Eight of the top ten biggest retailers offer free two-day shipping, and four offer free next-day shipping.

NEW YORK — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Fabric, an on-demand retail platform that enables brands to realize fast fulfillment at competitive unit economics, today released its latest research report, “Fast and Free: The One-Way Ratchet of Consumer Expectations.” The report found that free two-day shipping is considered table stakes for brands and highlighted a sizable appetite for free next-day and even free same-day delivery.

Given that fast shipping is enormously challenging for brands to provide from a financial, operational, and strategic perspective, Fabric’s findings serve as a wake-up call to brands that standard shipping windows of three to five days are no longer enough.

Fabric Survey: By the Numbers

Based on 700 responses from 500 consumers and 200 senior retail and brand managers, the survey findings provide insight into what consumers expect regarding shipping speeds, why they expect it for free, why this proposition is so challenging for so many brands to offer, and what brands can do about it. Some highlights of the survey include:

Free two-day shipping is already table stakes for consumers: 76% of consumers expect free two-day shipping with a minimum purchase of only $40. That’s because eight out of the 10 biggest retailers in the U.S. offer free two-day shipping, which represents 71% of retail sales of the top 65 retailers (non-grocery).

There’s already a sizeable appetite for free next-day and even free same-day shipping: 61% of consumers expect free next-day shipping, and 52% expect free same-day shipping with a minimum purchase of only $40. 40% of the top 10 retailers offer free next-day delivery, a proposition that’s nearly impossible for all other players.

Free shipping is difficult and expensive for brands to provide at any speed: The cost of standard shipping for a high-volume brand has increased by 71% in the last five years. More than a quarter of the National Retail Foundation Top 100 list retailers do not even offer standard shipping for free, much less at the speeds that consumers now demand.

The results reinforce a dilemma that online retailers face: free shipping isn’t free — the cost falls on the company. But shipping prices have skyrocketed, and fast deliveries are complicated to execute from a logistical and strategic perspective. The solution is to move fulfillment operations closer to where consumers live.

To help businesses of all sizes meet the demand for super-fast delivery without increasing overhead, Fabric offers a number of micro-fulfillment centers (MFCs) throughout the United States. MFCs take up a fraction of the space of a traditional warehouse and can fit into dense centers of commerce without sacrificing efficiency or volume. Fabric’s latest MFC opened today in Dallas and combines automated robotic fulfillment and intelligent inventory management to deliver local inventory to the right place at the right time.

“Retail is always changing, and it’s not easy to predict what the future holds, but it’s clear from these results that the stakes have never been higher,” said Colin Coggins, Fabric’s chief commercial officer. “Brands need to embrace a distributed fulfillment strategy, combined with automation, to meet and exceed consumers’ expectations today and tomorrow, without driving up costs.”

For more information on the survey and how Fabric can help your business meet these growing consumer demands, visit getfabric.com.

About Fabric

Fabric is a retail technology company that enables exceptional customer experiences from click to delivery. By combining intelligent robotic fulfillment with local last-mile operations, Fabric is redefining how supply chains work.

The company’s proprietary mesh network and micro-fulfillment technologies bring brands closer to their customers — unlocking the insights to place local inventory in the right place, at the right time. Fabric is running micro-fulfillment operations for grocery and consumer brands throughout the U.S. and Israel and will expand to additional major U.S. centers of commerce in the coming year.

Founded in 2015, Fabric is backed by leading investors including Temasek, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Corner Ventures, Playground Ventures, Princeville Capital, Innovation Endeavors, Aleph, and others. Fabric is headquartered in New York City with main offices in Tel Aviv and Atlanta and has over 300 team members globally.

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