What is white glove delivery and why does it give delivery and logistics providers an advantage in today’s competitive environment?
Today, with online shopping becoming the norm and demand for delivery services higher than ever before, delivery companies looking to attract a wide range of shippers must set themselves apart. By providing white glove delivery services, these companies are able to brand themselves as exclusive and able to provide an exceptional delivery experience.
Consignees today expect more from a delivery company – just when soaring order volumes are challenging logistics providers to provide basic on time delivery. Shippers understand that delivery speed and special services are one of the most critical aspects in customer satisfaction and are therefore investing in them. In fact, the #1 tactic to increase last mile business as indicated by 64% of those surveyed in a recent report was to offer new, premium services and service plans such as white glove services.
Retailers are looking to logistics service providers (LSPs) to provide white glove services, backed with the appropriate logistics software to support such services. This means being able to support fast, convenient delivery services that meet demanding expectations from customers who are used to high-level and expedited shipping.
This guide takes a look at white glove services: why this service is critical for all oversized retailers and every last mile carrier who offers it, as well as how it will help you differentiate your services.
What do white glove delivery services mean for logistics providers and shippers?
Think of white glove services as the VIP service of the shipping world. When something is shipped as “white glove” it means that it will be handled with the utmost care, delivered, assembled and dealt with in the customer’s home, the delivery packaging will be disposed of, and more, depending on the specific product. The customer can rest assured that when the shipment arrives, everything will be taken care of exactly as expected, and with special attention.
In the post COVID-19 age, offering white glove service is a major advantage for shippers. Consignees today purchase more expensive or oversized goods online than ever before, and are looking for convenience and safety from their delivery. Companies that provide white glove delivery services for ecommerce fulfillment can use this as a major selling point with retailers and ecommerce brands.
Traditionally, white glove shipping refers to premium and specialty services.
Examples of white glove delivery include:
- Product storage
- Special handling of fragile or high value items that often require special packing material
- Over-the-threshold (inside delivery) to specific rooms in a home (as opposed as to the front door)
- Assembly and installation
- Unpacking goods in customers’ homes
- Removing and/or recycling older products (reverse logistics)
These services are called white glove, because they are premium and evoke an image of prestige and convenience.
Certain shippers may be hesitant regarding white glove delivery services due to the additional costs entailed. The price of white glove shipping varies widely according to type of item shipped, packing materials (including protective packaging), product specifications, and what is involved in the delivery. For example, installations and assembly may require specific technicians or specialized equipment, big box deliveries often require two team members, and post site inspections may require more time on site.
However, most shippers understand that white glove services are a worthwhile investment in order to provide differentiated services. In fact, 45% of surveyed logistics providers said that installation and/or assembly services were a top capability requested by their shippers (Bringg).
White glove shipping services are critical for logistic service providers who need or want to attract or maintain shippers looking to provide last mile delivery recipients with ultimate delivery experience. When shippers look for a logistics provider, they are drawn to those that offer a wide range of delivery services and options. With over 60% of supply chain leaders seeing increased demand for last mile delivery, including white-glove services (e.g. inside delivery, haul away, etc.) it’s clear that supplying these services will help shippers meet the rising demand.
TIP: Combining traditional white glove delivery services together with technological solutions allows for fast, efficient and convenient delivery with full visibility, and is how you will attract new shippers.
How to win more shippers through white glove delivery options
At the end of the day, shippers need to provide competitive shipping experiences to their customers. These experiences are about giving the end customer choices, and the most convenient service options that can range from fast, same, or next-day delivery (expedited shipping), to premium traditional white glove delivery of large items or those that need to be installed or constructed (think furniture, home appliances, medical and lab equipment, and more).
Shippers are looking for service providers who will make this process easier for them, as well as carriers that they can trust and rely on to deliver to their standards of speed, visibility, and overall customer experience.
Companies who can provide white glove delivery services together with advanced technological solutions are able to cut costs and remain efficient and competitive, putting them at an advantage today with shippers.
A white glove service provider must remember that white glove service is about giving premium service packages to the shipper and through them, to the end customer. People in these cases aren’t interested in visiting a drop off location to receive or return their product, they want the additional level of care when it comes to valuable or delicate items. And of course, they want convenience and ease of shipment.
TIP: Having a wide range of service packages, from basic to premium, that can be customized per business will differentiate your logistics services from other carriers and delivery providers.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can enrich and enhance your retail delivery services.
Show accurate, real-time delivery service options at checkout
Not only do customers want their deliveries to arrive quickly, they want to know exactly when the shipping carrier or delivery provider will be arriving at their door (or curbside, or other agreed upon destination).
When shippers can integrate with your system and let shoppers see delivery options at the time of purchase, it’s a major incentive in assuring customer satisfaction. Integration here is essential as it allows a checkout system to provide options based on real-time fleet and driver availability, inventory availability, and more, guaranteeing an accurate choice for customers.
Automated self-scheduling for consignees
Shippers with big ticket items (usually furniture and appliances) as well as important medical and lab equipment, require scheduling in advance in order to guarantee that the customer is home when the item arrives. In many cases a customer service representative gets in touch with the consignee to schedule, and in many cases the delivery window is hours long (think 6-8 or more). This leaves recipients frustrated, as they sit around waiting for delivery all day. White glove delivery service is also about making sure that delivery speed is reasonable, including the delivery process (aka not having to wait around all day).
One white glove delivery option that is highly attractive for shippers is the ability to offer automated self-scheduling. This option lets consignees decide when to have the shipment delivered, within a reasonable delivery window (a few hours as opposed to an entire day) and puts the customer in charge of the process. Delivery is typically scheduled through text message or a link sent by email, cutting out the middleman of the customer service representative.
This is the epitome of white glove shipping: giving shippers the full range of exclusive services to guarantee that they can provide the best white glove service possible.
Provide convenient delivery services and multiple service-level agreements (SLAs)
Not all shippers are created equal. Each company and brand has its own requirements and demands, putting an emphasis on different factors in delivery services, often depending on the items they sell, their inventory management requirements, etc. Providing convenient services and multiple types of SLAs allows delivery and 3pl logistics providers to adjust to the needs of each business when it comes to white glove shipping. A company with these services will have an advantage when it comes to new market opportunities.
Having a wide range of SLAs, including white glove delivery offers, makes delivery providers and carriers more attractive for shippers who are looking to give customers the ultimate delivery experience.
Contactless white glove delivery
Before COVID-19, no one could have imagined that contactless delivery would become an important topic that differentiated carriers. Today, contactless delivery sets shippers apart, no matter what type of item is being delivered. Shippers that don’t offer contactless white glove options may find themselves losing considerable market share.
Contactless delivery includes every step in the white glove delivery flow, from pickup at a warehouse, store or distribution center, to contactless (digital) proof of delivery. Consignees want to remain safe, while being assured that their delivery has actually arrived. This digital proof is often available through the shippers’ website or even through text message.
Curbside vs. over-the-threshold white glove: flexible delivery destination
Contactless delivery, self-scheduling, and multiple service plans are all ways to inject flexibility into your service options. Flexibility should extend to the delivery destination, as well. The full white glove delivery experience allows consignees to decide exactly where they will be receiving their shipment. This may depend on product specifications of course, as certain items aren’t reasonable to leave at the curb for example.
One new over-the-threshold option is garage delivery. This white glove delivery service gives a customer confidence that the shipment will be left in a secure area and not be subject to theft before the owner arrives home. Amazon launched this service in 2020, which was met with enthusiasm from those looking for secure and safe delivery services.
LSPs that can give shippers the option to provide curbside, over-the-threshold (including garage delivery) as well as threshold options (to the door), are at an advantage in their white glove delivery process.
Installation and white glove assembly services
When shippers think of white glove shipping services, installation and assembly typically come to mind. Physically large as well as expensive (and often fragile) items have additional transportation requirements as they must be handled with care, and people expect the top service when getting new furniture or appliances delivered to their homes.
These aren’t everyday purchases. Consignees want to feel like they are having a positive experience when it comes to delivery, from scheduling, to arrival, installation, assembly, and cleaning up packaging materials, etc. when done.
Offering installation and assembly services should include preparing consignees for the white glove service that they will receive. This includes letting the customer know in advance what needs to be available at the delivery location (including product specifications if necessary), or if anything needs to be cleared or covered from the area where the item will be delivered. Consignees should also be given an accurate estimate of how long the service is expected to take.
When a delivery company provides a business and their consignees with all of the information in advance, there should be no surprises, reducing the chances of a missed delivery or delay in shipping. This is what white glove delivery is all about: providing an extra level of care to deliveries.
How to profitably manage white glove delivery at scale
Successful white glove delivery is about giving shippers the opportunity to provide top-of-the line, premium services to their customers, no matter what their expectations or demands are.
Shippers are typically unable to handle white glove shipping at the highest levels on their own, and therefore turn to LSPs to handle the delivery services for them. LSPs that want to stay ahead and attract top shippers, must put an emphasis on customization and multiple service options, in order to allow all shippers to find the perfect option for their brand and its needs.
4 Tips to manage white glove delivery efficiently at scale:
- Emphasize multiple, customizable service options, so shippers can find exactly what they need
- Provide real-time tracking for both shippers and customers
- Automate your entire last mile delivery flow, up to and including proof of delivery and customer feedback, for optimal efficiency
- Provide drivers and technicians with applications that digitize the delivery flow, helping them quickly and accurately manage each white glove delivery and its unique requirements
Providing on demand and same day delivery, customized premium service plans for shippers, true white glove delivery options, and real time tracking and information for customers is impossible without fully digitized operations.
White glove delivery at a large scale requires automation to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness. After all, shippers are looking to provide great customer experiences, but certainly not at any price. Delivery providers and carriers must create efficient systems to allow shippers to provide flexibility, convenience, and positive experiences, at the right price tag.
In addition, logistics providers need the proper technology to be able to reliably provide a wide range of different customized options to different types of shippers at scale. While providing customizable plans is an attractive option, if a delivery or logistics provider doesn’t have the tech to back up the process and therefore can’t reliably upkeep the SLA, shippers will be disappointed and back out.
Drivers, too, will need tools to seamlessly execute the delivery service flow. The greater variety of services you offer, and the more shippers you serve, the more complicated the delivery flows will be. Provide your teams with a driver app that is suited to multiple, complex delivery flows, but which digitizes and automates the entire process.
By making it easy to scan RFIDs, collect proof of delivery, and see every unique step involved in each delivery, logistics providers can reduce shipment delays, increase on time delivery rates and ensure exceptional white glove delivery experiences. Automating these flows will also make onboarding drivers for a white glove delivery service significantly easier.
Flexible, cost-efficient white glove delivery services
Bringg gives logistic service providers and retailers the opportunity to rapidly expand and optimize premium, customized white glove delivery service, for greater operational efficiency and more competitive customer experiences.
Use a single modular platform to do more with your resources: from driver onboarding and shipper integration, through hub partnerships, automated dispatching and driver management, and all the way to customer service and consignee experience.
Bringg’s demand-driven technology digitizes and connects your supply chain systems, delivery fleets and customers. We apply automation and business logic to help you orchestrate more, better and faster deliveries, including multiple business requirements, for greater revenue.
To learn more, visit Bringg.com/logistics