The Etsy Blog

Shipping Strategies for Vintage Sellers

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

knickey

I recently came across an amazing mid-century glass coffee carafe with matching glasses at a thrift store. For fear of someone else grabbing it before me, I ran down the aisle, elbows out, and practically threw it in my cart. As I sat examining each and every starburst with a stupid smile on my face, it inevitably loomed before me: how in the world could I ship this?

I’m sure those sentiments resonate with many vintage sellers. You have the goods and a buyer halfway across the globe, but how to get it there in a way that works for the both of you? Together, with the help of Etsy’s vintage community, we’ll walk you through the process and give you some tips on how to ship vintage items.

Getting Started: Package Size, Shape and Weight

Vintage items come in a variety of shapes, materials, and weights. Because each item is more different and unique than the next, an important step of the shipping process is to quickly and efficiently size up the item. Along with determining the dimensions of the package or envelope, the weight is especially important. Investing in a small postal scale is a great first step to ensure accurate shipping costs.

Measuring and weighing: “After I photograph and take the measurements of the item, I pack it into the box I intend to use with all of the packaging materials to protect it. I weigh it on a digital scale and then I go directly to the USPS and UPS website to figure out the most economical way to ship it to my customer.” — frenchpackrat

Shipping system: “I keep a ruler and scale in the same area I photograph. I weigh and measure the items and jot it down on a notepad. Then I photograph, check the photos to be sure they are not blurry and then wrap up items and place them in a box that is labeled for retrieval later. I have found this system works pretty well. Having a routine is essential in keeping everything organized.” — GSArcheologist

Calculating Shipping

After you’ve weighed and measured your package, turn to a shipping calculator. Plug in destinations, both near and far, and you’ll get an accurate estimate of how much it will cost to ship your package. Here are a few handy links to some commonly used shipping calculators:

USPS | Royal Mail Canada Post | France | Australia Post | FedEx | UPS | Greyhound

Shipping calculator: “An accurate postage scale will be your best friend. That and a link to the USPS rates. Weighing your object, then referencing the USPS rates, will save you loads of frustration. Just be sure you take into account your box and packing supplies: a well-packaged item can add up to 1 pound to your final weight.” — nellsvintagehouse

When measuring your items and packaging, keep in mind that shipping carriers determine postage pricing not only by weight, but also by dimension and destination. When choosing packaging materials for your items, the smaller the size and the lighter the materials — the cheaper the price.

Using USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for heavy items: “I find that most of my items fit into the USPS Flat Rate Priority boxes very easily. There are three different sizes available, which give me a good range, and they ship for the same rate all over the U.S., which is efficient and cuts down on the guesswork. And since many of my items are heavy — vintage cameras, or silver holloware, for example — it ends up being economical for a lot of buyers.” — FalconandFinch

Shipping Furniture

Heavy and large in size, determining accurate shipping costs for furniture can be a challenge. Here are a few tips and elements to consider when shipping vintage furniture:

  • Estimate. Provide a shipping estimate in the shipping profile and direct buyers to reach out to you for an accurate quote. You can then customize the listing with the accurate shipping cost.
  • Overages. Determine the costs of shipping a heavy item to a destination far away from you. Let buyers know you’ll refund overages over a certain amount.
  • Local only. Listing items for local pick-up or local delivery only. For more tips on selling local, check out this blog post.
  • Policies. Rely on your Shipping Policies to help educate a buyer on your shipping processes.

Greyhound: Greyhound is great for furniture shipping. If the measurements fit their requirement, a lot of smaller furniture items ship for a fraction of the cost.” — 4EnvisioningVintage

“I ship furniture through Greyhound Package Xpress. It’s fast and affordable. Items ship from station to station and the customer can pick it up or arrange for a third party courier service to deliver it.” — thewhitepepper

Shipping Profiles

Now, what to do with all this information? First step, create a Shipping Profile. Shipping Profiles on Etsy are a simple way to save a specific set of shipping information, which you can then apply to listings. If you sell items that weigh a similar amount and ship in similar packaging, save time in the future by setting up a shipping profile which you can quickly add to those items while listing.

Recordkeeping

Mistakes and miscalculations happen occasionally. One way to account for your mistakes and speed up your process is to keep a record of your shipping costs.

Keeping track of shipping costs: “I have a list of the most common weights for the vintage items I sell in a Word document, as well as box sizes. I use this as a fast guide and rarely have problems with shipping costs. For instance, if I have shipped a fondue set in the past, I add a note to the document as to how much it cost for shipping and packing materials. That way I don’t have to weigh and measure every fondue set for shipping. It makes things easy when I go to list something because all I have to do is refer to the Word document.” — GSArcheologist

And, account for those mistakes. If you realize you underestimated a shipping cost, go back and update your Shipping Profile and similar listings to ensure that you’re protected in the future.

Update Shipping Profiles based on experience: “I know this sounds too obvious, but keep up with shipping costs for sold items! When I first started selling on Etsy I lost money shipping a few items. You bet I went back and updated shipping on similar things in my shop! If you aren’t sure, there are always people you can ask!” — NaturalandVintage

Insurance

Shipping fragile, collectible, and valuable vintage items is no easy feat. One way to cover yourself in the off chance that a package will get lost or broken in transit is to purchase insurance. Here are some things to consider if you offer insurance:

  • Let buyers know! Purchasing valuable or fragile items can be intimidating to a buyer. If you offer insurance on items, include that info in the item description or your Shipping Policies.
  • Self-insurance. You don’t need to purchase insurance through a shipping carrier to insure your packages. Build in a couple extra dollars to your items’ prices or shipping costs. If and when a package gets lost or broken in transit, you’ve already covered yourself.
  • Investigate using a third-party insurance tool like ShipSaver. ShipSaver syncs with your Etsy shop and allows you to affordably insure both domestic and international shipments.

ShipSaver: “I use ShipSaver.com for all international orders. It is much cheaper than purchasing insurance through the post office and claims seem to be worked out very quickly!” — oncemet

Just in case: “Another helpful thing is to purchase insurance on anything expensive or fragile. In the event something happens at least you won’t lose your money. Filing a claim is a hassle, but it’s nice to be covered.” — sorrythankyou79

Self-insurance: “Just pack sufficiently, double-boxing fragile items, and charge a modest handling fee. The handling fee will essentially act as your ‘self-insurance,’ covering the rare instances when an item is lost or damaged.” — LaurasLastDitch

Packaging Vintage Items

You’ve sized up your package, calculated the price, and created a Shipping Profile. What’s next? Getting your item out the door and to your buyer in one piece. Here are some tips to help you get your package there safely:

Double-boxing: “I double-box very fragile items. Wrap the item in bubble wrap and put it in a box. Bubble wrap the box. Place box in bigger box, putting stuffing all around the inside box so the small box does not move around. Put the fragile label on all sides of the box and cross your fingers.” — GotMilkGlassAndMore

Shake test: “Vintage breakables need to be packaged so that when you perform a ‘shake test’ nothing moves inside the box.” — WhimzyThyme

Recycled materials: “As a vintage seller, I find it challenging to have just the right box for shipping items that vary in size, shape, and weight. I have become very resourceful at finding a wide variety of boxes. A local children’s store allows me to pick up gently used but very sturdy shipping boxes each week. They are also happy to pass along the packing material that would otherwise end up in a landfill.” — PassedBy

Thoughtful protection: “I’d say the single biggest thing about shipping is erring on the side of overdoing protective packaging. You generally can’t replace a vintage item, so it’s better to spend a little more time making it extremely safe for whatever it might encounter on its journey to your customer, than skimping and regretting it.” — FlourishCafe

Fill us in on your tricks and tips for shipping vintage below!

Seller Handbook Best-of Archives

  • weezieduzzit

    weezieduzzit says:

    The suggestion of overcharging and refunding on a site of this site and age is ludicrous and I have no doubt that sales are lost every day because of it- especially during the holiday season where people are looking to make a purchase NOW, not after sending convos and waiting for responses and waiting for a seller to edit the listing only to have someone else come along and buy it, etc. . Etsy needs a shipping calculator or at the very least a way to offer more than one option to buyers (multiple shipping fields where the serller could specify a cost for first class, priority, for the western states/midwest/east coast.)

    2 years ago

  • ZinniaSnipSnap

    ZinniaSnipSnap says:

    This post is just perfect for me and my vintage shops! I needed this info!

    2 years ago

  • localevintage

    localevintage says:

    For larger items, such as furniture, I often specifically state in my descriptions that the shipping price quoted is an estimate. There are so many variants that come into play with shipping, even shipping to different regions of the United States. In regards to shipping during the holidays, In my experience, most people are not buying furniture and such during the holidays unless they are purchasing it for themselves. Since this is the case, they are most likely going to be more flexible about getting an accurate pricing quote. I would also suggest that everyone that uses USPS state on their store info page that orders need to be placed by early December to ensure delivery by Christmas, especially if you are shipping first class or parcel post. Last year I shipped some larger items that took two weeks to arrive during December. If your customers want fast shipping they need to pay for it in advance, so put a note on the listing or on your store info page so that they aware of it. Overall a great article and I agree with all the tips! :-)

    2 years ago

  • TheVintageApartment

    TheVintageApartment says:

    I more often than not under-charge shipping & take the small loss. For the items that I over-estimated, I immediately refund the difference. That's the key for all Etsy sellers - if you over-charged, refund the difference ASAP. As a buyer, I often find I've been over-charged and am never reimbursed. I won't be a repeat-buyer at that shop (unless a convo fixes the situation). It really is a learn-from-your-mistake situation, the variations of shipping vintage. I think I've finally found my way after selling for nearly 2 years. But, boy, in the beginning I sure did get the numbers wrong! Now it's become second-nature (for the most part). I also like to give my buyers options - if they are overseas, I contact them right away to let them know they can do Standard or Air - and give them the exact quotes for both. I use PayPal to do my shipping via Canada Post; it works really well for me. I print out my labels at home & just drop off at closest Postal outlet. No waiting in line! :)

    2 years ago

  • FullCircleRetro

    FullCircleRetro says:

    Always something new to learn...Thank U! =)

    2 years ago

  • lexismonkey

    lexismonkey says:

    USPS flat rate shipping is always more expensive - Priority mail is too expensive. Unless you are selling vintage lead bricks, parcel post, first class mail, or any of the other options are more cost effective. As for international mail, priority mail is absolutely out of the question for anything weighing less than 4 pounds. Shipping priority mail internationally costs more than the item is worth! Another tip: Domestic and internationally…always use envelopes over boxes if you can get away with it!!! Shoes for example, I can send a pair of shoes after stuffing them with tissue paper so they keep their shape, wrapping each shoe up in a layer of tissue paper and then a layer of bubble wrap … separately, put them in an envelope and they are delivered just as safely as if they were in a box.

    2 years ago

  • RecycleRestyle

    RecycleRestyle says:

    This is for SURE the biggest learning curve when starting an Etsy vintage shop. It took me the first year and a bit before I felt confident about understanding shipping weights/costs, and even now I usually under charge by a couple of dollars. It can be discouraging for International buyers when the rates are so much higher, but sometimes currency exchange can make up for that. I should set up a cot at Canada Post. :)

    2 years ago

  • VintageNChic

    VintageNChic says:

    Some great ideas here. I still need to get a good, accurate scale that will work for what I ship. I am wondering how those of you who prepackage items store them. We have a large home, but I have a hard time storing all I have between my 2 shops, I don't know how I would do it if it were all in boxes. Great post, thanks!

    2 years ago

  • rickrackshack

    rickrackshack says:

    I've been selling vintage online for 10 years. I use the giant roll of plastic food film wrap from Sam's club to wrap everything as tightly as possible. It's not fool-proof, but it does keep things tight and dry. And for a group of similarly shaped things, like a stack of mugs, It turns several items into one compact item. The largest thing I've shipped was a settee (via Greyhound). The hardest thing for me is lampshades. They crush so easily! I've finally learned that when it comes to shipping, especially on Etsy, I have to factor in how much time, effort and product go into making a shipment arrive safely and charge accordingly. That extra quarter or so they pay above the actual shipping goes to making a package that arrives safely. Finally, WHEN (because it will absolutely happen eventually) a package gets broken, have a plan in mind. Don't freak out. I can afford to refund on packages less than 50 dollars, but I can't afford to replace over 50, so I insure everything over that. I've educated myself about the process of filing an insurance claim and am prepared to handle that myself. Packing is the hardest thing for me. My packages aren't always pretty, but you can bet I have thought through what happens if my box falls from a 5 foot drop!

    2 years ago

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez says:

    Please try to find packing materials to re-use and save from the landfill. There is so much of it out there.

    2 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 says:

    good reference for my future vintage shop – thanks

    2 years ago

  • vintagejane

    vintagejane says:

    Shipping is by far the greatest challenge of selling vintage. Experience and talking with staff at the post office have been very helpful. ALWAYS use recycled boxes and packing....it is everywhere, just ask. Also, refunding shipping overages is important for good customer service. Thanks for the tips!

    2 years ago

  • prillarguri1976

    prillarguri1976 says:

    Great article!! I not that long ago purchased something that got smashed to bits due to poor packing. I have been selling breakables for many years. I have had my share of casualties, I know now how to pack. I use mainly recycled packing materials. I have my whole family on the look out for peanuts and poppin wrap. (as my kids call it), I even use cereal boxes. They work great, crush them and use it to keep item in place.

    2 years ago

  • Grafxquest

    Grafxquest says:

    This is some great advice thank you! I reuse any packing materials that I receive and repack my items reusing bubble wrap and other items! I agree upcycle as much as possible. Also I have found that UPS will take any packing materials from you such as peanuts and those little air bags! I agree with rickrackshack...plan for your box getting crushed and stomped in the process...plan accordingly!

    2 years ago

  • COGnitivecreations

    COGnitivecreations says:

    Great tips. Unfortunately, the thought of saving a vintage item from oblivion by shipping it in loads of new, unreusable materials seems so wrong. I do agree there are much more sustainable options out there. Please be greener when you can.

    2 years ago

  • danceswithflowers

    danceswithflowers says:

    As a buyer I'd just like to plead - please don't use paper towels as packing material! They just don't do the job. You wouldn't believe how many packages I've received wrapped this way, and several items have arrived in pieces. Another mistake is to use a box that's too small. In a desire to keep rates down, it can be very tempting - but if it makes the sides of the box bulge out, it's going to break. Double-boxing is absolutely the best way to go! (if you use appropriate packing materials, that is!) ;-)

    2 years ago

  • VeraVague

    VeraVague says:

    For domestic (U.S.) shipping, flat rate boxes are perfect for most small-medium size items, and we personally don't find it expensive at all. On the contrary, the post office will deliver a case of boxes to you door for FREE, so we save money on the gas needed to drive to supply stores, etc. As for sending old, fragile items through the post, it is SO important that every piece is carefully and thoughtfully packed, and not just thrown in an padded envelope. We use recycled packaging, always mark the shipping costs slightly lower for both domestic and international shipping, and then cover the difference ourselves. We've found that Registered Post is the safest way to ship international items.

    2 years ago

  • thehopetree

    thehopetree says:

    Great tips. I ship vintage items from France. Shipping has caused the grey hairs I now have :) I find that you can do you best with packaging, weighing etc but when you deop it off at the post office... you just got to hope and pray it arrives !!!

    2 years ago

  • fhsgal66

    fhsgal66 says:

    Styrofoam meat/fruit trays work great in lieu of double boxing. Just tape trays around the sides of items after bubble wrap. A slight hassle but what do you do with those darn trays anyway? Or trays can be used inside the box around the sides to take up space. Or wrap the trays around small items and put them in recycled prescription (mail) envelopes. Stryrofoam cups work great for small items, too, although not as green.

    2 years ago

  • sorrythankyou79

    sorrythankyou79 says:

    great tips! lots of useful information...book marking for later!

    2 years ago

  • Iammie

    Iammie says:

    Thanks for sharing though I don't sell vintage at the moment.

    2 years ago

  • EmberGate

    EmberGate says:

    A great article with some sound advice. I've recently opened my vintage shop and have so far listed only the smaller items where shipping was easy to price. But this piece has given me good direction to getting the larger items priced accordingly. Recycled packaging is definitely the way to go - my office paper shredder has never been so busy!

    2 years ago

  • yimmekedesign

    yimmekedesign says:

    This article is great !!! Such useful information. I just had to refund a customer her money. I thought I packed my item so well and it still ended up broken. Aaaw, you lose some you gain some, but this one was painful.

    2 years ago

  • nellsvintagehouse

    nellsvintagehouse says:

    So many great tips! I wish I could take this list and send it back in time. My past self lost a lot of money and earned a few grey hairs due to shipping woes early in her Etsy life.

    2 years ago

  • PoetryofObjects

    PoetryofObjects says:

    Alot of great ideas here! I go overboard with packing, especially items like typewriters and cameras. Often I put a box inside a box. Shipping costs are certainly tricky to figure ahead of time and I always refund if there is an overage. I found it helpful to also read others experiences here!

    2 years ago

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio says:

    Love seeing an article that has useful info directed at the vintage sellers here on EtsyI I would love to thank Knickey for featuring many members of the Vintage Etsy Society Street team! WE all try to estimate as best as possible... I tend to purchase a tracking number for each item...I have had several buyers contact me lately to say that their item never arrived, only to convo me and I have relayed their tracking number... lo and behold, the item has been found at a neighbors home. I know the post office will be raising rates again soon, it will take a little time to adjust with the changes.

    2 years ago

  • VijolicaVintage

    VijolicaVintage says:

    Interesting. Cheap priority mail is about the only good thing about our national postal service - it's about 60 cents for items under 4.4 pounds, it gets more expensive for items over 4.4 pounds, where it costs from 6.5 USD to 13 USD, depending on the destination. But that's just the prority service, evrything else is not that cheap. And they don't offer any kind of on-line service, so I always have to go to the nearest post office to ship it.

    2 years ago

  • VintageChinchilla

    VintageChinchilla says:

    This is definitely an article to bookmark! I bust out in cold sweats just THINKING about shipping furniture, so I haven't done it yet! Thanks for the confidence! :)

    2 years ago

  • BeyondLace

    BeyondLace says:

    I purchase breakables on eBay to resell and have had several items arrive in pieces simply because the seller has not marked fragile on the box. I made my own bright red "Fragile Glass" stickers using address labels and put them on all sides of the box. So far I've had no casualties. Kudos to yimmekedesign for refunding a buyer's purchase price when breakage occurred. I've never had anyone do that for me.

    2 years ago

  • sweetrice

    sweetrice says:

    So much information! So helpful! Thank you for this article! I recently had a shipping disaster and this information would have helped me!

    2 years ago

  • vintagebutterfly94

    vintagebutterfly94 says:

    I know being green is a high priority. And recycled packing supplies are a great way to go which I utilize as much as possible. Lately, though, I've been using something I have on hand in abundance: shredded school papers. So far, I have no shortage in sight!

    2 years ago

  • acastano1030

    acastano1030 says:

    Great ideas. I am pretty new to Etsy, so shipping is still a challenge for me. I try to use recycled materials whenever I can and I refund the difference on shipping over $1.00, but I think I am going to stop that and instead consider the difference part of a handling charge.

    2 years ago

  • DeathByVintage

    DeathByVintage says:

    Great ideas...what a great recycling idea for styrofoam trays. Very cool.

    2 years ago

  • anothertimeantiques

    anothertimeantiques says:

    Although I didn't find anything new for me, it was good coverage and I think hits the needed points. But why focus on "vintage" here. Product is product new or old that has to be shipped. This applies to everybody. Only one point ... I'm still praying that Etsy will create a shipping calculator on the listing page!! Yep, I am. I want to enter my weight and a handling fee and then let every body see their cost based on country and zipcode!

    2 years ago

  • mehndiart09

    mehndiart09 says:

    Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I think it applies to all sellers -- so much to learn about shipping. I especially like the tip about international shipping. Will definitely bookmark the website for future reference.

    2 years ago

  • FromTheHeath

    FromTheHeath says:

    Just opened up shop, so these are some great tips! Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • FromTheHeath

    FromTheHeath says:

    I just opened up shop, so this article is very helpful! Thanks

    2 years ago

  • MrFilthyRotten

    MrFilthyRotten says:

    I've shipped about 3,500 packages of all sizes and shapes over the last 12 years. I have a great record of items arriving in one piece, unless it is a salt & pepper shaker set ; ) My last words to new sellers are "double box breakables" (as stated in the article). I think that might appear on my tombstone. Heck, I may get double-boxed lol! Nickey and contributors congrats on such a thorough article!

    2 years ago

  • JanetElizabethLLC

    JanetElizabethLLC says:

    Wonderful article. Although I don't sell breakable items I really learned. A lot. I especially liked the link to ShipSaver. I bookmarked it for future reference.

    2 years ago

  • PoppyFandango

    PoppyFandango says:

    I like to make sure the Post Office goes a lil crazy with the "FRAGILE" stamp :)

    2 years ago

  • VintageFiori

    VintageFiori says:

    in my case (flat paper) shipping more simple than if ship big things anyway thank you Nickey for good tips =^..^=

    2 years ago

  • akissofromance

    akissofromance says:

    I find that styrofoam egg cartons work great for small items when you tape them around bubble wrapped items. I always try to over wrap every item. I get bubble wrap from recyclers on freecycle.

    2 years ago

  • weUPCYCLEwithLOVE

    weUPCYCLEwithLOVE says:

    Thanks very much for this helpful advice! We recently added a vintage section to our shop. We have been successfully shipping out our canned goods for a while but vintage breakables are a whole different ball game... we will definitely be double boxing! =]

    2 years ago

  • snotbooger

    snotbooger says:

    it makes sense to post the weight of an item, at least at some point

    2 years ago

  • snotbooger

    snotbooger says:

    haha mine weigh from 110lbs up to 180 lbs you should check out my hardwood collectible items. it is art, furniture, vintage, permanent, a toy, a woodcraft a household must. oh yea- my mom(judith) gets credit for the carving of the heads and feet and direction in getting the shape right at critical points

    2 years ago

  • vintagearcheology

    vintagearcheology says:

    great info but no one has mentioned regular old newspaper bunched up to fill in the spaces between the bubble wrapped piece and the box. I bubble wrap the vintage piece tightly and then fill in the open spaces with newspaper. I am new to vintage, but my feedback has especially mentioned the good packing. it shows good service if the piece is secure- you do not need fancy paper. the customer wants the piece that they purchased. they do not worry about the unattractive filler.

    2 years ago

  • AKingsThings

    AKingsThings says:

    All great advice... Finding the great vintage is the fun part for me. Packing and shipping requires a college degree and continuing Ed! Don't you just love Vintage....lol

    2 years ago

  • Luncheonettevintage

    Luncheonettevintage says:

    love seeing everyone's ideas and methods on this. my only additional thoughts: a shredder is an amazing packing aid. shred your paper and you've got marvelous packing material, all free, all recycled, but just remember that it is not high bulk — it presses down, so use a lot. newspaper is a great void filler, oh yes. and I find priority mail is terrific. And -- priority mail flat rate can sometimes save quite a bit depending on zones. it's great for super fragile but heavy items because you can double box them without paying more per weight. and when in doubt, overpack. You can't be too careful! happy new year all!

    2 years ago

  • luxcatbazaar

    luxcatbazaar says:

    I wish there was a way to save blog posts because as a new seller, this would be the perfect reference. thanks for the info!

    2 years ago

  • cynthiaottewill

    cynthiaottewill says:

    Some great information on shipping. I ship per registered post and get a signature, but this makes it expensive. As my jewelry is one-off, I do not wish to replace lost items.

    2 years ago

  • franstradingpost

    franstradingpost says:

    Great information!! Will use these ideas yo save myself some headaches.

    2 years ago

  • prettyinprague

    prettyinprague says:

    This is a great article and great posts! I have had many of the same experiences as others wrote, so I won't repeat. But I actually have sent two thick glasses in a padded envelope to Germany from Prague. The reason for it , is that the glasses were not expensive, and the price difference here for zasilka(envelope) and balik(box) are vastly different. The same weight even in a small box would have cost $24 as opposed to the $4 I paid for the envelope! It was my first glass mailing and I wrapped and filled the glasses individually with bubble wrap. Then I taped them together very tightly and then wrapped them together with bubble wrap and lots more tape. Then I used two pieces of stiff cardboard on either side, top and bottom and taped these very tightly to the wrapped glasses. Then into the bubble mailer. They made it safely. They were, however, fairly thick glasses and only going across one border. I also like to give international customers the option of ground shipping and air insured or partly insured because of the price difference. I wish etsy would allow different forms of shipment to the different destinations.

    2 years ago

  • MarnieFarmer

    MarnieFarmer says:

    Great information! I'm new, so I've read this several times. Thank you

    2 years ago

  • diddle47

    diddle47 says:

    help,,,,a buyer returned and item (said it wasnt the right color) etc etc,,she did not insure it,,and the lamp was destroyed when i received it back,,she wants a refund and has opened a case against me with etsy,,,what to do??? there was a two month lapse from when she paid till she opened the case,,,

    2 years ago

  • hoosiermamma1

    hoosiermamma1 says:

    It's good to know others have lost money with their first items on shipping too. I underestimated the shipping on a vintage camera I offered free shipping and ended up losing the entire cost of the item plus 4.00. I had to laugh. My next purchase was a postage scale and you can bet there is NO MORE FREE SHIPPING! LOL.

    2 years ago

  • springdreamer

    springdreamer says:

    As a newbie who just sold my first item on Etsy (waiting for the PayPal confirmation) - it turns out that it is a piece of furniture!!!! H-E-L-P!!!! I love to revamp furniture but going forward, I think I will be showcasing smaller items, until I get my act together!!! I've been crafting forever and I've done some big craft shows; however, selling on line is a different experience and I don't want it to turn out to be 90% business and 10% crafting!!!! - I also think that Etsy should offer some shipping rates for all of us feeling overwhelmed with the business end of the process.........perhaps, I will revise my thoughts once I am established but I would love my love of making handmade items to not be tarnished with too much shipping/handling fees - just what are handling fees............I've been handling my crafted items for days/weeks/months..................how does that work!!!! LOL!

    2 years ago

  • DeerwoodCreekGifts

    DeerwoodCreekGifts says:

    I just made my first order and shipping was the one thing I hadn't thought of. When I priced around to ship 60 wood candle holders weighing 3-4 pounds each, I was surprised. Does anyone know of the cheapest way to ship? What have you found in terms of comparing UPS to USPS to FedEx? I want to give the buyer the cheapest rate for shipping that I can find. It was quite an eye-opener.

    2 years ago

  • VintageZipper

    VintageZipper says:

    I want to echo weezieduzit. I have just started selling on etsy after years of ebay and mostly etsy provides a much better buyer and seller experience, EXCEPT regarding mailing. It is very troublesome not to be able to finetune shipping options. Can Etsy review ebay's shipping calculator and develop something similar? Otherwise it's Etsy hands down as a selling platform

    2 years ago

  • ByLightOfMoon

    Cyndi from ByLightOfMoon says:

    I wish we had a shipping calculator for shipping cost. It varies so much from coast to coast, it would be so much better to put in the weight and let the customer decide how they wish to receive it. Please, a shipping calculator! Cyndi

    2 years ago

  • dessecarothers

    Jess and Desse Carothers from naturescallingjess says:

    Jess and Desse from Naturescallingjess: Thank you so much for all of your input! We are new to the Etsy world. I'm starting with small items so I can get the hang of this shipping game. We are also going to be listing some furniture and large items. Alittle nervous ( alot nervous)- It would be great if there was a shipping calculator for our use and for our customers

    2 years ago

  • fabfashion

    Handmade and Vintage Treasures from fabfashion says:

    winzie says: Etsy needs a shipping calculator or at the very least a way to offer more than one option to buyers (multiple shipping fields where the serller could specify a cost for first class, priority, for the western states/midwest/east coast.)" that would be the best option to have from Etsy. that way the amount of convos is reduced and the purchase runs more smoothly. I used to eat a lot of my shipping but with Canada Post prices rising every year, i have to run this like a business instead of a hobby. I now charge shipping according to CP rules (by size and weight) and include handling and packaging in the price (a few cents to a dollar or so, really). but that has really helped in my business. people that want the item get it no matter what. I am honest and clear in my policies and if any questions, they contact me for special shipping. However, I have now chosen to narrow my vintage market to smaller items that are cute, unique and easy to ship. i am sure my shop will evolve as time goes by and my taste is more fine tune. ff

    2 years ago

  • pandaxp00p

    Tiffani from FolklandFinds says:

    I just opened my vintage shop and found this a very helpful article. I do agree with everyone about the shipping calculator. I think it is the ONLY advantage Ebay has over Etsy. I don't feel comfortable pricing shipping high and then going back and refunding the difference... it's so much more trouble for both the seller and buyer. At least this used to be the way I felt until I lost money on a West Coast sale. I'm starting out with just shipping in the US until I get the hang of things, but boy is the shipping portion of selling one big headache. So yes, shipping calculator PLEASE. :)

    2 years ago

  • tomitierney

    Tomi from HarriettsHallway says:

    Thanks for this article! I just had an item disappear in shipping - the purchaser gave me the wrong address, and then a month later finally contacted me to say she hadn't received it. Now it is lost and I'm not sure that I'm responsible - since she gave me the wrong address (even the wrong state). She acknowledged her error. Yet for good customer service - should I refund the item? Go half with her? It was one of my most expensive shop items, and as a new seller, I'm a bit on a budget - Any ADVICE? Tha nks

    2 years ago

  • tomitierney

    Tomi from HarriettsHallway says:

    Also - it appears common for excess shipping charges to get refunded to the purchaser, yet when we under-estimate - we don't get that money back. I'm of a mind to charge a shipping/handling/packaging fee which in my mind includes my time to run it to the post office, gas, etc. Is this reasonable? I don't want to overcharge for shipping, but I think its a hassle to refund a dollar or two on paypal.

    2 years ago

  • KommieGreen

    KommieGreen from KommieGreen says:

    tomitierney: We empathize with your desire to offer good customer service; however, this incident you wrote of is clearly beyond a seller's abilities. There was absolutely nothing at all that you needed to do differently, it is purely the fault of the customer. While we all want happy customers, if you were to lose this customer because you refused to refund her purchase, it wouldn't be a negative. You need good customers, not ones that take advantage of you, expecting you to give them money for misinforming you on the most important bit of information they have to give you. Though this may not have been a motivator and your customer may be completely innocent, unfortunately, some customers are well practiced in the art of getting refunds. If this address was given to you by the customer, it is probably a former or familiar address to the customer. She may know who lives there and might be able to get the package from the current resident. (This set-up has happened to us before). Adding a note in your policies about current and accurate addresses could prove beneficial in the future. About the shipping charges: we sold on eBay for several years before just coming to Etsy and from those experiences, we have found that customers despise shipping charges. Many will gladly pay for a higher priced item that has a lower shipping charge than to pay less overall for something with a relatively high shipping charge. We have taken to a low across-the-board flat-rate shipping charge. This is merely a buffer, but we essentially put the brunt of the shipping and handling cost into the price of the item itself. We sell vintage, so there are a lot of variables in shipping, but it averages out nicely and we do much better in the end that way.

    2 years ago

  • Corellaluella

    Corellaluella from Corellaluella says:

    I would also like to see a shipping calculator. Flat rate is more expensive. The rates are different to different destinations, I've gotten burned several times trying to estimate shipping rates. It does not cost the same to ship to the next town, as it does to ship to the opposite coast!. Please think about installing that calculator soon. Thanks

    2 years ago

  • ATimeRemembered

    Gwen Stone from ATimeRemembered says:

    Another vote for a shipping calculator, the sooner the better. I also believe the guessing/refunding of shipping costs could be and probably is often a deal breaker, especially on heavier more costly items. Etsy's overall appearance is one of class and professionalism, I am totally amazed at the crude manner in which shipping costs must be guesstimated/presented on an item. I'd much rather pay a little higher listing or FVF and have the tools needed to list an item effectively and efficiently.

    2 years ago

  • susancurran4

    Susan Curran from bunyasatmilton says:

    Hi Its a long way from Australia to the rest of the world so shipping costs are often more than the item. We really need a shipping calculator that compares various methods ie Australia post versus Fedex etc. It would really help Etsy along if there was a good system set up

    1 year ago

  • VintageAtticCo

    Suzanne D from VintageAtticCo says:

    I agree with the last post. Why can't Etsy have a shipping calculator to install on each listing. At least for the US. You would just add the weight and size, plus any extra packing fees you might have and the buyer gets the correct amount. Having to credit overages is a pain. If you can do it on Ebay, you should be able to do it here. Love everything about Etsy but this.

    1 year ago

  • tomitierney

    Tomi from HarriettsHallway says:

    Love this thread. Thanks to KommieGreen for their advice - I ended up not refunding the item that was lost - the purchaser had moved a month earlier and gave the wrong address. She really acknowledged her own mistake, and though I offered a refund, she declined. i think this was a win for both of us, and certainly I felt better at least offering a refund. Customer service remained intact. New question - I just purchased a couple of mugs for a gift - from an etsy seller. They arrived poorly packaged - and shattered. Seller is refusing to refund - saying she thought they were packaged adequately. She used one thin strip of bubble wrap, the mugs were able to bump against each other, and in a small box with no additional packing material. I have opened a complaint with etsy and with paypal - and hopefully will get a refund one way or the other. But for those of us selling fragile items - think about this. For the mere cost of $19 - this seller just lost a good customer - and received serious negative feedback and opened claims. From my perspective as a buyer - I'm angry. From my perspective as a seller - I'm shocked. I think this is a foolish line to stand on for a seller, and I would suggest that we first use the info in this thread to package our stuff as safely as we can, and second, a little good customer service goes a long way. I want long term success - and if I end up messing up with packaging, I would rather refund a small item and keep the good karma. For more expensive items - I always insure.

    1 year ago

  • tomitierney

    Tomi from HarriettsHallway says:

    Oh, and by the way - according to my friendly postal worker - stamping "FRAGILE" on the box does little to insure safe transit. It is a bit of an illusion to think that your package wont get bumped around with that little red word on there.

    1 year ago

  • nycgypsy

    dianne from nycgypsy says:

    There is some good advice on packaging items in this article. But etsy has grown so much that the quaintness of this low-tech shipping system has worn down to a constant irritation. At this point there is no reason why you should not be working on providing a good shipping calculator for your sellers. And advising us to use the shipping field as an 'estimate' for large items is just Bad. From the sellers perspective AND the customers.

    1 year ago

  • shalomdan

    shalom dan says:

    Another year will also be Charging Stations

    1 year ago

  • bestvaluecopy

    Best Value Copy says:

    Great Post. I had ever seen. Your Shipping Strategy is fully impressive. I like your shipping calculation which will be useful for my business of Online Printing.

    1 year ago

  • Cre8CoolStuff

    Kristin Shea from Cre8CoolStuff says:

    I'm a bit confused as to all of this refunding of shipping. I shop on line a lot and fully expect to pay shipping AND handling. It's not just what the cost is to send, it's the cost of packaging and the time and work involved in packaging and mailing. I just purchased 50 magnetic snaps from a company in California yesterday (how much could they possibly weigh?) but was not shocked at all that the shipping and handling came to $7.95. I think we do ourselves no favors as sellers to not charge for our handling costs. Every other online business does, why wouldn't we? As for the $7.95 shipping cost, I consider it a bargain if it keeps me from driving all over town looking for the product I want.

    1 year ago

  • karenlipman1

    Karen L. from VintagebyViola says:

    Great point Kristin. The time you spend collecting recycled packing materials, or buying new materials, weighing, wrapping, labeling, waiting lines at the post office, travel time and gasoline should all factor into the final cost to be charged per customer. Unfortunately, customers do not consider these variables and look at the post mark costs and think that is the exact price they should pay for shipping. And since the customer is unsure of why a listing for shipping might seems high to them they convo the shop owner to ask for a way to negotiate lower shipping costs, which takes even more time on the part of the shop owner. I love Etsy and this is the one area that needs fIxing. Not just for the shop owners but to benefit and educate buyers. ETSY would benefit greatly as well because all of us would list more items regardless of their shape, and weight if we didn't have to take time playing this guessing game. Think of the thousands of more listings etsy could score! I believe in Etsy and know they will find a great way to make all of us happy. I was at an auction today and pasted on many items simply due to the hassle of shipping headaches. Sad but true. Just curious. Have any of you had custom concerns or hassles? Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. Very helpful.

    1 year ago

  • 1tenthAngel

    GiGi from 1tenthAngel says:

    I looked on apps and found two that were free. Pick dimensions, where it's shipping to and from, add the weight and it calculates the cost. Awesome! It also tracks mail and looks up zip, verifys the address. App is ZipShip.

    339 days ago