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!
Hi! I'm Michele and I'm based in our London office where I work as part of Etsy's International team. Our team focuses on sellers based outside the US, including attracting new sellers to the marketplace and helping those already on Etsy thrive. I'm always thinking about and advocating for the unique needs of our amazing sellers in all corners of the world, with a special focus on sellers in the UK. When I'm not dreaming up seller growth projects, you can find me curled up with a cosy knitting project, out for a run in the park or on the tube with my nose stuck in a book.
My name is Perry and I’ve been a Data Scientist at Etsy for the past 2.5 years. I work on analyzing user behavior across the site in order to help our teams optimize the product experience for our buyers and sellers. When I’m not running numbers, I’m running the basketball court with friends, reading a book at the beach, and buying wall prints off Etsy. Looking forward to answering your questions!
Hello! I'm Nathan. I'm on the research team here at Etsy. I help create understanding of what our Sellers both want and need as part of their experience on Etsy, and help get those wants and needs into action! For the free shipping guarentee, we spoke with over 19,000 sellers using a variety of research methods to understand how we could optimize the experience and product for them. What am I doing while I'm not researching the world of Etsy? You can find me cruising around New York City on my bike, experimenting in the kitchen, noodling on the guitar, and chasing powder days world wide! Looking forward to answering some of your questions this week!
Hi everyone! My name is Madison and I work on Etsy's Marketing team. I work to educate Etsy sellers on the tools and resources they need to help grow their creative businesses, specifically when it comes to shipping best practices. In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, cooking (my favorite food to make is pizza!), and my favorite items on Etsy to shop for these days are handmade ceramics :) I'm excited to be here today answering your questions!
Greetings! My name is Bryan and I've worked at Etsy for 3 years. I'm currently a product manager on the team that makes tools to help sellers offer a US free shipping guarantee. In my spare time I like to build guitars out of discarded cigar boxes with my dad.
Hi Etsy Admin,
I am already offering free worlwide shipping on all items in my shop, so will I need to do anything different to qualify for priority placement in US search?
Hi there! Thanks for your question. Great work offering free shipping on your items! You will get all the benefits of priority placement in search if you offer unconditional free shipping on your listings to US buyers. If you already offer free US shipping for your items, you may want to consider setting up a free shipping guarantee with our new tool so any new listings you create automatically offer free shipping to US buyers when they spend $35 USD or more on their order from your shop.
I do apologize if this has been asked but I'm on my phone and this platform is not that friendly to mobile.
How does free shipping affect refunds? It doesn't happen often, but if a buyer returns an item, the seller would have to refund the postage too? If a customer made an error, I've had to refund either the item cost or the shipping cost, as appropriate and most fair to the buyer. Would there be a way to do this now?
I'm not opposed to building in my shipping (I do on ebay already), but do worry about refunds. On ebay, I do not accept returns.
Hi @clevebeat! Thanks for your question. Not paying for shipping on an item doesn’t necessarily mean that buyers get free returns. If you do offer returns to buyers, consider making sure your shop policies reflect your most up to date stance, so a buyer knows exactly what happens if they’re not 100% satisfied with their order.
It is all well and good to ask me to consider how much of my business goes to the US when making the free shipping decison for my business, however Etsy removed the Customer data from Stats some time ago. Would Etsy consider reinstating that info on our stats so we can make a more informed choice?
Hi @TheOldBarnDoor, many thanks for the question. We're working on ways to make this data more readily available to sellers, so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, the best way to obtain this data is by downloading your transaction history. Go to Shop Manager > Settings > Options > Download data > Download your orders (Pick time frame, i.e. 2019) Then, with the CSV, look for the column labeled “Ship Country” and then calculate which % of total order is to the US.
I hope this helps!
I have been in the process of changing my listings over to free shipping, with about 430 done and 80 left to change. Currently I have the free shipping set up under the Sales and Coupon section. Does it matter for placement sakes whethter the free shiping is set up in the Sales and Coupon section or the Delivery Settings?
Hi there Linda (and Joe and Bill),
Many thanks for the question! As long as your listings ship free to the US, they'll be eligible for prioritization in US search. So if a listing is a part of an unconditional free shipping sale OR has shipping price set to free in a shipping profile, you're all set.
One exception is "conditional" free shipping sales - i.e. sales that offer free shipping if a buyer purchases a minimum number of items or minimum order value. Listings that are covered ONLY by this sort of sale will not be eligible to receive the prioritization.
If you want to offer free shipping on US orders over $35 USD, keep a close eye on your shop manager. Over the next week, we'll be gradually rolling out a new page under the "Settings" section of the Shop Manager where you can easily turn on a "free shipping guarantee." When you turn this on, your shop will offer free shipping on all US orders $35 and up, and your listings will all be eligible to be prioritized in US search.
Hope this helps!
Can we get just a bit of information of how this will help shops who already do free shipping and the items are under $35,
Hi there @TheOrangeCove - if you're already offering free shipping, keep on doing what you're doing! Items that ship free unconditionally to the US (regardless of the price of the item) will be prioritized in US search the same way as shops that offer free shipping on US orders over $35.
Thanks for the update! I currently offer Free Shipping to all US buyers for items below $35 as well as above. Will this hurt the items $35 or under being found in search if I offer free shipping for those items? If I am still using the "free ship holiday" coupon code, is my shop set up correctly (I use the free shipping option in my calculated shipping profiles). Thanks!
Hi there! Thanks for your question, and that’s great to hear you’re already offering free shipping for your buyers. Items that already offer free US shipping will get priority placement in US search results as well. One thing to keep in mind: if you set up a conditional free shipping sale (meaning, you offer free shipping with a $X purchase or minimum number of items through our Sales and Coupons tool), those items won’t have priority placement in search.
If you already offer free US shipping for your items, you may want to consider setting up a free shipping guarantee with our new tool so any new listings you create automatically offer free shipping to US buyers when they spend $35 USD or more on their order from your shop.
Can Etsy please make it possible for non-US sellers to vary price based on customer location?
I sell worldwide and while I don't mind offering free shipping and compensating in the price of an item, if I do this for the US now, my items are far too overpriced for the European and my domestic (Belgian) market. Variations in price are the way to go for us non-US sellers.
Thanks for the question, @aWitchesDen! Sellers like yourself, who are based outside of the US, 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 shops. (You can learn more about how to calculate the percentage of your business going to the US in this article.) We realise that for many of our sellers, as part of your pricing strategy you may need additional tools to offer different prices to customers in different countries. We’re working on creating long-term solutions and will keep you updated as they become available.
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.
Many of my shipable items are $8, and most people buy 1 or 2 at a time. If I do not offer free shipping on them, will they be penalized in search placement? Or are the search placement penalties only placed on single items costing $35 or more?
Thanks for your question @AuntSusansCloset! 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. That means, if you set up a free shipping guarantee for your shop and you have items under $35 USD, those items will still get priority placement in US search results because they are eligible to ship free if bundled in a $35+ USD order from a buyer in the United States.
Is calculated shipping going away? 98% of my items are over the weight limit for USPS first class mail, that means shipping prices of $9 to $25 on EVERY ITEM THAT I SELL. 95% of my items are also $65 and above. So this means that I will be forced to offer free shipping on ONE item and The vast majority of my boxes are $12 to $15 to ship across the US. How am I supposed to add $15 to every item that I have in my shop when customers often buy local (only costs $9 to ship) and they already buy multiples. So if I am offering "free" shipping and I am adding $15 to cover the cost of shipping (for when customers on either coast purchase), my customers are paying MORE to ship than they were before. I do not have the time or the energy to refund "shipping" overages that my customers supposedly are getting for "free" for every item that ships for under the arbitrary number I added in for shipping. My shop does quite well (thank GOD and the universe) but this will kill it dead in the Etsy water.
Hi! We don’t have any plans at this time to remove Calculated Shipping. If you have items under $35 USD, you can still use the feature to set shipping prices for your buyers based on their ship-to location. But if you use Calculated Shipping for items under $35 USD and you also set up a free shipping guarantee, your buyer will automatically get free shipping if they meet the $35 USD order minimum.
I had every expectation that this policy change was going to be made. Like many Etsy Sellers, I am not happy about it, and not certain how this change will affect my particular business.
That said, I would appreciate any guidance Etsy can provide regarding “building in shipping costs” for heavy and/or bulky items. Depending on the shipping distance of the buyer, shipping costs can vary greatly. Also of concern, is the issue as to how Sellers of small, supply type items might effectively compete in this “Free Shipping” environment.
Hi there @NoHoJO, thanks for these questions. It’s ultimately up to you to decide how to price items in your shop, but we cover different strategies you can consider for pricing items like craft supplies and heavy items in this article.
I hope this helps!
How do you suggest offering free shipping on heavier items or items that require large boxes where shipping is based on dimensional weight? For example: an item that is listed for $100, weighs 6 pounds and requires a 14" x 14" x 14" box:
Cost to ship to Florida: $19.15 + $3-5 for packing materials and supplies. ($21.15 - $24.15 TOTAL)
Cost to ship to California: $62.10 + $3-5 for packing materials and supplies. (63.10 - $67.10 TOTAL)
Cost to ship to Chicago : $41.00 + $3-5 for packing materials and supplies. ($44.00 - $46 TOTAL)
Should I price my $100 item at $167.10 to recoup shipping fees "just in case" someone from California purchases my item?
Hi Pete - Thank you for sharing this example. I know there are other sellers out there thinking through similar questions!
Some of the options you laid out are considered in detail in this article.
Ultimately it's up to you to determine the way to price your items - it's a personal choice for each seller that will depend on their individual business goals, margins, and customer base, among other things.
One thing to note - the task of making any pricing adjustments to recover shipping costs is about to get easier. Over the next few days, we'll be gradually rolling out a tool that will help sellers fold the price of shipping into the price of their calculated shipping listings $35 and up to recover shipping costs.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that we've heard loud and clear that Etsy buyers expect free shipping. Through our research and through observing shopping behavior on Etsy, we know that buyers are more likely to purchase items that offer free shipping, even when accounting for the total price of an item.
I hope this helps!
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!
I wonder if minimum order 35 usd or more including shop who using sales tool?, Example i using sales tool offer freestandard shipping for order 150usd or more. Is this included too?
Hello @KEERATIKA! Thanks for your question. Using our existing sales tool to offer free shipping with a minimum order will not make listings eligible for prioritization in search. Sit tight - over the next few days, we'll be gradually rolling out a new tool under "Settings" in your Shop Manager where you can easily turn on a free shipping guarantee (i.e. free shipping on orders to the US $35 and up).
We currently offer free US shipping if a customer orders at least 2 items, regardless of total order price. Will this structure fit the priority placement criteria?
Great question - offering a conditional free shipping sale with an order of 2 items will not fit the criteria for prioritization in search. Sit tight - over the next few days, we'll be gradually rolling out a new tool under "Settings" in your Shop Manager where you can easily turn on a free shipping guarantee on orders $35 and up to US buyers. Any items in your shop that ship for free unconditionally to US buyers will also get priority placement in US search.
Is there a tool to raise prices easily. If I gave a section that is all the same price and I need to up the price $5, I have to do it manually?
Hi @OriginalsbyLaurenToo, over the next week, we'll be gradually rolling out an optional tool that will let sellers adjust their item prices for listings $35 USD and up to recover shipping costs when they turn on the guarantee. Stay tuned!
So Tags, Title and SEO will no longer be as important within etsy search? FREE shipping on orders over $35.00 will be.
How will paying for Promoted listing ads work anymore if our item doesn't have free shipping? Will we be pushed to the back as well even though we pay to show up ahead of others who do not pay?
I'm still just shaking my head here!
Hi! Thanks for your question. Etsy considers a lot of factors when ranking items in search. Plus, different buyers will see different sets of search results based on their search history. The best ways to optimize your listings for Etsy search will still be the core principles from our Ultimate Guide to Search, but now with a new priority for items that meet buyer expectations when it comes to shipping price.
Hi! I offer free shipping on orders over $20. Will this be good? Or do I have to have it set to $35 for free shipping to beneift?
Thanks for your question. If you want to get priority placement in US search, you’ll need to either offer unconditional free shipping on your items or offer a free shipping guarantee to US buyers on orders $35 or more from your shop. You can continue to offer free shipping through a conditional sale, but your shop will not get priority placement in US search. There will be a tool available over the next few days that will enable you to turn on free shipping on all orders over $35.
How about supply sellers that have very low price points? Does the $35 order price mean multiple items or just one $35 item? I can't add $3 to $4 shipping to a $2 item and expect to remain competitive.
Thanks for your question. This threshold means a $35 order, not just a single item and excludes applicable taxes. If you have items below the $35 threshold, this article may be helpful in helping you to decide if offering a free shipping guarantee is right for your shop.
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 :/
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!
If we offer free shipping will customers be informed that it is free FIRST CLASS shipping and not Priority? Also, will the estamated ship dates be fixed soon? They are not acurate. Thank you.
Thanks for your questions.
Buyers will be informed that they can purchase shipping add-ons such as expedited shipping. As for your second question, can you share more on the issues are you having with estimated ship dates? Feel free to reply here or send a note to our support team!
I am Canadian and have offered free shipping in my main shop since 2017 - I would love to offer in my secondary as well, however they are smaller, lower priced items. The cost to ship these items within Canada makes it difficult to offer free domestic shipping at the $35 mark, but the price to ship to US, I can definitely take advantage of this opportunity.
How do I go about charging shipping for domestic orders, but offering US shoppers the option for free shipping over $35 (I'm also assuming it's $35USD)? The shipping profile doesn't allow me to set a minimum and when creating a sale, it automatically includes domestic or gives you the option of "domestic only".
Please help!!! TIA
Hi @StencilsGaloreCanada! So glad to hear that you are already making customers happy by offering free shipping in your main shop! If you decide to offer a free shipping guarantee to US shoppers it will make all your listings eligible to ship free to the US when a shopper spends $35 or more in your shop (excluding applicable taxes). Canadian buyers will still see shipping prices based on your existing shipping profile for a given listing, so if in setting up a free shipping guarantee to US shoppers you decided to edit item prices to recover the cost of shipping to the US, you might consider reviewing your shipping prices for non-US buyers to make sure the total price they're charged reflects your actual costs. We’ve put together some education on how you might adjust your item prices to recover shipping costs, but how you determine and set prices for your shop is your decision, and should be part of your overall business strategy. Learn more here.
This will be devasting to seller outside the US. I pay a minimum of $8 to ship to the US for a $21 item. I CANNOT charge nearly $30 per item and have that not drastically affect my sales compared to a US seller who can ship the same item for $2 therefore they only increase their item $2. My sales are already cut in half from last year trying to compete with US sellers. This letter comes as horrible news.
Im located in Canada. Can I still offer shipping in addition to the item in Canada and offer free shipping to the US (likely US buyers will not purchase because the hidden shipping cost is going to be way to high)?
I often sell more than one item. Can I offer free shipping on multiple items but still apply standard shipping if they are only purchasing one item?
Hi @PartyTopShop! Great question on how offering a free shipping guarantee to US buyers will impact your buyers in Canada, as I know lots of sellers based outside of the US will also be asking that same question.
If you decide to offer a free shipping guarantee to US shoppers it will make all your listings eligible to ship free to the US when a shopper spends $35 USD or more in your shop (excluding applicable taxes). Canadian buyers will still see shipping prices based on your existing shipping profile for a given listing, so if in setting up a free shipping guarantee to US shoppers you decided to edit item prices to recover the cost of shipping to the US, you might consider reviewing your shipping prices for non-US buyers to make sure the total price they're charged reflects your actual costs. We’ve put together some education on how you might adjust your item prices to recover shipping costs, but how you determine and set prices for your shop is your decision, and should be part of your overall business strategy. Click here to learn more.
You also asked about limiting your free shipping to times when a buyer purchases more than one item, so I’ll address that, too. Because the free shipping guarantee is based on a customer spending $35 USD or more in your shop, it will depend on your item prices whether this requires that a shopper bundle more than one item in their order to reach your free shipping threshold. The way the guarantee is structured, a buyer would only get free shipping when they purchased just one item if they pay $35 USD or more for that item. If you offer a free shipping guarantee and a US buyer purchases just one item from your shop that costs $10 USD, they would pay for shipping based on your current shipping profile for that listing.
If we're already offering free shipping (which we will now have to do to show up in the search), why does it matter if orders over $35 ship for free when everything is already shipping for free? People aren't stupid - they know that the item is higher priced because of the hidden shipping charge. I have 100s of $4 orders...now the item costs $7 and people are supposed to think they are getting a bargain? I have over 300 listings....regardless of the tools it is going to be a pain in the neck to offer free shipping for everything and change each price to reflect the hidden shipping. I am frustrated by this change and don't see how it will work for my shop. As others have said - how do I incorporate postage when it varies depending on the zone?
Hi @RustyCurios. As part of the free shipping guarantee, a listing will qualify for priority placement in US search results if it has unconditional free shipping, or if your shop offers a free shipping guarantee on orders $35 or more. Our smart pricing tools will make it as easy as possible to account for variances in ship costs across the US, by providing personalized options driven by your purchase history, but remember that how you determine and set prices for your shop is your decision, and should be part of your overall business strategy. We hope that our tools and educational content make offering a free shipping guarantee straightforward, no matter how you choose to do so.
One of my more popular items costs between $13.74 and $51.94 to ship within the US depending on the location. How can I reasonably adjust my prices for this?
Hi @KarinLorenc! Thanks for your question. We understand that shipping costs can vary considerably across the US, and know that choosing the appropriate strategy for your items can be difficult. As part of our smart pricing tool launching over the next few days, we provide personalized insight to help you make an informed decision on ways to reprice your items to recover your shipping costs. While ultimately you have to decide what pricing strategy works for you, we hope you find these tools and education useful and help make the uncertainty of wide variances in shipping costs easier to navigate. Learn more here.
I would love to see the statistics supporting this change, please can you share it? If 20% make a decision to buy if shipping is free, then does that mean 80% don’t mind paying for shipping fees?
Is the actual problem that people put items in their cart but then don’t take the next step and actually purchase?
Hi @MariaHelenaPhoto! Thanks for your question. For this stat, we investigated buyers in the US who made it to the cart, which is when many of them will see their cart’s shipping total for the first time. We found that, at that point in their journey, buyers were 20% more likely to complete their purchase when shipping was free than when it wasn’t. This reflects that, overall, any given buyer on Etsy is positively impacted by free shipping, not just 20% of them! As a result, we believe that a significant percentage of buyers will be positively impacted by receiving free shipping on Etsy.
Will you ever consider having a 'Sort By: Lowest Price + Shipping' option, that will help a lot of sellers and buyers!
When I shop on Ebay I LOVE that search filter, I ALWAYS use it.
I really hope you consider implementing this feature!!!
Thank you for joining the Q&A! At this time, we don’t have plans to implement a Sort By feature to show lowest price + shipping but we appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration for the future.
If you are going to force us to do this, why not make it so the free shipping minimum makes sense for our own INDIVIDUAL shop. I think you got the $35 number because most items on Etsy are supplies or lightweight jewelry items priced under that amount. However we are NOT ALL THE SAME (isn't this supposed to be the beauty of Etsy?!) What makes sense for one shop will not make sense to another. For instance, the majority of my items are $65 and up. Why would I offer free shipping with a minimum $35 purchase? That is just plain stupid and not encouraging shoppers to buy more from MY shop. Why can't I (and others like me who sell higher priced/heavier items) do free shipping for a minimum of $95 or $100. That would make sense for me. Why force me into shipping for free over $35 - that isn't going to get people to buy more from my shop... it's just an arbitrary number that you made up.
Thanks for your question. We understand that not all shops are made up of the same items, have comparable margins, or deal with an identical customer base, and we did take into account all of these factors in determining the threshold for the free shipping guarantee. We put a lot of thought through both research and analytics to determine the $35 threshold, and spoke to buyers and sellers. These statistics are inclusive of heavy and expensive items:
We don’t only take buyers into account! We also used feedback from sellers like the following:
I have been a seller here on Etsy for over 10 years. The average ticket price in my shop is about $20 so $35 for me is a little pricey for my customers. Will we be able to offer $25 instead of $35? I recently have started offering free shipping (again) on every item but would be interested in restructuring if this would growing sales especially with the upcoming holiday season.
Hi @ApronsandMore! Thanks for being part of our community for so long! If you set up a free US shipping guarantee with the tool we created, your items will get priority placement in US search results. Items that already offer free US shipping will get priority placement in US search results as well. One thing to keep in mind: if you set up a conditional free shipping sale (meaning, you offer free shipping with a $X purchase or minimum number of items through our Sales and Coupons tool), those items won’t have priority placement in search. To get priority placement in US search results, you can use our new tool— check your Shop Manager dashboard throughout the week to see if it’s available!
Can we vary prices based on customer location? Can we gate customers by location or zip code? Are we required to offer free shipping to the non-continental US? Are we penalized for cancelling orders that are not possible to ship cost effectively? Can we see more of the data that led to this decision? Can we see data on shipping heavy items?
Thanks for your questions. I can speak to the data point. Below we have some of the stats and figures we used as part of our decision making. While these statistics are general, they are inclusive of heavy items:
I hope this is helpful in understanding how we came to our decision.
Are you able to build a feature where we can list an item price which includes an absorbed postage cost purely for US clientele but have a separate option for domestic (in my case Australia) and other countries? Postage costs for most of my items are $45.00 to the US and around $18.00 for domestic within Australia. Big difference that I can’t afford to simply absorb by having a ‘one size fits all’ costing which includes free postage.
We’re working on creating long-term solutions and will keep you updated as they become available. In the meantime, 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.
You can more about how to calculate the percentage of your business going to the US in this article.
Can we vary prices based on customer location? Can we gate customers by location or zip code? Are we required to offer free shipping to the non-continental US? Are we penalized for cancelling orders that are not possible to ship cost effectively? Can we see more of the data that led to this decision? Can we see data on shipping heavy items?
Hi @1337ShadyStudios! Thanks for all the questions! I’ll try to cover most of them and then Nathan from our research team will jump into cover your questions around data. It is not currently possible to set prices based on customer location or to gate customers based on zip code.
Setting up a free shipping guarantee for your shop is not required, but if you do decide to offer one it means that all of your listings will be eligible to ship for free to or within the US when a US shopper spends $35 USD or more in your shop (excluding applicable taxes). Alternatively, if you’d like, you can also select individual listings in your shop to ship free (without the $35 USD minimum) and they will also have priority placement in US search results.
This doesn't change Etsy’s policy on cancelling orders. You can learn more about our policy here.
Thanks for letting us know about the changes. I see the wisdom in offering free shipping, and currently do this for domestic orders (my shop is UK based).
I wonder if you can give some advice as to how UK and international shops will still be able to compete with US shops after these changes are made? Rougly 60% of my orders currently go the US, so I worry that after these changes are made, our international shops will lose the US market. Personally, this would massively impact my business. I'd love to be able to offer free shipping internationally, but my shipping costs to the US vary so much from £5 up to £15 that I wouldn't be able to factor this into my prices, without it making my items too expensive for domestic and European orders.
Hi Jordan! Thanks for the question, it’s not an easy one and I think it’s one that many sellers based outside of the US are grappling with, especially if they have a relatively even split of orders from US and non-US buyers. Even some US-based sellers experience a lot of variation in delivery costs depending on where in the US their buyers are based.
I encourage you to take some time to decide what pricing approach best aligns with your overall business strategy, and work your way through the education we shared in the Seller Handbook Ultimate Guide to Delivery, which includes some examples of how other sellers have approached free delivery (I particularly recommend Chapters 3 & 4). Some other things to consider:
Our customer base outside of the US continues to grow. And did you know that UK buyers typically prefer to purchase from UK sellers? They do, and we are increasing our marketing investments in the UK to bring even more UK shoppers to Etsy.
Offering free delivery to US buyers is just another tool in your seller toolkit - it’s up to you if you decide to use it, but it’s also something you can test. If you try offering a US free delivery guarantee, you can see if it increases your average order value from US customers and whether it impacts your conversion rate from buyers in the UK and Europe. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results, or you may determine that this just isn’t the right option for your shop. And keep in mind that items that ship for free to the US will receive priority placement in search, even if you don’t offer a shop-level guarantee. So you could decide to offer free delivery to the US on items that are most popular with your US customers, for example. Ultimately, though, how you set your prices and delivery fees is up to you.
We also understand that sellers like you need additional tools to offer different prices for your international and domestic customers. We’re working on creating long-term solutions and will keep you updated as they become available.
What about all the people who wait till the last minute and don't read make times and will now assume all forms of shipping (priority/express/UPS/Fed Ex) are free? How does it work with search if only first class is free? Obviously you can't be expecting us to be factoring in expedited shipping in the "adding it to your price" model right!!??
Hi there @ASweetSweetBoutique,
In order for listings to qualify for prioritization in search, you would only have to offer free standard shipping - you're still able to charge a price for shipping upgrades. Hope this helps!
My question is how sophisticated will this tool be? For example if the base price of my item is $35 and it costs $20 to mail to CA and $10 to mail to NY will a customer in LA see the listing as costing $55 and a customer in NY see it as $45? And would an international customer see it as $35 since they will still be paying for the cost of shipping? That would play into the supposed buyer psychology of free shipping while allowing the seller to not lose money and the buyer to not be penalized based on where they are located.
Many thanks for your interest in the tooling. We've got some info that may be helpful with your question here. Additionally, this sort of thing is probably easiest to explain via demo, and that's why we'll be hosting a demo on Facebook Live on July 16 - I'll be talking through all this in more detail then! Hope this helps.
I use Calculated Shipping so it's fair shipping prices for all and charge a minimal $0.50 handling fee. Please explain how I would price breakables (usually glass) that ship in a 12x12x12 cube mailing box at the 5lb rate.
Currently my items in this class would ship (including my minimal $0.50 handling fee):
+ $9.62 Chicago
+ $16.17 Denver
+ $20.90 Los Angeles
+ $10.83 New York
My largest markets THIS YEAR have been TX, CA, NY in this order. I ship from the southern east coast.
I'm saddened to see that Etsy has resorted to such punitive measures. Free shipping works for items that easily ship First Class Package and weigh in ounces.
So do I incorporate the shipping price for CA of $21 and reap the extra $ if someone closer to me purchases? Doesn't seem very fair does it. On the other hand, I don't sell on Etsy to finance the buyer's shipping, so I don't plan on taking a loss should someone in CA purchase and that happens frequently even on my largest shipments.
With Etsy's vast shipping knowledge, please advise how the above should be handled. This is easily 90% of my items.
Hi Kathi, many thanks for your question. Ultimately, it's up to each individual seller to determine how to price their items. We cover shipping strategies that you can consider for things like heavy items here: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/strategies-for-shipping-challenging/541425680646
I have no idea how to price a vintage item that ships to Chicago for $7.71 but to Los Angeles for $17.61 and offer free shipping. Do all the customers East of the Rockies pay for the extra shipping costs to customers West of the Rockies or do I pay the extra ten dollars and make nearly nothing off the item when purchased by someone on the West coast?
Hey there Jennifer - We cover shipping strategies that you can consider for things like heavy items here: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/strategies-for-shipping-challenging/541425680646
Just keep in mind that it's ultimately up to you to decide how to price your items in a way that works for your shop.
I offer both digital downloads and physical items. Will free shipping on orders of $35.00 or more be effective in orders where physical items and downloads are combined? Because shipping costs are not generally factored into instant downloads.
Hi Patricia, thank you for the question! Yes, the cost of a digital item would contribute to a buyer reaching the $35 threshold to unlock free shipping. I hope this helps!
Curious about this as well. Which will rank more: free ship or PLs
Thanks for participating in our Q&A, @bostonbaglady! At this time there are no plans to change the placement of Promoted Listings ads in search. Regarding free shipping and ranking, Bryan from my team answered a similar question here. You can also review our Ultimate Guide to Search for more information on how our search works.
This is what was at the top of my page this morning, "Soon, items that are eligible to ship free to US shoppers will get priority placement in US search." I thought I already was! We were told last year that if we went to free shipping, we would be given better placement in search. Now you are saying that "soon" we will be getting priority placement? Which is it?
If Etsy wants the playing field to be level, just show TOTAL COST of items rather than breaking it down to item cost + shipping cost. My items are almost all free shipping and I don't look competitve in search results. There is the little free shipping banner but shoppers would have to go to my competition to add the shipping cost for comparison. Very cumbersome!
Finally, with the changes to USOS Parcel Post costs, my shipping of larger items has caused me to remove items from my shop. Esty needs to make the FedEx option easier to use. I cannot estimate FedEx rates when listing an item, only USPS. Finally, better rates with FedEx. Your competitors have much better FedEx rates!
Hi there @BeeHavenHome — thanks for your question. I’m happy to clarify!
You are correct that last year, we announced a free shipping boost for items that have free shipping, and that is not going away. However, starting on July 30, items offering free shipping will receive priority placement in US search. That being said, like always, there are still going to be a variety of factors that contribute to an item’s placement in Etsy Search. You can review our Ultimate Guide to Search for the most up-to-date information on how our search works.
Thanks again for your question. We also appreciate the thoughtful feedback you provided and will share it with the appropriate teams here!
To Etsy admin: I'd like a response as to how you are going to handle search. How will Etsy determine the placement in search? You already manipulate search now and show the shops you want to show. Especially in the jewelry category ---- you 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.
Thanks for your question! Etsy search considers a lot of factors when ranking items. And different buyers may see different sets of search results. It’s also worth noting that search results can vary across devices.
We did announce a free shipping boost for items that have free shipping last year, and that is not going away. However, starting on July 30, the most visible spots in United States search results are reserved for listings that ship for free or shops that offer a US free shipping guarantee to shoppers in the US. I recently answered a similar question, you can check it out here. And you can review our Ultimate Guide to Search for the most up-to-date information on how our search works.
RETURNS - I did not see this mentioned yet so sorry if it's a repeat. How are returned going to be handled if we are forced to offer free shipping. Most shops, as far as I can tell, offer returns but the buyer does not get their original shipping back. When you have free shipping how do you handle that? The price that is included for shipping has already been spent to pay for the original shipping.
$40 item (free shipping) gets returned $10 of that $40 was to pay for the original shipping costs. Without free shipping the cusotmer would have received a $30 refund. With free shipping the customer will receive a $40 refund and the seller just ate the cost of the original shipping.
Am I looking at this completely wrong? Maybe I am missing something. Yes, you can charge a 25% restocking fee but how many customers actually read our policies and will understand that they are not getting a full refund?
Hi there! There’s no requirement to offer free shipping, but if you do decide to offer it, Perry from my team recently answered a similar question about how you can consider handling returns here. Thanks for participating in our Q&A!
Please address how this new policy will affect items that are too heavy to ship via first class mail. With USPS Priority Mail, the shipping cost depends on distance. Will heavier objects - like all of my mugs - be penalized in the search algorithm, because they don't offer free shipping? And please don't suggest flat rate priority boxes. USPS doesn't offer flat rate boxes that are the appropriate size for mugs.
Hi @CatClayShop, thank you for your question! Any item type can get the benefit of the US search priority placement, regardless of category or size. We recently published an article on Strategies for Shipping Challenging Items in our Ultimate Guide to Shipping. You can find tips here for estimating shipping costs and some options to consider around handling returns.
What do I put on my customs forms? When I sell something from the UK I have to declare its value on a customs label and this can lead to import duties. Since I have sold the item for more than its true value, do I have to reflect this in the customs declaration. This is insane and is going to lead to alot of difficulties for both buyers and sellers. I'm afraid it looks like Goodbye Etsy for me. The good times are really over.
Hi @Gallery1910! I’m based in Etsy’s London office where I work closely with our sellers in the UK - and I’m sorry to hear that you feel like the good times are over. I realise it may take some time for you to determine whether it’s right for your business to offer a US free shipping guarantee, and that’s okay! In the meantime, I hope you’ll take a look at this Help Centre article on Customs Forms when sending goods to the US. While I can’t advise you about how to fill out your Custom Forms, you’ll see that the form does require the purchase price for a given item. And remember, delivery is part of the value you’re giving to buyers! It’s hard to use a vintage mug, for example, if it’s still with the seller!
In principle I have no objection to offering free US shipping. However, to make it work for me, I would need to be able to charge a different price to US clients than I do domestic ones, as there is a significant difference in the postal costs.
Do Etsy have plans to offer the relevant tools to achieve this?
Adrian (United Kingdom)
Hi Adrian! Thanks for the question. We know that a lot of sellers need tools to serve their buyers based on where they’re located. We’re working on creating long-term solutions here and will keep you updated as they become available.
I agree. I, too, am a vintage shop...and each item has a completely different weight. When taking into consideration cost of packaging to make sure my vintage clothing items are packaged pleasingly, and the thought of going through 500 items now to change the prices of each one to absorb the shipping costs, it's a little daunting. Also, if I'm paying for Promoted Listings now, is this money just being wasted? What about the coupon promotions I signed up for with favorited items/items in carts? It's just all adding up, and Etsy has strayed far, far away from what it was when I first joined the community of artists and vintage curators. It feels more like a flea market now, where the vintage sellers' tables have been placed right outside the shed selling all the bagged tube socks at 3/$5. It feels a bit cheapened now, and I am not clear how the free shipping impacts the visibility for the promoted listings, cart and favorite coupons, etc. We can't do it ALL and still make a profit. If we absorb all of those costs into our item prices, no one will want to buy anything. I'm just not feeling very clear on all of this at the moment.
Hi there @transmigration - wanted to follow up on your comment about Promoted Listings. When you offer a free shipping guarantee, the priority placement you get only applies to organic search results—it does not apply to Promoted Listings. So if you choose not to offer a free shipping guarantee, your Promoted Listings spend would not be wasted—listings will still compete in the same way for ad impressions and clicks as before.
As for Targeted Offers - these will also continue to work as before. If you're offering free shipping on US orders over $35, a targeted offer with free domestic shipping can be an even more enticing offer to get shoppers to make a purchase. Ultimately though, it's up to you to determine what works best, based on your business goals, inventory, and profit margins.
I absolutely cannot offer free shipping on my items, I would go out of business & I'm certainly NOT jacking up my prices by $10-$30 +. Are you offering any advice to those of us who sell reasonably priced but heavy items?
Thanks for the question. How you price your items is your decision, but we do cover some shipping strategies that you can consider for things like heavy items here.
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  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.
Thank you all for the thoughtful questions. We really appreciate everyone taking the time to write in. We’re closing this thread to questions now, but will continue to add responses here tomorrow.
As a reminder, if you have feedback to share, we encourage you to fill out our seller survey form.
Why are you misrepresenting the situation to investors in addition to sellers?
You ran a test here where you did truly free shipping (not raising prices to include shipping) and sales went up 20%.
Behind the scenes though, you’re telling sellers to do hidden cost free shipping (and raise prices to include shipping) as if people are going to buy things that are obviously more expensive at the same rate.
You’re doing this even though the test for shipping included was so bad that you were forced to stop it almost Immediately.
Thanks for your question. To clarify, this figure comes from our analysis of on site behavior and was not from a simulation test. As part of our analysis for the free shipping guarantee, we investigated buyers who make it to the cart. We found that, at that stage in their journey, buyers were 20% more likely to complete the purchase when shipping costs were free than when they weren’t, even after accounting for total price differences. Along with other research studies and data analysis, we were convinced that enabling sellers to offer a free shipping guarantee would be positive for both our buyers and sellers.
I'm wondering about this also. Is $35 the magic number that will benefit us the most in search? I currently offer domestic free shipping for orders of $50 or more, so will lowering that to $35 give me a big advantage?
Thanks for your questions!
In order to get priority placement in US search, you’ll need to either offer unconditional free shipping on your items or offer a free shipping guarantee to US buyers on orders $35 or more from your shop. You can continue to offer free shipping through a conditional sale, but your shop will not get priority placement in US search. There will be a tool available over the next few days that will enable you to turn on free shipping on all orders over $35.
I hope that is helpful and good luck with your shop.
How this will affect digital items in US search results?
Will anything change for them? If yes what?
Does it mean physical items with free shipping will have more priority on US search results than digital items?
Hi there @Instaokviri! Great question. Because digital download items do not have associated shipping costs, they’ll 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. Please keep in mind that Etsy search is always changing. You can review our Ultimate Guide to Search for the most up-to-date information on how search works.
Do you know If Ill be able to set my product prices seperately for US buyers? If I inflate my prices to include shipping to the US this will make my prices very uncompetative for UK buyers. If I dont Ill lose sales in the US. Not a great situation as a seller.
Thanks for your question. We know you need additional tools to offer different prices for customers outside of your domestic market. We’re working on creating long-term solutions and will keep you updated as they become available. Remember, deciding whether and how to offer free shipping is your decision. If you think it’s helpful, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Shipping here.
Good luck with your shop!
If you are going to force us to do this, why not make it so the free shipping minimum makes sense for our own INDIVIDUAL shop. I thinkI would like to know #1 - how many sellers were surveyed (I was not one of them) #2 - out of those sellers, how many sell items other than lightweight things like jewelry, greeting cards, art prints and supplies and #3 - out of those sellers how many of those sell items that DO NOT QUALIFY for first class mail? I would have absolutely no problem shipping my items for free if they were under 16 oz - but for the type of product that I sell (all wood items) that would be a really crappy product if they weighed less than a pound.
Thanks for your interest in the details of the survey! While we can’t share the exact details of our sample size or make-up, we can share that 30% of the sellers we surveyed were in the Home and Living category and 10% were in the Art and Collectables category both of which contain some of our largest items on site. I hope this is helpful.
Reach out with any other questions.