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Etsy Does Direct Deal with USPS, Adds Chore for Sellers

Online merchants spent last week dealing with postal rate changes that were disruptive, to say the least, and now Etsy sellers are encountering a new wrinkle that could cost them time and energy.

Etsy announced on Tuesday it was dealing directly with the USPS to provide online postage for sellers – the marketplace formerly used Endicia. Included in the announcement was the dictate that sellers include package dimensions when using Etsy Shipping Labels:

“Now, in addition to Priority Mail and Parcel Select, the dimensions of your package will be requested for all domestic and international mail classes, excluding Flat Rate options.”

It explained ways to automate the process, and then explained:

“Including dimensions for all of your packages will greatly reduce the chance that a package will be returned to you or marked “postage due” when it arrives at its destination. It will also decrease the amount of time that packages spend in sort facilities and customs. We know this may require you to adjust your workflow, this change will improve your shipping experience in the longer term.”

Etsy sellers are not required to use its online postage system, and some sellers discussing the news on Tuesday said they would continue to use PayPal’s online postage system. Some sellers were concerned it meant they had to use calculated shipping, others said that was not the case.

A seller who had been part of a test group for the new Etsy Shipping Labels said the only change she notices when shipping is the requirement for dimensions of a package. “The look of the new label is cleaner. The names are clearer and a bit easier to read. Once you get used to putting dimensions in, it really is quite simple.”

The USPS deal with Etsy is not unique – it has also done direct deals with eBay and Amazon to provide online sellers with commercial shipping rates.

When asked for details, Etsy spokesperson Nate Potter said, “We can’t comment on the terms of partnerships, but happy to pass along the rates information,” pointing to this page that shows Commercial Base Pricing – it’s unclear if it includes Commercial Plus Pricing on any of the services.

Etsy also switched shipping insurance providers, from U-PIC to Shipsurance.

“Rates are exactly the same as you were paying before, and even lower for some international destinations, with restrictions removed on jewelry shipped to certain ZIP codes. If necessary, you may continue to file claims as usual for U-PIC parcel insurance purchased with any labels created before the change.”

You can read more on the Etsy website.

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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/.