|Thu June 6 2013 21:57:31|
Selling Internationally on Etsy Has Its Challenges
By: Ina Steiner
It's always interesting to note the parallels between Etsy and eBay, and I sometimes forget that just because one marketplace has a feature doesn't mean other marketplaces offer it.
A seller wrote to me recently and said they sell a lot on both eBay and Etsy. "On eBay, I can block out certain countries I wish to not ship too. But with Etsy, it's all international or nothing. I'm surprised as Etsy continues to grow and provide upgrades, then haven't tackled this yet."
I am familiar with eBay's tools that allow sellers to exclude buyers by country, so I took a look at Etsy help files, but couldn't find any information about how to limit sales by geography. So I reached out to Etsy's PR department to see if I was missing something.
"Does Etsy allow sellers to ship domestic only?" I asked. "Does Etsy allow sellers to ship internationally but exclude certain countries or regions? I've looked around for info on the Etsy site, but I don't see these policies/practices explained."
An Etsy spokesperson replied, "Etsy leaves it up to sellers to determine which countries they will ship to. Please let me know if you need anything else."
I assumed Etsy would know that what I was really asking (and I should have been clearer) was whether Etsy allowed sellers to block buyers from certain countries from purchasing the items. Because as any seller knows, if you simply state in your policy that you don't ship to a certain country doesn't mean a buyer from that country won't order from you anyway! And that can lead to enormous hassles.
The seller who had written to me had explained, "This is really frustrating when I don't want to ship things to the country notoriously bad for getting packages to customers: All South America countries; Russia; Italy - to name a few."
Selling internationally is a major challenge for online sellers, though the opportunities for additional sales also make it irresistible for many merchants.
If you sell on Etsy, how do you deal with international orders, and what would you tell the marketplace management about features you'd like to see them add for your benefit?