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Industry Insights

White Glove Delivery: The Challenge of Meeting Consumer Expectations

Stord Marketing

Published Date
August 12, 2019



Monday, August 12, 2019 

White glove is a service offering for shipments that require special care during delivery. These shipments are handled by specialized professionals, are loaded into the truck with additional care and may be directly delivered and assembled at their point of use. It’s not a service that’s easily executed, but an increasing number of carriers and 3PLs are offering it anyway.

In the age of the Amazon Effect, more consumers are ordering large-format goods like appliances and furniture online, with high expectations for home delivery. White glove helps meet those expectations – goods are safely delivered within the home and unpackaged and assembled by professionals. The consumer doesn’t have to carry heavy items into the home or deal with bulky packaging, and the goods are handled by fewer third parties, reducing the chance of loss or damage.

To meet rising consumer expectations and e-commerce demand, 3PLs and carriers are adding white glove delivery to their list of comprehensive services, but it’s challenging to successfully carry out. White glove tends to be costlier than industrial deliveries, and it requires different equipment, like a box truck to navigate residential streets and a liftgate to unload the goods. And the service needs to perform well -- trucking company Schneider National Inc. recently announced the shutdown of its First to Final Mile service, with speculation that poor operating performance was due to its white glove service where “damage was too frequent and claims ran unacceptably high.”

Some companies have proven themselves to be successful in the home delivery of large-format goods, but at the expense of profitability. The online furniture retailer Wayfair has “rattled carriers” by building a network across North America with two-day delivery for these goods, but reported a $181.9M loss in the most recent quarter while they fill warehouse capacity.

The recent increased demand for white glove service has created new delivery and optimization challenges, so consider working with a partner with a network of vetted providers to ensure white glove deliveries to your customers are completed efficiently and meeting expectations.

STORD operates a network of 350+ warehouses across North America and provides custom freight and storage solutions. To learn how STORD can help optimize your last mile, contact us.