Hi, everyone!

Thanks for making your way over to the Etsy Success section. We hope you’ve had a chance to review Josh’s Announcement on how we’re making it easier for US shoppers to find items that ship free. We know many of you may have questions and we're here to help!

Today and tomorrow, Madison, Bryan, Perry, Michele, and Nathan from the Etsy team will be hosting a Q&A on offering a free shipping guarantee. What questions do you have about this new guarantee?

Here are the Q&A details:
- Share your questions about this change in this thread from now until Wednesday, July 10. We will close the thread that evening at 9pm ET.
- Etsy staff will answer questions by 5pm ET on Thursday, July 11.
- It is unlikely we will be able to answer all questions, so be sure to read through what others have asked before posting your own. If yours has already been asked, give it a Like! We want to ensure that we answer the questions that matter most to you, so with that in mind, we will prioritize answering questions with the most Likes.

And a few housekeeping notes:
- This Q&A is to address questions about how we’re making it easier for shoppers in the US to find items that ship free. Please remember that all comments should remain on topic and in line with our community policies. Any comments that violate our policies will be removed.
- If you have feedback to share, we encourage you to fill out our seller survey form. We are collecting feedback and suggestions from the community here, and the team is actively reviewing it over the next couple of weeks.

One last note: if you are unable to make this Q&A, the team will be back next week to answer your questions about the new smart pricing tool that is designed to help you offer a free shipping to your US buyers and recover shipping costs. The tool should be available to all US sellers with items $35 and over next week, and all other sellers in August.

Thanks, all. We're looking forward to your questions!

PRETTYBYHER
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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This is going to cause issues for sure. Because customers will 100% expect the full amount returned. 

7 Likes
CirclesOfStoneShop
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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The only way to recoup the cost would be to have a restocking fee. I have seen Etsy Admin suggest this before.

1 Like
CuddlesGalore
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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The just charge a restocking fee "solution" isn't really much of a solution given that restocking fees are actually illegal in the UK. So I guess Etsy are proposing that we break the law?

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WireExpressions
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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My question then would be would Etsy back us up 100% on restocking fees if that was outlined in our shop policies? I don't think they would. I'm not even sure they could.

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WireExpressions
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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Oh AND except that customers will not see that you take a restocking fee off of Returns, because Etsy has removed the POLICIES link from the top of the Shop homepage an screwed around with all the other layouts, that now it is virtually impossible to find the policies in a persons shop. No customer is EVER going to read them now. 

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FabricSupplyCo
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@WireExpressions 
We have a restocking fee. Etsy backs our policies.
We have had a few customers open cases (for SNAD/INR) for the restocking fees, and Etsy ends up giving them the money out of their own pockets, not ours.

1 Like
WireExpressions
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@FabricSupplyCo  "We have had a few customers open cases (for SNAD/INR) for the restocking fees, and Etsy ends up giving them the money out of their own pockets, not ours." 

This is nice to know. can you please tell me what SNAD/INR is short for? I'm sure once you spell it out I will get it, but I'm not gettin it right at the moment :P Thanks.

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PoshBabyBlooms
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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I have a question about being found in search once this change happens. I currently do not offer free shipping but only charge what it cost me ( I only use priority shipping due to its dependability and time)  I also spend a ton of money on promoted listings so that my items will be found in search. If I don't offer free shipping is it going to be a waste of money to do promoted listings? Will "free shipping" trump "promoted listings"? And if everyone offers free shipping then how do you prioritize one over the other? Next question,If free ground shipping is offered with an up charge for priority is that still considered "free shipping" in Etsy eyes? 

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SilverandEarth
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@PoshBabyBlooms--- what you said .... "And if everyone offers free shipping then how do you prioritize one over the other?"

Exactly this! How will Etsy determine the placement in search?  They already manipulate search now and show the shops they want to show. Especially in the jewelry category ----  they show shops that make and sell the same item over and over and over again. While those of us that sell mostly "one of a kind" items are buried. So even if we all decided to offer free shipping --- is there any guarantee that our items would receive a good placement in search.

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Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@PoshBabyBlooms wrote:

I have a question about being found in search once this change happens. I currently do not offer free shipping but only charge what it cost me ( I only use priority shipping due to its dependability and time)  I also spend a ton of money on promoted listings so that my items will be found in search. If I don't offer free shipping is it going to be a waste of money to do promoted listings? Will "free shipping" trump "promoted listings"? And if everyone offers free shipping then how do you prioritize one over the other? Next question,If free ground shipping is offered with an up charge for priority is that still considered "free shipping" in Etsy eyes? 


Hi there @PoshBabyBlooms,

Many thanks for your questions. I know these are on the minds of other sellers as well!

Not offering a free shipping guarantee to US buyers won’t impact your spend and placement in Promoted Listing ads in search. However, something to keep in mind when keeping your shop competitive is that US buyers will soon see an increase of items that offer a free shipping guarantee in US search results.

As for mail class - we look for whether a listing offers free standard shipping on orders over $35. You can still charge a shipping upgrade fee on a listing and have it be eligible for a prioritization in US search.

Hope this helps!

33 Likes
SilverandEarth
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@StrikeUpTheBandsaw  --- I would appreciate if my question was addressed, please. (that is nested under Posh's that you answered). The part regarding search placement for one of a kind sellers who are now buried in search. How do you plan on keeping search FAIR so everyone gets a shot at being seen?

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HappyCatPrintsCo
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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What effect will this have on instant download items? Will instant download listings will be prioritized as well? Or will the physical free shipping listings be placed on top of the instant download items?

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CricketnWillow
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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I’ve seen digital download sellers just put free shipping on their listings.  If I were you I would just do that, you’re not out any money for that, and it will boost you in the algorithm.

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HappyCatPrintsCo
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@CricketnWillow

Unfortunately, that solution would imply to list the items as “physical”, in order to be able to tag the listings for free shipping.

But by doing that, the item is no longer an instant download and you cannot attach files to the listing - which means that all orders would need to be manually emailed to the customers. This is time consuming, and time is money.

Also, this would delay the delivery for the customer. With instant downloads, customers get their files right after checkout, even if they ordered in the middle of the night - they do not have to wait for me to email them the files. Instant delivery = happier customer :)

Plus, when a listing is not specifically listed as an “instant download”, Etsy forces you to send a shipping notification, which can be quite confusing for the customer if the item they ordered is digital.

Trust me, for digital items that are not personalized and that are ready to print, the best way to list them is as instant downloads.

 

 

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SweetFreedom
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@cricket - there is no way to actually DO that, other than to write it in your title or description, or put a banner in your pics. When you go to list any item, you have to pick either physical or digital, and once you pick digital, there is NO SHIPPING OPTION. None.

And you can write it whereever you want in a digital listing - title, tags, text - and it will not be seen as actual free shipping by the Etsy algorithm that is prioritizing shipping.

1 Like

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@HappyCatPrintsCo wrote:

What effect will this have on instant download items? Will instant download listings will be prioritized as well? Or will the physical free shipping listings be placed on top of the instant download items?


Hi Caroline!

Digital listings will have the same type of eligibility for priority placement as physical items that ship free and shops that guarantee free US shipping on orders of $35+ USD. Just keep in mind that Etsy search is always evolving.

Thanks for the question.

1 Like
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EightMileVintage
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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As many sellers of large items have said here, this is completely unworkable for us, especially given the 6/23 switch to dimensional pricing. I have a large stoneware bowl that now costs $26 to ship to a nearby zone and $80 to ship to California. Who do I screw over? Do I add $80 to the price and screw over a buyer who lives close to me? Or do I add $26 to the price and take a $50+ hit on shipping if someone in CA buys the bowl?

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LookBackVintage
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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Yep!  Exactly what a lot of us are thinking, that is, if anyone buys an overpriced item that includes "free" shipping in the first place.

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SeasideRoseCreations
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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I guess that wasn't on the "survey" when they asked buyers if they preferred free shipping.

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RicsRelics
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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Exacally!!!  Vintage sellers will suffer I think! Ex- I have a bowl listed for $40.00 shipping is say $24.00. Who is going to look at that bowl and say oh YES!! I need that bowl for $64.00. Would anyone pay that? My guess is NO! How about you Mr. Silverman?

4 Likes
Etsy Staff
Etsy Staff

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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@EightMileVintage wrote:

As many sellers of large items have said here, this is completely unworkable for us, especially given the 6/23 switch to dimensional pricing. I have a large stoneware bowl that now costs $26 to ship to a nearby zone and $80 to ship to California. Who do I screw over? Do I add $80 to the price and screw over a buyer who lives close to me? Or do I add $26 to the price and take a $50+ hit on shipping if someone in CA buys the bowl?


Hi there, @EightMileVintage! I appreciate you flagging these concerns — because each item is unique, I understand that it can be challenging to decide if it makes sense to offer free shipping on certain items. As part of our Ultimate Guide to Shipping, we created an article on Strategies for Shipping Challenging Items that shares shipping tips for a variety of products, from oversized furniture to vintage goods and lightweight craft supplies.

Thanks!

142 Likes
TheOliveSparrow
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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The etsy staff response is just platitudes -- there is nothing useful to be gained from telling sellers to refer to the handbook -- I just read through that link -- there are no valid business solutions offered. What a waste of time! 

60 Likes
SandysFiredArtStudio
Registered Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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I have the same situation.  I've decided to take my chances and leave my items on the shipping calculator.  I will not do a middle of the road shipping adjustment to my items, it leaves my profits to chance and frankly I can't aford to play roulette with my business.

35 Likes
EightMileVintage
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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I read your guide. It's not at all helpfull. This just takes us right back to when we didn't have calculated shipping and had to show the maximum rate. Etsy is going backwards, not forward.

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JeniSandbergVintage
Community Member

Re: Q&A with Etsy admin: Offering a free shipping guarantee

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