White Glove Delivery:
Definitions, Challenges, and Tips for Competitive Services

As the delivery world becomes more and more competitive, with more online shopping and demand for delivery than ever before, LSPs looking to attract a wide range of shippers must set themselves apart, by providing exceptional delivery service, often including a suite of white glove delivery services.

Consignees demand more from their delivery experience, just when order volumes are challenging logistics providers to provide basic on-time delivery. According to a Digital Commerce 360 report, the number of consignees who were satisfied their deliveries arrived on time sank from 56% to 36% over the course of 2020. Shippers know this, which is why 55% have already 55% invested (brought or replaced) in shipping solutions, and 49% in carrier integration software.

Retailers are looking to LSPs to provide not only an exceptional delivery experience for all items, but also the technology to back such a service. This means being able to support fast, convenient, delivery services that meet demanding expectations from now delivery-savvy consignees.

This guide takes a look at white glove shipping: why this service is critical for all oversized retailers and every last mile carrier who offers it, and how it will help you differentiate your services.

What do white glove delivery services mean for logistics providers and shippers?

White glove shipping is going the extra mile for consignees and giving the highest quality service. In today’s age, with people putting extra emphasis on safety and convenience, offering white glove service is a major advantage for shippers, a major advantage for consignees when comparing different retailers.

Traditional white glove delivery refers to premium and specialty services.

Examples of white glove delivery include:

  • Product storage
  • Packing fragile or expensive items with special packing material
  • Over-the-threshold 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 due to the additional costs entailed. The price of white glove shipping varies largely according to items shipped, packaging materials, product specifications and what is involved in the delivery. For example, installations and assembly may require specialized technicians or expensive equipment; big box deliveries often require two team members. However, most shippers understand that white glove service is a worthwhile investment in order to provide their customers with differentiated services.

White glove delivery services are critical for logistic service providers who need to attract or maintain shippers looking to give customers the ultimate last mile experience. When shippers look for a logistics provider, they are drawn to those that offer a wide range of delivery services and options. And with over 60% of supply chain leaders seeing increased last-mile delivery demand, including white-glove service (e.g. in-home installation, 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 allowing for fast, efficient and convenient delivery with full visibility, is how you will attract new shippers.

Winning more shippers through white glove delivery service options

At the end of the day, shippers need to provide competitive shipping experiences to their consignees. These experiences are in essence about giving the end customer choices, and the most convenient service options that can range from fast, same or next-day delivery, to premium traditional white glove delivery of large items or those that need to be installed or constructed. Shippers are looking for logistic 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.

LSPs who are able to provide these services, together with exceptional technology giving the ability to cut costs and remain efficient and competitive, are at an advantage today with shippers. A delivery service provider must remember that white glove service is about giving premium service packages to the shipper and through them, to their customers. At a time when many retailers offer curbside pickup and buy-online, pickup in store (BOPIS), white glove delivery can provide value through the additional level of car taken with valuable or delicate items, and most of all, convenience and ease of shipment. LSPs who are able to provide the ultimate level of delivery service will help their shippers in turn give phenomenal services, a priority for all businesses today.

TIP: Having a wide range of service packages, from basic to premium, that can be customized per business will differentiate your services from other carriers and logistics service providers.

Keeping in mind the primary goal – giving retailers and companies the opportunity to win over more business – let’s take a look at some of the ways you can enrich and enhance your 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 carrier will be arriving at their door (or curbside, or other agreed upon destination). When shippers can integrate with your system, allowing consignees to see delivery options at the time of purchase, this is 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) 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 (after they’ve chosen their preferred method of delivery), 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.

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 white glove 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, packaging materials needed, etc. Providing convenient services and multiple types of SLAs allows LSPs to adjust to the needs of each business when it comes to white glove services. LSPs with these options will have an advantage when it comes to new market opportunities.

There are various factors at hand that can be adjusted according to SLA and company’s needs. For example, some shippers may prefer cheaper scheduled delivery (multi-day delivery) while others may prefer more expensive but on-demand delivery (same or next day) with shorter delivery windows. Some shippers may want to integrate these options together, giving each consignee the choice about how they’d like to receive their items, when, and at what cost.

It’s important to remember that different shippers and the end customer care about different things. While some may put an emphasis on cost, others find speed of delivery the most critical aspect of delivery services. Others may be more concerned about the method of delivery itself, the specific delivery destination, or some other specific factor.

LSPs that show their shippers that they support the most convenient delivery options on the market are an attractive choice for shippers looking to put the customer experience first.

Consignee visibility into order status

Not only do people expect shipments to arrive when scheduled, they want to have the ability to know exactly where their order and delivery is throughout the entire process. This gives them the confidence to know exactly when their shipment will arrive, as well as giving flexibility for leaving the house, getting a room ready for a big item, and more.

When LSPs provide the option to track deliveries in real-time as well as communicating with the driver when necessary, consignees will be happy and turn into repeat customers for that shipper.

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 options may find themselves losing considerable market share.

Contactless delivery includes every step in the white glove delivery flow, from pickup at 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 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 delivery services, what typically comes to mind is installation and assembly. 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 and 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 LSPs provide 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.

Customized service plans

As discussed, every business is looking to offer something different through its white glove delivery services, and has different priorities. Today, many LSPs provide a set list of 2-4 service plans (basic, advanced and premium, for example). These transportation options may be attractive to one business or another. However, most businesses want a white glove delivery services that will suit their particular business needs, particularly if they are willing to pay a higher price for these services. Meeting disparate requirements from multiple shippers can only be done through customized shipping service plans.

LSPs who are able to create customized shipping plans per business, based on specific business needs, will attract a wider audience and discover greater profitability through its white glove service options.

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

However, providing on demand and same day delivery, customized premium service plans for shippers, and true white glove delivery options, real-time tracking and information for customers is impossible without fully digitized operations.

Providing 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, LSPs 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 an LSP 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 your 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.

Bringg: flexible, cost-efficient white glove delivery services

Bringg gives logistic service providers the opportunity to rapidly expand and optimize premium, customized white glove delivery service, for greater operational efficiency and more competitive customer experiences. LSPs use a single modular platform to do more with their resources: from driver onboarding and shipper integration, through hub partnerships, dispatch and driver performance, 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