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Sat July 27 2019 17:23:23

Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy wants free shipping to be a core part of the shopping experience on its marketplace, and it sent a marketing email on Friday to entice shoppers. 

An email with the subject line "Free shipping: geometric plants, gems and more" featured a made-to-order terracotta planter with the message, "Happy Friday! Feast your weekend-ready eyes on these top trending, artisan-made finds. One more thing: items $35 and over ship for free."


Clicking the "Shop Now" button in the email sent shoppers to a page featuring geometric planters priced $35 and over, all offering free shipping.

Earlier this month, Etsy informed sellers it would provide them with tools and support to help them guarantee free shipping to US buyers who spend at least $35 in their shop. "By making it easy for sellers to offer free shipping, Etsy will empower them to better meet buyer expectations and more effectively win customers in today's changing retail landscape."

The press release went on to state:

"Sellers around the world are able to participate in this initiative. Etsy will be providing sellers globally with tools and educational resources to help them adopt a free shipping guarantee for US buyers. In addition, beginning on 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 will begin actively marketing this free shipping initiative to buyers starting in September, with the goal of driving more traffic to the Etsy marketplace and sellers' shops."

As you see Etsy ramp up its free-shipping marketing, let us know what you're seeing and how it's impacting your traffic.



Comments (32) | Permalink

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Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sat Jul 27 17:29:49 2019

Note: I had to reduce the font in the email to take the screenshot - the message was normal-sized.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.
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Sat Jul 27 18:37:16 2019

Sorry, but I don't take pointers from people who are clueless about the industry I have 10 years of experience in. The man is even clueless to the fact that there are no amount of tools and information he could possibly provide to make free shipping any freer than it already is NOT.

Considering how little Silverman thinks of their vintage sellers, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this is solely an attempt to get rid of them because they are the ones who will suffer the most. Other sellers of large, heavy items will suffer, too, but they're probably just collateral damage to Silverman.

Well, he got his way with this vintage shop because I don't do business with crooks.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Sat Jul 27 21:17:15 2019

The catalog sites where I shop have actually raised their charge for standard shipping in 2019 in response to rising costs.  Hasn't stopped me from buying.  

What I've noticed on Etsy is most of the resellers and/or counterfeiters I am featuring in my blog are participating in the ''free'' shipping over $35 initiative.  Some of them have switched to having their orders drop shipped from China because they have lengthened their delivery times to 3 weeks.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 27 21:43:47 2019

No sense fighting what Etsy management wants. If you can raise prices and use “free” shipping you will have sales until everyone else does it.  Figure in 1st class (up to 16 ounces)shipping Regional A&B boxes and Priority Flat rate boxes into your calculations. Look into Pirate Ship for Cubic shipping - great prices on up 1/2 cubic foot packages. I made the change and have had over ten sales on Etsy this week of items that have languishes for over six months with no sales. It does not seem price really matters “Free” shipping does. As a buyer I find clicking on non free shipping listing and hunting around for the shipping price for a total price a waste of time. SO many times items that are priced well have unbelievable high shipping. Often an item that could ship 1st class ($4 or$5) has priority $10 or more. When I asked one seller; I was told “I like the insurance that USPS gives on Priority mail. Another seller told me she doesn’t like using the Etsy shipping; it is easier for her to go to the Post Office and use their “free” boxes. Really big items just can not be sold online because shipping costs have got out of hand; unless they cost $10 material plus time to make and “sell” for $200+ Just my 2¢    

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jul 28 02:51:34 2019

@HappyOne

but your buyer knows you inflated the price of your item and lost the multiple shipping discount. Buyers aren't stupid.

and its really tacky to question someones shipping costs.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

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

Sun Jul 28 08:27:26 2019

If I believed it would work, I would take the bait and make all my listings "free" although it would be MUCH more accurate to say "SHIPPING INCLUDED" since everyone knows there's no such thing as free shipping.  

I have done an experiment and about 2 weeks ago, I put my entire handmade shop on Free Shipping.  This is in addition to paying for PLs and other promotions I do.  Not only hasn't it helped, but if anything, things have gotten worse according to the stats.   Then again, you can't believe anything that Etsy tells you anyway.

Sadly, after years of playing the game and investing lots of money in promoted listings, coupons, promotions, etc. I have come to the conclusion that nothing really works.  There are no magic words or gimmicks that are going to get your items found on Etsy.

It is a rigged game- like playing at the crooked Casino where the house always wins.  The only way you get found is if the Etsy robots want you to get found that day.  And that's all there is to it.   It's a total crap shoot and until Search is fixed, that's just the way it will be.

Once again the Etsy shareholders are going to make a bundle off of our misery.  This is why I never quit my day job.

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by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 28 08:48:17 2019

by: Lisa
The inquiries to Etsy sellers about their shipping costs were made to help new online sellers that are great artisans and crafters but maybe not so good business people. So many times I see a new crafter trying to sell an excellent item that appears to be at a price less than cost of material - not counting time used to make the  item.
Most of the time I know I will sell only one of an item. When there is a possibility of multiple purchases I put this in my variation listings “I DO refund excess included shipping on multiple purchases shipped together.” This has worked for my choice variation listings.
For two or three years I used “free” shipping on Ebay when there was a boost in search for “free shipping” listings. When Ebay diluted the advantage I went back to calculated shipping. My comments have been to help. If Etsy wants free shipping one should consider how to incorporate into price if there is any hope of it showing in the first two pages of Etsy’s mixed up search.  

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by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 28 17:54:54 2019

There is the other side of the coin, those that are NOT tacking their shipping costs into their item will appear cheaper at first sight and that's really all buyers focus on.

As long as people go deeper into a search, we will have the ultimate advantage.  

However, me thinks that Etsy has other plans, i.e.:  making their concept of 'free shipping' mandatory in the next while.  

I personally hope it all falls flat because IT IS AGAINST THE DAMN LAW and they can't keep getting away with this BS.   I want them to get a hefty fine, I mean a mega fine for abuse of the law and for extortion.  

That site is going to end badly if they're not held to account and keep getting away with the crap they are.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Sun Jul 28 18:32:10 2019

Etsy buyers are mostly NOT focused on price.

If they were, why would they so eagerly pay $30, for example, for items you can find on Wish and Tophatter for a dollar?

I know I was watching in fascination when Tophatter ran their first auctions, back when anyone could look without registering on the site.  Bidders were pretty much indifferent to the handmade and vintage items, but went wild over the Chinese imports -- bidding much higher than the price they would pay for the same thing on eBay or Amazon (or from resellers on Etsy).  I'm pretty sure that Etsy management had people watching that, too.  What Etsy had to learn was how to attract that over-bidding customer base.  And they did!

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jul 28 18:53:11 2019

@happyone
"The inquiries to Etsy sellers about their shipping costs were made to help new online sellers that are great artisans and crafters but maybe not so good business people. So many times I see a new crafter trying to sell an excellent item that appears to be at a price less than cost of material - not counting time used to make the  item."

if they are offering  expensive shipping on an under priced item, what does that tell you? There are also many many hobbyests on etsy and unfortunately, many re-sellers who state their item is handmade, but it is really manufactured in china in bulk for pennies per unit

Why can't etsy be classier than free shipping? Etsy is supposed to be ABOVE ebay?

This was an Etsy forum response to an OP who has been on etsy 2 years and has had 2 sales. He posts in the fora constantly about how great free  shipping is and how etsy should make sellers pay for mandatory returns. He often points out the research he has done about surveys of people who want free shipping on internet sales.

Etsy also removed my post, even though it violated no community standard~

Conventional research of free online shipping is really not inclusive of specialty and boutique sites. We are told Etsy is a unique site for handmade and vintage, We are told Etsy is a site full of artisans and makers. We are told Etsy is special and stands out in the online world. We are told Etsy is about items crafted by people. Etsy even sent us stickers to put on our boxes that say “keep commerce human”. YET Etsy’s most recent solution to drive traffic to the site, is to clump themselves in with generic online selling platforms, and promote free shipping.

I do not believe the free shipping survey outcome was accurate to Etsy specifically. I believe the survey was probably one sided and presented to non online sellers, just buyers, and alluded to free being truly free and not “gently rolled into the price of the item”, which is a direct quote from the shipping guarantee email Etsy sent out to their sellers. Etsy went even further to test the free shipping by selecting a small percentage of etsy shops to offer free shipping, and Etsy would pay for it. Of course that was a success because nobody had to inflate the cost of their items, thus tainting the outcome.

The OP has stated buyers expect free on-line shipping. This is not true. Buyers  want transparency, honesty, to get what they pay for as listed, shipped quickly, and packed well. That is what Etsy buyers want.

I think sellers here on Etsy deserve more than uncreative implementations that really aren’t going to do much, but appease a board. I expected more than systematically following the 2008 ebay model and a couple of really horrible commercials. (My husband and I thought one was for an anti-depressant until the end when it showed the big orange E, then we laughed for about a half hour).

Priority placement, is everyone who offers the free shipping guarantee gets a higher search rank than those who dont, regardless of SEO, photo recognition, popularity and all those things that make an etsy shop relevant.

So someone who glues macaroni on a popcicle stick and calls it fine art an ships free gets higher placement than your oil painting of Mother Theresa becase you don’t ship free.

I believe Etsy is only as good as it’s individual sellers. I don’t think Etsy is a mall. I drive 75% of my traffic to my own shop. The other 25% comes from internal search or search engines. So the majority of my traffic is me, not Etsy, so Etsy should follow the model successful sellers use to drive traffic, this free shipping campaign is cheap, lame and frankly, not going to do much. It did make some really good sellers leave though, maybe that was the goal?

OP~

As far as free returns, how is that going to work? I custom make 200 wedding vases and after the wedding the buyer returns them for free and I refund? Ouch.

And call your clients,- buyers, patrons or clients, not customers. you aren’t 7-11. Ditch all the caps on your titles and sections. Put a pic of yourself up and put your full name as shop owners, your a business not teenagers on facebook. Make your shop icon an image representing what you sell.  The space under your shop name should be a short discription of what you sell. photos need cohesive backgrounds and need to not be cut off in the thumbnail, and use all 10 slots. This is my unsolicited critique because i am out of here… all these things help you with etsy  relevancy &/or google or other SEO.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jul 28 19:02:23 2019

after this post It was surmised that not all shops offering free shipping will receive automatic placement above those in search, but just not in premium spots.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 28 21:03:10 2019

I sell quality antiques and vintage and I do NOT accept returns, there are many reasons for that, not the least of which is that some people out there are scam artists and they will get away with whatever you let them get away with.

I've had people try to return their broken, disgusting watch claiming its what I sent them.  Or rare and expensive vases that still have the carbon on them from the pattern being traced to produce knock-offs.  Complain that a 100+ year old antique had minor wear that was clearly disclosed and shown.  

Or the two women who tried to claim that the items I sent hadn't arrived.  One had the nerve 7 months later to claim it was not as described.  

There is an entire community of people out there without morals, and anything goes as long as they come out ahead.  No guilt or shame either.

What we have is a symbiotic relationship and buyers have responsibilities too, i.e.:  don't spend more than you can afford,  read the damn description including the condition report, zoom the photos for details and ask questions if in doubt.  

Needless to day, I will not / can not roll shipping into my item prices.  Lying is simply a bad way to start a relationship, I would price myself out of the market ... and ITS ILLEGAL.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jul 28 21:17:35 2019

i dont know, this might set legal precidence

https://www.adlawaccess.com/2014/01/articles/in-pricing-case-c
alifornia-court-determines-meaning-of-free-shipping/

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: Violets and Wine This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 00:19:56 2019

Not only will I never offer free shipping (because it does not exist), I will not buy from any shop offering it. I simply refuse to be bullied in any way by this nonsense. If other sellers want to lose money by doing this, that's their stuff, but I'm not having it.

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by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 01:50:54 2019

Not happening in our Etsy shop. Tried this fiasco on eBay a few times - sales dropped because of inflated prices & buyers also woke up to the fact they were paying shipping on each item instead of having combined shipping.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 05:23:51 2019

I sell high quality antiques and vintage on another site (Ruby Lane) which does not dictate shipping costs. 95% of my business goes outside my own country. No buyer has ever asked me for free shipping or expected me to provide it. Quality buyers expect to pay shipping cost for their purchases and expect a valid tracking number as a matter of course. I occasionally offer free shipping for a very large purchase or upgrade to courier at my cost. But that's my decision as the vendor. And that is why I no longer sell on Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 05:54:41 2019

etsy and ebay continues to insult the intelligence of buyers and sellers every day. they always talk about things you can put in a envelope and ship for a couple dollars , then call it free shipping.

they never tell anyone how to put a fifty pound barn wood shelf into a envelope and ship for a couple dollars. and they got buyers and sellers brainwashed into thinking you can ship everything free. I DON'T THINK SO !

most people has just got to be smarter than the greedy morons promoting free shipping when there is no such thing.

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: SammyCat This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 06:18:52 2019

So tomorrow is the big day for this 'free shipping' crap launch.

Do we know how many people have closed their Etsy shops?  The forum was full of people vehemently saying they would.

Also, don't forget about this petition:

https://www.change.org/p/etsy-etsy-free-shipping-isn-
t-free-stop-this-campaign-support-your-small-businesses?fbclid=IwAR3lapvwVU_IjNWUII1eG4TqQSLisk9OVDYIv8xJtq3Qq5bUXWjII4j1Tlc&utm_content=buffer36541&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

by: marty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 29 06:53:21 2019

Everybody seems to be complained about 'free shipping' as insulting to some buyers, it is not free etc etc.
Would your attitude changed if the promotion sounded like this, or similar:

Shipping: At no cost to you (the buyer)

Perminate Link for Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email   Etsy Focuses on Free Shipping in Marketing Email

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

Mon Jul 29 07:04:53 2019

Really great comments.  I wish Etsy humans would read them.

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