As E-Commerce Swells, Apartment Managers Turn to Tech To Manage Thousands of Parcels.
When Michael Patton moved to a large luxury apartment complex in Uptown Dallas in 2015, he was shocked to discover his complex employed two full-time workers to manage hundreds of package deliveries every day. And packages would still get lost.
“I moved in right before the holidays, so I saw the package problem” in full force, Patton said, adding that he had a few of his own packages go missing. “They had a very large package room on-site with full-time staff members. I’d never seen that before, I thought that was slightly ridiculous. Even with them spending all that money on package delivery, it still wasn’t the greatest experience for residents.”
After national apartment owner Camden Property Trust started refusing to accept packages in 2015, Patton hatched an idea for his startup Fetch, a last-mile delivery service using a smartphone app to let apartment residents control delivery times and take property managers out of package management. Today, Fetch is in 16 major markets with nearly 400 corporate employees and 2,000 contractors dropping millions of parcels on doorsteps. Armed with a fresh $60 million in funding, plans to expand nationwide.
The pandemic has underscored the need for package-delivery strategies for apartment owners overseeing a tsunami of shipments thanks to the explosion in e-commerce orders. Consumers are expected to continue many of the online shopping habits they developed during the pandemic, according to a report from market researcher eMarketer. E-commerce sales spiked 18% last year to $708 billion and are expected to jump 13.7% this year to $908 billion, according to eMarketer. That means more apartment leasing offices cluttered with boxes for on-site staff to manage