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Etsy to hammer sellers with high shipping prices

By Chris Dawson September 20, 2018 - 10:00 am

Etsy are unashamedly continuing their war on high shipping prices and have now told sellers that if their carriage cost are high that they’ll be dumped in search results in favour of items with more reasonable shipping costs.

This is the second announcement in the Etsy war on shipping – in July this year they started to charge fees on the cost of shipping as well as on the item price. This means that there’s no incentive to have high shipping prices as a profit centre, by moving some of the item cost into shipping, as you’ll pay the same fees regardless. It also removes an obstacle to offering free shipping as again there’ll be no difference in fees.

“Our buyer research continues to show us that high shipping costs or long processing times may stop buyers from completing their purchase and keep them from coming back to Etsy. Etsy Search factors shipping prices into search ranking to make it easier for shoppers to find listings with competitive shipping prices. Lowering your shipping prices makes your items more likely to rank higher in search.”
– Etsy announcement

Sellers who sell on eBay will already be familiar with the disadvantages of high shipping costs and the impact a marketplace can inflict if they judge you to be gouging on shipping. However it’s equally true that some products, especially heavy or oversized, can cost a relatively high amount to ship. Sometimes the only way to gain a high placement in search results is to move some or all of the shipping costs into the item price and that’s a tactic that Etsy sellers are going to have to adopt.

To help sell the search algorithm changes to their sellers, Etsy have put together a help page on shipping costs with suggestion as to how to manage their costs and still gain search visibility.

  • If Etsy is trying to alienate sellers as eBay has done, they are doing a good job.

  • I ship art flat which is expensive but am constantly being told that my charges are much higher than the category ‘average’ (art and craft). Am I going to be ‘dumped’ by Etsy? Human common sense not an algorithm required please.

  • 4 weeks ago

    This unfairly penalises sellers and especially those based outside the US. I am based in the UK and sell mainly to the US on Etsy. I already subsidise every parcel sent overseas by around £5 per item. I have to send items tracked for safety. My postage charges are low for overseas shipping, but Etsy clearly thinks I should personally bear the whole of these costs. This is unfair to small businesses that are already under pressure.

    How can I offer free postage on items when I am already price-matching what I sell? An average parcel costs me £11 to send (tracked to the US). I don’t want to ‘hide’ the postage price in the selling price of my items and offer ‘free’ shipping, because it will make my prices look uncompetitive, but this is what Etsy is forcing sellers to do.

    Buyers are not stupid and they know that postage has to be paid for somehow. Surely it is more honest to add the price for postage separately rather than raising all your stock prices to cover (or part-cover in my case) postage costs.

    As a buyer, I am always happy to pay reasonable postage charges. There’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’. I suppose my listings will be dropping to the bottom of the searches now. I wondered why my shop had previously been busy and then suddenly hardly any sales.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Hi Gill,

    I work at eTail-USA – we are an ecommerce shipper from UK to USA helping UK online sellers grow their sales in USA due to our rates for tracked being around 50% of Royal Mail rates.

    We have many users of our service who sell at Etsy in USA (as well as Amazon/eBay of course).

    Also, our service is US domestic, that is to say we fly the parcels over to New York and inject them into the US postal service at our NY facility as a TSA approved ‘known shipper’ which allows our UK sellers to choose whether they wish to display quicker shipping times (shipping out of NY) or continue to display the longer UK shipping times.

    Those customers of ours that have chosen to display the US domestic shipping times (+ 1 day for line haul from UK to US) have told us that by doing so they achieve 30% – 35% more sales, yet only pay around half of what they did previously with RM.

    I would hate to see your listing drop and sales slow as you mention above so I would be very interested to work with you to ensure this does not happen by offering you our eTail-usa tracked service . Our rates start at £2.99 (100g/tier 1 volume).

    Regards
    Peter.

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