Friday 28 June 2019

How online shopping is boxing in people

How online shopping is boxing in peopleNEW DELHI: As online shopping becomes ubiquitous, so do the boxes delivered to homes across the country.

For apartment dwellers — and the managers of the buildings they live in — it’s tough to manage the boxes that pile up, sometimes clogging precious space for days.

The problem’s only getting worse, says Rick Haugheyof National Multifamily HousingCouncil, which represents many owners, developers and managers of apartment housing. People are ordering more heavy, oversize and perishable items than ever before, he notes, and building managers are “tasked with finding new and creative ways to meet the demand for package storage, sorting and security.”

There are a growing number of technologies and services aimed at alleviating the delivery problem in apartment foyers. UPS, FedEx and Amazon all have begun offering services to help manage the flow of delivery boxes. The Amazon Hub programme, for example, includes Amazon Locker, based at third-party locations like Whole Foods; Locker+, with staffed locations for pickups and dropoffs; and Apartment Locker accepts packages in apartment buildings, among other services.

“It’s a huge issue for a lot of apartment buildings. There’s a security factor, but also a convenience factor. Building management offices aren’t open as late as some residents need them to be in order to retrieve packages, and just accepting a building’s packages can easily become a fulltime job,” says Melody Akhtari, spokeswoman for Luxer One, which started out in 2005 with lockers in apartment buildings for dry cleaning.

There are services that arrange deliveries for a specific time when residents know they’ll be home; or let recipients have packages delivered to secure hubs or other locations that are conveniently located and open late. There’s also Fetch which collects packages, stores them offsite and delivers them when the recipient is home, taking the burden off building managers.

And the challenge doesn’t end at delivery and storage. Once the boxes are opened, some are shipped back as returns, while others create a trash or recycling headache.

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