small changes can lead to big differences.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shipping on ETSY!

I have been selling on Etsy since November, 2007. Combining both of my shops, I have 700+ sales and a ton of experience that came with those sales. Over these 2.5 years, I've made plenty of mistakes and have learned a lot of things along the way, and I'm here to share some of those tips, along with a few other things.

First, I want to say something. I see this in tons and tons and tons of blogs. "How to sell effectively on Etsy" "How to list properly" "How to get the most out of your items" etc. - I am forever being told of ways to do my job better. While I am always open to new ideas (and some are really great!) there are some tips that I feel aren't necessary for my way of doing things. That being said, when you see someone post a blog on how to do something the "correct" way on Etsy but you don't feel the same way, don't feel like you're doing it wrong. For example, say someone says you really should, say, take photos with a model instead of hanging them up on a dress form or plastic mannequin. While I do use models now, I have been selling vintage clothing on plastic dress forms for like 8 years. There are some amazing vintage sellers who only use dress forms, and I've met a lot of people who have told me that they would prefer the clothing to be on a dress form instead of a person. So it just goes to show that you should do what works for you. Photo quality is everything, though. (I'm really surprised this sold as quickly as it did! But sometimes when people want it, they want it!)


So what I'm going to be posting are just things that I've discovered, what works for me, and general tips. I've discovered that my way of doing things + the way my mind works is a lot different from the general population, so hopefully these tips will get you thinking or help you out along the way.


It's true that if you offer international shipping in your listings, you'll most likely see an increase in sales. I have sold to over 20 different countries because of this. For my larger items (suitcases, vinyl bags) I have stopped quoting a charge OR I write in the listing "International shipping is OVER-quoted so please convo me for an accurate price" - if they want the item, trust me, they'll ask. And they'll probably understand that because the suitcase weighs 4 pounds +, I don't want to risk losing a lot of money.
For smaller items (clothing, shoes, purses, etc) it's a really good idea to have a chart + scale to keep on your wall. I made one for myself and my friend Juli and it goes ounce by ounce. The prices go up significantly per ounce when we're shipping international so it's a good idea to keep tabs on that! I try to package the item up and weigh it so that I can get an accurate quote for my listing. It is quite time consuming, but it's very worth it. All of you sellers who sell similar items (jewelry, knitted items) i envy you! It's so hard selling all different items and trying to come up with accurate combined shipping quotes!


Make a separate shipping profile for Canada.

Seriously, do it. Shipping to Canada from the U.S. is sometimes cheaper than it is shipping from the U.S. to the U.S. The reason is that USPS uses a slower shipping method to Canada that is slower than First Class mail and it still gets there in a timely manner. I discovered I was charging those poor Canadians an arm and a leg for shipping, and I'd always have to refund them since I charged them $10 more for shipping than it really was! I have definitely noticed a huge increase in Canadian buyers ever since I started putting an accurate shipping quote in all of my listings. I love you, Canada!

United Kingdom is the only other country who has a smaller shipping charge - the rest (Asia, Australia, Europe, etc) all have been the same price for every country. U.K. doesn't seem to be that much cheaper (only a few cents) so I haven't really changed their shipping charges in my listings.


***Micronesia is part of the United States***
I learned that back in November! I had no idea it was actually part of our postal system. Just so you know! Chances are, your post office teller won't even know where it is but they are definitely under our shipping rates!

Whenever I sell to Russia, Japan, Israel, or any other countries who use an entire different language/alphabet, I ask the buyers to provide me with their name and addresses in their writing. (Do this especially for Russia) I had a buyer from USSR tell me that she wanted me to do that because every other package she bought off of Etsy never got to her, and she thought it was because it was in English. I wrote her address in English and in Russian, and she received it! I have been doing this since with as many packages as I can. Some buyers will be confused, but I think it really does help. And it's not like you're losing anything!


UPS vs USPS Parcel Post
UPS ground takes about a week to get somewhere. USPS Parcel Post takes about a week. They are the same price (except for really large items, then it's USPS all the way)
The only reason I go to UPS is because they have this punch card that once I ship 10 packages, I get $5 off. Good incentive!

Wow, this is long and I haven't even touched any other topic! I think I'll stop here though so you can take all this in! I plan on writing about photos, listing, and policies + a little more. I hope this is helpful!


  1. Oh I LOVE the tip of writing in another alphabet! Totally going to use that.

    And thanks for including my picture, ftw! :D