White Glove Delivery: The Ultimate Guide

Ryder Last Mile|Blogs
delivery crew installing fridge

Picture this scenario – you'd like to order a new bedroom set, but your apartment's on the third floor and you're unsure how to get it up the stairs, unbox it, set it up, and dispose of your old mattress. Or, you need to replace your refrigerator and want complete installation services. Luckily for you, you don't have to lift a finger. White glove delivery handles it all – from getting the package through the door, unboxing and installing, and getting rid of the old mattress so that you can lay down and relax. It's the premier last mile delivery experience!

Today's customers expect their deliveries on time and in perfect condition. Big and bulky or fragile products often require exceptional care that white glove delivery can provide. Last-mile deliveries can leave a lasting impression on customers, and white glove delivery teams could help create a lifelong relationship with a customer.

As a seller, why should you care about white glove delivery? The Global White Glove Services in Delivery Market is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% through 2027 and is expected to reach a market size of USD 53.7 billion by 2027, according to a new report by Verified Market Reports.

In this article, we'll provide the ultimate guide on white glove delivery by explaining what it is, its benefits, who uses it, and how a 3PL can help achieve it. We'll even dive into a Ryder case study. Let's get into it.

What is White Glove Delivery?

White glove delivery is a cut above other delivery options – it goes beyond the front-door delivery. It ensures timely delivery with the utmost care of the product, along with handling additional aspects like unpackaging, installation, and disposal of materials (including the pieces you are replacing). The idea of "white glove services" goes way back, stemming from the uniforms of trustworthy butlers and imperial guards in Europe. White glove delivery represents a premium customer experience in the world of deliveries and is a critical component of any order fulfillment strategy.

Key Features of White Glove Delivery:

  • Professional Delivery: A proper white glove delivery calls for features like self-scheduling via text, email, or phone, call-ahead notices, and convenient delivery windows. The product will be delivered using dedicated vehicles with unique features like refrigeration, temperature control, surveillance, and additional padding needed to care for a product. Operating the vehicles is a professional team of two or more drivers and handlers who can ensure quick and efficient unloading.
  • Inside Handling: Once the package is inside the customer's location, white glove delivery calls for the placement of the product in any room of the location while demonstrating the utmost respect for the customer's space and time.
  • Assembly and Installation: Now that the package is inside the desired room, the handlers will handle the unboxing, assembly, and installation of the product. This step requires specialized expertise and trained handlers to ensure a seamless experience.
  • Haul-away Services: Once the product is installed to the customer's liking, the handlers discard any leftover packaging materials and even dispose of the previous product. Like in the scenarios of the bedroom furniture and appliances order at the start of the article, the delivery team will dispose of the previous goods if necessary, saving your customer’s time and effort in contacting local waste management services or loading items in a truck.

White Glove Vs. Other Last-Mile Delivery Options

Any comprehensive order fulfillment strategy should include various last-mile delivery options catering to customers' needs. Not all delivery options are made equal, as key differences exist among them. Let's break them down.

We all know of front-door delivery, a relatively inexpensive courier option offered by the most common final mile delivery services. With this standard delivery, the package is left outside the location's door.

A step above standard delivery is over the threshold delivery, which is becoming more common thanks to large retailers. The key difference here is that with over the threshold delivery, the driver will carry your package inside instead of leaving it outside your door.

Now, for the ultimate delivery option, there's white glove delivery. As discussed, white glove delivery will ensure timeliness and proper care of the product in transit, and the service involves the unboxing, assembly, and installation of the product, followed by haul-away services if necessary.

It's useful to think of these final mile delivery options like a tiered system. For example, Ryder Last Mile breaks it down into four tiers:

  • Tier 1 – Front Door: This tier provides real-time tracking, automated call ahead notifications, a 1-person delivery team, optional self-scheduling, and delivers the product outside the front door of the home or business.
  • Tier 2 – Over The Threshold: This tier provides all of the same features as Tier 1 but adds a two-person delivery team, streamlined customer returns, and just-inside-the-home placement of packages.
  • Tier 3 – Room of Choice: This tier provides the same features as Tiers 1 and 2 but offers the package placement inside the customers room of choice.
  • Tier 4 – White Glove: This is the premium tier, which adds unboxing, assembly, installation, and haul-away services.

You must invest in a variety of last-mile delivery options, like the above, to match the needs of their customers.

Benefits of White Glove Delivery

Higher On-Time Delivery Percentage

On-time deliveries can significantly impact customer satisfaction rates. As a premium service that tends to involve more fragile and expensive items, white glove delivery is designed to be on time every time. When choosing white glove delivery, your customers can expect a convenient delivery window and absolutely no delays.

Safe and Secure Handling

Fragile and valuable products require special care in transit, during unloading, unboxing, and installing. With white glove service, couriers ensure that the proper tools are used, such as specialized vehicles with padding, refrigeration, temperature control, and surveillance as needed. Drivers and handlers are trained in properly unboxing, assembling, and installing products, which are key aspects of white glove service. White glove service will ultimately reduce damages in transit and during handling, which can be costly for sellers and lead to a poor customer experience.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

All the aspects of white glove delivery, from order tracking and visibility to the installation of the product and disposal of excess materials, create the ultimate delivery experience for your customers. With the proper training and tools, white glove delivery teams can significantly impact customer satisfaction rates and generate repeat customers by removing much of the purchase anxiety associated with fragile and valuable items.

Who Should Use White Glove Delivery

As a retailer, simplifying the purchase experience for your customers could mean the difference between them choosing your brand or another. If your business fits the criteria below, investing in a white glove delivery option for your customers could lead to more profits and brand loyalty:

  • E-Commerce Businesses Selling Fragile or Highly Valuable Products: Products like glassware, artwork, and musical instruments could be easily damaged in transit, during unloading and/or unboxing.
  • Interior Designers and Furniture Retailers: Big and bulky products like chairs, couches, dining tables, and fireplaces require special care in transit, and customers can benefit from white-glove teams that can unbox and assemble these products.
  • Home Appliance Retailers: Customers who have purchased washers, dryers, refrigerators, A/C units, and other big and bulky appliances, may need assistance in unpacking and installing their products. White glove delivery will also ensure that the products are not damaged in transit.
  • Electronics And Home Entertainment System Sellers: Customers who order televisions, gaming systems, sound systems, or computers are generally diligent in ensuring that the products do not arrive damaged. Investing in white glove delivery can help minimize damage in transit, lower customer returns, and generate repeat customers.
  • Exercise Equipment: Exercise equipment often involves relatively complex assemblies and installations and sometimes involves technology setups. Simplifying and handling this process for the customer can make their life much easier.

Any businesses like the above examples can benefit greatly from investing in a white glove delivery option. This option can minimize returns, increase on-time deliveries, win customers, and create long-lasting relationships.

Can a 3PL Help with White Glove Delivery?

As a seller, providing a premium white glove delivery option can be difficult and daunting without the help of an experienced third party logistics provider. A 3PL like Ryder, which excels in white glove delivery, has proprietary technology, such as RyderView, that provides customers with real-time visibility, self-scheduling, routing, and notifications, all designed to make deliveries more efficient. They also have access to specialized vehicles with padding, refrigeration, temperature control, and surveillance that can safely transport fragile and perishable products, and they have professional handlers trained in unloading, assembling, and installing products.T

he beauty of outsourcing white glove deliveries to a 3PL is that it allows sellers to focus on their products and core business while the final mile delivery experts handle all of the complexities in the background.

Case Study: Ryder and NordicTrack

NordicTrack, a Utah-based brand known for its treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and rowers has been a leader in home fitness equipment for more than 45 years. As their sales continued to rise, so did the demand for on-time delivery, expert assembly, and exceptional customer service. So, NordicTrack partnered with Ryder Last Mile in 2015 to provide customers with in-home delivery, assembly, and equipment setup – a white glove delivery service.

Through its last mile solution for NordicTrack, Ryder provides, white glove deliveries with two-person teams and gets most equipment assembled within an hour. The two-person team also shows the customers how to use iFit – the brand's digital subscription platform that includes live and on-demand workouts - and Automatic Trainer Control, which digitally adjusts the equipment's incline, decline, and resistance.

The experience and professionalism of the drivers have created the lasting impact the brand looks for from its customers. On-time delivery rates are above 97%, and based on post-delivery surveys, customer satisfaction averages 4.68 out of 5. Customers receive their product within two days and equipment returns have also decreased.

"Ryder has been leading the way, helping us with the customer experience. Last mile delivery teams are now not only going into the home, doing their white-glove assembly, they are now on-boarding customers to the subscription service to kick start their iFit experience on the equipment," said Rob Critchley, Sr. Director of Logistics at ICON.

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