Last Updated on November 21, 2020 by Stiletto Socialite

I do not like to offer free Etsy shipping, and chances are you are like me or else you would have just did it already without reading this article. 

Etsy outright announced that if your offer free Etsy shipping it will help with your search rankings.

Although I am not a fan of offering free Etsy shipping, when big mama [Etsy] speaks as to what matters for you to get found i.e. get more customers we have to listen. It’s no different than a boss visiting your cubicle and telling you about a new change in the company system.

So today I will discuss three main reasons why I added free shipping back to my Etsy shop after getting rid of it off before.  Plus I will discuss reasons you should consider before making this decision for your shop.

In this post you’ll find:

2 Reasons You Might Want to Offer Free Etsy Shipping

4 Reasons You Might Not Want to Offer Free Etsy Shipping

An Alternative Method to Bring Traffic Without Free Etsy Shipping

2 Reasons You Might Want to Offer Free Etsy Shipping

#1: Getting Found on Etsy is Easier

Getting found on Etsy seems to be way easier once you have free shipping on your account. As such, I decided to give free shipping a shot again with Etsy because Etsy blatantly said that it will make a difference in my search rankings.

Etsy is not my main shop I resell on and, so this post may not be for seasoned sellers with a proven track record but more for newish sellers or maybe those who have been around for a while but with occasional sales.

Last year was the first time I decided to give free shipping a try around the holidays, because they mentioned it will help with my search rankings and I got three sales back to back when I did.  This may not be a big deal but note, I don’t sell low priced items so my volume is naturally lower because of this no matter what platform I am selling on. 

When I offered free shipping last year around holidays I noticed an uptick in a few back to back sales.

With Etsy SEO giving preferential treatment with sellers with more sales and established selling history I think back to back sales when I was only getting sales trickling months apart is a huge indicator for me that adding free shipping matters. 

This year I’ve had a few back to back sales with a few extra conversations, which to me is a lead.

Although I sell vintage clothing my items are not that unique there plenty of other established sellers who sell what I do.  As a newbie I wanted to see if Etsy could be a second home for my vintage items as I was at the time selling consistently on Depop but the Etsy algorithm was a little bit more of a maze to navigate.  Since activating Etsy shipping I’ve noticed a few back to back sales again and also more interest via messages, etc.

However, then my shop went quiet but I also did not renew half my listings (I don’t like to auto-renew) and so that might be part of the problem, so at this time I am still keeping Etsy shipping at least for a few months to test it out over a decent time period.

#2 You Can Offer Free Etsy Shipping without a Huge Price Increase

Etsy sent me a notification for free shipping which I did nothing with for several months.  Then I finally clicked on the notification and Etsy said they would offer to put the cost of the shipping within the price for me.  So basically Etsy updated all my prices across my shop to include the amount of shipping I had listed in my shipping profile.

So for example I charge $7 for shipping (which is the amount listed on my shipping profile) to ship jeans and the price of the jeans are $60, Etsy changed my price to $67.

This simple act of not having to touch Etsy again made all the difference as that is one of the main reasons I like Etsy vs. Depop or Poshmark is that both of these apps require a lot of constant touching.  Here is the thing, I charge $7 for shipping but I am eating about $1.86-2.86 on shipping costs depending on area I am shipping to. This is due to the fact Etsy priority shipping goes by zones, which is so antiquated vs. offering sellers a flat rate regardless of the zone like Poshmark or Depop does. 

I live on the East Coast and I have a lot of California (West Coast) customers so for me that typically means shipping of around $2.86 for one pair of jeans.  So I already had reduced shipping because I found that even selling a higher priced item shipping can be prohibitive when customers are choosing between sellers.

4 Reasons You Might not Want to Offer Free Etsy Shipping

#1: You Cannot Build the Cost into the Price and Remain Competitive

My pricing is overall in the middle some sellers charge more into my niche and some less.  Some sellers cannot build “free shipping” into their items.  For example, what if you are selling household goods and the shipping varies greatly and it costs you like $75 to ship a vintage lamp. Yes you could try to build it, but it might be more difficult than building $7 into a price of jeans.

#2: Your Average Item is Under $35

Many sellers are upset that Etsy is trying to force them to offer free Etsy shipping and so one of the hacks sellers are doing is  to set the pricing to $34.99 so that would be less than the $35 and therefore they feel this will exempt them from the algorithm that is forcing their hand.  If you are selling items underneath $35, then it wold not be apart of the Free Etsy shipping promotion.

#3: Shipping First Class

First class shipping is on average 4ish-5ish dollars, the variance is not as great vs shipping priority packages as in my example above with the jeans. If you are not charging a whole lot for shipping and especially if its still a lower priced item but over the threshold like $37-$40, you might not want to take any hits on shipping.  The lower priced shipping is already a better deal than priority–price wise not in protection, shipping time, etc.

#4: Fluctuating Shipping Costs

I pretty much have my shipping down pat because I ship a similar type of item.  It’s to the point that I don’t even really need to use my scale much anymore. However, having items with various sizes and weights going to different zones especially if you are selling hardware goods (i.e. vases, lamps, etc) those items can be very heavy especially if its vintage, that is a sign of good quality and that it is made well. Additionally, I can’t imagine offering free shipping on a vase that it takes me an hour just to make sure its packaged with care and then it takes $40-$60 to ship, and then trying to build that into shipping can be tricky vs. the $7 I build into the pricing of my jeans. 

An Alternative Method to Bring Traffic Without Free Etsy Shipping

Well if you are feel like “I’m grown and forget big momma [Etsy] she don’t tell me what to do or how to run my bizness!!!

Well I say “go ahead with your bad self” but have a backup plan.  I think you should really focus then on Pinterest to bring organic traffic to your Etsy shop.  You don’t have to have a blog, you can verify your Etsy account and pin straight to your shop items. 

Ultimately, like when any endeavor you have to weigh the pros and cons and sometimes the difference between knowing if it will work or not is the doing or just trying it out!

If you are going to do it try to build the shipping into your item cost. 

If you are not going to do it that’s fine too, I can tell you my shop has not seen that big of an increase in traffic because I offer free Etsy hipping.

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