Etsy has been asking shop owners for quite some time to offer free shipping on their products to buyers. Many shop owners complied, but others resisted the change or took a wait and see attitude. Now, Etsy is doing more than asking by announcing that Etsy shops offering free shipping will get priority ranking in the search algorithm.
What does this mean for your shop if you haven't been offering free shipping? I'm going to answer all of your questions about the change below so just relax and read on. Here are the questions I will answer for you:
- Who does this change apply to?
- What are the changes?
- What does this change mean for you as an Etsy shop owner?
- What if I already offer free shipping?
- What if I don't want to offer free shipping?
- When does this change take place?
- Where – Does this apply to international orders?
- Why is Etsy making this change?
- Why did we resist free shipping?
- How do I change all of the listings in my shop to free shipping? Using the bulk editing tool.
- Other question – Can I still use my shipping profiles?
- Other question – Shipping presets – What are they and how do I use them?
WHO DOES THIS CHANGE APPLY TO?
This change applies to shop owners that are located in the United States and offer shipping in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
Etsy is incentivizing shop owners to offer free shipping on individual orders or orders that total $35 or more. They say they have done the research and Etsy buyers want free shipping over $35.00. You will see in your dashboard that they want you to guarantee free shipping over $35. What if you don't want to offer free shipping (read below)?
You can see Etsy's video by clicking here.
WHAT DOES THIS CHANGE MEAN FOR YOU AS AN ETSY SHOP OWNER?
This change means that, if it works for your shop, you should offer free shipping when possible. Otherwise, your products will not be ranking as well in the Etsy search algorithm. That means your products won't show on the more visible rows in the search (you may not be on page 1, 2, or 3 and may instead show up on a row or page much further down the search). However, you will need to absorb the cost of the shipping into your product cost by increasing the price of your product. If you ship internationally you will need to come up with new shipping profiles that do not penalize the international buyers with the cost you have already absorbed into the US pricing.
WHAT IF I ALREADY OFFER FREE SHIPPING?
If you already offer free shipping, there is nothing you need to change. You are good to go!
WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO OFFER FREE SHIPPING?
If you don't offer free shipping, then you won't appear as high in the search when someone searches for items that are in your shop. Basically, Etsy will show all similar items that ship for free before they show your product (that is not shipped for free). Not good if you sell items that have a lot of competition. We will be testing this over the next few months because we have some items that we just aren't willing to offer free shipping due to the size and weight of the item. I will let you know how this affects our sales and ranking on Etsy. We definitely saw a reduction in sales when Etsy was testing this concept (approximately 10-20% decrease in sales).
WHEN DOES THIS CHANGE TAKE PLACE?
This change will take place on July 30, 2019.
WHERE – DO I HAVE TO SHIP INTERNATIONAL SALES FOR FREE?
No, this only applies to items purchased in the United States and shipped to an address in the United States. However, keep in mind that if you absorb the price of shipping to U.S. buyers, you may need to edit your international shipping prices to reflect that increase. For example, if you add $5 to a jewelry listing so that you can offer free shipping to U.S. buyers, you may want to keep that in mind when shipping to international buyers. You could offer a small discount to international buyers with a coupon or if they question the shipping price. This is something to keep in mind, especially when adding a larger amount to the price of an amount ($10 or more).
WHY IS ETSY MAKING THIS CHANGE?
Etsy is making this change because they believe that buyers want, and even expect, free shipping. In this day and age, all major retails (and even big box stores) are offering free shipping if you reach a certain threshold of spending. Etsy is following their lead with the $35 threshold. They explained this in the Etsy video above.
WHY DID WE RESIST FREE SHIPPING?
We resisted free shipping because we own a vintage shop, Second Wind Shop, and many of our items are heavy and/or large, which affects shipping prices. Shipping will cost more if someone on the East coast buys one of our products versus someone in California (we are in Arizona which is much closer to California than, say, Maine although we love Maine). With free shipping, we will have to add the shipping cost to our product cost as if we were shipping that item to Maine. If we end up shipping it to a buyer in California, they may be paying a premium for that item that they wouldn't have had to pay if we didn't offer free shipping. It seems unfair to me, but that is what is being forced on us and the buyer.
Real life example: A buyer contacted us and wanted to purchase a Vintage 22PC Watcombe Pottery Torquay England “Motto Ware” Tea Set for Four we have available in our shop. This item will be shipped in a 16″ x 16″ x 16″ box and weighs 10 pounds. She lives in Connecticut (05342) and the shipping to her would be $78.80. To ship to Southern California (91030) is $37.97. That's a difference of $43.83!! Obviously, we will not be offering free shipping on this item anytime soon.
The big question is: Are we going to be penalized for that? Good question. We offer mostly unique items which generally don't have as much competition as a lot of hand made or craft items. Take the example above – there are only 19 items that come up on Etsy when you search for Motto Ware tea set so offering free shipping may not affect us if someone is looking for this particular item. However, if someone is just looking for a vintage tea set, we would show up much later in the search than a tea set with free shipping.
I hope this helps you understand why we have resisted free shipping. Again, we'll let you know how this affects our shop over the next couple of months.
HOW DO I CHANGE ALL OF THE LISTINGS IN MY SHOP?
You can use the Bulk Editing tool to change all of the listings in your shop. Check out my blog post, How to Bulk Edit your Shop Listings. You can easily increase the price of your items and change the shipping profiles associated. This post has a video showing you how.
OTHER QUESTION – CAN I STILL USE MY SHIPPING PROFILES?
Yes, you can still use your shipping profiles because they will be used for international sales. You just need that you click “Free Shipping” for domestic orders (domestic orders are orders that are shipping to a buyer in the United States).
OTHER QUESTION – WHAT ARE PRESETS AND HOW DO I USE THEM?
Presets are basically shipping settings that you have used before and have saved to use again. For example, if I ship an item in a 6″ x 6″ x 6″ box and it weighs under 1 pound, I can use this same shipping information again so I can save it. It's very similar to a shipping profile.
I hope this answers all your questions on the “Free Shipping” changes on Etsy. If you have additional questions, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you!