There is a dilemma brewing in the Etsy world and it is all over Free Shipping.

When Etsy first started it was an amazing vehicle for handmade and vintage item selling. Artists like me finally had a really decent place to go to sell our goods.

 

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Buyers, like you, had a wonderful, trustworthy and easy to navigate site to find all sorts of amazing things, it was like one giant, 24/7 craft show with zillions of vendors.

But a new CEO took over and things started to change. China products started showing up, seller fees went up, it became harder and harder to navigate and find what you were really looking for. And now they are really pushing for Free Shipping, in fact they stated that sellers who offer free shipping will show up higher in the search results.

So Lets talk about Free Shipping.

If I were to walk into the post office and ask the clerk to ship something for free they would laugh at me, My guess is that would happen as well at the nearest UPS and FedEx depot.

Shipping is not free.

We are led to believe this because Amazon plays a great Free Shipping game with Prime Shipping but we pay $119 a year for that. Amazon most likely gets some kickass rates from the shipping companies. They are not losing money on us! We pay for shipping upfront!

But Etsy is not Amazon and I am not Amazon

The dilemma now before us on Etsy is whether or not we can afford to offer Free Shipping. My pieces generally weigh 2-3 lbs all packed up to ship. I need to make sure they get to you in one piece so I use lots of bubble wrap and newsprint paper for cushioning and I buy quality shipping boxes, None of that is free. I want to keep my pieces affordable to you but at the same time I value what I make and I want to sell it for a reasonable price. In order to offer free shipping and still be happy with what I sell a piece for I have to JACK THE PRICE UP. 

So lets say I have a piece that I want to sell for $30. I could offer it for $30 and you pay shipping which calculates (you pay what I pay) out to $10.70. You end up paying $40.70. Or…I could sell it for $40 and offer free shipping, you saved $.70. But you might pass it up because $40 seems like a lot of money. And what if you wanted to buy 2 of the items. Packing up 2 pieces doesn’t double the weight. It might add a 1lb. to it and my shipping cost might be $14 but you just bought two at $40 each for a total of $80 meaning you really paid $20 for shipping,

See the problem we face? How do we make shipping fair for both of us? 

Not only that but for me, shipping to the next state over, Texas, is much cheaper than shipping the same item to California. So do my Texas Customers pay too much or my California customers get a break? I have been offering Free Shipping for a few months now and I have not seen a huge increase in sales so I am once again wondering what to do. I sure don’t show up in Etsy search above the non-free shipping potters.

For me as a buyer, I personally love Free Shipping because there is no surprise when I check out and I know exactly what I will be paying, I realize shipping is built in and if the price is fair I am fine with that.

As a seller, I am stuck in the dilemma of Free Shipping, Fix rate shipping or calculated shipping so I am turning to you for your opinion

After seeing it from a sellers viewpoint what are your thoughts? Do you prefer shipping to be built into a product (Free Shipping) or would you prefer to have actual shipping charges calculated?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

4 Comments

  1. Jil Spangenberg

    I find Etsy Anything BUT easy to navigate. I find it ridiculously HORRIBLE to find what you are looking for! You are the ONLY one I have ever bought anything from on Etsy, and that was because it was the only way I had to buy from you online.

    Join a facebook group that sells handmade items. There are numerous of those groups. Screw Etsy.

    IMO, you/we would all be better off if Etsy ceased to even exist.

    Reply
    • Dani Montoya

      I agree Jil, I also have a terribly hard time finding things on Etsy, even my own things. I use it as an end to a means. The fees are not horrid and they offer a secure place to shop. I have used my own website as well as other avenues but fall back on Etsy as the path of least resistance. I appreciate you. I have bought very little through Etsy myself.

      Reply
  2. Pat Ratliff

    I’ve never even looked at Etsy, so no opinion about their web site. But as someone who shops online A LOT, in the back of my mind I’m estimating shipping while I shop. I do comparison shop, where shipping can play a factor for an item sold at more than one location. I have bought 2 or more of something to meet a order minimum to get free shipping. If it’s something unique, say, handmade pottery, I would expect to pay shipping and I would want that as a separate charge. I need to do the “is this thing worth $xx to me?” and I am then assuming a shipping charge. Once I start the checkout process, I pause when I see the shipping cost to be sure this item is still worth it, but at that point I want that item, shipping costs be damned, and I hit Submit Order!

    Reply
    • Dani Montoya

      Thanks for the reply. That is pretty much how I shop as well. If I can find the same exact product that is a bit cheaper on total price, which includes shipping, I will buy it regardless if shipping is free or not. But handcrafted items are unique, so it does come down to “Want”

      Reply

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© 2018 All Rights Reserved. Dani Montoya ~ Unauthorized use and duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dani Montoya and Yellow Cottage Studios with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Yellow Cottage Studios is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, as well as other Affiliate Advertising programs. This is a way for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

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