamily for 20 years and currently serves as the Director of Learning and Engagement with a property management company, has a unique perspective on package management. She said that while her own company has yet to adopt Fetch, the emergence of the Fetch solution is an encouraging step in the industry’s evolution.
“It’s been fun to watch it unfold, as a renter and as somebody in multifamily,” Wood said. “We used to have to go to the office to get our packages. But storage rooms aren’t usually very big, so enter the lockers. And I’ve watched the lockers miserably fail because people can’t pick up packages fast enough and lockers are continually full. Now, watching the new Fetch roll-out, I’m really excited.”
As a renter, Wood said using Fetch has been a drastic improvement.
“Everybody hates the lockers. When I would go down to pick up my packages, other residents were always down there hunting and pecking for their packages,” Wood said. “I’ve probably had 20 packages delivered to my door now by Fetch, and it’s great because I’m not trying to find time to go down and walk across the property to get my package. I don’t have to worry that my packages have been left in a lobby or another building.”
Depending on the design of the property, and the proximity of the resident’s apartment to the package room or the locker facility, it can be a chore to trek across the community to pick up packages, especially if the packages are large or heavy and must be carried back home.
“With the number of packages we all get, especially heavy things like meal prep boxes, it has been really difficult. If you have more than one box at a time, it’s a hassle,” Wood said.
With the locker system in place, Wood used to sift through the stacks of packages left out in the open and look for deliveries for her building and floor, and drop off packages at doorsteps just to save her neighbors the lengthy trip. She also routinely found deliveries intended for the leasing office or maintenance department mixed in with resident packages. Knowing the importance of timely deliveries for the community, she often contacted her property team to alert them to misplaced packages.
“That could be the difference in somebody’s AC getting fixed today versus tomorrow and that impact on customer experience could cost the building in the long run,” Wood said.
Wood said timely delivery hasn’t been a concern with Fetch, and it hasn’t delayed delivery timelines for Amazon Prime or other services.
“A lot of Amazon Prime deliveries end up showing up after the office is closed for the day, and when a delivery driver can’t get into a community that package gets left in the back of a truck to be delivered the next day,” Wood said. “With Fetch, I get things the same day as I would with Amazon Prime.”
Wood said she is anxious to see what her community does with the space reclaimed by the removal of the package lockers, but their removal alone is a plus.
“Even if they put nothing else in place of those lockers, the improvement is going to be that it’s not littered with so many packages that you can’t even walk through that landing area,” Wood said. “I think it brings peace of mind for everybody that packages will be left in a secure place and not left out in the open. And if they’re not comfortable with packages being left at their doors, they can schedule a time for them to be delivered when somebody will be home. It’s a win-win, for safety and the ease for residents.”
She said Fetch provides a reliability that is more than worth the monthly fee.
“As renters, everything is fee-based and there are so many things that we’re willing to pay for. This convenience should definitely be one of them,” Wood said. “It’s a no-brainer from an operations standpoint, and it’s certainly a no-brainer as a resident.”