How To Ship On Etsy - A Guide For Beginners

Last Updated:

March 16, 2022


Orders & Shipping
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Shipping your handmade product could be a daunting task. There are so many things to think about:

How much should I charge for shipping on Etsy? How to make sure the shipping time is well communicated with the customer? What if something goes wrong during the delivery?

In this guide, we will walk you through the questions you will have about Etsy shipping and some strategies to tackle the problems along the way.

Who Pay For Shipping On Etsy? Does Etsy Pay For Shipping?

In most cases, buyers pay for the shipping as the shipping costs are added on the price of the product. Most Etsy shops charge an extra, separate shipping fee on top of the product price.

However, in recent change in Etsy search algorithm, products that ship to the US over US$35 have a boost in search ranking if they offer free shipping guarantee.

A lot of Etsy shops therefore offer free shipping on their products. In those cases, the shipping costs would be built into the actual product price. Although it seems like the seller is paying for the shipping, ultimately, Etsy shopper still pays for the shipping.

How Much Should I Charge For Shipping On Etsy?

It depends on the products that you sell and what your competitors are doing.

If you sell a small size item that is not costly to ship or if most shop owners in your niche ship free, I would recommend to include the shipping cost in your product price. This way you can take advantage of the higher ranking in Etsy search.

However, if your item is more bulky, or if most of your competitors are not providing free shipping anyway, then charging an additional shipping fee would be ok.

That being said, high postage costs are known to be one of the biggest obstacles in a shopper’s buying journey - Almost 50% of shoppers abandon their shopping cart because of unexpected shipping costs! So even if you charge an extra shipping fee, make sure it’s competitive and is not too big of a percentage of the actual product price. For example, a $5 shipping would be ok for a $50 item, but is probably too much for a $15 one.

For a lightweight item like ring, most sellers offer free shipping as you can see from the green 'free shipping' badge


Should I Ship Internationally?

In most cases, it is a good idea to ship internationally so your product can be seen by more customers. However, international shipping will inherently have more problems on delays, customs, taxes, etc. It's a good idea to ship all international mail with tracking with protective shipping materials.

Using cardboard box with recycled paper could be a good idea for more environmentally-friendly protective packaging

One thing to keep in mind is that a lot to European countries charge a VAT to incoming shipments. From July 1st, 2021, Etsy started collecting import VAT on physical items under €150 shipping to the EU from non-EU countries. The rate is quite high: the standard rate is over 15%. So it may not be the best idea to ship to EU if you are located outside, because your profit margin would be smaller and your pricing would not be as competitive as EU sellers.



Creating Shipping Profiles For Faster Workflow

In ‘Setting’ and ‘Shipping Settings’, you will be able to set your shipping profiles.

You will be able to set the country of origin, processing time, shipping carrier, delivery time and what you charge in shipping profiles. These make it easier to have the same shipping settings for similar items.

You can also set different shipping options for a product. They are called 'shipping upgrades' in the setting. Some common ones include priority mail, express shipping and insured shipping. You will be able to set they own individual prices in the shipping profiles. 

This also saves you ton of time when you need to change any settings in the future for all your listings. You only need to change those settings in the shipping profiles, instead of changing each individual listing.

What Etsy shipping profile looks like



Setting Reasonable Expectation On Shipping Time

There are two main parts of the time between customers placing an order, to them receiving the item - Your order processing time, and the shipping/delivery time.

Setting an expectation for your customer of how long they need to wait is important. If it takes you 3 business days to make and pack the orders, and another 3 days for the postal service to deliver your order, then you should set a clear expectation that shipping will take about one week. 

Keep in mind that you may need to change your processing and shipping times during the holiday seasons when your shop gets busy. Setting up a shipping profile allow you to easily change that for multiple listings.



Packaging That Impresses Customers & Protect The Product

Patterned wrapping paper is a good idea to add a personal touch to your packaging

Shoppers shop on Etsy because they want unique handmade goods. Packaging is one of the best places to impress them and give them the best first impression.

Some affordable ways to add a handmade, personal touch include wrapping your product with patterned paper, adding washi tape to the shipping box and including a handwritten note to show your appreciation. 

It's also a good idea to package your item with some protective packing materials, especially for delicate items. Using bubble wrap is a popular choice, but it could be unattractive to environmentally-conscious customers. Cardboard padded envelop is a greener alternative.

Growing Your Craft Etsy shop has editable shipping box labels that allow you to add your personal touch

Etsy Shipping Labels - What Are They & Do You Have To Use Them?

You don’t have to use shipping labels. It’s not required.

Shipping labels are postage that you can purchase directly from your Etsy shop. You can pay for the labels on Etsy directly, print out the label and the order is then ready to ship.

This is only available to sellers in the US, UK, Australia and India. And you need to accept Etsy Payments or PayPal.

The postal services included are: 

USPS - Domestic and International shipment from US-based sellers

FedEx - Domestic and International shipment from US-based sellers

Global Postal - Domestic and International shipment from US-based sellers

Canada Post - Domestic and International Shipment for sellers with a Canada Post Solutions for Small Business account

Royal Mail - Domestic and International shipment from UK-based sellers

Australia Post - Domestic and International shipment from Australia-based sellers

Yakit (DHL eCommerce shipping labels) - Domestic and International shipment from India-based sellers

More information about each of these options here.



Dealing With Returns And Lost Packages

Delivery issues are inevitable for online businesses. And here are some strategies of how to deal with them.

Returns can happen when the customer is not happy with the item or when they want to exchange for another item. It’s important for you to offer returns as an option because that is important way to make sure they have a good experience with their purchase.

If the return is not because of your fault, for example customers’ change of mind, then it’s normal to ask your customer to pay for the shipping fees. It could be a good idea to offer them the option for a discounted rate if they purchase an additional item from your shop.

However, if the item is damaged or the size is not correct, then usually Etsy sellers will pay for the shipping. If the item is not too expensive, it may even be a good idea to ship an additional one for free without asking the customer to ship back the original one.

Packages do get lost sometimes. That’s why it’s a good idea to include tracking for your orders if they are not prohibitively expensive. Insurance is a good idea for high priced listings.

For lost items, sellers would either resend a replacement at their own cost, or a refund would be given to the customer. Talk to the customers first and ask which option would they prefer.

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