Thoughts on Etsy’s Free Shipping Policy & The Future of My Etsy Shop
July 20, 2019
Hi everyone! I’m so sorry I had to take so much time off this blog. While I was gone, I took care of an ill family member, as well as suffered from tendonitis which prevented me from sewing. I was also busy with my day job as well as working on pack downs for a move to a new town. (Something I planned on doing for many years, but there always seemed to be something that prevented me from moving) As part of my pack down, I planned on sorting though my old patterns, decided which patterns I want to keep and which ones I want to sell on my Etsy shop.
After logging onto YouTube to see if any of the channels I subscribe to uploaded new videos, YouTube recommended a video by Olivia Hayward that talked about Etsy’s new shipping policy. After watching the video I did some research and knew that I would like to either write a post or upload a video sharing my thoughts on Etsy’s new shipping policy and how it affects the future of my Etsy shop.
It’s been a few years since I opened my Etsy shop, so I wanted to talk about the history of my Etsy shop. I originally created my shop with the intention of selling some items I sewed as well as limited edition art/photography prints and original art. This never worked out the way I hoped for a variety of reasons, but it’s 99% because of three different problems: a family illness, my own illness, and a busy work life. I intended on turning my shop back on and listing more items as soon as my life calmed down and I had more time, but it never happened. Since I planned on moving soon(ish), I also knew I would be unable to list anything on Etsy until I have a new mailing address and get everything in my new house sorted.
Because of this, I didn’t pay too much attention when Etsy announced their new shipping policy. If you never heard of Etsy’s new shipping policy, the policy is if a shop offers free shipping on orders for $35 USD or more, then they will push your listings in their search. If not, then the listings will be buried in the search, making it harder for shoppers to find your products than others that offer free shipping. Etsy announced that this is to help make themselves more competitive with sites such as Amazon. Also, this free shipping is for orders in the United States only.
I don’t want to go into what the new shipping policy and what it means to sellers (including international sellers) because I found videos and articles explaining the problems with it. My favorite is this article from The Verge. Although I see many problems with implementing this sort of policy for larger shops, it will cause problems for myself if I wanted to re-open my Etsy shop.
The patterns I plan on selling in my shop are not very expensive and anyone who buys them will not reach the $35 USD threshold for free shipping unless they buy many patterns. The art prints I planned on selling, on the other hand, are supposed to be priced above $35 USD. So, selling the prints for a higher price will not be a problem… in the United States.
Etsy does not allow for a shop to set a different price for an international shop. Because of this, I will be asking for a higher price worldwide instead of setting a base price and adjusting it depending on what area the buyer is located in. Adjusting for shipping depending on region is available, but custom pricing is not. Because of this, I really don’t feel it’s fair to charge international costumers the same price for United States costumers plus shipping on top of that.
Also, I don’t like the idea that this policy is implemented not only on United States shops, but worldwide. I’ve shipped and ordered items internationally and, depending on what kind of object it is and how much it weighs, it can be very pricey. To require shops to offer free shipping over $35 USD will cut into the profit of the shop and makers, especially if it costs over $35 USD to ship the object in question.
It bothers me more than I can describe that Etsy is requiring shops to do this to stay competitive with Amazon when Amazon offers free shipping if the products are located in one of their warehouses. If it’s not in their warehouse, then it is not available for Amazon’s free shipping and the seller can list their own shipping price. Did Etsy look into this problem or are they being rash and doing something without considering the consequences? Consequences such as requiring an overhaul of their shop system that will allow for a manual price (Not shipping. Price.) adjustment depending on the buyer’s location? And on top of that, why single out the United States as the only place to have this requirement? Why not make an exemption for international shops to not be forced into the new shipping policy and only focus on the shops located in the United States, where the shipping prices are cheaper (Because it’s domestic) and it makes more sense to offer free shipping?
I don’t understand the logic behind this new policy. In my day job, I’ve worked for companies that made odd and illogical policies that backfire so badly, it costs great sums of money to undo. Based off my experience, I’m worried about what this policy means as well as what it will eventually do to Etsy and sellers on the site. Because of this, I won’t reopen my shop until I have a better idea what Etsy will do to international shops and sellers and what sort of adjustment they will make to their site to allow for sellers to manually adjust the price of their items depending on location. The beauty of Etsy was it was easy to manage and work with, so giving the option to set a different price depending on location will making operating the shop harder and more complicated.
So, if I did not use Etsy to sell my items, then what site will I use? Well, I’m still looking into that. I could open my own website to sell my art and prints, but for my sewing patterns? And any sort of antiques I may want to get rid of? I’m not sure. There is Ebay, but I’ve had such bad experiences with buyers on Ebay that made me driven and determined to not sell on their ever again. So far I haven’t but it is an option. There is, of course, Amazon, but I’m not sure about it either. Right now I’m still in the what-are-my-options-now stage and I’m sure I will not get far into my research in the next month or so because of life changes and moving soon. I hope. We’ll see. *sigh*
Ok, I think I’ve said enough about this for now. If you reached the end of this post, thank you for reading and I’ll be back with another post soon! <3