On Etsy, we expect sellers to offer consistently excellent customer service. One key way to support your buyers is to ship orders reliably. Learn more about Etsy's customer service expectations for sellers.
To reliably ship your orders, you need to set clear and realistic expectations with your buyers, and meet those expectations. Since shipping can be an unpredictable aspect of running an online business, having a dependable shipping strategy will help you keep buyers informed and ensure they receive their orders in good condition and on time.
This article describes best practices to help orders get to your buyers on time.
Setting up shipping in your shop
Set accurate processing times
Make sure your processing times reflect the amount of time it takes you to prepare, pack, and hand the order to the shipping service. If you don’t add your own processing time to a listing, it’s automatically given five business days. If you need more than five business days to complete orders, we encourage you to add the appropriate processing times to your listings. Regularly review and update your processing periods to make sure that they’re always current.
Fill out your shop policies
Since shipping times vary, it’s helpful for buyers to have estimates for how long a package may be in transit. You can provide shipping estimates in your shop policies and in the Message to Buyer, which is sent after an order is placed.
We also recommend including information about how you handle lost or damaged items in your shop policies.
Offer shipping upgrades
You can offer shipping upgrades to let buyers choose their preferred shipping speed. Shipping upgrades also set clear expectations for delivery dates and take some of the pressure off you to ship quicker than usual if an item is purchased for a special occasion.
If you ship internationally, you should make shoppers aware their order will come from another country before the order is even placed. You can add the country you ship from under Shipping origin on the listing page. Buyers will see this information before adding an item to their cart.
It’s also crucial to let buyers know the average delivery times for the shipping methods you offer. Because international shipments generally take longer than domestic ones and are subject to delays as they pass through customs, it’s a good idea to let buyers know this information up front. You can include average delivery times in your listing descriptions and shop policies.
Choose the right package
Measure the item and select a box or envelope that is strong enough to protect your items and has enough room for packing materials. Learn about measuring packages and shipping options.
Pack items with care
When shipping fragile or one-of-a-kind items, add extra layers of protection, such as bubble wrap or biodegradable packing peanuts. For each item you list, you can include a handling fee in the cost of the item to cover your time and packing supplies used.
Invest in insurance
Consider purchasing shipping insurance for your items so you’re covered if something is damaged in transit. You can build this into the cost of the item, include it as a shipping upgrade add-on through your shipping profile, or add it as a listing variation option. If it’s optional, make sure the customer understands what your shop policies cover if something is broken in transit. Many buyers are willing to pay more for the sense of security that insurance offers, and it can relieve some of the burden from you if something is broken during shipping.
Ship on time
Your buyers and Etsy expect you to fulfill and ship orders within your listed processing times. Etsy considers an order overdue once its processing time has passed and it isn’t marked as shipped. Sellers with overdue orders are at a higher risk of having complaints filed against them, since processing times help determine the estimated delivery date and case and review eligibility. A buyer can open a case or leave a review once the processing time and shipping days associated with the listing have passed.
Mark orders as shipped after they’re mailed
When a package is marked as shipped but isn't enroute to the buyer, it creates a false expectation of when they'll receive their order. Only purchase an Etsy shipping label or mark an order as shipped when you plan on sending the package. Marking an order as shipped early can impact case and review eligibility.
If you purchase shipping labels on Etsy, and create a label for an order that you're not ready to send yet, you can choose to set a Ship Date up to two days in the future.
Provide tracking information for your orders
Trackable postage isn’t always an option due to its price, but it’s worth considering the benefits against the cost. Tracking information increases a buyer’s trust in your business because they can monitor their package’s progress. Sellers who provide tracking information spend less time answering shipping questions from buyers. Tracking also provides important documentation that may protect you in the event of a dispute with a buyer.
Keep proof of shipping
If a dispute is filed against your shop, you may be asked to provide proof the order shipped within its processing time to qualify for Seller Protection. Proof of shipping shows the item was shipped to the address given by the buyer when they purchased the item on Etsy (or as agreed upon in a message), and can be:
- A scanned copy of the delivery confirmation or departure information
- A shipping service receipt
- A customs form
- Tracking information that shows the package was delivered to the buyer
Communicating with buyers
You can help customers feel confident about their purchases by communicating with them after their orders ship.
For example, follow up with them around the time you expect their order to arrive, or if you see a delivery attempt was made, to make sure they received it.
Part of extending exceptional customer service means you’re committed to working with your buyers to reach a resolution if there’s an issue. This includes responding to their messages in a timely manner and assisting a buyer with filing a claim with the shipping carrier if an item appears lost in transit or arrives damaged.