White glove services are the crème de la crème of last mile logistics, and white glove services & last mile logistics work together more than most other parts of your transportation network. Both services seek to meet the increasing demands of a growing customer base, especially customers of e-commerce platforms, as explained by Deborah Lockridge of Truckinginfo. Paired with the omnichannel demands of such platforms, the use of white glove services is starting to mean more than just extra care during physical delivery. It stretches into the use of technology to provide additional touch points and care in both the picking, shipping and packaging process, and as a result, last mile deliveries run more efficiently and effectively. So, shippers need to understand what this pairing means for their operations.
White Glove Services & Last Mile Deliveries Are Good-As-Gold
“Everyone loves a freebie.” That saying is the cornerstone to understanding why white glove services & last mile deliveries are proverbial gold in logistics strategies. Consumers see added services and accountability in white glove services, and today’s logistics networks have the technology in place to provide white glove services within every transportation management process. Furthermore, more products in e-commerce require specialized equipment and more extensive shipping options. Therefore, systems and platforms used to manage last mile delivery must include add-ons and features for specialized delivery, or white glove service.
White Glove Services Are in High Demand for Last Mile Deliveries
Consumers want to know when a product is picked, packaged, labeled, and shipped. White glove service is also becoming standard in last mile services, and according to Brian Straight of Freight Waves, the global e-commerce market for furniture and appliances requiring white glove service is valued at approximately $199 billion, or 17 percent of the existing e-commerce market. Meanwhile, consumers want to know where the product is right now, within the next hour, and when it will arrive. They want to know more than just a quick scan. They want to see the package being loaded onto the delivery van, and they want to know the name and birth date of the delivery driver. Apparently, those last two points are sarcasm, but they reflect how scrutinizing customers have come to be when viewing last mile delivery.
Expectations Vary Within White Glove Service & Last Mile Delivery
Think about this conundrum: should last mile services be based on quality or price? According to the Logistics Bureau, this concept showcases how consumers are more apt to make repeat purchases when the existing purchase and expectations during last mile delivery are met, if not exceeded.
Consumers expectations are growing more stringent, and many consumers expect orders to be delivered within 24 hours of the original order. The premium costs of these high-speed deliveries do not negate the need for low-cost or free shipping, but shippers can leverage this demand by offering added services, like installation are simple, which are part of white glove services & last mile logistics.
Consumers also have varying expectations. Unfortunately, changing expectations are another problem. Shippers must deal with. Consumers may send messages after the fact, regarding delivery instructions, and automated alerts are simply not enough. As a result, though one-size-fits-all approach to last mile delivery is no longer effective. Adding white glove services as a value-added service within last mile logistics management, shippers can provide more information and accountability to consumers.
Both Require Advanced Back-End Technology
Implementing white glove services & last mile logistics strategies requires back-end technology. Last mile logistics means managing the incoming product, the picking, the packaging, the shipping and service after the sale.
For example, the use of internet-enabled devices and hand-held scanners, if not automated identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies, can be used to automate the package tracking process from the point of ordering to delivery. While tracking these assets may seem trivial in parcel shipping, they are becoming more commonplace for all items ordered through e-commerce platforms.
Asset tracking also inherently allows shippers to manage delivery schedules around consumers’ demands, so shippers have the added burden of optimizing routes with varying schedules. This is only possible through technology that provides a 360° view into all shipments and assets.
Items Requiring White Glove Service Are Commonplace in E-Commerce
Think about what people order online; consumers order products ranging from household appliances to expensive electronics. Consumers Using omnichannel shopping strategies, ranging from online to in-store, are likely buying something online because it is either cheaper, more cost-effective or comes with free shipping. But, consumers considering a purchase between Shipper A and Shipper B on more likely to go with the shipper who can get the product to them faster, even if the shipper charges a premium. Consumers are willing to pay extra for white glove services, so shippers can use this fact to improve last mile logistics strategies.
Offering better service also lends itself to better performance, astounding customer reviews and repeat purchases. It is a win-win for all parties involved.
White Glove Services Put More Control Over the Shipment
White glove services also put more control over the shipment in the hands of the shipper. In other words, shippers can better mitigate risks inherent within last mile logistics.
For example, delivery in heavily populated urban areas may be difficult through traditional last mile processes, but white glove service can leverage newer technology to deliver products to the literal doorstep or workplace of consumers at their convenience, not just when the delivery van arrives. This means shippers can better align their existing operations with consumer expectations, improving visibility along the way.
What About the Future of Robotics and White Glove Services?
Speaking of technology, robotics and drones are beginning to impact the last mile logistics space, and the consumer-centric design of robotics and drone delivery mean last mile delivery is poised to become one of the fastest delivery options. Consumers have. This is already the founding principle behind Amazons prime air, and shippers should consider investing in and exploring the use of robotics and automation within last mile delivery and logistics operations to implement more white glove services and provide that added level of finesse consumers want.