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Etsy Launches Calculated Shipping to US Sellers

Mar 30, 2015

by Calia Talmor handmade and vintage goods

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of calculated shipping, a new tool that we hope will remove the burden of calculating shipping rates from US Etsy sellers entirely. Calculated shipping — a feature built with the help and feedback of many Etsy sellers — automatically determines the cost to ship an order from the US based on USPS mail classes and rates, making it simple and easy for sellers to offer accurate domestic, international and expedited shipping methods with minimal effort.

In the past, shipping has been tricky and confusing for Etsy sellers. Without a way to price shipping costs accurately, sellers were stuck trying to solve the problem of how to set accurate costs without overcharging their buyers (and deterring possible sales) or having to pay out of pocket. We hope the new calculated shipping tool will allow sellers to spend more time making and growing their business and less time determining international shipping costs or balancing complicated shipping formulas.

Making calculated shipping work for Etsy sellers

Etsy is a unique marketplace and its demands for shipping solutions reflect that. When building out calculated shipping, we had to consider a solution that worked well for all types of shops — vintage shops with items of varying sizes, supply shops that have potentially smaller items that ship in larger quantities, or handmade shops that may have a lot of items with similar sizes. We know that sellers have developed very specific shipping processes that work well in their shops and we wanted to create something that was flexible, offering more control for sellers who wanted it, but also intuitive and easy to use for sellers who are new to the marketplace.

In order to make sure calculated shipping worked for the Etsy community, we used prototypes and user research to get feedback from sellers about their needs. We worked closely with Etsy sellers to identify the most effective approach and ensure that calculated shipping would be a powerful, seamlessly integrated tool in their shops.  Sellers in open and closed prototypes shared their excitement as well as their honest feedback about what additional changes or features they’d need to be able to easily adopt calculated shipping in their shops. For example, Etsy seller AtticObsession said, “Flat rate is definitely an important tool for us to have available. It lets us seriously reduce postage cost on heavy items, and that definitely impacts sales.” Thanks to prototype feedback, we prioritized the optimal set of features for our public release (including flat rate options) that best aligned with the needs of our seller community.

Seamless integration with Etsy shops

Calculated shipping is built off of shipping profiles, a feature that allows sellers to quickly apply different shipping settings to listings. Sellers can now do the same with calculated shipping, creating one or many calculated shipping profiles to use on their listings. For each calculated shipping profile, sellers will now be able to pre-select the countries to which they’d like to ship, the mail classes they want to offer, and any handling fees they’d like to include when totaling shipping costs. Offering multiple shipping methods is now easy, said Etsy seller TwistedRiverClay. “Until now we have not offered multiple shipping methods. But we plan to do so now with the ease of setup using calculated shipping.” With the unique nature of items on Etsy, we knew a one-size-fits-all solution wouldn’t work for packaging. Calculated shipping offers sellers the option to use flat and regional rate boxes or customize their preferred shipping box sizes.

Before sellers apply their new calculated profiles to listings, we’ll need to know the weights and dimensions of their items. To make it easier for sellers to start using calculated shipping, we’ve added the option to quickly apply weights, dimensions and calculated profiles to their listings in the Listings Manager via the brand new quick edit tool. Take a tour of calculated shipping for Etsy sellers.

On the listing page, we’ll show Etsy shoppers the lowest cost to ship the item to their ZIP Code (for US buyers) or country (buyers outside the US). If a shopper adds a listing (or listings) to their cart, we’ll show them all available shipping options and the associated cost for each. The shipping costs will all be based on the information that the seller provided when creating calculated profiles and applying them to their listings.

Improving shopper experiences

Calculated shipping is designed to make sellers’ lives easier, but we also considered shoppers when we built it. Etsy shoppers can now select their desired shipping method across all platforms, including our Android and iOS Etsy apps. We want shoppers to know what shipping options are available and what the total shipping cost will be when making a purchase. We’re saying goodbye to the days when shoppers would have to reach out to  sellers to ask about shipping upgrades, combined shipping costs, or international shipping quotes.

Etsy seller vintageNCtreasures said, “I was always getting convos after a purchase wanting to know if I could send Priority instead of First Class, and almost 100% of the time, when I mentioned I’d have to invoice them for the difference since it would be around $3 more, no one wanted to go through the trouble of paying a separate payment. But now since it’s on my listings, a buyer can choose at checkout.”

We also released another improvement earlier this year that allows US buyers to verify their addresses against USPS postal records during checkout. If a buyer provides an address that we aren’t able to verify, we’ll prompt them to make sure they’ve entered the correct address. The combination of address verification and calculated shipping improves the end-to-end purchase experience for both buyers and sellers, giving sellers confidence in the addresses to which they ship, and buyers satisfaction in their shipment options.

We’re excited today to begin releasing calculated shipping to all US sellers. We’ll be rolling this feature out over the next few weeks, but if you’re a seller in the US, you can opt-in to the prototype here to start using calculated shipping today.