How to Set Processing Times and “Dispatch-By” Dates

Processing times and “dispatch” dates help buyers know when you’ll dispatch items in your shop. Buyers can see the processing time for an item on the listing page under Delivery and return policies. The “dispatch by” date appears on the receipt after the buyer purchases an item.

For eligible listings, customers may see the estimated delivery date instead of the processing time.

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What is the processing time for an item?

The processing time is how much time you need to get an order ready to dispatch. The processing time helps set expectations with buyers before purchasing an item, and accurate processing times help you reliably deliver your orders.

If an order is custom, this will include the amount of time it takes to create the custom item. If an order is already made, the processing time is the amount of time you need to package the item and bring it to the delivery service.

The processing time also affects when the buyer can open a case about an order and when they can leave a review.

What is the “dispatch by” date?

The “dispatch by” date is the date that you commit to dispatch an order to the buyer. This is the date at the end of the longest processing time for an order.

For example: your processing time for an item is 3-5 days. A buyer orders the item on 1st September. The “dispatch by” date for this order is 6th September.

If you don't set a processing time

If you don’t specify a processing time for an item, the buyer won’t see a "dispatch by" date during the checkout process. If the buyer places an order for multiple items and one doesn't have a processing time, then the whole order won't show a "dispatch by" date, even if other items in the order do have processing times.

How do I set the processing time for an item?

To set the processing time for a delivery profile:

  1. Sign in to Etsy.com.
  2. Visit your Shop Manager.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Go to Delivery settings.
  5. Go to Delivery profiles.
  6. Select Add profile or select a delivery profile you want to update.
  7. Fill out the delivery profile.
  8. In Order Processing Schedule, select Edit.
  9. Select if you only process orders Monday through Friday, or if you want to include Saturday and/or Sunday in your processing times.
  10. Select Update.
  11. Select your Processing time from the dropdown. You can choose a processing time between from 1 business day and 10 weeks.
  12. Select Create profile.

Next, you can choose this delivery profile for your listings:

  1. In Shop Manager, select Listings.
  2. Find the listing you want to change, or create a new listing..
  3. Find the gear icon and choose Edit.
  4. Scroll down to the Delivery section.
  5. Select the delivery profile with the correct processing time.
  6. Choose Publish.

You can edit the processing time for an item using these same steps.

Processing times and “dispatch by” dates are determined by your order processing schedule, which can be set to include weekends. If a ship-by date falls on a Sunday, it will usually be bumped to the next business day. 

If you see that the “dispatch by" date for your order falls on a public holiday or a Sunday, you can update the date once per order.

Processing times begin the day after your item is purchased by a buyer. For example: 

  • A listing of yours is purchased by a buyer on Wednesday. It has a 5-day processing time and a processing schedule set to Monday – Friday, so the dispatch by date would be the following Wednesday.

  • If the same listing included Saturday and Sunday in your processing schedule, then it would have a dispatch by date of Monday instead. 

What if I dispatch faster than my processing times? 

Having fast processing times can lead to shorter estimated delivery dates, which can help encourage customers to buy items from your shop. If you have a history of completing your orders faster than your listed processing times, you’ll see your actual processing times displayed in your delivery profiles and custom delivery settings. From here you can quickly apply them to your profile

For example, if your delivery profile’s processing time is set to 5-7 days, but you typically complete your orders in 3-5 days, you can apply the shorter actual processing time to that delivery profile. 

To update your delivery profiles and custom delivery settings with your actual processing times

  1. From Shop Manager, go to Delivery settings
  2. Select Delivery profiles
  3. If this is your first time updating your delivery profiles to your actual processing times, you’ll see a popup window giving you the opportunity to update your settings.
  4. Select Update all to apply your actual processing times across all of your eligible listings. You can also choose I'll review on my own to select individual listings.  
  5. If successful, you’ll see confirmation that your processing times have been updated. 

Review your actual processing times individually in the Processing time section of your delivery profiles. The automatic Update option is only visible if your actual processing times are shorter than what you had set for that profile. You can manually adjust your processing times at any point. 

Delivery profiles and custom delivery settings that are missing critical information will fail to update. You must add the missing information before you can update them to your actual processing times.

How are the actual processing times in my delivery profiles calculated? 

Your actual processing time is based on your processing times over the past 120 days for orders that were sent using that specific delivery profile, with a minimum of at least 5 orders dispatched with it. 

To make sure that the processing times are accurate, the dispatch date you set when completing your order should match the date you plan to hand off the order to the delivery company.

How do I update the “dispatch by" date for an order? 

You can edit the “dispatch by" date once, as long as the original "dispatch by" date hasn't passed, and the buyer has agreed to the new date.

To update the “dispatch by” date for an existing order:

  1. Sign in to Etsy.com.
  2. Go to your Shop Manager.
  3. Select Orders & Delivery.
  4. Find the transaction you want to change.
  5. Choose the (ellipsis) icon.
  6. Choose Update dispatch by date.
  7. Select your new dispatch by date. The new date must be within three weeks of the original “dispatch by” date.
  8. Add a note to the buyer explaining the new dispatch by date.
  9. Choose Update & notify buyer.
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