AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Tue July 9 2019 08:28:38

Etsy Compels Sellers to Offer Free Shipping with New Initiative

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

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.

Comments (113) | Leave Comment | Permalink
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: PotterHIll This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 09:43:41 2019

Federal Trade Commission's PART 251—GUIDE CONCERNING USE OF THE WORD “FREE” AND SIMILAR REPRESENTATIONS, Section 251.1(b), last sentence of paragraph reads:  Thus, a purchaser has a right to believe that the merchant will not directly and immediately recover, in whole or in part, the cost of the free merchandise or service by marking up the price of the article which must be purchased, by the substitution of inferior merchandise or service, or otherwise. By the CEO of Etsy recommending to add "free shipping" to the retail price, he might have violated the FTC"s Deceptive Trade Practices Regulations.

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 10:00:53 2019

@Just Plain Irritated
HERE HERE ! !

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 10:05:03 2019

PotterHill discovered :
"By the CEO of Etsy recommending to add "free shipping" to the retail price, he might have violated the FTC"s Deceptive Trade Practices Regulations. "
That's EXACTLY what has happened.
OFF WITH JOSH SILVERMAN'S HEAD ! ! !
He's TARNISHING Etsy ! ! ! !

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

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 11:02:07 2019

When someone suggests to me that I do something mean, sleazy and dishonest I ask myself ''how can I trust this person (or company) to deal honestly with me?''

The answer is that I cant.

By suggesting that we sellers conceal all or part of the shipping cost in the price of the item Etsy is suggesting something mean, sleazy and dishonest.

Do I need to say more?

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 12:25:46 2019

Many, including me has said that its against the law in many countries around the world to lie and hide shipping in the cost of an item.  

Its also immoral and artificially inflates the price of items, which, in many cases will mean pricing yourself out of the market.

Etsy has lawyers and I don't quite understand how this was allowed unless of course they've found a loophole, or think that we are all doormats and won't report to the FTC.  

I am hoping that hundreds have.

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

by: tigerlily This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 12:37:40 2019

While I fully understand how hard  Etsy's  35.00 free shipping  would be on vintage sellers that often sell bigger/ heavier items..
I cringe every time I hear them insinuate that sellers selling smaller and less expensive items probably can do so.
This may be true in certain instances, but in many cases,probably most,it is even harder for those selling less expensive  smaller items as the profit from each item is much smaller.
A vintage seller may be able to add  part of the shipping into the item..  there is no room in many smaller items..
The truth is  Etsy's 35.00 policy is impossible for   a large # of sellers no matter what they sell.. and it is nothing less than extortion for all.

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

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 14 19:38:33 2019

The issue is not with offering "included free shipping" the real issue is etsy demanding if they don't they will loose placement in search,

There will come a day when these venues will be caught / held responsible for what can only be described as extortion / consumer fraud,

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

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

Sun Jul 14 21:26:02 2019

I agree with maxmad. This is more about what the venue is doing that IS illegal. It's extortion AND fraud plain and simple. What's worse is that this is far from the only thing they've done that's illegal or immoral.

Every single customer (seller) pays their rent for their space and many use the seller services offered. The bottom line is they are paying for space and services that Etsy claims to provide, yet nobody is getting what they're paying for -- except maybe their golden eggs.

Has anyone ever noticed that Etsy does not provide access in search to ALL products available under a category or search query? I did a test search for "bedding" the other day and there were over 530,000 results. Yet there were only 250 pages of results given and, at 56 items per page, that only equates to 14,000 listings.

The reason is that Etsy does not have the cloud space to display all products in search -- because they don't pay for it. Cloud space is expensive, so if you don't have your own servers to handle all of the needs of your business, then you will have to fork out lots to cover it. In Etsy's case, they only pay enough to cover a very small fraction (in the above case, a mere 2.6%).

Now they're demanding a ransom for exposure in that very small window. Granted, many shoppers don't go beyond the first page of results, but for those who like to dig deep (like me), they are being seriously limited to their selection. Considering the poor results given in Etsy search as it is, much of that 2.6% of space is cluttered with irrelevant results. So it does require digging beyond the first page to find what you're looking for, if you find it.

So, Etsy is just one big scam. They've got everybody paying for space they're not being given. They've got many paying for seller services that do not provide the extra exposure they're paying for.

The bottom line is that these venues have gone way too far in scamming their customers and even creating problems for many so they can justify throttling their listings. What other reason would they have for making it so difficult for their customers to succeed on their site with all these so-called improvements that they claim benefits their customers when they do not? They only serve to push you closer to the bottom with allegedly valid reasons for doing so.

eCrater is the only venue I will consider selling on from now on. They do nothing like what these other venues do. Your business is your own and you run it how you see fit. They won't stand in your way on the road to success. They actually want you to achieve 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: IDKwhoIare

Mon Jul 15 09:01:55 2019

The first time Etsy threatened me with lowered visibility was when they started their own payment ''Service''.  I did not sign up and they did as promised and dropped my visibility to zero sales.  I had very HTF and popular items that sold at a regular pace for years so the throttle was obvious.  A month after I removed all my product from the store and shut it down, they had a person call me at home and ask what it would take for me to re-open the store.  Apparently ''Seller Churn'' had not become popular thinking yet.

I told them to call me when they decided to allow Sellers to pick their payment processors and to never, never threaten me with lower visibility again.  The poor young lady was very apologetic and seemed embarrassed...as she should've been. No call to date...but I was not holding my breath.

I had the luxury of not relying on online sales to put food on my table and pay the bills so I could afford to stand up for my principles. If I had not been so lucky, I am not sure what I would've done.

Luck to all of you impacted by this latest money grab/extortion by Etsy in whatever you decide to do.

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.

Sat Jul 20 09:42:04 2019

What's worse is that Etsy has announced that their 'free shipping tool' will help you recoup your shipping costs -- that means they're doing more than just suggesting breaking the law, they are aiding and abetting in doing so.

"Federal Trade Commission's PART 251—GUIDE CONCERNING USE OF THE WORD “FREE” AND SIMILAR REPRESENTATIONS, Section 251.1(b), last sentence of paragraph reads:  Thus, a purchaser has a right to believe that the merchant will not directly and immediately recover, in whole or in part, the cost of the free merchandise or service by marking up the price of the article which must be purchased, by the substitution of inferior merchandise or service, or otherwise. By the CEO of Etsy recommending to add "free shipping" to the retail price, he might have violated the FTC"s Deceptive Trade Practices Regulations."

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

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

Mon Aug 5 16:21:56 2019

So this is why the sales fell out from under me on Etsy seemingly out of nowhere.  So now I'm unable to offer combined shipping because the cost must be rolled into shipping since none of the couriers will take my package when I say "I'm not paying because free shipping".  I'll be sure to include coupons with the intention of diverting future traffic directly to my website.  It's becoming clear that venus will immediately turn to shit as soon as they go public since the focus changes from growing the business to appeasing the overlords of investment.  It's a damn shame, well I have to go back into the real world and enter the rat race again since you can't survive off of online sales anymore, it was a great 10+ years.  You're seeing the beginning of the end of the gold rush period on the internet, very soon nobody will be able to make any money online, it'll be all corporations.

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

by: Writings on the Wall This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 7 16:17:04 2019

You should do a follow-up story on the free shipping fiasco. The forums are hot over this, and "etsy ads."  I suspect Etsy blinked on these 2 initiatives. Stock has tanked about a third (and no, it's not the economy). These were ploys to drive stock up. Not working. Having the opposite effect.

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

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 8 04:46:37 2019

Best article and comments on this issue, especially pointing out the TRUTH about how and why Etsy cannot show more than 2% or so of the listings.

Also thanks to those who quoted the laws Etsy is breaking and getting away with it.  They sure have friends in high places.

Even though I bent over and submitted, did what they told me to do, they pretty much shut down my shops on August 1st.  Not a big seller but the money I made helped a lot.

I know I’m not the only one by far.  As far as Josh and his cronies, they are the new Cosa Nostra and a bunch of racketeers.  May they rot in hell.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5 6 


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.