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Thu May 9 2019 10:31:40

Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

By: Ina Steiner

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A buyer who ordered a wreath on Etsy was upset when it hadn't shipped within the seller's stated handling time. Preparing to send the seller a message, the buyer noticed that the shop now showed all of the items as offering free shipping, but it hadn't been offered when she placed her order. "I told (the seller) I would like free shipping applied to my order, since she hasn't shipped the wreath yet, she refuses," the buyer wrote on an Etsy discussion board thread.

What the buyer didn't appear to realize is that Etsy started running a free-shipping promotion this month for a subset of buyers. The promotion kicked off *after* the shopper had purchased the wreath.

Many of those responding to the buyer on the boards advised her that the seller couldn't retroactively apply free shipping if it was part of the offer that Etsy is subsidizing - nor was the seller obligated to do so in any event. 

There's a lot we don't know about the buyer's transaction and her communication with the seller. As one person pointed out, the seller might not have known about Etsy's limited free-shipping promo and may have thought the buyer was requesting it - or perhaps trying to take advantage of them - which is another potential pitfall of the promotion.

"The OP's message saying "Since my order hasn't shipped yet, I'd like to have free shipping." might have come off like a request for a discount due to the delay," one person wrote.

Some people were even dissecting the messages as described by the buyer. For example, when the buyer said the seller kept refusing to offer free shipping "and keeps telling me to "have a nice weekend,"" some on the thread thought the seller was being polite, while others thought the seller was being sarcastic or rude.

Sellers learned once again that there are often unintended consequences to the simplest changes on online marketplaces. A promotion can result in confusion or even resentment on the part of buyers. And it seems even wishing someone a nice weekend or other using other seemingly harmless expressions can result in misunderstandings.



Comments (19) | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 9 11:09:43 2019

I use exactly the same stock response every time for problems such as 'late deliveries' (usually late only in the eyes of the anxious buyer', or other problems.

Some customers cite my professional, courteous response in reviews, others refer to me as insulting or sarcastic.

Go figure!

I think people project their own behavior and bias into the writing.

I've found that people respond in the way they would treat other people - honest people tend to assume you are honest, dishonest people think you're cheating them. There are exceptions, but it's mostly true.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Thu May 9 14:06:39 2019

ebay and etsy (using ebay's playbook now) need to stop interfering and meddling in private individuals personal items and just host the darn site already. They aren't Amazon and never will be!

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 9 14:27:04 2019

They all need to stop meddling and all need to stop trying to be Amazon.....I understand the need to try and compete, but to the point of ruining them and what once made them vibrant is atrocious....On Etsy, the changes they are making, have made and will make are ruining it, very much like Ebay has done....

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 9 22:12:27 2019

Am I the only one who feels as if both the above posts were written by the same person...?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 9 22:47:48 2019

@ hopeforthebest....I can assure you, I am not "nomoreebay", if that was what you are implying, nor do I know who they are....If not, I guess subconsciously their post struck a chord with me, I used the words "meddling" as well and also referred to them trying to be like "Amazon", because they are..I am a seller on Ebay, Etsy and Amazon....I get etsy's surveys that they send to some in their etsy impressions program and I can assure you with the latest survey I received last week, sellers are not going to like what they are rolling out in the near future....they are not embracing what their venue is and the direction they have been heading and are headed is not favorable for a lot of us sellers.....

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 10 05:02:13 2019

Nothing new, this happens once and while, a buyer purchases something just before or after the item goes on sale,

If you are a good business you always should allow some grace period before and after the promotion, and give that customer the discount too,

Regardless of what etsy is doing, at the end of the day you're selling on their platform, and you agree to what they are doing to represent you, and if you don't like it just simply leave, like we did.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 10 09:11:43 2019

Buyers only know two words. FREE AND RUDE nothing else applies. I either get it free or you are rude.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

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

Fri May 10 17:55:01 2019

"Buyers only know two words. FREE AND RUDE nothing else applies. I either get it free or you are rude. "
Thank former Ebay CEO John Donahoe for That setup.
It can be undone, with a laser focused board of directors.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

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

Fri May 10 21:51:12 2019

This whole phony promotion of Etsy subsidized
"free" shipping is just another one of their scams to get more money for nothing from the sellers.

Meanwhile, what's going on with the poor woman who lost her child because of a defective teething necklace that was a gift from Etsy?  

I don't mean to bring it up here but I haven't seen much publicity about it.  The first story I read was in the UK Daily Mail.

Seems that Etsy has a lot more to worry about than make believe free shipping.

And why haven't they taken down the 23000 teething necklaces that are still on the site?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 12 07:40:40 2019

@Flying Childers

yes, it's funny how these "Control Freak Venues" control every aspect of the transaction, as if they are a retail outlet, the one's supplying and shipping the item, then take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever when there is a problem,

A responsible retailer would have pulled every one of those defective products, in less then a minute, but etsy thinks they are above the law, I hope the family sues the living crap out of them.



Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 12 13:19:08 2019

I wonder if Etsy is trying the free shipping thing to compete with the newish Amazon Handmade section that allows artisans to sell through Amazon.  Maybe they are afraid buyers will flock to Amazon to by hand crafted items instead of Etsy so they think a gimmick like free shipping will hook them back?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: RibbonDr This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 03:19:04 2019

I'm so tired of Etsy sticking their grubby, greedy hands in our shops. They change the way our shops look every other week, they are constantly running tests & experiments that are absolutely insane. I had 8 orders that were given free shipping & with the amount of transactions that I have in my shop, locating the free shipping credit that Etsy gave us will take hours for me to find in the csv files. Does anyone know an easier way for me to find these credits?

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 04:26:18 2019

Sales (including shipping cost) are non negotiable post sale. I once had a cheeky (ebay) buyer message me that she thought the item she bought was not worth what she paid.

So I offered her $20 off her next purchase and she accepted. Good luck with that one dear because you are now on my blocked list.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 13 06:38:15 2019

greed and corruption destroys any good business or selling venue for everyone involved , and of course all brain cells of anyone that was once honest and hard working , that made an honest venue to start with. it only takes a short time for greed to grow , just like an aggressive  cancer. what a sad way to live.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

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

Mon May 13 07:50:56 2019

Max mad - very good points.  Etsy’s hypocrisy is breathtaking.   They claim to be in business for the good of mankind or something like that, yet they refuse to protect the customers.

Now that they have “prior notice “ about the dangers of the teething necklaces, they will be fully liable when the next lawsuit comes.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon May 13 09:02:17 2019

"So I offered her $20 off her next purchase and she accepted. Good luck with that one dear because you are now on my blocked list."

LOL  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 14 00:24:58 2019

@thriftyone, I sure would like more information regarding that, but I'm sure Etsy has you sworn to silence so the rest of us can be completely broadsided down the road. I understand the need to protect one's ideas for "improvements", but there needs to be a LOT more transparency coming from these companies that are taking increasingly more of our money and acting like they own our businesses.

I recently caught wind of a statement some article made about free enterprise be the downfall of small business. Free enterprise is what's giving these marketplace sites free reign to squeeze every penny they can out of small businesses while doing little to nothing to provide the services they say they provide -- like bringing in the traffic to shops.

They always seem to have some lame excuse for demoting shops in searches (ie, being an allegedly bad citizen according to forum trolls, not offering Etsy Payments, etc.) and ridiculous reasons for boosting some shops in searches (ie, offering Etsy Payments, using their lame blanket policies that are NOT one-size-fits-all, etc.). I don't care what they say, if you are boosting a shop based on irrelevant factors, then you ARE in effect demoting shops who should be appearing well above those shops according to relevant factors (ie, shipping on time or early, positive reviews, and, most importantly, relevant keywords and actually having a description that fully describes the item).

Sellers continue paying as Etsy customers, but for what? To be used? To be tossed aside for no good reason? To be told how to run our own businesses and even forced into bad business practices, poorly laid out listings, and Etsy using OUR PAID real estate to promote competitors? Every change they have made since Josh Silverman took over is all about making shareholders happy at the expense of sellers -- an expense that just seems to increase with each change in some way or another.

They are constantly setting up sellers for failure, but they don't care. As long as their greedy shareholders are happy, then that's all that matters. This whole free shipping fiasco is just another example of that.

As for what I would have told that customer...Etsy is the one providing the free shipping, so their original order would have to be cancelled and they'd have to reorder for it to be applied. One thing customers don't realize is that sellers are required to front that discount and wait to be reimbursed by Etsy. For sellers who get a lot of orders, that's a lot of money to be fronting Etsy -- money I'm sure they're earning interest from in the meantime. Fortunately for me, I've already applied free shipping to a majority of my items for a much-needed boost in Etsy search, so bring it.

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 18 09:05:56 2019

@RibbonDr - What about looking in your shop's Payment Account? I'm not a mega seller (as it sounds like you are), however the 1 order I've received thus far with Etsy-paid free shipping had the shipping credit applied soon after the order was received. The only 2 ways I know to see financial stuff for your Etsy shop are the Payment Account and the CSV.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences   Etsy Sellers Wary of Shipping Promotion Consequences

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 18 09:24:14 2019

Many Etsy sellers go along with buyer's requests because they're afraid of getting a bad review.

Wreaths, depending on size, can be very expensive to ship ... and moreso if they're being shipped cross-country (thanks USPS!).

If I were that wreath seller, I would gently explain that the free shipping promotion is being offered by Etsy. If it's a stock item (or a custom order that I'd not yet started), I'd happily refund the order and hope that the buyer repurchases it with the free shipping offer. If it's a custom/personalized order, and I'd started working on the order, I would ask them to purchase the 2nd time, with free shipping, before refunding the 1st payment.  



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