Episode 111: Factually Untrue: Offering Free Shipping on Etsy is the Only Way to Be Seen

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Oh, I do love a good Etsy hot button issue.

We have spoken about free shipping several times on the podcast and we are doing it once more today!

Over the past several months we have heard sellers saying “offering free shipping on etsy is the only way to be seen” over and over. It is time for us to address that head on: it’s not true.

I was all 15 shades of Michael Scott every time I saw it.

Lots of “Etsy experts” will tell you that you should offer free shipping to increase your visibility on Etsy. That is a really easy suggestion to make because on the surface, sure, sounds good. EASY. It’s an EASY suggestion.

Etsy did announce last year that free shipping would be a factor in search ranking results. The suggestion that you offer free shipping to become more visible is an EASY way to create a blog post titled something crazy insane like “the 1 key to skyrocket your Etsy visibility.” And that is an alluring option.

However, we prefer to take a more realistic and holistic approach here at Merriweather. We don’t care that it’s not as sexy or alluring to tell you NOT to offer free shipping if you can’t or simply don’t want to. We don’t care if it’s against the grain to tell you that you shouldn’t feel pressured to offer free shipping… because, factually, you shouldn’t.

You are a unique human running a business with its own unique set of circumstances. Out of the box, one-size-fits-all suggestions are not always going to work for you. (I, personally, am still trying to sort out how it helps anyone if everyone offers free shipping then aren’t we all neutral again? Right…)

Free shipping is an appealing option to buyers. We KNOW that most people are willing to pay full price unless you set the expectation that they shouldn’t have to.

“Offering free shipping on etsy is the only way to be seen” couldn’t be further from the truth. I do not offer free shipping in my shop, yet on the day I recorded this episode my Etsy stats reflected the following information:

290 people saw my shop and looked at 629 things between them. (Visits = people, Views = what those people looked at.)

And 89% of those visits came from Etsy.

I don’t actively promote my Etsy shop, which is largely evident from these stats, but rest assured I’m not promoting my Etsy shop on social or anything actively. (Here’s why.)

This is PROOF that you do NOT need to offer free shipping in order to be visible on Etsy. You DO need to understand that free shipping is ONE SLIVER of the pie that makes up the whole of factors that contribute to your search ranking and site-wide visibility as well.

No one buys something JUST BECAUSE it ships for free. Etsy doesn’t show people things JUST BECAUSE they ship for free.

See the bigger picture.

Learn more about our Etsy philosophy and we KNOW you can make Etsy work harder for you than you work for it (hello, 89% of traffic coming from within Etsy!! This means you don’t have to hustle quite so hard on Instagram all day getting traffic to your shop. In fact, you shouldn’t.

If you cannot offer free shipping – or don’t want to, don’t. Sell value, not price.

You might also like…

  • Etsy’s Free Shipping Update
  • Why You Should Stop Discounting First Orders in Your Handmade Business
  • Episode 093: Top Considerations for Paying to Advertise Your Handmade Business

*This post is written and published by The Merriweather Council. The Merriweather Council is not affiliated with Etsy Inc. Etsy is a trademark of Etsy Inc. We write about Etsy, from our own experiences, not for Etsy.

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