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How Does Etsy Shipping Work in 2023? A Beginner’s Guide

Learn how to ship on Etsy like a pro!

Sold your first item on your new Etsy store? Congratulations! Now, time to ship your item.

If shipping on Etsy still has you confused and anxious, drop your worries. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn all about how Etsy shipping works – how to calculate your shipping fee, how to package your items, and how to save on shipping costs on Etsy.

We’ll also walk you through the pros and cons of offering international shipping and free shipping, so you can decide if you can offer them.

 

The basics: How does shipping on Etsy work?

 

Just like any online store, shipping is a big factor in every Etsy buyer’s decision-making process. More than half of buyers’ online carts worldwide are abandoned because of exorbitant shipping fees, and on Etsy, it’s not as different.

But before we can think of shipping costs, Etsy recommends filling in these two features to get your shipping strategy on track: your Etsy shipping profile and your Etsy shipping policy.

 

Set up your Etsy shipping profile

 

Your Etsy shipping profile is the shipping information that appears on your every listing. Instead of filling it up each time you put up a listing, Etsy recommends setting it up so that the same shipping profile appears automatically on all your listings.

To create your shipping profile:

  1. On Etsy.com, go to Shop Manager.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Shipping settings.
  4. Choose the Shipping profiles tab.
  5. Choose Add a shipping profile.

 

Set up your Etsy shipping profile

Create your Etsy shipping policy

 

Etsy offers sellers flexibility to set up their own store policies, as long as they’re in keeping with the website’s Terms and Conditions.

To set up your shipping policies:

  1. On Etsy.com, choose Shop Manager.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Choose Policy Settings.

By setting up a store on Etsy, you agree with the website’s overall shipping policy, so it may be great to brush up on them as you plan your shipping strategy.

Create your Etsy shipping policy

 

Having a clear shipping policy is essential as it helps set expectations between you and your buyer even before they complete their transaction on your store. 

Some crucial information you need to include in your shipping policy include: the carriers/postal service you use; different delivery options; processing times and shipping days; return and refund policies; and other location-specific information that could affect your shipping.

Buyers can easily see your shop policies by clicking on the “View shop policies” link at the end of each listing.

 

Returns, refunds, and exchanges

 

As per Etsy policy, sellers are not obligated to accept returns, refunds, or exchanges, unless they offer it on their store policies and/or it’s mandated where their business is located. 

If you do accept return, refund, or exchange requests, you have to settle it with your buyer within Etsy Messages, so that Etsy can provide you and the buyer with the right assistance.

The Etsy Purchase Protection Program is a 2022 update from Etsy that covers such events, to help both the seller and the buyer resolve issues such as items in lost or damaged transit and others. 

 

Etsy Purchase Protection Program

 

Under this program, Etsy can cover buyer refunds for orders amounting to $250 USD if the order qualifies. Read this guide on the Purchase Protection Program for a more detailed explanation of what it covers.

 

How Much Does Shipping on Etsy Cost?

 

Now that you have your shipping profile and policies set up, it’s time to answer the top question you and your buyer will both have in mind: how much is shipping on Etsy?

As the seller, you have to decide how to price your shipping. How does one calculate the accurate cost of shipping while offering a competitive price to attract buyers?

To do that, you have to know the factors that affect shipping price.

 

Package size and weight

 

The biggest factor is your product’s dimensions, or more accurately, your parcel when it’s packed and ready to ship. There’s no shortcutting this process.

To know exactly the size and weight of different parcels (important, especially if you’re planning to sell varied items in different shapes and sizes), pack your products like you would if you’re sending them to a customer and measure each type of parcel.

To weigh your parcel, a simple digital weighing scale will do. Now you can use those measurements as your reference when researching and choosing a preferred shipping method.

 

Shipping method rates and services 

 

Before picking a shipping method, research all your options by using your parcel dimensions as your initial basis.

If you’re a US Etsy seller, USPS, UPS, and FedEx are your top shipping carrier options. Here’s quick pros and cons list for each company to help you decide:

 

Shipping Carriers: pros and cons

Returns, refunds, and exchanges

 

As per Etsy policy, sellers are not obligated to accept returns, refunds, or exchanges, unless they offer it on their store policies and/or it’s mandated where their business is located. If you do accept return, refund, or exchange requests, you have to settle it with your buyer within Etsy Messages, so that Etsy can provide you and the buyer with the right assistance.

The Etsy Purchase Protection Program is a 2022 update from Etsy that covers such events, to help both the seller and the buyer resolve issues such as items in lost or damaged transit and others. Under this program, Etsy can cover buyer refunds for orders amounting to $250 USD if the order qualifies. Read this guide on the Purchase Protection Program for a more detailed explanation of what it covers.

 

Should you offer international shipping?

 

Etsy facilitates international shipping so that sellers can offer it confidently with its Price Your Postage and Calculated Shipping tools (for US and Canada sellers). It will be challenging but once you familiarize yourself with the different requirements, it does get easier. 

Price your postage Etsy

 

Why offer international shipping? International shipping is a great way to expand your exposure. However, dealing with local import tax, customs duties, and other fees can be a big challenge. To lessen the cost and confusion, take it one region or country at a time. 

Build trust among your international customers by detailing all the extra charges and rules in your shipping policies and product listing. This includes who will shoulder the charges to prevent any surprises at checkout.

 

Should you offer free shipping?

 

Who doesn’t love free shipping? According to Etsy, shoppers on the site are 20% more likely to check out items on their cart that come with free shipping.

Etsy itself promotes free shipping. They offer SEO ranking priority to sellers that have free US shipping guarantee for orders $35 USD and above. Having the “free shipping” label on your listings gets more people to click on your product, so it’s indeed a good marketing strategy.

The costs of free shipping can add up. One way to compensate for this is to factor a portion of shipping costs into your retail price. Do note that this can result in an unpredictable profit margin.

Tip: take advantage of the perks of free shipping without sacrificing your profit margin by offering it on as a limited promotional offer.

 

5 Shipping and Packaging Tips for Etsy Sellers

 

Shipping on Etsy

 

Save time and money while guaranteeing satisfaction among new and return customers with these practical tips:

 

1. Avail of Etsy Shipping Labels

 

Etsy Shipping Labels are available for sellers shipping via Australia Post, Canada Post, FedEx, Global Postal Shipping, USPS, and Royal Mail.

If you purchase an Etsy shipping label, you can simply print the label at home, helping you save time at your shipping center or postal service centers. Purchasing an Etsy shipping label also qualifies your postage discounts up to 30%. 

 

2. Have your packaging supplies ready

 

Don’t make the mistake of purchasing packaging supplies as the orders come in. Not only is this overwhelming and prone to mistakes; it’s also more expensive in the long run. Buy your packaging supplies in bulk, but before you do, make sure they’re the right packaging items for the time products you sell.

 

3. Know the international shipping rules in advance

 

If you offer international shipping, familiarize yourself with the rules of the countries you ship to. Have a reference in handy to consult when packing your orders.

Tip: Consult the Etsy community from time to time, as customs rules and regulations are often subject to change.

 

4. Use shipping software and tools

 

There are many tools and software available online that will help you manage your shipping and handling on Etsy. If you use USPS, you can integrate your stamps.com account to your Etsy account. 

ShipWorks for Etsy is another shipping management tool you can sync with your Etsy store.

Find tools that offer free trial so you can decide within that window of time if they’re the right fit.

Alternatively, if you’re a designer, you can partner with a Print-on-Demand company to help you produce and ship your products. 

 

5. Create a memorable unboxing experience for your buyer

 

Package your item like a gift or care package. Insert a freebie, a handwritten note, and top it off with an exclusive discount coupon with your details.

Apart from aesthetics, be sure to secure your items properly. Use cushioning such as bubble wraps or recycled corrugated packaging for fragile items. For smaller packages, use mailers that come with cushions. For sensitive materials prone to wrinkling or dents like postcards, notebooks, and such, enclose them in cardboard.

For practical purposes, add a printed packing slip for your buyer’s reference. You can print one directly from Etsy by going to Shop Manager > Orders & Shipping.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Etsy Shipping

 

1. How do beginners ship on Etsy?

 

Beginners ship on Etsy by first setting up their shipping profile on their account, and updating their shipping and store policies.

You also have to know the weight and measurement of your parcels to get a close or accurate calculation of your shipping fee, which you will need to include in your listing. To help you calculate, you can use the Price Your Postage tool. 

Once you’ve shipped your item, you need to update your order “Mark as Shipped” to notify your buyer. Sending them a message via Etsy with the appropriate tracking information will also be much appreciated.

 

2. Do I have to pay for shipping on Etsy as a seller?

 

You don’t have to pay for shipping on Etsy as a seller. The shipping fee is added on top of the product price upon checkout.

If you’re offering free shipping, you can offset the shipping cost by padding the product price to absorb some of the cost.

 

3. Does Etsy give you a shipping label?

 

You don’t have to pay for shipping on Etsy as a seller. The shipping fee is added on top of the product price upon checkout.

If you’re offering free shipping, you can offset the shipping cost by padding the product price to absorb some of the cost.

 

4. Does Etsy calculate shipping cost for you?

 

Etsy can calculate the shipping cost for you if you’re a seller in the US and Canada shipping orders with the USPS, Global Postal Shipping, or Canada Post.

When you enable this feature, you can get a preview of the shipping costs with your zip or postal code. Etsy sets the default to the least expensive shipping option for the measurements you’ve provided.

 

5. How much does it cost to ship on Etsy?

 

The cost of shipping on Etsy depends on your shipment carrier, your item’s total measurement (dimensions and weight), where you’re located, and where you’re shipping your item to.

 

6. Is it cheaper to use Etsy shipping labels?

 

Yes, it can be cheaper to use Etsy shipping labels as it comes with discounts. If you purchase USPS shipping labels, you can get up to 30% lower rates compared to what you will be charged at the post office.

 

7. How long does it take for Etsy to ship?

 

How long it takes to ship on Etsy depends on the seller’s carrier. While each seller can set and declare their own processing times, they will not be able to control the shipping days of their preferred carrier.

An estimate Etsy typically gives for domestic shipping is 3 to 7 days and for international shipping, 10 to 30 business days.

 

8. Why is shipping so expensive on Etsy?

 

Shipping can be expensive on Etsy because most of the items on the site are handmade and therefore require special handling and packaging.

The cost also depends on where the item will be shipped from, and the choice of carrier.

 

9. How do people ship for free on Etsy?

 

People ship for free on Etsy by adding a portion of the shipping cost on top of the actual product price, as a way to compensate for the fee incurred.

By offering  shipping, sellers are hoping that the better visibility and exposure free shipping guarantees will somehow pay off in the long run.

 

10. What is the cheapest way to ship through Etsy?

 

The cheapest way to ship through Etsy is choosing the smallest available parcel type that can fit your item.

If you deliver media items, the Media Mail option which is usually packed in a padded mailer would be your cheapest choice.

If you deliver regular- and large-sized parcels, the USPS Parcel Select is a cost-effective option.

 

11. What is the best shipping for Etsy sellers?

 

The best shipping method for Etsy sellers depends on where you’re located.

If you’re in the US or Canada, FedEx, USPS, and Canada Post are your best options as you can get the Etsy Shipping Label when shipping with these carriers.

The Etsy Shipping Label offers convenience by allowing you to print your labels at home, cutting your time spent at the post office. The label also grants you discounts on rates, which will depend on the carrier.

 

Learn more about how to run your Etsy store

 

Shipping is just one of the many tasks you will need to master as an Etsy seller. If you’re a beginner, it can surely be daunting, so take it one step at a time. 

If you’d like to educate yourself more on the ins and outs of running an Etsy store, keep checking out our Ultimate Etsy Guide, where we’ll be sure to provide you with tips, guides, and other useful information all in one page. 

If you need help setting up your store, we’ve got a guide on how to open a store on Etsy. If you’re still asking yourself, “Is Etsy worth it?”, read our comprehensive article on the website’s pros and cons. 

Make it a point to check our Ultimate Etsy Guide from time to time, and share it with your fellow newbie sellers.

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