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Tue July 9 2019 08:28:38

Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

By: Ina Steiner

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You might say Etsy is making sellers an offer they can't refuse. Today, the company announced plans to make free shipping a "core part of the shopping experience" on Etsy. It isn't mandatory to offer free shipping, but unless they do, sellers' listings may be virtually invisible to shoppers in search results.

However, Etsy is providing a feature to make this bitter pill a little easier to swallow. It's promising to provide tools that let sellers offer free shipping to US buyers who spend at least $35 in their shop, and those sellers will get exposure for their listings in search results.

That's crucial for sellers who offer inexpensive items - provided they offer enough products that would entice buyers to purchase more than one item. But it may not help sellers of oversized goods, especially now that shipping carriers, including the USPS, charge exorbitant DIM Weight rates for large, lightweight items.

We asked an Etsy spokesperson about this using a concrete example: "if a $45 wreath would cost $35 to ship, are you suggesting sellers change the price to $80?" and received the following response:

"We want to empower sellers to make decisions about the pricing strategy that works for them and their business. As noted in the announcement video, item pricing strategy should consider shipping just as it considers time and materials.  

"We understand that offering free shipping may be a big step for some sellers, and we want them to know that we are here to support them through the process. We are offering sellers a number of tools and resources that will make it easy to adopt a free US shipping guarantee if they choose to."

Etsy is rolling out its free-shipping strategy in phases:

- Beginning July 30, 2019, Etsy will give priority placement in US search results to items that ship free and to shops that guarantee US buyers free shipping on orders of $35 or more. "This means that shoppers in the US will primarily see items that ship free and shops that offer free shipping on orders of $35 or more in the top and most visible rows of search," Etsy explained.

- Beginning in September, Etsy will begin actively marketing the free-shipping initiative to buyers, "with the goal of driving more traffic to the Etsy marketplace and sellers' shops."

We asked the spokesperson if she could provide examples of buyer messaging for sellers concerned that shoppers will expect EVERYTHING on Etsy to have free shipping?

"(Today's) announcement is more of a seller-facing launch," she replied. "As noted in the release, we won't be marketing this to buyers until September."

Etsy said its data shows that buyers are significantly more likely to purchase an item in their cart with free shipping compared to an item that has added shipping costs. When it ran a limited-time free-shipping promotion in May, it led to higher order values when participating buyers purchased items that shipped for free or were eligible for free shipping, the company stated.

It also noted in its announcement: "Given the timing of the launch, this initiative is currently expected to have modest upside to Etsy's previously announced 2019 gross merchandise sales guidance. The projected impact of this initiative will be shared when Etsy reports its second quarter 2019 financial results."

Will you be changing your listing strategy as a result of today's announcement? Let us know what you think in our survey hosted on SurveyMonkey.com.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 21:20:48 2019

@MainleyVintage

I don't think you've understood what Etsy is saying.  

You MUST turn on their free unconditional (not related to promotions) hidden shipping.

"Thanks for your question, and sorry about the confusion with some of the terminology we’ve been using.
When we say “unconditional free shipping” we refer to items that ship for free, whether through a free shipping profile or a free shipping sale, with no requirement for the shopper to spend a certain amount in your shop, or order a specific amount of items to qualify to have their order shipped free. A free shipping guarantee is a shop-wide setting that tells US buyers that their order will ship free if they spend at least $35 or more in your shop. Both of these will get your items priority placement in US search. "

You can't just run your one by 3 promotions, or simply offer free shipping - you MUST turn on their tool and everything in your shop is shipped without the customer paying postage - regardless of how much they purchase.

Purchasing more from one shop will create additional issues because.


Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jul 11 22:50:19 2019

Offering high-quality merchandise for you and your home

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 22:58:41 2019

I have so much to say about Etsy that I do not know where to start. What was once a promising and fair site, it has become absurd and controlling in so many ways always wanting to fix things that are not broken. I think Etsy has OCD

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 23:04:23 2019

I find it funny that one site will say buyers are 40% more likely to make a purchase that has free shipping, one will say 20% more likely, and one will say 50% more likely. It's ridiculous.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: cookiepuss This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 00:15:30 2019

After watching Etsy since 2007, I can't remember a time when the management had their sh*t together. Rokali thought he was building a self contained community and didn't want to expand. His mentor and VC benefactor was wild about social media and not so much about eTail. Chad was building a tech site where anyone could bork up the code for any reason. Josh wants to make as much money as possible and doesn't care about anything beyond that.

I remember insane forum mutings. Rob Kalin giving screwy interviews with knives and discussing making his own underwear. The front page manipulation by treasury promo teams. The constant renewing listings to keep them from sinking to the last page shown in search. (recency default, anyone?)

I can remember articles online trying to decide if Etsy was a real platform or a weird social experiment.  I remember the nonexistent customer service and bare bones features long after the site should have upgraded. And of course, the smarmy staff members who apparently spent their days eating free meals, hanging out in the yoga room, creating their own arts and crafts, and-I loved this-making coloring book and puzzle sheets for each other. Yup, a hipster day care center as a friend said.

I could go on, lol. Ecologica Malibu. Handmade can be made in a factory because hands touch the items. Temple St. Clair. An eCommerce site which refused to advertise for the longest time. Random shop closings. The integrity team members who would demand a handmade seller provide photos of their items being made, receipts for supplies, and sometimes actual patterns to prove the items were really handmade by the shop owner. All the while, they ignored obvious resellers, and couldn't tell a handmade thing from a resold bit of junk from Ali Baba.

Oye. Sorry for the rant. I just can't remember when this site was on the ball. The premise was such a good idea, but they seemed never to have the best interest of the customers at heart. It always seems to be about Brooklyn and image and investors.  

Same issues, different route, different face.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Freeeeeeeee This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 02:33:52 2019

I'm feeling empowered about this so ...no pay shipping fee, no gettee junkee...


Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: MRV This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jul 12 06:26:37 2019

Cookiepuss, it's good 'see' you!

And always telling it like it is. :)

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: craigs antique hardware This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Jul 12 13:15:43 2019

okay free shipping USA, price figured out, if some one wants to purchase just one of the things,

but how about if they want to buy 5 of them, now they are getting over charged alot,

okay now i have a customer in the UK wants to purchase that same item how are they going to figure out the shipping on that fancy math take off the price what i think is the USA shipping charge, and then add the UK shipping charge? or what?

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: cookiepuss This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 14:54:33 2019

Hopefully Swimmy managed to escape to clean waters. I'd hate to think of his little body washed up near the Hudson, covered in poo.  
o.0

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Fri Jul 12 20:38:10 2019

@sammycat

I have free shipping throughout my Etsy shop.

(Long pause.)

In addition to free shipping, if you purchase three items or more, you receive 15% off. That way buyers who feel that I’m making extra money because the shipping is rolled into the item price can get a deal.

——
In the Q and a session, Etsy admin stated that all items that ship free will receive ”priority placement.”  It is in fact the very first highlighted answered question.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: bmari This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 21:09:37 2019

Etsy tested their free shipping theory by offering select customers their item with no shipping charge.  They did this by covering the shipping charge the seller had set.  This is not the same as their phony "free shipping" program now.  They will not reimburse sellers for the shipping cost.  We will have to hide it in there someplace in the price or eat the charge ourselves.
So it is actually "shipping included in price".
When they talk about "surprise shipping charges" right now it is because they don't let the buyer see that cost until they are ready to check out.  I have never bought from a company that does that.
I used to take pride in being on Etsy.  Now I am embarrassed.  My friends long ago stopped buying from them because they don't trust their item will be handmade

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 13 01:56:08 2019

I'm curious if you use the words "free shipping" as keywords in your listing if the search will show your item with other items offering free shipping even if you're not offering free shipping? Just sayin?

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 13 02:05:28 2019

@BMARI, We changed all of our listings to show Free Shipping back during December when Etsy made the same claim of higher or top search results. Our sales went to crap. Worst holiday sales we'd had since selling on Etsy. In January we changed all our listings back and separated shipping from the item cost and sales picked back up. We were also one of the test sites where Etsy picked up the shipping charge and we didn't sell a single item. I'm not going to worry about it. Will keep listings as they are and give it a month. If then we are showing a dive in sales will slowly stop letting items renew until we have little or no listings.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: rdsao This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 13 13:05:36 2019

this HARD push for free shipping is not about surveys and test runs and customers more likely to buy or any other BS spin that comes out of Etsy Corp - this is 100% about increasing GMS  .. most Etsy sellers are not smart enough to figure that out







 

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Jul 13 21:03:48 2019

YES , Change it to :
"SHIPPING INCLUDED".

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: vintagegoodness This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 07:45:39 2019

So I have kind of a techy question, hoping someone here might know if this is possible or not - if Etsy can calculate shipping cost and show it as a separate charge, why couldn't they calculate the shipping cost and roll it into the item price the buyer sees? So a $20 item that costs $5 to ship close to home and $10 to ship across the country could both be shown as having $0 shipping cost but the item price is shown as $25 to the close to home buyer and $30 to the far away buyer. It seems like this should be something that is possible to do behind the scenes, but no one ever seems to consider it?

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Jul 14 08:08:28 2019

The Shop banner says :
" Get priority placement in US searches when you offer free shipping on individual items or on orders $35 and above to shoppers in the US. We made a tool that makes it easy to recover shipping costs. "
Oh what a tangled web to side step.
EXTORTION is what this is.
This is what is looks like in the field.
EXTORTION is ILLEGAL.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 08:18:01 2019

@MainelyVintage

I am sorry but you've totally misunderstood what they said.

YOU MUST have their tool turned on.  It is  NOT enough to be offering free shipping.  'Free' must be generated by the new tool.  

I've looked at your site, beats me how you can be making money, but good on you.  

Perhaps you could explain:  how can you offer something for $27.50 and offer free shipping US wide (assuming this does not include Int'l) and give 15% off and the have at minimum 8.5% Etsy fees which is 23% right off the top and then less shipping?  

anyways, the bottom line is that you need to turn the Etsy Tool on because it is that 'tool' that the algorithm will pick up and give you the placement you seek over other hard working Etsy shop owners.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 08:22:39 2019

They shipping tool has always been a joke.  Most everything I sell is over $100.00 I must have insurance and tracking for anything going outside of the country.

That minimum for cross-border for a tracked packet is $18.00 and the same thing can cost up to $32.00 depending on where its going.

Whenever I list, I get that stupid message that says something like "... people expect to see a shipping price of $9.00 for an item of this price"

THEY DO NOT ... and HAVE NOT taken into account package size aka dimensional shipping costs.  

Herein lies one of the biggest problems with 'hidden shipping costs' and their tool that is supposed to calculate shipping options at the tail end if people 'want' to upgrade their shipping.  IT WILL BE WRONG and you will still lose out.

Perminate Link for Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative   Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

by: Just Plain Irritated This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 09:37:29 2019

Etsy, eBay and all selling venues have the ability to show the shipping total. It's just a simple calculation of item price and the calculated shipping to the potential buyers location. The calculation, the output (visibility) to shoppers is simple computer coding.  I suggested that to eBay years ago, telling them they could then have "FREE SHIPPING" site wide. Guess they didn't want it after all.

Calculating FREE SHIPPING for each item weight meant me entering Zip Codes for various parts of the country, adding up all those charges, then figuring a "average" shipping cost. I spent hours figuring out various shipping weight cost outcomes. Then along comes a rate change...………….

No one has mentioned the ordeal of shipping rate changes. I have approximately 900 to 1000 items offered all the time. If my items all had shipping costs built into the price, it would be a major ordeal to reprice everything, especially after the recent USPS Dimensional rate change.

Free shipping (a blatant lie to my customer) works fairly well on items 13 oz or less. At the 14 oz level, it takes a jump and makes the item price look extreme.

I recently had a customer ask for a reduced price on a free shipping item, if they came and picked it up. I removed the extra $3 from the $9.95 item and they decided it wasn't worth it to drive 30 miles to save $3. Free shipping is just lying to your customers. It's deceitful and should be considered fraud. That's my opinion.

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