Beginner's Guide to Shipping

Shipping is one of the most important factors customers look at when deciding whether to make a purchase. For Etsy sellers, creating an effective and competitive shipping strategy is a key part of running your online business. 

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Shipping basics

The first step in creating your shipping strategy is to go over all your shipping logistics. There are many options to consider including carriers, pricing, and pickup, drop-off, or delivery preferences.

Whether you dispatch your orders yourself, or use a third party to help with fulfillment, as an Etsy seller, you're responsible for ensuring orders are sent to buyers.

When creating a shipping strategy:

  • Consider what shipping delivery options and timelines will work well for you, your products, and your customers.
  • Create a workflow with expectations that you can easily meet, even during high volume times. This includes setting realistic processing times for your items.
  • Gather shipping materials, like packaging and boxes or envelopes.
  • Create your shipping policies.
  • Set up your shipping profiles.
  • Set aside time regularly to fulfill orders, manage shipments, and update customers. 

How to ship on Etsy

Fulfilling orders and shipping packages can be a time consuming task, so it’s important to create a strategy that works well for you on an ongoing basis. On Etsy.com, there are several tools to help streamline your shipping workflow, manage shipping options, and communicate easily with customers about shipping updates and arrivals. 

How to create shipping profiles

Once your shop is open and you’ve added listings, you can add shipping profiles. With shipping profiles, you can use the same shipping settings for multiple listings, saving time when you are adding products to your shop. 

To create a shipping profile:

  1. On Etsy.com, click the Your Account icon, then click Shop Manager.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Shipping settings.
  4. Click the Shipping profiles tab.
  5. Click Add a shipping profile.

When setting up shipping profiles, if you’re a seller in the US or Canada, you can also choose to use calculated shipping when shipping with particular carriers. Calculated shipping uses your location, the buyer’s location, and the item’s size and weight to automatically generate shipping costs for orders. Learn more about calculated shipping.

Learn more about shipping profiles.

Setting competitive shipping prices

When setting shipping rates, it’s important to consider how to be competitive and entice buyers. High shipping prices can make customers less likely to buy. In fact, shoppers on Etsy are 20% more likely to complete their purchase when the item ships for free.

On Etsy, you can also sign up to offer a free shipping guarantee which will give your products priority placement in US shoppers’ Etsy search results. A free shipping guarantee lets shoppers in the US know that they won’t pay added shipping costs on orders totaling $35 or over that ship within or to the US. 

You can use the optional smart pricing tool to you adjust item prices to recover shipping costs if you decide to offer free shipping. How you set prices for your shop is up to you. 

Using Etsy shipping labels

Sellers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia can buy shipping labels directly through Etsy. Shipping labels save valuable time allowing you to print your labels at home and automatically generating information to share with the customer like tracking numbers and estimated delivery details. Learn more about shipping labels on Etsy.

For sellers in other countries, you can purchase shipping labels through your preferred shipping carrier. Many shipping carriers offer shipping labels that you can purchase online and print at home.

How to set up shipping policies

After you set up your shipping strategy, it’s important to communicate policies in your shop policies page. 

Tips for communicating shipping policies:

  • List the carriers you use for shipping 
  • Be clear about the delivery options available to shoppers
  • Be transparent about return shipping policies if you have them. For example, include if you or the buyer will pay for return shipping.

To update your policies:

  1. On Etsy.com, click the Your Account icon, then click Shop Manager.
  2. Click the pencil icon next to your shop under Sales channels.
  3. Scroll to the Shop policies section.

Learn more about shop policies.

Learn more about shipping in the Ultimate Guide to Shipping.

Explore our Beginner's Guides to help you get started on Etsy.

There are some common issues that can occur when shipping a buyer’s order. 

If you’ve already sent the buyer’s order, you can mark it as complete and add tracking information, if it’s available.

Click an issue to learn more:

If you’re having trouble with a buyer’s shipping address, contact the buyer through Messages to verify the correct information. Etsy doesn’t have buyer information that isn’t submitted on an order.

If the buyer sends you their correct information, you can use that information to purchase postage. Unless you use Etsy shipping labels, you can't edit their address on Etsy. 

If you can’t get in touch with a buyer to correct their address, you can cancel the order. Click the icon by the order and click Issue a refund. You must issue a full refund to cancel an order. Then click the icon again and click Cancel a transaction.

The buyer’s address is too long or contains special characters

If an address line has too many characters, you can move some information to the second address line. If characters have non-standard accents or punctuation, you can replace them with non-accented characters without contacting the buyer.

You can edit the buyer’s address when you create their shipping label:

  1. From your Orders page, click Get labels on the order you want to edit.
  2. Click Edit next to Ship to to edit their address. 
  3. Edit the buyer’s address.
  4. Click Save.

Then you can complete your label purchase.

You can’t edit a label you already purchased. If you need to change the buyer’s shipping address after buying a label, you need to request a refund for that label and then buy a new label.

Etsy doesn’t collect the buyer’s phone number. If you need the buyer’s phone number, contact the buyer over Messages. Let them know that you need their phone number to complete their delivery information for shipping.

If you use an Etsy shipping label, the order automatically moves to the Completed tab and the buyer is notified that the order is shipped on the date on the shipping label.

If you ship through a different shipping method, you can mark the order as complete. To mark an order as complete:

  1. Find the order on your Sold tab
  2. Click the timer icon on the order, then click Mark complete (if you don’t have custom progress steps, you won't need to click Mark Complete after clicking the timer icon).
  3. You can then:
  • Choose a Ship Date. We won’t send a Shipping Notification to your buyer until the package’s Ship Date. 
  • Add a personal Note to Buyer.
  • Add a tracking number, if one was provided by your shipping carrier.

You can include a tracking number when you mark an order complete

You can also add new tracking after marking an order complete on the Completed orders page:

  1. Click the (ellipsis) icon next to the order. 
  2. Click Add tracking.

My USPS tracking information isn’t working

If tracking information isn’t working on USPS’s site, tracking may be provided through Pitney Bowes. We partner with Pitney Bowes to supply tracking information for  tracked letters and flat packages. The tracking number won’t work on USPS’s site, but you and the buyer can access tracking information by clicking the tracking link through Etsy.

Etsy won’t accept my tracking information

If you get a “Tracking not supported” error, this may be due to the carrier requiring security validation on their site. You can send track through a link in the "Note to buyer" or a Message.

The order status is incorrect

If an order was delivered, but is showing the incorrect status, this is usually an issue with how the status is displayed. The shipment status displayed on Etsy can't be edited, but this doesn't affect payment for the order and the buyer will still able to leave feedback.

The currency on the packing slip will be the buyer’s preferred currency. This can be different than the currency of their country or your shop. The order receipt displays your shop’s currency.

While shipping issues can happen, by working with the buyer on a solution, you can often ease a frustrating situation and use it to build customer loyalty. You can offer a refund, replacement, and/or work with the shipping service to file a claim if you purchased insurance. As the sender, you’ll need to file a claim for insurance coverage. If you purchased an Etsy shipping label, learn how to file an insurance claim.

Work with the buyer and advise them to check in with their local post office as well as their neighbors. 

In the event that the buyer files a non delivery case, we need to see proof the item was shipped to the address on the Etsy receipt or the address agreed upon in Etsy Messages. Comment in the case log with proof of shipping: 

  • A shipping service receipt
  • A tracking number and/or tracking information that shows the package was delivered to the buyer
  • A customs form (for international shipments)
  • A scanned copy of the delivery confirmation or departure information

Etsy can’t influence a package that’s in transit, nor intervene with shipping carriers. The ideal outcome for any missing or returned order issue is a resolution directly between the buyer and the seller, in which both are satisfied with the outcome. Delivery issues must be resolved between the buyer and seller directly. If you're experiencing an issue with shipping, we suggest working with the buyer through Messages to reach a solution.

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