Ok. We know you may have been having a bit of a meltdown with this new free shipping thing on Etsy. But before we go any further, let’s all take a deep breath and forgo the aforementioned melting down.
Free shipping and priority placement for sellers offering free shipping for any item individually or any order over $35 to U.S. buyers is NOT a reason to freak! Is it hard when you feel like your choice has been taken away? Yes! Do you feel like you should be able to make your own decisions on what is best for you and your shop without feeling like you’re being penalized? Of course you do!
But, sometimes it takes looking at a situation thoroughly and from a different perspective which changes everything. We completely understand your frustration, but let’s dive in a bit and see if we can help you find the positive side of this and let the negative stuff go!
What’s this all about anyway?
Unless you’ve literally been living under a rock (hey no judgment from us, we wanna do it too sometimes) by now you’ve heard the news. Etsy announced that as of July 30th (that’s t-minus seven days people) items that ship for free to the United States, either as individual items or as orders of $35 or more USD, will receive priority placement in US searches. To hear this from the horse’s mouth, click on the video below:
In a nutshell
What this cute little video above is saying is this: Etsy is a place people come to in order to buy super unique items. Thoughtfully made gifts. Products created with love from awesome Etsy sellers (such as yourself)! Bottom line, the sellers set Etsy apart from every other normal place you can buy stuff from.
Buuut, these days, online shoppers EXPECT free shipping pretty much everywhere they go. And the other bottom line? Etsy is no exception. So what’s a seller to do? Bundle in the cost of shipping with the item’s price in order to offer …ahem….”free shipping” (wouldn’t it make more sense to call it “shipping included”…?) But honestly, if the shipping cost is included in the price of the item, there are no surprise costs at check out for your shoppers, and they will be more likely to complete the transaction.
What this looks like
Actually, shoppers on Etsy are 20% MORE likely (according to Etsy) to complete their purchase when an item ships “for free” (when the shipping is included in the cost of the item). SO. For U.S. buyers only, things are changing in order to make the buying experience easier. Here’s looking at you, free shipping! AND if your shop offers “free shipping” (shipping included in cost of item) on items or orders $35 and above, Etsy will give you priority placement in U.S. search results. Etsy may EVEN promote you where Etsy is advertised, through email marketing, social media, and even Etsy’s new T.V. ads!
Etsy wants you to remember, offering free shipping does NOT mean you have to pay for it yourself. Your item pricing strategy should include shipping, just like it includes your time and materials. With Etsy’s new smart pricing tool, you’ll be able to offer free shipping to U.S. buyers for orders $35 and above which can help boost your average order value. They even made it easy to bulk it at listings to adjust your item prices to recover shipping costs.
But what about us “smallish” sellers?!
If you’re a seller that is SUPER concerned because your item is tiny and lightweight, or you sell a really low-priced item, OR maybe you offer craft supplies, this can feel like a huge blow. Especially if you feel that the shipping cost is gonna be waaaay more than the item itself is worth! Who’s gonna buy a charm for $10 if the shipping cost is double that? Alright, again, let’s take a deep breath and look on the bright side!
If you offer low-priced or small items, incentive buyers to not just purchase one thing, but to buy multiples. If you put into place the $35 order minimum, you can actually encourage buyers to order multi-item orders that meet the “free shipping” guarantee minimum. In theory, this should allow you to recover your shipping costs AND create more revenue for your business.
But, what about us “bigger” sellers?!
Normally, if a buyer is purchasing a large item, the cost of shipping will be on their mind. Clearly, we’ve all shipped something heavy in our lives to someone somewhere and been like “holy what the heck, how much did you say that’s gonna cost me”? It’s super stressful.
Honestly, I’ve been there. When ordering a new couch, I actually decided to go pick it up instead of having it shipped. Why? Because the seller had presented me with this amazing cost that totally fit my budget. I’d planned on it for months! I’d saved to be ready to purchase this particular couch when it was ready (I was having it made). And then, BAM, the seller hit me at the very end with the fact that shipping was NOT included and I would be paying an amount I had NOT planned on! As a buyer, It was SO frustrating!
I know that if I had been told the full cost of the couch and shipping upfront, I would have been more likely to NOT freak out at the end and still buy the couch. This is basically where Etsy is coming from with shipping heavy items as well.
It’s a new relationship…and it’s complicated
The challenge for you as the seller is going to be figuring out how to account for the costs in your overall price. Not every heavy item is the same. Some will weigh a TON (almost literally) and some will only weight slightly less than a ton! Which leads to shipping costs have HUGE differences on top of everything else! So what do you do? Etsy recommends considering incorporating the shipping cost for the minimum, maximum, or median distance your item might travel. They say that some sellers use the median distance a given item might travel to estimate the average cost of shipping that item domestically, with the expectation that costs will balance out between various distances traveled.
But, the bottom line here is this is up to you. And if you have a different strategy in place, we would LOVE for you to tell us all about it in the comments! Because we’re all in this together and everyone will be going through the exact same thing come July 30th.
But, what about us OOAK/Vintage sellers?!
Did we forget about you?! No, we did not! Ok, so pretty much every. single. item. you have comes in various shapes, sizes, and weights. This makes it super challenging to calculate and apply shipping costs into your item prices in order to recover shipping costs when you offer free shipping.
Something Etsy is recommending you do is to weigh your item as part of your photography process. Now might be the time to invest in a postal scale, because weighing your item in the box you’re shipping it in with the packing materials will really help you calculate how much to charge. You definitely will want to research which shipping carrier you can get the best deal from as well! Something else you might consider is keeping a list of common weights and box sizes for the items you sell. Etsy recommends this because it can greatly help you calculate and track your median shipping cost for cautious weights and sizes.
Thinking about how much you’re going to invest into a piece, including the shipping costs, when you purchase an item to resale should all be something you track. Make the shipping costs part of your investment into that particular item in order to recover the amount invested and make a profit.
Look at it this way
Again, we understand that all of this can be frustrating. It’s one more thing to figure out on a long list of things you already do as an Etsy seller. But, look at it this way: when you purchase from a brick and mortar store, you do not take your item to the check out only to find an additional $20 charge because the store didn’t include the cost of their rent in your item.
Can you imagine?? It’s almost laughable when you think about it! Would you purchase from a store if every time you went to check out, they told you, “Oh, sorry, its not actually the price you see on the tag, we have to include our rent and our electric bill was slightly higher this month, so that cost is included here as well.” You’d probably put that item back super fast and high tail it out of there!
Figuring out your shipping costs and implementing them into your item price really does have the potential to help your customers complete their purchase. From someone who is more likely to take an item out of her cart and put it back because of shipping not being included, I can speak to this first hand.
However you decide to tackle this, make SURE you’re doing your research and understand where you should be pricing your items to begin with. If you have your item priced correctly to begin with, this will make a world of difference. Let us know what you think about the new shipping changes below and how you are planning to handle it all. We’d love to hear your thoughts!