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Sellers Stick up for Etsy after Complaints about Hidden-Shipping Test

After many sellers complained about a test Etsy is running in which a percentage of buyers are unable to view shipping costs without placing an item in their shopping cart, other sellers defended Etsy’s practice of testing new layouts and features.

Sellers expressed concern last week that shoppers would think they were being sneaky by hiding the shipping costs, and called for Etsy to bring back transparency to the listings.

But other sellers defended Etsy in a thread titled, I’m Good With the Testing, posted by a seller on Thursday who listed three reasons why she viewed tests as a positive:

    • I trust that Etsy’s goal is to bring in sales. I believe that in the long run, they’re not going to do anything that significantly impacts their bottom dollar in a negative fashion


  • I understand that Etsy has said that lots more shoppers are shopping from smart phones and tablets. Doesn’t it make sense to format the site to work on those devices?


  • I like exploring options that may lead to good changes. And (yeah, lucky me), I don’t mind changes. I think it’s kind of fun to roll with the changes. I think it’s a good exercise in flexibility.

Other sellers wrote posts in agreement, saying they were hopeful that tests would result in more traffic and sales, such as the seller who wrote, “I’ve been on Etsy since 2006 with other shops, and have I seen testing and changes! In 2006 the listing process was 5 pages long and there were no shopping carts, you had to buy each item from a shop in separate transactions. Imagine if Etsy had never implemented some testing and changes there! I’ve found that at first I’m totally confused when something changes, but in a few days I adapt and very quickly get used to it.”

Several sellers explained that it wasn’t the principle of testing they objected to, but the fact that Etsy would hide shipping from the listing page, test or otherwise.

“I agree,” wrote one seller about Etsy’s practice of testing new features. “I can get used to layout changes (though it is chaotic to be running several at one time). But the shipping test is deplorable. It is placing EU sellers possibly in default of the law. It goes against Etsy’s own seller guidelines -“Maintain a Transparent Shop”. It is making sellers look stupid, lazy or dishonest because apparently they are not adding shipping rates under the Shipping link.”

One seller explained that the hidden-shipping costs test hit some sellers harder than others, such as sellers of high-priced vintage goods.

“I don’t mind most testing, however this hidden shipping test has been very bad for me,” wrote one seller. “My items are high end. My customers expect to be catered to. Shipping varies heavily. I’ve had several OLDER customers search for my shipping and get very frustrated. The type of customer I receive does not want any hidden cost. I was even called “sneaky”. When would hidden shipping ever work for the customer? Can anyone answer that?”

Nevertheless, the positive posts continued. “Etsy MUST know what they’re doing because my views and sales are up at least 500% over last year same time. I’m not exaggerating either. Huge increase in my shop success and I didn’t do anything differently and I do no marketing. Yay Etsy.”

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.