Already secure of its place in history, 2020 may best be remembered as the year we all had to learn how to do things differently. In how we lived, worked, learned and played, the adjustments were immediate and dramatic, and thousands turned to home delivery for food, shopping and supplies out of necessity. Growth in home deliveries has exploded since March when homes became our base camp, but in a vertical city such as Toronto, this posed some unique challenges for high-rise buildings and residents. 

The pandemic-lead surge in home parcel delivery overwhelmed high-rise concierge desks and mailrooms, but an innovative solution brought forward seven years ago by Parcel Pending by Quadient—an Irvine, California-based company—experienced new popularity and is quickly making its mark in the home delivery space. 

With their background in property management, as buildings grew higher and larger Parcel Pending founder, Lori Torres, noticed property management staff often spent more time accepting, sorting and delivering packages than helping residents and tenants. She formed the company in 2013 with the simple goal of using technology to make package delivery secure, easy and intuitive for property managers, couriers and residents. By way of circumstance and in these days of physical distancing and contactless delivery, Parcel Pending has been a perfect fit for the times. 

Parcel delivery lockers at Parkside Square development, image courtesy of Rhapsody Living

The Parcel Pending solution was to install custom configured smart lockers in buildings to accept packages in a secure, contactless manner thereby avoiding having packages pile up at front entrances and concierge desks. They work with courier companies to provide them with a code by which to access the lockers’ touch screens and the couriers then leave packages in the appropriately sized locker. Recipients are then sent a ‘parcel pending’ notice via text, email or a free mobile app. They access the designated locker at their convenience and open it contact-free by using Bluetooth in the mobile app, scanning a barcode, or entering their code using the touchscreen. 

Parcel Pending is available in residential and commercial buildings, as well as retail spaces and university campuses. Today the company has over 50 installations in the GTA, including Tribute Communities'/Rhapsody Living's Parkside Square and Tricon House’s The Selby. Average size of the locker towers are 80” H x 39.5” W x 24” D and are usually installed in mailrooms, common areas off lobbies or even outside with weatherproof lockers. Some buildings are now even designing ‘package rooms’ to accommodate the home delivery trend. 

The Selby, image by Marc Mitanis

“Every year the number of packages delivered to our lockers has increased moderately as we have grown our footprint in the multifamily space, but since the pandemic, our package volume has spiked by 70-80% year-over-year,” says Matt Haynes, Vice-President of Sales with Parcel Pending. "In fact, we are now delivering close to 3 million packages per month in North America, which greatly exceeds last year's holiday volume.

Parcel Pending is clearly benefitting from the accelerated shift towards e-commerce and they are not alone. According to Bloomberg, shares of both FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. have soared more than 40 % since March, with FedEx profit soaring 67 % in the latest quarter. On September 14th, Amazon announced it will be hiring an additional 100,000 new employees on top of the 175,000 they hired in April. 

2020 has been an unforeseen experiment, and as we explore this new reality, Parcel Pending is an example of the innovation and new thinking which will be required for every aspect of our lives. 

UrbanToronto collaborated with Parcel Pending for this feature.

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Related Companies:  Claude Cormier + Associés, Ferris + Associates Inc., Graziani + Corazza Architects, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Live Patrol Inc., McIntosh Perry, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., Tribute Communities, Tricon Capital Group Inc., Turner Fleischer Architects, U31