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In Lieu of Shipping Calculator, Etsy Offers Postage Lookup

Etsy sellers were happy about a new prototype the company is testing but were disappointed to learn that it is in lieu of a shipping calculator, at least for now. The Price Your Postage feature helps sellers look up postage costs, but that fall far short of what sellers say is needed.

Etsy said during its Town Hall meeting in January that sellers have reported spending 50% of their time on non-creative tasks necessary to run their business. “We think we can improve our tools to give you more time to create or curate the items you sell.” Nickey Skarstad of the Seller Experience team said Etsy has struggled with getting shipping right and said it would spend a lot more time on shipping in 2014.

But looking up postage isn’t the biggest drawback of not having a shipping calculator – it’s the miscalculation of shipping costs by buyers and inevitable refunds sellers must issue for over-charges – or having to eat part of the postage costs for under-charges.

Sellers can join Etsy’s new prototype team, Shipping Management Improvements, which is testing the new Price Your Postage feature. “Sellers can use this tool when looking up rates to add to a listing, fielding buyer questions on expedited shipping options or setting up a custom order.”

Currenty Price Your Postage supports USPS rates, so is for U.S. sellers, but “In the coming year, we do hope to expand on the postal carriers shown, as well as offer prototype testing for shipping products that support our international seller community,” according to Etsy’s announcement.

In her reaction to the announcement, one Etsy seller explained, “For US sellers the weight cut off for First Class postage is 13 ounces and I’m sure our fellow shop owners in other countries have similar restrictions. If I have a shop with items that vary in weight, there is NO WAY for me to anticipate if a buyer will purchase several heavy items, several light items, or a mix. This results in buyers overpaying or me being short on postage because I have to ship by Priority Mail. This whole “seller refunding excess shipping costs” thing? It’s a result of Etsy’s inadequate shipping cost calculator.”

Another seller wrote, “I already know how to estimate Shipping using the USPS web site….what we need is a way to price Priority Mail by USA Zones, similar to the “European Regions” option…so we don’t have to refund for overcharges, which is so unprofessional.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.