What Is White Glove Delivery and When Do You Need to Use It?
Learn more about what goes into white glove delivery service and how eCommerce retailers and other businesses offer special care for high-value deliveries.
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When we’re talking about “white glove,” we don’t mean the one Michael Jackson wore.
We’re talking about a type of delivery that’s become more popular in recent years as eCommerce has exploded.
“White glove” is a phrase that describes a higher level of service — usually involving delivery, installation, or assembly.
White glove delivery is a premium service where items are delivered to the customer’s door by trained professionals with the utmost care.
The professionals often assemble the item if it needs assembly and may even do so in the customer’s home.
For example, if you ordered a new washer and dryer from an online retailer, they’d likely offer white glove delivery, including bringing the appliances into your home, connecting them to existing water and power lines, and testing them to make sure they work properly.
If you own a business in shipping and delivery, offering white glove services is a great way to differentiate your company.
While white glove delivery is often used to describe the delivery of high-value items, it can really apply to any item that needs special care during shipping or delivery.
This might include fragile items, large items, or items that require assembly or installation.
In this article. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about white glove delivery, including what it involves and when you should consider using it for your business.
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What does the white glove delivery service include?
White glove delivery services can mean a lot of different things, including inside delivery for high-value items, special care, express delivery time, and elevated customer experience.
It can also include white glove shipping services with better packaging materials.
It starts with packaging.
White glove shipping services often include additional packaging to make sure that items are well-protected during transit.
This could include premium packing materials like thicker boxes, wooden crates, styrofoam, bubble wrap, or other materials to keep items safe.
There are some factors to consider when it comes to selecting the right packaging materials for your items, such as size, value, fragility, perishability, and the shipping environment.
One other important factor to consider when shipping items is moisture. Moisture can cause damage to items during transit, which can lead to costly repairs or replacements.
That’s why it’s important to use a moisture-resistant packing material when shipping items and include things like silica gel packets to absorb moisture.
It’s also important to make sure that the items are securely packed so that they can’t move around or get damaged during transit.
If you’re shipping a particularly fragile item, you may want to consider using a sealed container or a climate-controlled truck.
As a business owner, damaged goods can quickly eat into your profit.
In fact, US businesses lose about $1 billion a year in damages.
Bottom line: Avoid. Damages.
Attention to detail
When you’re shipping high-value items, it’s important to pay attention to the details.
No, you don’t have to break out the magnifying glass and go full Harriet the Spy.
But you do need to pay attention to everything from labeling to inspecting goods when they’re delivered.
Make sure that your items are properly labeled with all of the necessary information, such as destination, return address, delivery instructions, and contact information.
Shippers who offer white glove shipping services also need to give items special attention and delicate handling — loading, transporting, and unloading items with care to avoid damage.
Each employee involved in the shipping and delivery process should be trained to take care of the items appropriately.
For example, many companies offer pre-and post-inspections of the product to make sure it’s safe and in good condition.
White glove deliveries involve additional costs, and as a result, customers expect white glove shipping services to be faster and more precise.
White glove delivery options typically come at an extra charge due to the special attention paid to the items being shipped (and how they’re shipped) and expedited shipping times.
For example, if you’re shipping an item that’s time-sensitive or perishable, you may need to use a next-day or two-day shipping service to make sure that it arrives on time.
As a business owner offering white glove delivery options, you need to schedule deliveries to happen quickly at the times customers expect.
Customers may opt for white glove delivery because they want to be present for the delivery and oversee the installation or setup process.
That’s cool. We love a backseat driver.
Customers who hang out and watch your delivery team should be impressed by how professional and well-trained they are.
But customers also want you to deliver at the right time, working with their schedule.
For this reason, make sure you’re able to accommodate customer schedules when shipping items.
This is when route optimization software can come in handy.
Circuit for Teams optimizes your delivery schedules and routes to make sure items are delivered on time when your customers need them — even when there are last-minute changes.
Real-time package tracking
White glove service providers also typically offer real-time package tracking so that customers can see where their items are at all times.
This could include GPS tracking for trucks and delivery vehicles and updates on the status of the delivery (like “in transit,” “out for delivery,” and “delivered”).
Some companies also track the location of the delivery driver so that customers can see when they’re getting close to their destination.
This is especially important for time-sensitive deliveries or deliveries that need to be made outside normal business hours.
Offering real-time package tracking gives customers peace of mind.
With Circuit, you can get real-time driver tracking and accurate ETAs, so you always know where your deliveries are and if they arrived on time.
You can tag priority packages and get signature and photo proof of delivery that’s synced and saved at every stop.
Plus, your customers can stay up to date with emails and SMS notifications on their delivery status.
In-home assembly and installation
White glove delivery isn’t just ding-dong-ditching.
You don’t just drop off a package, ring the bell, and run.
It’s elite final mile service, catered to give your customers peace of mind and confidence.
Inside delivery is the most common service associated with white glove delivery.
It involves bringing the item into the customer’s home and placing it in the room of their choice.
This can be especially helpful for large or bulky items that might be difficult for the customer to move.
It can also include having the delivery team do product assembly.
Many people don’t have the time or skills to assemble or install certain items in their homes. This is where white glove delivery services can really come in handy.
For example, if you order a new piece of furniture from an online retailer, they’re likely to offer white glove delivery, which might include bringing the item into your home, unpacking it, assembling it, and placing it in the room of your choice.
If you own a business that sells large or bulky items, such as furniture, appliances, or exercise equipment, white glove delivery services are likely an essential offering for your customers.
Premium customer service
Customers are demanding. They expect the best.
You have to be ready to deliver.
White glove delivery services also need to offer premium customer service throughout the shipping process.
This includes things like responding quickly to customer inquiries, giving updates on the status of deliveries, and offering help if there are any problems with the delivery.
It’s important to remember that customers are paying for a premium service — and they expect to be treated accordingly.
If you’re offering white glove shipping services, make sure that you have the staff and resources to give an exceptional level of customer service.
When do you need to use white glove delivery?
White glove shipping services and deliveries are essential for specific businesses and industries.
Some businesses may need to use white glove shipping because they’re shipping fragile or valuable items.
Others need to use it because they’re shipping time-sensitive items.
In general, you should consider using white glove shipping services if you own any of the following businesses:
- Art galleries or antique dealers: Businesses like art galleries or antique stores often need to use white glove shipping when sending items to customers. This is because these items are usually fragile and valuable — and it’s important to make sure they arrive in the same condition they left in.
- Appliance stores: Appliance stores may use white glove shipping services to deliver large appliances like refrigerators and ovens to make sure they’re installed correctly and not scratched or dented in the process.
- Furniture stores: Furniture stores often use white glove shipping when delivering items to customers’ homes. This is because furniture is usually large and heavy — and can be difficult to move around once it’s in the home.
- Movers: Moving companies often use white glove shipping when delivering items to customers’ homes. This is because they need to be careful not to damage the customer’s belongings or scratch the floors or walls in their new home.
- Businesses offering high-value, expensive or irreplaceable items: “Expensive” is subjective, but, in general, you should consider using white glove shipping for any items that are worth big money. This includes jewelry, electronics, and musical instruments.
- Interior designers: Interior designers often need to use white glove shipping when they’re sending items to clients. This is because they need to make sure the items arrive in perfect condition and are placed exactly where the client wants them.
- Home remodeling companies: Whether it’s a custom mantlepiece or a new set of cabinets, home remodeling companies often need to use white glove shipping when sending items to customers. This is because these items are usually large and heavy — and they need to be installed correctly.
What type of products benefit from white glove delivery?
Sometimes, standard delivery is all you need to get the job done.
But, in other cases, you may need to use white glove shipping services to make sure that your products arrive safely and on time.
Here are a few examples of products that often benefit from white glove delivery.
Any time you’re shipping electronic devices like televisions, it’s important to make sure that they’re properly protected.
That’s where white glove delivery services come in.
White glove shipping makes sure everything is packaged correctly and arrives safely.
The last thing you want is for your product to be damaged in transit.
Home appliances and furniture
Home appliances and furniture are often quite large and bulky. That can make them difficult to ship without damaging them.
If your business deals with home appliances and furniture, white glove delivery means paying special attention to protecting the furniture each step along the way.
Whether that means taking the door off the hinges to get the refrigerator into the house or shrink wrapping a couch to keep it from getting damaged, white glove delivery service is all about making sure the job is done right, and the customer is happy.
Medical and lab equipment
Medical and lab equipment is often expensive and delicate. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that it’s properly protected when being shipped.
These are items your customer may rely on for their survival.
So, it’s not something you want to mess around with.
With medical delivery, time is of the essence. Delays can be dangerous.
That’s why you need to make sure your medical and lab equipment is delivered on time and in perfect condition.
Retail and eCommerce
The retail and eCommerce industries are always changing. And as the world of online shopping becomes more popular (the global online shopping market hit 4 trillion in 2020), the need for white glove delivery services is growing.
White glove shipping is a great way to make sure that your products are properly packaged, arrive safely at their destination, and your customers are happy with their purchases (so they come back and buy from you again.)
White glove delivery services can help you save time and money by making sure that your products are properly protected and arrive on time — so you can avoid replacement costs, lost time, and wasted money from having items returned to you.
Automotive and aviation
If you’re delivering expensive equipment or machinery like a car engine or plane engine, you don’t exactly just drop off the box at the side of the road and drive away.
You need to take extra care in making sure those items are delivered without incident.
Each piece needs to be carefully packaged with the right packaging materials, so they’re well protected and don’t get damaged in transit.
After shipping, you need to make sure the delivery goes off without a hitch, too.
You want your customer to be happy with their purchase, so you want to take the time to unload and set up the equipment properly.
In some cases, you might even stay to offer training on how to use the machinery.
This is all considered white glove service.
You’re essentially giving your customer VIP treatment to make sure they’re completely satisfied with their purchase.
Final thoughts on white glove delivery
Standard delivery is standard for a reason.
It’s the most basic, no-frills way to get your product from point A to point B.
As long as the product arrives in one piece and nothing gets damaged, that’s all that really matters.
But if you’re selling high-end products or you want to give your customers the best possible experience, white glove delivery is the way to go.
It’s a bit more expensive (white glove delivery can cost 5% to 20% more than basic shipping), but it can be worth it for the peace of mind and the extra level of customer service you’ll be offering.
White glove delivery is simply a higher level of customer service that includes additional services and steps for the safety and satisfaction of your customer.
If white glove delivery makes sense for your business, you want to streamline your supply chain to make it as efficient as possible.
The last thing you want is for your white glove delivery to turn into a nightmare because something went wrong with the shipping process.
You want to make sure your delivery team is on point and able to deliver on time, every time.
That’s where Circuit for Teams can help.
When you have multiple drivers and a lot of deliveries to make, you can lose a lot of time planning and coordinating.
With Circuit for Teams, you can add your drivers and deliveries to get the fastest routes and save hours on deliveries every day.
Tag priority, white-glove deliveries and make sure your VIP packages arrive on time, get real-time ETAs and delivery updates for you and your customers, and receive proof of delivery when the job is done.
With optimized routes and real-time tracking, you can deliver with confidence and make your white glove service even better.
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