Thursday, 11 July 2019
Etsy and the great free US shipping debate
Many of you will have seen that Etsy is now requiring all sellers to offer free shipping to the USA if they want their products to be found in searches by US customers. Yes, even overseas sellers like myself. I am sure you can guess how that went down in the community. 50% of my sales are to the US so I have spent the last few days thinking about a way to offer this. It is just not possible. I cannot find the words to express how disappointed I am with Etsy for this move. It shows me that overseas sellers are totally unimportant to Etsy, that Etsy has no respect for a seller's ability to find their own pricing strategy and that profit and the standing of the shareholders is the only thing that is important to them.
At the end of last year Etsy had 39.4 million buyers and 2.1 million sellers (according to Wikipedia). According to Erank's market report 57.2% of users are from the USA. Only 5.3% are from the UK. You can see that there is a much bigger user base in the USA than in the UK - and a much bigger customer base.
Many people have said 'Etsy is a business, they need to make a profit'. They do, yes, but they are dragging sellers further and further down in the name of that profit. They are alienating the people who make those profits possible. Etsy was set up to give creative people an outlet, to support them and create a healthy trade in handcrafted and vintage goods. It is no longer about producing hand made items and selling them at a price that exhibits pride in your work and respect for our customers. It is about offering the cheapest price possible.
Where my beads and silk cords are concerned, they will not withstand a price increase to cover the cost of US shipping. My bead sets cost £4.30 ($5.31 US) and US shipping costs £3.45 (not including Etsy's shipping fees and the cost of packaging materials). You can see that increasing my prices to £7.75 ($9.57 US) would lead to no sales. 'Offer free shipping on orders of more than $35', says Etsy. It would take an order for seven sets of beads to get to the $35 level. Just to recover the shipping cost alone I would need to increase my prices by 58 pence (72 cents). By the time I have done that it means shoppers only need to buy six sets of beads to reach $35. So I need to increase the price a bit more. All I am doing is offering my beads at a much more expensive price to all my buyers all over the world to subsidise free US shipping - and probably decreasing the number of sales due to the unnecessary price hike.
I am ashamed of Etsy. I am sad. We creative people deserve better than what Etsy is giving us. I won't be offering free US shipping. I will be offering a reasonable shipping fee to the US and prices on my products that are respectful of my work and my customers. It might mean the end of my business but I can only do what I can do.