As threshold deliveries rise, pay attention to boring stuff like packing materials
White-glove furniture deliveries haven’t gone the way of packed football stadiums, but demand for the premium delivery service clearly has taken a nosedive – even as furniture sales have soared in recent months.
Logistics executives tell us the decline in white glove service is being more than offset by a significant increase in drop-shipping, also known as threshold deliveries. Such deliveries, which typically involve leaving the furniture on a porch or in a garage while still in the shipping carton, are on the rise even though the consumer is responsible for getting rid of all the packing materials and moving the item to its proper place in the house.
Executives say many consumers still aren’t comfortable inviting delivery people into their homes – even though they wear masks and gloves and are careful to maintain proper social distancing.
“There’s no question that threshold deliveries have gone way up,” Geoff Chasin, senior vice president of Cardinal Logistics, recently told Furniture Today. “I know of one retailer who went from zero to about 35 percent threshold deliveries almost overnight.”
This trend is something that furniture designers, retailers and manufacturers such as Zuo can’t afford to ignore. While it may sound incredibly boring to discuss how a piece of furniture is packed before it leaves the factory, it needs to become top of mind for all parties because it’s not just the delivery teams who have to make sure they don’t damage the product when it’s unpacked.
Fairly or unfairly, the consumer is likely to blame the manufacturer (or the designer who ordered it) for any damage that occurs while he or she unpacked it.
If that happens, reverse logistics – a polite way of describing an attempt to return damaged goods – takes over. That can wipe out profits in a heartbeat, which is in no one’s best interest.