Last-Mile Delivery and White Glove Service Demand on the Rise
Throughout 2021, the demand for last-mile delivery and white glove service post-pandemic has skyrocketed.
When demand for specific services begins gaining traction across an industry, it may be a sign that there are larger factors at play. Last-mile delivery and white glove services are by no means new and have gained in popularity intermittently in the past. So it comes as no surprise that consumers are once again interested in these services becoming more accessible, as the want has always been there.
Its the motivating factors surrounding last-mile delivery and white glove services especially intriguing and equally important right now. The pandemic struck, reverberating through the global supply chain and shaking up the economy worldwide. Through this came a shift in the way people shop, leading further to a push for more tailored shopping experiences.
In today’s blog post we will take a look at what these two services entail and why more and more companies are getting on board.
The Three-Step Delivery Process Explained
The delivery process can be broken down into three main phases. Handled in distinct ways, each phase is equally valuable to the transportation of goods.
- First-Mile: While there is some discrepancy in definition, first-mile delivery often refers to the process of products being taken from the factory to a distribution facility.
- Middle-Mile: The second phase of the delivery process is not present for all companies or products, but involves the transport of goods from the warehouse or distribution facility to the store in which they will be sold.
- Last-Mile: The phase we’ll be most interested in for the purposes of this blog, is that of the package being delivered to the customer at the end of the delivery process.
Why Last-Mile Delivery Bears Extra Consideration
There is no doubt that the logistics involved throughout every phase of the delivery process are equally complex and important. However, it is the final portion of the transportation process where we often experience the biggest potential for last-minute fumbles, headaches, and issues that leave an impression on the customer or client. Likewise, it is also at this last step in the delivery process that we have the biggest chance to leave a positive and lasting impression.
Typically, customers are not concerned with or exposed to the many intricate steps their goods go through before being ready for delivery. The two things they will remember include the the ease in which they could purchase their goods and how that final delivery felt.
What is White Glove Service?
Many years ago in royal homes, butlers and drivers for wealthy individuals would wear white gloves. It was seen as a mark of status to have a butler who wore such gloves. The gloves were also used for proper handling and care of a specific product. Fast forward to today where “white glove service” still refers to a an upscale level of service.
In the context of delivery, “white glove service” refers to the process of companies going the extra mile. White glove service delivery of a new sofa, for example, may involve special handling when unloading and potentially bringing the couch into the customer’s home, positioning it where the customer wants, and removing any leftover packing materials. In the event of a product requiring assembly, while-glove service would include those steps as well.
Due to the popularity of white glove service among consumers, it has become a standard practice. Those carriers that don’t implement the practice routinely may soon be seen as a lower-tier option, and some customers may opt to take their business elsewhere.
How Companies Should Deal with Current Customer Demands
The preference for premium service is not a new trend nor does it appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the demand is likely only going to continue to grow. Businesses need to start implementing effective last-mile delivery and white glove services immediately, or they may have a tough time competing. This is especially true in the current post-pandemic landscape with its bottlenecks, truck driver shortages, and a major focus on supply chain sustainability.
Third-Party and Technology Options
Small and large businesses alike have started to make use of industry connections and tech in new and innovative ways. This has helped meet growing consumer demands while also implementing stronger supply chain sustainability measures.
Some smaller companies have even begun to partner with third-party delivery services, such as Postmates. These popular apps help complete last-mile delivery of some goods without the need to increase much more spending to setup the ability to offer in-house additional services. This is one solution that is often effective in dense cities, as these services employ contracted individuals who live near-final delivery destinations. These workers make the deliveries instead of dedicated delivery drivers, as the result may be quicker delivery.
But it takes more than simply outsourcing some of the weight. In order to provide a memorable experience for your customers, you need to also leverage the latest, reputable, tech platforms to help you centralize your operations, track your most important data, and deliver a seamless experience for your customers. Software used with last-mile delivery strategies must be thoughtfully implemented and monitored.
This ensures better insight into daily operations and can help gauge the impact it has on your customers and how well they respond to how your process works. If you’re outsourcing a majority of your last-mile services, your level of control over the tech may vary.
Regardless of the platform you utilize or company you outsource tasks to, the technology you put to work for your company should provide everyone involved access to real-time data on the location of the package, as well as enable customers to provide feedback on the delivery. Often, the best way to improve and modify processes is to use the information received directly from the customers regarding their experience.
If that information comes directly from the customer in question, it is even more valuable.
Stress the Importance of the Customer Experience Company-Wide
Your drivers, workers, managers, delivery people, and more need to understand how important white glove service is for the customer experience. If the package is being handled roughly, you’re going to receive some angry reviews.
Remember, people want premium experiences these days. Everyone involved in your company needs to understand this so that you can remain competitive in a world where a few bad reviews can push your company into a tough position.
Last-mile delivery services are more than just a trend, they are here to stay. While there will always be multiple ways to complete deliveries, and processes will continue to improve over time, white glove service certainly isn’t a thing of the past.