Shipping is a critical part of ecommerce and selling on Etsy.
Here's how to best prepare yourself and your store for shipping
Set Yourself Up for Success
- Research packaging options. Because mail
carriers provide a range of shipping methods and package types,
start by surveying the best options for your items. It's good to
know what the most affordable methods are, but if buyers ask for
shipping upgrades, it's useful to know ahead of time what you can
offer. Shipping methods aren't just about pricing, either. Research
the other offerings that may be included in your choices, like
tracking, signature confirmation, and insurance. All this
information should be available on your mail carrier's
- Estimate your shipping rates. In order to
include shipping estimates in your listings, you'll need to measure
and weigh your packages. A kitchen scale should suffice, but if
you'd like to be extra sure, take your packages to the post office.
Keep track of common item weights for future reference, and use
your shipping provider's online shipping calculators:
- Learn from the Etsy community. Some of the
best (and free) resources for advice and tips about selling and
shipping are your Etsy peers. Joining an Etsy Team of local sellers
may provide insights into local shipping options, common issues,
and smart shipping practices. There are also teams dedicated to
broader shipping topics that are great resources. Learn about
- Get to know Etsy's tools and policies. Here
are some of Etsy's best shipping resources:
- Shipping labels. If you're a US seller, you have
access to our onsite postage tool. Purchasing and printing Etsy
Shipping Labels can help you save time and makes it easy to
organize shipping records. You can access labels by clicking
Print Shipping Label in your Sold Orders. Some of
- No additional fees: Postage costs are simply added to your
- Discounted pricing: All postage is available at discounted
- All shipping labels include tracking numbers.
- Purchasing labels will automatically mark your orders as
shipped and send shipping notifications with tracking numbers
directly to your buyer.
- You can also purchase shipping insurance from U-PIC Insurance
Services when you buy your label.
- Save time by purchasing and printing your labels in bulk.
- Multiple labels per order: You can buy and print up to four
labels for each of your orders.
- No more waiting in line at the post office!
- For US sellers shipping with USPS, we've set up a new Shipping Tools and Tips section to help guide you
through the process of selecting shipping methods and categorizing
- You can quickly apply pre-saved shipping settings to your
listings with Shipping Profiles.
- Processing times are a way to tell your buyer how long
it takes between when an order is placed and when it's
- Shipping Notifications make it easy to notify a buyer when
their order has shipped and to include tracking information that
they can access through their Etsy accounts. Providing tracking
lets buyers check on a shipment's status without asking you
- Our Seller Protection Policy shows you what you
need to resolve problems with confidence.
Make a Shipping Plan and Define Your Policies
Develop your practice. Now that you know about
your shipping options, it's time to make some decisions as part of
your shop's shipping plan.
- Think about the various scenarios that may arise as your
business grows, and ask yourself these questions:
- What are my processing times?
- Will I offer insurance on all packages, or only
- Will I accept returns, and will I reimburse buyers for
return shipping costs?
- What will I do when items are lost or damaged in the
- What mail providers do I use?
- What shipping methods do I offer, and what are their
average shipping times?
- Will I offer expedited shipping?
- Will I ship internationally?
- Am I taking all the steps that will make me eligible for
- Will I ever offer free shipping?
- Update the shipping section of your Shop Policies to include the answers to these
questions. By publicly informing your buyer of your
practices, you'll help protect yourself in the event of difficult
transactions, and promote the fact that you are a reliable
- Develop your routine. Putting your policies
into practice will be the best test to determine whether they work.
Pay attention to your process, and re-evaluate when necessary. As
you encounter different situations in which your policies are put
to use, you may find that they need to be revisited or updated. We
learn through experience, and there are always going to be things
that you discover along the way. For example, you may notice that
shipping times to certain destinations are consistently different
than what your mail carrier estimates. Keep track of that, and
update your info accordingly.
Communicate as Much as Possible With Your Buyers
- It's one thing to put all of these awesome new decisions into
practice, but you won't experience the full benefits of your plan
if you fail to communicate with customers. For example, what's the
benefit of offering insurance if no one knows it's available? Good
communication shows your buyers that you're moving forward with
their orders and answers common questions. There are two kinds of
communication you should use - forward-facing information that
anyone can see from your policies and listing pages, and follow-up
communication that takes place throughout the process of fulfilling
an order. Take advantage of all of these ways to keep your buyers
in the loop.
- Forward-facing Communication:
- Follow-up communication:
- Also, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
- While you can do your best to share as much information as
possible, there are also times when you'll need to follow up on
details with a buyer. For example, don't be afraid to confirm an
address with a buyer if it appears to contain a misspelling.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Once you've crafted your shipping plan and set up your
communication channels, pat yourself on the back. As you probably
already know, sometimes shipping challenges are out of your control
and are just part of the online retail experience. The good news is
that if you've armed yourself with good practices, you'll be a lot
more prepared. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Identify problem areas. If you know the
scenarios in which shipping complications are more common, you'll
be ready to catch them ahead of time.
- International and tracking: Be ready for things like longer
shipping times and customs delays. If you can prep buyers with
information that you've gained through research and experience,
you'll lessen the possibility of unexpected surprises on their end.
Even letting buyers know ahead of time that their order is coming
from another country can make a big difference in setting
reasonable expectations for them. Read Shipping How-To: Custom Forms, Duties, and
Taxes for more info.
- Stay alert. When something does come up, you
want to realize that as soon as possible so you can start taking
the necessary steps to resolve it. If you've kept your buyer in the
loop throughout the entire process, they should be able to act as a
resource to you and let you know as soon as something doesn't look
- Keep good records. Proof of shipping is your
friend. Pictures of items and packages prior to shipment, label
receipts, insurance, tracking: Any of these will help you figure
out where things may have gotten waylaid, while serving as proof
that you were not the cause of any issues. If you did make a
mistake at some point in the process, all of these records will
help you identify at which step the mistake occurred. If you've
done a good job keeping track of your information, it will be that
much easier when you need someone else to help you track something
down. Remember: Retaining proof of shipment for your records will
help you in the event a case is opened on Etsy.
- Ask questions. When new shipping scenarios
present themselves, it can suddenly feel like you're on your own in
very unfamiliar territory. Although you may not have experienced
this before, someone else has. In addition to Teams, here are some
ways to connect with experienced sellers and shipping experts:
- For general questions, communicate with Etsy sellers in
- If you need help with a more sensitive or private issue,
- For issues with your postal service, you can always go straight
to the source and talk to your shipping provider