Alright, your Etsy shop is set up! You’ve mastered your product photography, nailed your brand, and buyers are treated with that sweet aesthetic when visiting your online shop… and just now, you’ve even made your first sale! You’re excited! You look around your house for something to ship it in and realize you only have old gift bags stuffed at the top of your closet from Christmas 2018… and what’s worse, you just looked up the cost of shipping to your buyer’s hometown, and it’s quite a bit more than you expected… Yup, it’s clear you forgot to calculate Etsy shipping costs before you opened up shop!
Before we begin
This article is a part of a series specifically for new sellers on Etsy! If you just stumbled across this article and you’re unsure where to begin, we recommend you check out the first of the series, Everything You Need to Know Before You Start an Etsy Shop.
At Marmalead, we strive to offer real, practical advice for Etsy sellers right here on our blog and on our YouTube channel. The world of Etsy is constantly evolving, so if you have a question, you can’t find an answer to, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The importance of accurate Etsy shipping costs
We feel your pain! Creating your product, figuring out pricing, designing, and opening your store – there’s loads to do before you can make that first sale! With everything on your mind and an unhealthy obsession with to-do lists (or is that just me?), you can easily forget about even looking for the best shipping method until it’s time to ship.
Sure, you can throw in an arbitrary amount for postage when calculating your expenses. But, when the real cost of postage and shipping starts to eat into your profits, you’ll only be hurting your back pocket.
So, keep your back pocket happy, and make sure you know the precise cost of sending your Etsy product anywhere you’re selling it!
Here’s how to do just that:
Know your product dimensions
The first part of the shipment puzzle is to know the exact size and weight of your packed, ready-to-send parcel.
A rough guess isn’t going to cut it.
Pack up your product as if you were sending it to a customer. Pack it in a box, use any tissue paper and other packaging supplies you would normally use, then weigh and measure it.
Repeat this process for all your products of different sizes and weights and create a list you can reference with the box size and weight of each type of product you sell. Once you have this down, you can get creative and figure out how to pack multiple products in one shipment! Then, streamline the packaging process so you can easily wrap and pack your products once your sales really start flowing in.
Research your shipping methods, know your Etsy shipping costs
Looking to ship your products with USPS? Or maybe you’ll plan to go the private courier route with FedEx, UPS or DHL?
The chances are that both you and your customer want to keep your shipping costs low and have packages delivered as quickly as possible. So, it pays to shop around.
Not happy with one courier because the driver always delivers your personal packages to your neighbor? Well, just because a specific courier company has left a bad taste in your mouth doesn’t mean you should exclude them from your shortlist.
Most delivery services deliver hundreds of thousands, if not millions of parcels each day. It’s only a tiny percentage of those that get damaged or lost altogether. The point is this: No one hears about all the successful deliveries a company makes – only the ones they don’t make.
With your packaged product dimensions in hand, it’s time to do some research. Use your measurements and get a quote for sending your product from your location to several corners of the US (If that’s where you’re located).
USPS remains a favorite for sending parcels within the US, but other popular services are considered.
Standard US mailing services include:
Want to save time?
Consider using a comparison tool like Parcel Monkey. You’ll have the added benefit of being able to see international shipping prices, too!
With just a little bit of research, you should have a range of delivery options right at your fingertips!
How to pick your shipping method
Not all courier services were created equal. In other words, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option.
Take a look at the features of the delivery services on offer:
- Drop off or pick up? Do you have to drop the parcel somewhere, or do they come to you?
- Speed. Is your package going from New York to LA on the next flight, or is it going via the Panama Canal?
- Insurance. Is any insurance included? If so, what’s the price limit?
- Tracking. Depending on your final sale price, customers may want to track their order.
- Returns. If your clothing doesn’t fit your customer, can they use the same service to send it back?
All these elements are factors that can help improve your customer satisfaction. But there’s every chance that they add to the final shipping price.
The only general advice that one can give here is to do your research. Find out what your customers expect, and look at your own past online purchases – how were they delivered to you, and were you satisfied with the delivery method?
Remember that finding the ideal shipping method will more than likely be a process of trial and error.
To insure or not to insure?
On the rare occasion a product is lost or damaged in transit, it helps to opt-in to insurance.
The most significant factor in making this decision is no doubt your final sale price. Most shipping services have a price limit that they’ll cover on a primary shipping method, but if your product is more expensive than that limit, it pays to add extra insurance.
This extra insurance is no doubt a cost that you’ll have to pass on to your customers or either absorb yourself. Either way, if your product cost is in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, extra insurance is a no-brainer.
If you do need to make an insurance claim, be prepared to have all the paperwork ready to go to submit your claim, as most insurers will do everything they can to pay as little compensation or none at all.
Your final Etsy shipping costs
Once you have a cost for shipping your products, or the costs of multiple shipping options, it’s time to update your product listings accordingly.
Depending on the method you selected, the way that you ship your products may differ.
You may have to print out a label and drop it at a specific location for one service. Others may require you to give it to a courier that arrives at your door; no documentation needed.
Either way, as you start to ship more products, you’ll begin to find a pattern and rhythm for fulfilling, packing, and sending them.
The benefits of free shipping
In the age of Amazon Prime, people have come to expect free shipping. But the reality is, not all products can be shipped free with totally eating into your profits.
That being said, free shipping is a significant incentive for Etsy buyers. If someone is considering buying a competitor’s product over yours, free shipping could tip them over the edge.
However, if you are to offer free shipping, it’s essential to adjust your prices accordingly or be willing to lower your profits to provide it.
As an Etsy seller, free shipping should be looked at as another expense that affects your product’s sale price.
Over to you
Calculating your Etsy shipping costs is a relatively straightforward process, and there are a number of online tools out there to help! But, if you forget all about the cost of shipping until it’s time lick the envelope, you’re too late. Before you list your products, make sure you know what it costs to ship them. You’ll be one step closer to tracking your expenses accurately!
Well, now that you know how to calculate your Etsy shipping costs, your Etsy store can keep growing and sending orders without interruptions!
Interested in more things you should know before you start an Etsy shop? Well, if buyers can’t find your products, they won’t be able to buy them! The first step to having your listings appear in search is a good keyword strategy; here’s How to Research Etsy Keywords.
To read through the next article in this series, check back next week!