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Buyers and Sellers Unhappy over Etsy Test that Hides Shipping Costs

Etsy is running a test in which it is hiding shipping costs on listing pages for some shoppers. Etsy didn’t announce the test, but acknowledged it when a seller reported the issue as a bug and added that she was considering closing her shop until the bug was fixed.

“I am not able to see my own shipping cost, impossible to correct or update them. Its a bug, a test or what?….if I can’t see them I will need to close the shop until this situation is back to normal. I would appreciated any feedback about this matter.”

An Etsy moderator replied, “You will still be able to view your listings shipping via your “Listing Manager”…on the actual listing page, you won’t see the shipping costs while in the experiment.”

When sellers said they could not view the shipping costs in the Listing Manager, the moderator wrote, “Sorry, let me clarify, you will be able to see these in the listing manager when you go to edit a listing.”

However, one seller said once one of her items is sold, she’s unable to see what she had set her shipping cost. “I had a sale this morning and was informed via email by Etsy of the total of item and shipping. When I went to check the shipping cost I had originally listed on the item, I could not, since the item was now sold. This was not a good move on the part of the “experimenter”.”

There were many complaints from sellers about the lack of transparency, such as the seller who wrote, “I want to be open, and upfront about shipping costs with my customers. Please show and stop hiding my shipping costs! Also when shipping costs are posted prior to purchase the buyer can see the price break when they order more than one item. Ohhhhh…pleeeeeeease bring the shipping costs into view like they were before! I don’t want anything hidden prior to adding to shopping cart. Buyers have a right to know shipping costs prior to purchasing or prior to going through the purchase process!”

According to sellers discussing the issue on another Etsy discussion forum, the marketplace initiated the test on Wednesday in which a small percentage of visitors to the site cannot see shipping prices on the listing page, only after they’ve added an item to the cart.

One seller was unconcerned about the experiment, as Etsy calls its tests. “I suspect that people are being less affected than some think.” She added, “All it takes is one click. When you click the “add to cart” button, you’re taken to the cart, where you see the shipping charge clearly.”

Another user responded, “As a buyer I can tell you it’s irritating. Why on earth would you remove the shipping from the listing page.”

Another seller pointed out that hiding the shipping was a problem because some sellers inflated their shipping costs. “I have seen a lot of jewelry and other items from mass sellers that is under $5 and the shipping can be 5x the price. Some of these shops take great pains hide their country of origin.”

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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/.