Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday's News and Tips: Shipping

When I first joined Etsy, shipping was a mystery. There I was, excitedly typing my product description for that first post when I came upon the shipping costs. I felt lost and, well, a little stupid. How was I supposed to know how much it cost to ship a baby blanket unless I packaged it up and took it to the post office?  In addition, I did not want to charge a lot for shipping. I wanted people to buy my products.
 Despite this, I was anxious to see my product online, so I did the one thing any intelligent person would do. I guessed what it would cost and entered my price - $1.95. 
 Later that day, I proudly showed my husband my post. The first thing he said was, “You're not charging enough for shipping."
 Perplexed, I searched Etsy until I found an article about shipping. Through this article, I learned that I should buy a postage scale and then compare the weight of my products with a chart on the United States Post Office web site. When I first did this, I felt dismayed at the price until I discovered flat rate shipping.  This was good.  Then, I discovered that my postage scale was about to save me more money.
 Through weighing my products, I was able to determine that I did not need to use the USPS flat rate cost since my products are light in weight. I found that I could send one product in a 3M padded envelope for less than the $5.00 flat rate. Because of this, I felt more comfortable adding in my handling costs - how much I needed for tissue paper, stickers, envelope and a tracking number – without charging my customer a large amount for shipping! Now I can send most of my products for $5.00 without losing money on handling.
  If a customer orders more than one product, I charge half the cost of what it would take to mail the product singly.  Be sure to add this cost in the shipping section marked “With another Item” when you type in your shipping cost for one item. Do not leave it blank!  If you do, your customers will only pay you the cost for shipping one item even if he or she orders more than one. While this is good for your customer, you are going to lose money. 
Here are some tips on shipping from CIC captain Rita Sullivan:

"Is there a way I can determine what to charge for shipping before I list items in my shop? And how do I set shipping prices when I have different items in shop items and each have different weights? 

Yes, there is a way to make this determination before listing items in your shop. Since all of your items have different weights, all of your shipping costs would vary. If you know the actual and/or estimated weight that each item is going to weigh when it's ready to ship, you can go to to calculate the cost to ship the item. Enter your zip code and then select a zip code that is furthest from you. For example, if you live on the west coast, you could enter 17011, which is one of the zip codes for Harrisburg. If you live on the east coast, choose a zip from California, such as 90256. Select the packaging, then click continue. 

The weight of the package will determine how it ships. Any items weighing up to 13 ounces can be shipped as U.S. First Class Mail. You can add other services, such as USPS tracking, insurance, etc. If your item weighs more than 13 ounces, it automatically ships by priority mail. Using the U.S.P.S. calculator will help you to determine what to charge for shipping when listing new shop items.

Save Time when listing your items! Create a Shipping Profile for those items that are of the same type/size and are within the same weight class, such as note cards, artwork-matted, artwork-framed, etc. Follow the few short steps below to create your shipping profiles.

1. Go to Info and Appearances 
2. Click on the “Shipping and Payment” tab on the left side of the screen beneath the heading: Shop Settings
3. First tab opens is shipping profiles. To create a new profile for a different product, click on blue tab to the right: Create New Profile
4. Enter the info requested and save. Next time you list this item, you can use your newly created profile, which will save you the time of typing the shipping prices for that type of product."

If you still have trouble, contact a seller who ships products similar to yours and ask what they do. For the most part, Etsy sellers are generous with their time in helping other shop owners. 

Next week we'll discuss international shipping and printing shipping labels on Etsy. For a discussion on shipping and other topics related to Etsy, go to Discussions on the CIC Team page and click on Shop Tips. 

by Lisa Gossman-Steeves

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