How Fast Should You Ship Orders On Etsy?

When I fill orders on Etsy I try to get things in the mail as quickly as I can, but I’ve slowed down on that a little recently.

Etsy wants us to ship things fast even, but is that the best idea?

Etsy has started pulling orders back and canceling them after they show up in your order queue, so it’s not always a good idea to ship immediately. Wait at least 24 hours before you send things out so that if an order is canceled you won’t lose the money for something that you’ve shipped already.


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What’s the baseline for shipping on Etsy?

Etsy expects every seller to put things in the mail in a timely manner, which means that you have to send orders within the processing times that you’ve set up for your own shop.

That’s not hard to do if you run your business correctly and everything goes well with customers sending information that you need, etc.

If you have things that don’t need to be personalized, you probably mail things as quickly as you can to get the orders filled and out of the queue.

I don’t do personalization, so people are ordering from a basic catalog and I can send things the same day that I make them, if I wanted to.

Etsy likes that, and they want sellers to process orders as quickly as possible because it makes customers happy when they get their orders quickly.

Happy customers are people who will come back and shop on Etsy again, so it benefits Etsy to have us ship quickly.

What is a “good” processing time on Etsy?

As far as Etsy’s concerned, a good processing time is as short as possible.

When you set up a shipping profile Etsy will give you a field where you can choose a processing time up to ten weeks long, which means that you don’t have to ship the order until ten weeks from when it was placed.

However, they also have a note under the box that says “Buyers are more likely to purchase items that ship quickly.”

They know that people want their stuff fast, so they push that on us because they know it will sell more stuff.

I usually set my processing times to 1-3 days because I want to give myself a cushion.

Even though I COULD send things the same day the order comes in, and Etsy would love it if I did that, it’s not a good idea to ship that quickly.

Why should you wait to ship Etsy orders?

You should wait to ship Etsy orders until at least the day after the order is placed because Etsy will cancel the order for no reason every now and then.

If you send things the same day the order is placed, it’s great for how fast you are, but if Etsy cancels the order you’ll lose the money and the product.

I talk about this at about 30 seconds in in this video:

Ironically, the day after I posted this video Etsy did this exact thing to me.

And yesterday I had a repeat customer who placed an order that I saw in the queue, then it disappeared.

The customer messaged me and said they had received a message from Etsy saying that the order had been canceled because their fraud system thought it might have been placed in error.

She placed another order, but Etsy canceled that one, too.

order cancelation email

Now in this case I know that the customer wasn’t trying to scam me, and that it was Etsy’s system going crazy, but there are a lot of cases where people use stolen credit card numbers to shop online.

There are a bunch of reasons why Etsy might cancel an order, and even if it’s done by accident it still means that you’ll lost the money for the order if you’ve mailed it already.

post office packages
post office packages

How long should you wait to ship Etsy orders?

In my opinion, you should wait at least until the day after the order is placed before you ship anything that’s ordered on Etsy.

That will be enough time to let Etsy cancel the order if they’re going to do that in most cases, but I’ve heard of situations where they canceled orders up to 72 hours after they were placed, and after the order was shipped.

If you sell things at a higher price point you’ll have to decide for yourself if you want to wait the full 3 days to make sure everything is sticking…You can set your processing times to 1-4 days and still be within a low-ish shipping time but that will give you a window to work with.

Don’t make your processing time too long, though, because Etsy doesn’t like that and they’ve been putting payment reserves on shops that have long (like weeks-long) processing times.

It’s a risk that you have to assess for yourself and your products based on how fast you can make things, how much they cost, and whether you know the customer or not.

I wouldn’t have had a problem sending the thing that my repeat customer ordered to her and invoicing her for it, but you can’t do that because Etsy doesn’t allow you to take sale off of Etsy, that’s fee avoidance!

So sometimes it’s a catch-22, and you just have to make your best estimate of what processing time works for you within what Etsy also wants.

But don’t take the risk of sending things TOO fast, because you could have the order canceled and you’ll lose the money and the product if it’s in the mail already!

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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