Offering free shipping in your Etsy shop is a guaranteed way to bring in more buyers but how to offer free shipping on Etsy is a big question. With services like Amazon Prime and now Walmart’s free 2 day shipping, people are coming to expect free shipping more and more. The number one reason people abandon their shopping cart in Etsy is because they see how much the shipping is and then decide to try to find a similar item cheaper from another shop to lower their overall cost. Offering free shipping makes you everyone’s go-to shop. They know they can get the items they love and not have to pay crazy shipping costs.
Now, we all know shipping isn’t really free so how do the big companies do it? There are a few methods. One way is by charging a membership fee like Amazon or raising the product price to offset shipping. Another great way to offer free shipping is to have a minimum purchase amount to qualify for free shipping. Large companies like Old Navy and Kohl’s require a minimum purchase amount. Below we’ll talk about the different options Etsy offers and how you can implement them in your shop without totally killing your profit margin.
How to offer free shipping on Etsy by Running a Sale
You can run a free shipping sale in your shop and offer this around specific holidays or during certain peak times. You can choose to put your entire shop in free shipping mode, only make it available when a certain number of items are purchased or make it available after a certain dollar amount is added to a shoppers cart from your shop. Or, you can choose a specific start and end date or you can choose to have it with no end date. You can just cancel if you ever decide to stop offering free shipping.
I personally use a free shipping sale with no end date and a minimum purchase amount of $50 for my shop. Running a sale with either a minimum number of items purchased or a minimum amount purchased is store wide. You cannot exclude any listings from this offer. Even private or custom listings will receive the free shipping. When running a sale that is not specific to a minimum amount or number of products you are able to select which listing you’d like to offer the free shipping on. These items will always ship free regardless of the dollar amount spent or number of items purchased.
Another way to offer free shipping is by having a coupon
You can create a free shipping coupon code. You can require a minimum number of items purchased, a minimum amount spent or require no minimums at all. The code can be used by anyone who enters it at checkout. You can share the code as a thank you when someone buys from your shop. You can share the code on any listing you want to offer free shipping on or you can share the code in your shop banner so anyone coming to your shop can see it and have access to the free shipping code.
With a free shipping code you are not able to exclude any items. The code can be used on any item in your shop at checkout including private and custom orders. Just as with the free shipping sale, you can select a start and end date for your free shipping coupon code or select no end date and cancel if you ever decide to stop offering free shipping.
How to offer free shipping on Etsy with a Free Shipping Profile
You can set up a free shipping profile in your shipping profile section. With this option you will be able to select what items you want to offer free shipping for and which items you do not. You will not be able to require a minimum purchase amount or a minimum number of items purchased with this option. Any item you use the free shipping profile on will receive free shipping. This is the only option you are able to exclude free shipping on custom and private listings.
How to offer free shipping on Etsy and still make a profit
First of all, you WILL lose money on a per item basis. It’s just how it is. You’ll be covering the cost of shipping in full. To offset that loss some you need to increase the sales price of each item you sell. Go to every item in your shop and raise the price by $.50. This is not a huge price increase. It will not turn off any buyers and it will give you just a bit of relief on those shipping fees you about to have to pay.
Next, decide the shipping methods that work best for you. If you have items that can fit in flat rate boxes A and B then USE THESE OPTIONS!! USPS Flat Rate shipping is simply AMAZING when you have heavy items that will fit into the size A and B boxes. These boxes are FREE from the USPS so you’re saving money on shipping and the boxes themselves. If your items are too big for those 2 boxes, do not use the flat rate shipping options. Also, do not use their flat rate mailer envelopes. If you have items that fit in an envelope then they are most likely under 16oz and can ship much cheaper using USPS First Class Mail.
You’ll then need to decide if you want to offer free shipping totally across your shop or if you want to use one of the minimum item or amount options. For most people requiring a minimum amount purchased makes the most sense. To determine how much to make your minimum download your CVS and calculate your average order totals. Make sure to set your minimum above that amount.
Yes, you will be selling each individual item at a lower price however you will be selling more items overall therefore making more money each month. It’s simple math, the more sales you make, the more money you make.
Free Shipping vs. %off Sales
I’ve tested out both methods to see what works best and it’s actually pretty surprising. Take a look at the examples below.
Example 1: Free Shipping
Acrylic Tumblers sell for $10.50 each.
Buyer purchases 5 tumblers and gets free shipping for a total cost of $52.50 for the buyer.
My Cost is $13.25 for the tumblers and $7.50 for shipping for a total of $20.75.
Purchase price of $52.50 – my cost of $20.75 makes my profit $31.75 or $6.35 per cup.
Before I offered free shipping my cups sold for $10 each and my profit per cup was $7.35. That’s a dollar more per cup however I would only sell 1 or 2 at a time and now I’m selling 5 at a time taking my total profit from $14.70 to $31.75.
Example 2: 20% off
Acrylic Tumblers sell for $10.50 each.
Buyer purchases 5 tumblers and gets 20% off but has to pay $7.50 shipping. This makes the buyers total cost $49.50 (less than the free shipping option).
My cost is still $13.25 for the tumblers but now I do not have to pay shipping so my total cost is $13.25.
Purchase price of $42.00 (not including shipping) – my cost of $13.25 makes my profit $28.75 or $5.75 per cup.
That’s almost $2 less profit per cup than offering free shipping.
I’ve done this and every single time the buyer sill chose free shipping over the 20% off. That’s just crazy because they pay less with 20% off but hey, I’ll take it because my profit is higher when I offer free shipping and I’m getting more customers. There’s just something about offering free shipping that makes someone feel like they’re getting a good deal and it set’s your shop apart from all the other shops that don’t offer free shipping.
Bottom line, you need to stand out in the sea of Etsy sellers and free shipping is one of the BEST ways to do that. How to offer free shipping on Etsy is really up to you since Etsy gives you so many options. Take some time to go over the options and decide which is best for you then get started making more sales and gaining repeat customers by offering free shipping in your Etsy shop.