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!

wemcgee
Community Member

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

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putting in my two-cents that I think this move goes against what Etsy stands for. A marketplace that claims to support small sellers should be supporting small sellers!  Which means helping our customers understand why charging separate calculated (or item-specific) shipping fees for what we sell is best for our business models AND for our customers, who ultimately, I believe, want transparency and want to support small makers/sellers, and want to be charged fairly for shipping.  We shouldn't be trying to compete with Amazon, we should be continuing to try and distrupt that model of consumerism.

As a vintage seller, every one of my items weighs a different amount, and as others have pointed out shipping to NY costs a lot less than shipping to LA for me.  If I bake in shipping fees, I may come out even at the end of the year, but some of my customers will have paid more than they needed to.  this isn't the kind of business I want to run, but I also don't want to lose visibility. 

I know a number of sellers like me have moved or started to move to other platforms due to some Etsy's recent choices. I'm not sure Etsy cares about losing those loyal sellers, but I think it should. 

 

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PotahtoHome
Community Member

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

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I have 2 questions and a suggestion.

- If I turn on the free shipping guarantee, would that give ALL my listings in the shop priority in search even if certain individual listings have pricing charges on them? Is that assumption correct? I currently have some listings with free shipping set up and some listings that I would prefer that they pay a shipping charge for. I don't mind setting up the unconditional $35 free shipping guarantee. I want to know if listings with no free shipping will also get priority in search in this case. Please confirm.

- If I have a sale going on, is the $35 before the discount or after the discounted amount?

- Lastly, would Etsy consider flexible item pricing in the future for different countries? I find that a much better solution than tinkering with the shipping charge in the back. I am US-based. After upping my item prices to include my shipping cost for my US customers, I'd rather have the option to keep the price the same as before for my overseas customers. That would be a truer reflection. 

TIA.

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MinxouriVintage
Community Member

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

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If you do the guarantee,  you cannot have exclusions.  

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Etsy Staff
Etsy Staff

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

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@PotahtoHome wrote:

I have 2 questions and a suggestion.

- If I turn on the free shipping guarantee, would that give ALL my listings in the shop priority in search even if certain individual listings have pricing charges on them? Is that assumption correct? I currently have some listings with free shipping set up and some listings that I would prefer that they pay a shipping charge for. I don't mind setting up the unconditional $35 free shipping guarantee. I want to know if listings with no free shipping will also get priority in search in this case. Please confirm.

- If I have a sale going on, is the $35 before the discount or after the discounted amount?

- Lastly, would Etsy consider flexible item pricing in the future for different countries? I find that a much better solution than tinkering with the shipping charge in the back. I am US-based. After upping my item prices to include my shipping cost for my US customers, I'd rather have the option to keep the price the same as before for my overseas customers. That would be a truer reflection. 

TIA.


Hi there, thanks for your questions. 

Regarding your first question, that’s correct, all of your listings will have priority placement in US search if you set up a free shipping guarantee (even if they’re under $35). 

For your second question (great question, by the way), regarding sales and coupons, the $35 spend threshold is calculated pre-tax and post-discount. 

Finally, regarding flexible item pricing per location, we’ve heard from other sellers that this would be helpful and we’re working on creating a long term solution. 

I hope this helps. Thanks!

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StoneHaloTileWorx
Community Member

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

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What do I tell my returning/repeat customers who would suddenly see a price increase but “Free Shipping?”

I have clients going back 20 years.
I didn’t just appear from "vendor heaven."
I have a history and a reputation to uphold.
I feel this is unethical and make me look unethical.
 
If etsy shoppers want “no surprises” and the “whole picture” upfront—which I thought was nicely solved with the cost of shipping shown under each listing’s price—It should read “Shipping INCLUDED” not “Free Shipping.”
 
If that is what this is really all about, why wouldn’t it just say “included” instead?
 
I find this deeply disturbing and very embarrassing to be forced to lie in order to be found in search.
 
I just had my 2 year anniversary here on Etsy and have worked very hard to bring
my shop to this point.
It has taken me years to figure out my pricing and shipping costs.
 
Very, very discouraged.
My work is heavy.
I love etsy but I will be forced to close my shop.
 
Any advise on how to make this situation work for
heavy work would be appreciated.
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EpicStitching
Community Member

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

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For those of us that live in Canada or the EU it's actually ILLEGAL for us to roll-up or "include the cost of shiping" in the cost of the item. Many of us cannot be a part of this new 'plan' without breaking the laws of our own countries. 

Could someone from Etsy please, please respond to the question of the ethics and legalities behind skewing pricing!? 

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FunkyJunkyVintage
Community Member

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

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@StoneHaloTileWorx 

Personally I'm going to bank on my items standing on their own merit and continue business, as etsy says, in a manner that I feel is best. Your product seems somewhat unique and I would advise you to do the same. This fear mongering that etsy's pushing on us of late is all smoke and mirrors to squeeze more money into their coffers while impressing the stockholders with their increase in sales volume, which is a lie if it's simply shipping rolled into the selling price. 

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craftschmooze
Community Member

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

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You only have to search twitter for #etsyshipping and lots of disgruntled sellers are spreading the news about this. What happens now? Customers think "If the seller don't trust Etsy, why should we?"

I'll say it loudly for those that can't hear at the back

LOOK AFTER YOUR SELLERS AND THEY WILL BRING YOU THE MONEY!

GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO SUCCEED 

STOP PUTTING OBSTACLES IN THE WAY

You may say any publicity is good publicity. But after the payments scandal, the payment/paypal merger, Free uk shipping, SEO "tweaks", now this. How many more incidents like this are going to damage the reputation that we as sellers have built for you?

Your canned responses are not washing with most of us. 

You keep changing the goal posts and its not fair.

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AratiDevasher
Community Member

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

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Free shipping does not guarantee a sale. I frequently have people pay shipping costs that are more than the cost of the item they purchased without any comments.

The whole point of Etsy was that we make unique items and people worldwide are able to purchase these from us no matter where they live, particularly since they are able to say 'it was made by X in Y country'. 

Local search being prioritised dropped my views and sales to almost nothing and now this change is the death knell for my Etsy shop. The bulk of my customers were in the US. I am based in the UK. 

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charmsgalore
Community Member

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

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Free shipping is a gimmick. Buyers know when shipping has been added to the item price.

 

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abokathy
Community Member

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

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  There are not enough words to tell you how disgusted I am with this "free shipping" policy change. While Josh Silverman sits in his wealthy CEOs chair, it is quite apparent he knows nothing about the small and cottage business industries. Making corporations FAT and creating an Amazon atmosphere is his obvious goal.

I would NEVER expect my seller to ship for free!!!!

I'm not purchasing from Jeff Bezos or Amazon, where things are mass produced. These shop owners pay top dollar for all of their materials and shipping supplies,  and Josh Silverman and Etsy think it should be given away??? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

As a small business owner (artist), I know first hand the burdens that small businesses deal with. When big business tries to strong arm small businesses a rebellion will ensue. 

We work harder... pay higher prices for our supplies, due to the inability  to purchase in massive quantities....and get taxed to death on our sales, further reducing our profit margins. We are not wealthy like Mr. Silverman.

We are average people, trying to make a comfortable living, doing something we love.  Now Etsy is  killing it for us!

If I go to find a seller who no longer appears in the rankings,  or ranks so low that I have to waste my time to find them...they loose, I loose and Etsy looses!! Think about it.

Amazon has lost my business due to their bullying tactics, and Etsy is soon to be next!

I no longer have the desire to own stock in Etsy, due to this policy change. I will be looking into selling prior to July 30, when I believe Etsy stocks will tank.

Shame on Etsy and Double Shame on Josh Silverman for your blatant greed and Poor business decisions. 

So long Etsy!!😠

 

 

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WireExpressions
Community Member

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

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Etsy Staff
@EarthEgress wrote:

Unfortunately for most lower volume Canadian sellers who do not live near a shipping alternative (i.e. Chit Chats) this is detremental to our sales.  I have read and re-read guides, crunched numbers, extensively researched sellers from the US who offer similar items and based on this there is NO way I could participate in this without literally giving my products away.

The solution I am being offered is to up the price of my items from $28 Canadian to almost $50 to recoop any shipping fees.  However ALL of the similar sellers in the USA are selling (and quite well) at the $25 US price point.  How is this a solution?

I hate to be negative but for many sellers this $35 price point just is not feasible.  Especially when it is so darn expensive to ship anythign from Canada to anywhere :/


Hi @EarthEgress!

Thanks for your question. In this case, you may want to consider where the majority of your Etsy business is coming from in order to help you understand whether offering a US free shipping guarantee is right for your shop (you can learn more about how to calculate the percentage of your business going to the US in this article). While it’s up to each seller to decide what’s best for their business, here are some help articles catered for sellers outside of the US that you may find helpful:

I hope this helps!

Thanks again,

Nathan

____________________________________________________________________________________

@nwcooper  Dear Nathan, 

I don't think you really READ the question that @EarthEgress posed. And I'm really curious to get an honest straighforward answer about this one, because this is the biggest concern for Canadian / Non-US sellers. THE COST OF OUR SHIPPING COMPARED TO THE COST OF US SHIPPING!

She specifally stated that at her current price point is competiviely priced with US Sellers who are selling similar items. After she rolls the cost of shipping from Canada to the USA into her item price, she is no longer priced in a competively priced margin with her US counterparts who can ship for much cheaper. Where most of her business comes from is a moot point after that. 

Etsy continues to state "While it’s up to each seller to decide what’s best for their business" yet you are tying our hands behind your back while you are speaking all of this. Your tools and your help articles do not truly address the very nature of the COST OF INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING OUTSIDE OF THE USA! The sheer cost of international shipping also means we alienate our own local customers. Which leaves Canadian / International sellers with three options that I can see:

1. Offer free shipping with competetive item prices - which means paying for some of the shipping costs out of our own pocket. 

2. Offer free shipping while rolling in the full US Shipping price - which means a) Other US based sellers out price us and b) our higher prices due to the higher US shipping costs alienates Canadian buyers (which in my case 36% of my Etsy Sales) 

3. Do not offer free shipping - get penalized as a result in searches. (or as you like to put it do not get 'priority' - which = penalized to us)

None of these options are a win for us international sellers! Etsy does not seem to get that, or answer to that, hear us on that point which seems uncaring, unthoughtful, alienating - I could go on. 

 

I think many of us sellers get the premise behind free shipping. I myself am not opposed to it entirely,  But I will continue to echo many other sellers here - WE ARE NOT AMAZON! we do not sell items out of mutliple HUGE warehouses selling volumes of stuff with the lowest negotiated shipping rates possible. The $35 threshold you have set is prohibitive for many of us. Companies that offer Free Shipping on purchases of $35+ are the BIG HUGE companies (ie: amazon, Walmart.com), the other larger ones are at $50 (ie: Walmart.ca, Gap.com, Macy's). It would be awesome to sell the volume that these bigger box stores sell at, but my hands can't possibly make things that fast. And because we can't sell that kind of volume, we can't utilize the same ultra low shipping rates, and because we can't utilize the same ultra low shipping rates, we find it VERY VERY DIFFICULT to competetively price our products at a $35 free shipping threshold. It's TOO LOW for most of us! 

Not a single one of these US based companies offer free shipping from US to Canada (unless they are also based in Canada). Know why? because they'd have to work the higher shipping cost into their prices. US buyers wont pay for Canadian shipping. So why is Etsy tying our hands behind our back, telling us it's our business choice, but leaving us with very little other options?

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charmsgalore
Community Member

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

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 Shoppers don't "expect" free shipping. That's a lie. 

This is a ploy to push merchandise sales from the country that receives subsidized shipping rates.

We can't compete with mass produced factory merchandise with subsidized shipping and Etsy knows it.

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ArtInfinityStudios
Community Member

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

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I love this MadebyMads states: "There are no search penalties for not offering free shipping. However, Etsy will reserve the top, most visible search spots on the US search page for 1) items (regardless of price) that ship free and 2) and shops that offer free shipping on orders of $35 and above to US buyers..."

 

There are no search penalties? Except if you don't offer free shipping on orders over $35.00 you will not be seen in "Top" positions.  If that isn't a penalty what is...oh I know it's like handmade can be made by machinery. Right? An expanded definition of penalty?

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JeniSandbergVintage
Community Member

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

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As Etsy said when they refined handmade, it's not the 'dictionary definition'!  

 

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KeepsakesbySherie
Community Member

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

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A question best shown as an example:

If my item is $18 and free shipping but then I need to pay for shipping, I assume that I would go to the same shpping process to purchase the postage and label. Will there be Etsy fees on the $18. and also on the additional postage I have to purchase for $6.00? I will pay fees on the $24.00? so on an item I sold before for $12.00 and had shipping of $6.00 now the total will be $24.00 subject to etsy fees? Or since I have adjusted my price will Etsy not take fees from my actual postage purchase? 

I just want to make sure I under stand this whole process correctly before I reprice everything. 

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PillowDetails
Community Member

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

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@KeepsakesbySherie   Your $18 item will have fees on the $18 only.  When you buy a shipping label on Etsy, it will go on your bill, sames as always.  We get a discount on Etsy labels, but you could use Pirateship, Shipstation, or Paypal.com/shipnow (doesn't have to be a PP transaction)  Etsy does not charge a fee to use labels - just the actual cost of the label we purchase.

If you sold the item for $12 with $6 shipping, you would pay fees on the combined $18.  It's the same thing.

The difference is if you use calculated shipping, or flat-rate and "with another item" that is less to add, if your Buyer purchases two of your items, they pay $36 - and you get charged the fees on $36 - but the shipping of the two items may not cost $12.  So the Buyer pays more, and you either keep the difference, or refund the excess - which would be kind of embarassing for a Seller to refund part of what is supposed to be "free" shipping!

*Hope I didn't make that more complicated!!

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BGHQ
Community Member

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

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How do I rollback the bulk edit for the free shipping updates?

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MamaLoveOrganics
Community Member

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I compete with people off Etsy as well as people on Etsy who do not currently offer free shipping. All of my prices are below $35 except for packages where I offer deep discounts for people who buy 4 or 5 items at a time. With shipping added in those items won't appear to be a bargain anymore (worse, they might be more expensive than buying 4-5 of my single products). I am seriously considering possibilites--not rejecting this out of hand. And I know it is "my decision" as you are telling everybody. But what exactly would you recommend for people in my position? Certainly, I'm not going to be the only one trying to compete with people who do not already offer free shipping!

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CreativeFodder
Registered Member

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

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113 pages of concerns, questions and some truly unhappy sellers. Whatcha going to do Etsy? Are you listening to the people upon whose backs you make all that money?  Sell an item, portray it in an honest and clear fashion. Ship it for what it actually costs to the buyer's location. YOUR job is just to manage the search so we all get seen. Simple. Stop muddying the waters or there will be no Etsy anymore.  Our buyers are not statistics. They are people and they know how to read, and know what they want. Game-playing is not what they want. There is no such thing as free shipping. That alone is not going to make a huge difference in sales. You quote 20%. Iw ould want to see a whole lot better number than that. 75-80%. Then that is something to think about. Honesty, transparency is the way to go. Keep it simple Guys.

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charmsgalore
Community Member

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

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What are they going to do? Absolutley nothing.

They quit listening to sellers 10 years ago. 

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focusoninteriors123
Community Member

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

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amen!

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SimplyCharmed21
Community Member

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

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Etsy, please answer this!!!!

My shop sells items that are priced$10-$30.  I have had (for a really long time now) the option of free shipping year round if a person purchases two or more items at a time.  The problem is that my average sale for two or more items is usually less than $35. 

I have 55 open orders right now.  Of those 55, 12 of them have an order of more than one item ordered so they can qualify for the free shipping sale in my shop.  Of those 12 orders, only 6 of those order would have qualified to get the free shipping by reaching over $35 for the sale.   The other 6 sales represent those that bought two of my lowest priced items to get the free shipping!

So assuming that those other 6 orders were customers who were encouraged to buy the second item to get the free shipping without a price amount they had to reach to qualify, I could pretty much expect that with this new $35 amount they must reach to get the sale, they probably would have just ordered one item instead. 

The way I have my free shipping offer currently is quite a good deal for them the way I have it set up and it has worked well for my shop.  They get a second item (usually worth $10 for the equivalent of $7.50.)   If I lose that second item in the sale, that is at minimum, the loss of $45 for those 6 sales that didn't qualify to your new price point of $35 for free shipping.

That may not seem like a lot to you, but add it up over time, and it is!  I have been offering a better deal and I may lose second item orders due to this change.  Why can't you set it up that this "priority" search incentive to us can be $35 OR LESS to qualify?  I see that this incentive is going to be initiated no matter what, so I will set my shop to this shipping price quota for free shipping and turn off my usual offer, but I am not sure that my "potential" increased visibility is going to make up for my potential loss in sales from not having my current year-round promotion for free shipping for two or more items.  People may have to buy four items from my shop to qualify now and this isn't going to happen.  I rarely sell more than 3 at a time!

I DO NOT want to increase my prices so that I can have every item ship free.  People always comment on my great price point and the ability to get free shipping when they purchase more than one item at a time.  They come back to my shop because they LOVE that it is year round that they can get free shipping if they buy two or more items and the prices are low.   You are basically destroying my branding with this purchase amount to qualify for free shipping that is too high for my shop.

Can you please adjust your system so that this " free ship guarantee" includes the options of FREE SHIPPING FOR TWO OR MORE ITEMS so that lower priced sales can be included?  I should not be punished for offering a better deal than what you want us to do.  I get it that your programmers have already set it at $35 and you aren't going to change that over night...but can you at least consider it for your next upgrade?  

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ItsaGemBoutique
Community Member

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

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I am a Canadian Seller.  One of my shops is for supplies and includes almost exclusively items under $35, sometimes significantly below that amount.  I am happy to allow the combining of multiple items in an order and to offer pricing with free delivery to both Canadian and US buyers on items over the USD $35 threshold.  The problem is that I can only run a free shipping sale to limited destinations if they are "domestic only", which as far as I can tell is the only way to give free shipping over a set amount when combining multiple items.  The majority of my customers are in the USA.  If I do free shipping over a certain price for everything, I either have to stop selling to countries beyond Canada and the US to avoid losing money since I cannot specify two countries, or create two listings of every item and offer it at different prices in different locations, which seems absurd.  And I would have to re-set my sale for free shipping every month.  What if any way is there around this?

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EpicStitching
Community Member

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

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It's also worth noting that it's an illegal practice (Competition Bureau) to increase the cost of one item in order to advertise that something 'with it' is free. As well as it's illegal to hide costs in product cost that were not directly related to the cost of that product. 

Ticketmaster was forced two years ago to display their hidden fees and shipping costs in Canada because of this very law. 

What Etsy is asking Canadians (and I'm told EU folks have same law) is ILLEGAL! So now what? 

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