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!

RiverbendCreek
Community Member

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

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Even though it means the same, the word "free" is appealing to consumers.  

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EmbroideryStation1
Community Member

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

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My Shipping Settings panel does not look like other Etsy sellers'. Mine does not have a spot to designate a Standard Shipping method or an Upgraded Shipping method. 

 

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farmersattic
Community Member

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

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I have been on Etsy almost from its inception. I have worked very hard growing through the many changes that Etsy has made over the years. So, if my shop is 10+ years old and someone is just starting and they offer free shipping on their items or on $35 or more, they will receive preferential treatment? I have no problems with a new shop starting out but I do have a problem with not being seen in a search right alongside them. My shop shouldn't be placed "at the end of the line" because I don't have a way to offer free shipping. 

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

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I have two shops one vintage, one handmade. I try to ship all my items as ‘letters’. Postage within Australia is $3, to the US is $9. Most items in my handmade shop are $25. The difference of $6 is massive to me! I am sure the Etsy stat heads are sitting at their computers all day, trying to squeeze extra .05 cents from every transaction, because every little bit makes a difference. What about a difference of approx 25% of the cost of my product! It wouldn’t be acceptable to Etsy, but it is supposed to be acceptable to me! I have recently started selling on Facebook and Instagram and have been surprised by my success. This looks like the way I am going to go. Sorry Etsy. You were good for a while...I am not a charity. I have goods that I want to make a some money from, not subsidise or give away my products.

 

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

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This is so unfair to shops located outside of the US. There is no way I can add the very high cost of shipping from Canada to the US and still remain competitive. 

Why not simply let the customer decide who they want to buy from?

 

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GoWildBoutique
Community Member

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

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As a seller on Etsy I have taken great pride in being honest and kind to my customers. The way I'd want to be treated. And with a community who runs on integrity to make the wheels turn, I find this new "free shipping" deal extremely deceiving. Not only is it a lie....the buyer isn't really getting "free" shipping....it's forcing sellers to raise prices. Some sellers may already be at their price point- so you expect them to eat the shipping? Or force their buyers to purchase somewhere else cheaper. Which is not what Etsy is about! It's about finding value in handmade/vintage items from people who actually care about your product. You're creating a marketplace where REAL artisans cannot flourish. Rather, your creating a place for cheap over-manufactured goods to be shipped free. Why are you trying to be Amazon. Let Amazon sell the cheap stuff! Let sellers be truly valued for their products and have some integrity.

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AyQueBella
Community Member

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

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Hello. The policy that I've already had in place is that customers who purchase from my shop pay only one single shipping cost ($5.90). All additional items added to their purchase ship for free -- meaning, there is no additional shipping charge for any and all extra items and there is no limit as to how many items a customer may purchase at one time. If a customer purchases 20 items, the shipping charge will always be $5.90. How will this affect my rankings in the search results? Will my items still be pushed to the bottom page even though every additional item ships for free? Thank you.

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Northernblooms
Community Member

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

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Excellent question AyQueBella. Like you, I offer combined shipping and will continue to do so.  I find it encourages customers to come back to my shop.

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ElleTrinket
Community Member

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

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i also offered flat rate shipping regardless of how many items u purchased.

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LaPellerineVintage
Community Member

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

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I would love to be able to provide free shipping on extra purchases but selling vintage items I wouldn't be able to do this as each item is usually quite heavy so multiple items pushes up the weight which then pushes up the cost of shipping from France

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OLDSTUFFNOW
Community Member

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

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Out shopping for my Etsy store today I sell antiques. Didn't buy anything cause the new article and shipping included would have killed me. Fire the executive who thought of this gem of an idea..

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ByYourWeave
Community Member

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

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Please explain why those that choose not to follow this free shipping intitive are to be punished by appearing lower in searches.

That is what i really dont get.

If a customer wants a free shipping seller, they will already pick that seller and that shop reaps the benefits.

Why not just add a "free shipping" filter on search?

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Faerieworks
Community Member

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

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This - EXACTLY

 

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MinimakiDesign
Community Member

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

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hi etsy, 

i‘ll try to explain my problem :  france——> usa   , shipping cost for a basic package : 25$. 

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janesbeadsandarts
Community Member

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

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This is yet another move on the part of ETSY that coerces sellers and is not to our benefit. I am in the very competitive bead market on etsy and I have flat rate shipping of 3.25 in the US (no matter how many items) and free shipping for combined orders and items over $50 (which I absorb - I don't upcharge). Since many of my buyers purchase multiple items, imagine the increased shipping charge if I had "built in" shipping on, for instance, 4 items. They are much better off paying the $3.25 (assuming it doesn't meet the free ship threshold of $50) than they would be paying $13 in built-in shipping charges on the 4 items. I thought this through carefully years ago and I give my customers the best break with flat rate. Setting the free ship threshold so low ($35) means I would have to aborb almost 10% on shipping of a $35 sale. Should have been $50 and up at least. Building in shipping is unfair to my customers and would make my prices far less competitive. I don't mind absorbing on a 50$ plus sale but this change doesn't work for me. Only my more expensive items that already have free shipping will be up in the search but many people like to spend in the $12-$30 range. I don't like being dinged in the search results for setting up shipping discounts that work for me and are fair to my buyers. And I don't like that my increased fees are being used to do R&D that leads to changes that don't benefit me or are just silly wasteful streamlining instead of marketing our shops in an equal/random way. Every shop should set their own shipping based on their individual product needs and not have ETSY deciding for us/punishing us for not being in conformity. Its almost worse in terms of controls than eBay now and with less traffic - unique sellers have unique shipping issues. You should remember who built this site but I suppose now that ETSY is public only the bottom line and shareholders matter. Same old story...corporate greed. This is almost as bad as taking away freestanding paypal and holding our money for days (to earn more interest on it) and taking away free google search for our products. Sad for sellers who make and/or really care about the quality products they sell. Still loving the wonderful buyers here, but am not enjoying the selling experience anymore when it comes to these endless changes that work against my best interest and benefit only the ETSY corporation.

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EpicStitching
Community Member

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

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How does Etsy expect to handle instances in countries where it is ILLEGAL (according to federal law) to inflate the cost of one product in order to offer something with it for free?!?

In Canada is it illegal to do the following (quoted from Competition Guide, Canada) 

Other price-related representations — Subsection 52(1) or paragraph 74.01(1) (a) 

Price-related representations, other than those relating to false or misleading ordinary selling price representations [74.01(2) and 74.01(3)], bait and switch selling [74.04], sale above advertised price [74.05] and double ticketing [54] fall within the scope of subsection 52(1) or paragraph 74.01(1)(a).”

From section 3.6 regarding “free” 

Nor is it "free" in a "two-for-one" situation where the price of the first article is inflated to cover the cost of the second.”

Competiton Act falls under Canadian jurisdiction definition of “The Competition Act provides criminal and civil regimes to address false or misleading representations.”

HOW DOES ETSY BELIEVE THEY ARE COMPLYING WITH CANADIAN LAW BY  TELLING SELLERS TO INFLATE SHIPPING PRICES IN ORDER TO ADVERTISE “FREE” SHIPPING? 

The law is essentially that you can’t offer anything for free if you inflated the cost of something else (ie: buy 2 get one 1 free) in order to make the offer. 

If I inflate item sold prices to give free shipping then I am misrepresenting the true cost and hiding the real pricing structure? For example someone could ask for pick-up with no shipping; they would need to know how much shipping is. It’s illegal to hide costs that are not inherent to the product itself (ie: materials, cost to produce, cost to advertise, etc). Shipping is not mandatory in all instances so I cannot roll that cost up in my item cost and be compliant with Canadian law. 

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collectingfeathers
Community Member

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

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I would be interested to know if other countries have a similar law.

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NocturneStreet
Community Member

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

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I saw a lady who said it was illegal in France too.

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CuddlesGalore
Community Member

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

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As far as I can tell, Etsy don't actually care about following the law. They've recommended "just charge restocking fees" as a solution to sellers being out the cost of shipping when they have to do a refund on an item sold with "free" shipping... and restocking fees are illegal in the UK.

So, yeah, they probably don't care that inflating item prices to cover "free" shipping is illegal in Canada. (And I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if such practices were illegal in the UK too. We're big on consumer rights here.)

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asfaltsflickandesign
Community Member

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

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I believe France has a similar law as well. I could be mistaken but I seem to recall that Amazon tried to offer "free shipping" but couldn't.

Etsy has obviously not even considered the fact that they market to other countries than the US as there are very real legal issues that need to be taken into account. This is very concerning. If we were to implement Etsy mandated policies that turn out to be illegal in our own countries, who is legally responsible?

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DecoDazeFineVintage
Community Member

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

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@EpicStitching  I said the same thing earlier an there are many countries where this lying is illegal, and if not, its dishonest.  Not just that but it totally inflates the cost of an antique or vintage item that is not the true value.  That's misrepresenation and false advertising, and will only harm the antique / vintage industry.  

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Etsy Staff
Etsy Staff

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

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@EpicStitching wrote:

How does Etsy expect to handle instances in countries where it is ILLEGAL (according to federal law) to inflate the cost of one product in order to offer something with it for free?!?

In Canada is it illegal to do the following (quoted from Competition Guide, Canada) 

Other price-related representations — Subsection 52(1) or paragraph 74.01(1) (a) 

Price-related representations, other than those relating to false or misleading ordinary selling price representations [74.01(2) and 74.01(3)], bait and switch selling [74.04], sale above advertised price [74.05] and double ticketing [54] fall within the scope of subsection 52(1) or paragraph 74.01(1)(a).”

From section 3.6 regarding “free” 

Nor is it "free" in a "two-for-one" situation where the price of the first article is inflated to cover the cost of the second.”

Competiton Act falls under Canadian jurisdiction definition of “The Competition Act provides criminal and civil regimes to address false or misleading representations.”

HOW DOES ETSY BELIEVE THEY ARE COMPLYING WITH CANADIAN LAW BY  TELLING SELLERS TO INFLATE SHIPPING PRICES IN ORDER TO ADVERTISE “FREE” SHIPPING? 

The law is essentially that you can’t offer anything for free if you inflated the cost of something else (ie: buy 2 get one 1 free) in order to make the offer. 

If I inflate item sold prices to give free shipping then I am misrepresenting the true cost and hiding the real pricing structure? For example someone could ask for pick-up with no shipping; they would need to know how much shipping is. It’s illegal to hide costs that are not inherent to the product itself (ie: materials, cost to produce, cost to advertise, etc). Shipping is not mandatory in all instances so I cannot roll that cost up in my item cost and be compliant with Canadian law. 


Hi there @EpicStitching

Our goal with this initiative is to empower sellers to offer free shipping to meet buyer expectations if they choose to do so. As always, you need to make decisions for your business that make sense for you.

Just like the cost of your materials and other business expenses, shipping is a cost you need to consider when setting the price of your item. Our data shows that Etsy buyers will buy and spend more to have their order shipped free. So, offering a free shipping guarantee could mean you’ll make more per sale, helping to offset your shipping costs without making any adjustments to your item prices.

Ultimately, deciding if offering free shipping is right for your shop is your decision. And of course, if you do decide to offer free shipping, it doesn’t mean you have to recover your shipping costs within your item price. For example, you could see if offering free shipping with a $35 spend minimum increases your average order value from US customers and whether free shipping impacts your conversion rate from buyers in your local market and outside of the US. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results, or you may determine that it just isn’t the right option for your shop.

We’ve put together some education to help you come to a decision and some tools that may be useful to you, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide what is feasible for your shop.

As a business selling online, you’re responsible for complying with laws that apply to you. We can’t provide you with legal advice, but if recovering shipping costs within your item price when you offer free shipping is not compliant with local laws in your market, you should consider other ways to make free shipping work for your shop, if it’s something you want to offer.

Thanks for sharing your questions.

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craftschmooze
Community Member

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

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@MadeByMadsNY This reply would totally work IF Etsy hadn't blatantly said they would give priority to Etsy shops that offer free shipping to the USA. You are giving prefence to those those that are able to comply by not breaking the law. Making this an unfair system considering we pay the same fees for supposedly the same service.

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asfaltsflickandesign
Community Member

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

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@MadeByMadsNY What an impressive non-answer. As @craftschmooze says, we are being punished for not being ABLE to comply with this gimmick. We pay the same fees yet we get pushed to the bottom of the search results because you decided to implement something that is illegal in many countries you market to. 

Do you not have a single lawyer on staff? Did no one think to check this before rolling out?

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MemoryLnAntiques
Community Member

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

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It was said that everyone gives free shipping so Etsy has to compete. Your joking right. I'm a mom & pop store , yet you expect me to give free shipping, like Amazone, Walmart and many other big retailers? How out of touch can you be to penalize the vintage seller so much, we will go out of business? Are you aware the Post Office just raised rates again???

If one of my competitors on Etsy lists an item for 45.00 plus shipping and I list me item for 60.00 (or more depending) including shipping who do you think is going to catch the shoppers eye first? Not me showing 60.00 most customers comparison shop, and if the seller at 45.00 offers 1.00 less in shipping than I do they will get the sale.

Doesn't even seem legal to be able to punish an entire sector of Etsy when we pay the EXACT same as everyone else. Even Ebay doesn't FORCE their sellers into offering free shipping or we'll put you out of business, which is really what your saying.

I wish Kramer could see you from the eyes of a seller that actually has to deal with the rediculous, non conducive to business ideas you come up with, while the true money you make is in all the add ons, NOT the sales.

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