Yes, many Etsy sellers offer free shipping. A green “FREE delivery” icon indicates items that ship for free. You’ll see this icon next to or below the product’s price in the search results. If you’re on the listing page for an item, it will state “Free” under “cost to deliver”, which is under the “Delivery and return policies” section on the right side of the page.
>> You may also be interested in: How Long does Etsy take to Ship?
Although Etsy is a huge e-commerce company, they do not own any of the products listed on the website. Etsy consists of millions of individual sellers, each selling the products they’ve created or curated.
Because there are millions of different shops on Etsy located worldwide, there will be variations in shipping costs and whether an item ships for free.
Etsy is a big company and earns millions in profits, but the same is not true for the business owners selling the products found on Etsy.
Most Etsy shops are small businesses with lower profit margins that don’t allow them to offer free shipping.
How do I get free shipping on Etsy?
To get free shipping on Etsy, you need to filter your search results. Once you use the search bar or a category/subcategory to find the type of product you’re looking for, you can filter out items that have a shipping fee.
Use the filter section, which will appear along the left side of the screen or as an “All Filters” button on the top left. Find the section titled “Special offers”, check the box next to “FREE delivery” and then the button “Apply”.
Your product results will only show items that will ship to you for free.
>> You may also be interested in how to find items with lower shipping costs. Learn more here.
Some sellers may also run promotions periodically to offer free shipping. So if you find an item you love but it doesn’t have free shipping, send a message to the seller. Ask if they ever run promotions to offer free shipping or discounts.
Keep in mind, many sellers on Etsy are already undervaluing their work to compete with the prices of mass-produced products. To offer free shipping, they must either reduce their profits or increase their prices.
The profit margins of handmade items are already low. Reducing profit margins by the cost of shipping so the customer doesn’t have to pay for the necessary service is enough to put some Etsy shops out of business.
Free shipping is a nice perk, but it’s not something every Etsy shop can offer.
Does Etsy pay for shipping?
No, Etsy does not pay for shipping on the items you purchase through its website. Etsy is a company providing a platform for small businesses to set up a shop, list products, and sell them to online shoppers. Etsy charges each seller a fee to list items and sell them through their platform, and does not cover sellers’ operating costs, such as shipping fees.
Who pays for free shipping on Etsy?
Shipping is never really free. When a business offers its customers free shipping, shipping cost is simply worked into the product’s price. The business has bumped up their prices to cover shipping, or reduced their profits to cover shipping costs. A business can also combine the two options so both the seller and the buyer are paying for shipping fees.
To understand why “free shipping” is a little controversial on Etsy, you must understand profit margins and how they differ for a handmade business.
Etsy has encouraged its sellers to offer free shipping, and the company has openly said they prioritize listings with free shipping in US search results (source).
Etsy sellers work very hard to get their product listings on the first few pages of search results. So many feel forced into offering free shipping for the chance to rise in search result rankings.
Many Etsy sellers already worry their prices are too high. So to offer free shipping, they end up reducing their profit margins.
When an item is mass-produced and fairly priced, it’s not a big hit to the business when they reduce profit margins to cover shipping fees.
Profits are what’s left after the cost of producing, marketing, and selling a product are covered. A company needs profits to survive and grow.
Because a handmade item takes much longer to make than a mass-produced, machine-made item, the costs of a handmade item increase. There is also a cap on how much consumers are willing to pay for an item. So that limits how much a crafter can raise their prices to cover the cost of labor.
Let’s say a handmade product is $50 and has 20% profit margins. This means the item costs $40 to make, market, and sell, and the seller makes $10 in profits.
Let’s also say it costs $5 to ship the item.
The seller previously added $5 during the checkout process but now wants to offer free shipping to its customers.
Since the cost to sell the product has increased by $5, they may raise the item’s price by $5 so profit margins stay at 20%.
Alternatively, the business may keep the product’s price the same and reduce profits. Instead of profiting $10 (20% profit margin), they’re profiting $5 and have a 10% profit margin.
They could also split the difference and increase the product’s price by $2.50 while also reducing their profits by $2.50.
Most Etsy sellers don’t want to risk losing sales by raising their prices, so they reduce their profit margins. This can have a big impact on a small business and jeopardize its success.
I hope this article has helped explain free shipping on Etsy.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!