Ordering bulky items has never been so simple now that white glove delivery is an option for customers everywhere.
From appliances to beds and mattresses, those hard to move items are becoming easier to buy online because of providers like XPO Logistics, Inc., Pilot Freight Services and Fidelitone Last Mile, Inc. According to Satish Jindel, President of parcel industry research firm SJ Consulting Group Inc., the for-hire home delivery market for these oversized parcels grew eight percent in the last year to $6.8 billion.
The Difference Between Traditional Delivery and White Glove Delivery
Unlike UPS, FedEx and USPS, who will reluctantly deliver oversized parcels for an additional fee, companies that specialize in white-glove delivery of large items are more than just shippers. They go the extra mile to set up furniture and install appliances for customers, making them a favorite of retailers like Lowe’s, IKEA and online mattress startup Casper Sleep, Inc.
Although white glove’s extra work requires a great deal more training and a bigger investment in tools to help workers understand exactly how to manage the product they’re handling, the explosive growth of the industry seems to imply that these investments will pay off. Supply chain management company Fidelitone alone anticipates 600,000 white glove deliveries this year, up 20 percent from 2014. XPO, the largest domestic white glove service, took in $489.4 million from its “Last Mile Home” service in the first nine months of the year, a 35 percent increase from the year prior.
That kind of growth may be due to more than just customers trusting the Internet with bigger orders. In fact, this explosive growth might be indicating that white glove delivery is a service that finally meets a long-standing customer need. eCommerce businesses have long struggled with sending large freight to customers in a way that ensures the product doesn’t get left outside in the elements or is damaged in the process.
“We’re not delivering freight, we’re delivering products into some very sacred areas of people’s homes,” William O’Shea, chief sales officer at XPO Last Mile told the Wall Street Journal. It does seem that customer service is at the very core of Last Mile Home. Not only will customer service reps call to check on customer experiences, “furniture medics” are at each hub to inspect furniture, check for missing parts and make simple repairs before products go to their final homes.