How important is delivery experience in build-to-rent?
Deliveries are changing. As a population, we are getting more things delivered and faster than ever. Retailers take responsibility for the start of the delivery chain, packaging and arranging delivery of items and although the onus is on the courier to get items into the hands of the customer, BTR operators should take some responsibility for making sure that the last mile of delivery (or more specifically, the last 100ft) is successful.
Within BTR, delivery experience relates to how a person delivers items onto your development. For the resident, this could be inbound deliveries of online shopping, groceries, hot food and drinks or post. For the operations team, this could mean visitors onsite for service management, or inbound deliveries of equipment, mail or staff personal orders.
In our recent webinar discussing the impact of eCommerce growth on BTR, Brent Stojanovic, Navana Property Group said
“The experience you deliver to your drivers who are delivering inbound mail, impacts the experience you are delivering to your residents... We talk a lot about the resident experience but why can’t we apply the same thinking to drivers?”
Why is it important to review delivery experience on a BTR development?
For a delivery driver, it is relatively easy to deliver into a single household, but for housing developments with multiple units, such as apartment blocks, the process can become fraught with difficulty. Since every development is different in terms of layout, infrastructure and internal process, it can be extremely difficult for delivery drivers to know exactly where to deliver, and how. Any delay in delivery can lead to disgruntled residents and complaints about the driver or courier service.
For inbound parcels such as online deliveries, issues can arise if delivery is attempted while the resident is not at home. For some courier companies, drivers earn money for each successful delivery so if there is no way to safely deliver the item directly into the hands of the resident, they might leave it on a doorstep, with the concierge or attempt redelivery another day. However, all these alternatives increase the risk of lost or stolen parcels and subsequently increase the number of complaints and monetary claims to the courier company and/or the building operator.
Another issue with dropping deliveries directly to the resident is that each courier may have multiple deliveries within a block, however, it is not always manageable to carry them in one go, resulting in multiple trips around the building. Any additional visitors on-site, including delivery drivers, can be seen as a potential security risk.
How to plan for a seamless delivery experience
Speak to carriers to find out pain points for other developments in the area, get to know the different carriers that are operating and what modes of transport they use to courier. Will the majority of deliveries be made by van, bike or car? It is important to understand these factors as this will affect your route planning around the building. Brent Stojanavic recommends speaking to your concierge and on the ground teams and encouraging them to maintain regular contact with the delivery drivers that come on-site as they will be able to tell you what challenges they face when delivering mail and parcels to your development.
During the planning stage of any residential development, ensure that a suitable delivery process is incorporated into the design of the building. Retrofitting a system is possible but can become more difficult especially where space is limited.
Irina Listovskaya, Product Director at EcoWorld London recommends ensuring your address system specifically locates each building so that delivery drivers are directed to the correct location.
Improving the delivery experience requires working more closely with your residents’ community, onsite staff and the carriers themselves. Making their jobs easier leads to better resident satisfaction so it is a win-win for build-to-rent operators.
As a summary, here are our 5 recommendations to create a better delivery experience on your residential developments:
- Encourage your onsite team to build relationships with couriers and understand their pain points
- Create secure places to deliver into (Build these processes into the planning stage if possible)
- Properly signpost your buildings – think about wayfinding from a delivery person's point of view
- Implement technology to take the pressure off staff
- Guarantee first-time delivery of parcels
Quadient smart parcel lockers allow your property managers to spend less time managing parcels and more time managing properties and residents’ queries.