How Does Etsy Order Tracking Work? What Customers Need To Know.


If you’re a customer on Etsy, you might think that your order will be sent with tracking automatically, but that isn’t always the case.

For a variety of reasons, not every order is sent with tracking. It could be an option if you really want tracking, but it’s not always going to be included automatically. Read on to find out more about how tracking works on Etsy, and what you should do if you want to make sure your order is trackable.

how etsy order tracking works, for customers

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Does Etsy require tracking on all orders?

Etsy doesn’t require tracking on all orders. For the Etsy Purchase Protection Program it is one of the requirements, but some Etsy sellers don’t send their orders with tracking because of the shipping costs, or because the cost of the item itself is so low.

There are also complications with free shipping, which can make the cost of added tracking from some countries prohibitive. Etsy’s global marketplace has so many sellers in different countries there’s no one policy and procedure that will fit everyone.

If tracking is offered as an add-on service and the customer doesn’t want to pay for it, the seller will send the order without tracking.

To see the full Artisan Shopping Directory sections, including signups for discounts, click here.

When is Etsy tracking required?

Etsy only requires tracking if the seller wants to have the coverage of the Etsy Purchase Protection Program, which is basically a way that Etsy pays for delivery errors and damage that’s caused by the shipping carrier, and isn’t the seller’s fault.

For a more in-depth article about the Purchase Protection Program, click here: Etsy’s Purchase Protection Program for Sellers

The problem with this is that even though Purchase Protection will cover some situations, it won’t cover all of them.

And for some sellers who ship orders that are lightweight, like stickers, the additional cost of sending tracked packages isn’t worth the added cost to the customer, so they’re willing to chance it and charge a reduced shipping rate.

Post office packaging signs

Do tracking notifications cost more?

Tracking with shipping in the United States is included for all packages, but isn’t included with regular letters. Some commercial postage sellers do have processes in place that track lighter letters, but it’s not 100% the same as post office tracking. For international sellers, their country’s postal service may or may not include tracking, or will offer it for an additional fee.

Depending on which postal system it is, the cost of tracking can sometimes be really expensive, Some sellers have said that buying tracking will almost double the cost of the order!

Customers will obviously balk at that, but it’s not the seller deciding on the price, and it costs what it costs.

You have to think of shipping and the track package option as services that are separate from the actual purchase of the item.

If a seller has seen from customers that they don’t want to pay for the tracking, or if they offer it as an additional service but you don’t pay for it at checkout, your package might not be tracked.

Post office packaging supplies for sale

Can a customer request tracking as a shipping option on their order?

Customers can request tracking on their Etsy orders by purchasing it at checkout if it’s offered as an upgrade by international sellers. For US sellers, tracking will generally be included unless the item would fit in a regular envelope. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to check with shop owners BEFORE purchasing to see if they mail things with tracking.

If they say that they usually don’t ship things with tracking, you can request that they create a custom listing for you that includes the cost of shipping in a package, and that will include a tracking number so you can track the status of your delivery.

Remember that this is going to cost more, but you’re paying the shipping company for the service, not the seller.

Are customers protected when there’s no tracking?

If there’s no tracking on an Etsy parcel, Etsy won’t cover it under the Purchase Protection Program, so customers will have to deal directly with the seller. Depending on the individual seller’s responsiveness, you may or may not be able to get information about when the item was shipped, but the seller won’t be able to tell you anything beyond that.

If you do have trouble contacting a seller, you can read this article for suggestions: What To Do If An Etsy Seller Isn’t Responding.

It’s really up to the customer to make sure that the item will be shipped with tracking and to verify with the seller BEFORE buying if you have any questions about their shipping process.

Again, in the US most orders other than letter-sized ones should have tracking included, but for small items, you should check if you’re concerned about the status of your order.

Should you ship without Etsy tracking?

For sellers, I would advise you to always ship with tracking when it’s possible. This will protect you and the customer and will let you see what the post office is doing if there are delays in the carrier transit time.

If the cost of the tracking increases the cost of shipping too much, though, you can add it on as an upgrade at checkout and let people opt-in to paying for it.

If new orders are shipped without tracking they won’t be eligible for the Purchase Protection Program, so you won’t be covered if there’s a problem.

If you do decide to ship without tracking on a regular basis, I would put that in your FAQ section and also add it to your listing descriptions, then give customers a way to upgrade to a tracked package at checkout.

How do you check the tracking on your Etsy order?

How to check your Etsy tracking on Desktop.

To check the tracking on your Etsy order on desktop, go to your profile photo at the top and click to open the dropdown menu.

Purchases and Reviews
Purchases and Reviews

Choose “Purchases and Reviews, and that will take you to your order page.

An order with tracking.
An order with tracking.

Find the order that you want to track, and click on “Track Package.”

Tracking information on a receipt
Tracking information on a receipt

The tracking history will come up under the map on that page, and you’ll also be able to click on the link with the tracking number at the bottom to go to the delivery company website for more information about the shipment status.

Now I’ll also mention that this says it was delivered to a neighbor per my request, which isn’t at all accurate. They usually leave packages in my mailbox, which is where this one was, so don’t believe everything that you see on tracking information.

Checking Etsy tracking on a mobile device.

If you’re using your phone or another device that uses the Etsy app to check your order’s tracking, you should go to your profile to find your purchases page, then find the order that you want.

Click on the order, and then on the “track order” link to see the Etsy order status. If there’s no “track order,” the package was sent without tracking.

If you click on the tracking number itself, it might take you to the post office website, which is going to have the most current scan information. Etsy doesn’t show real-time updates, so sometimes there’s a delay and it will have better information on the USPS official website.

What information will you see if there was no tracking?

If your order was sent without tracking, Etsy will have the information that it’s been mailed because it will have been scanned in at the post office, but after that, they won’t know where the package is in transit.

When you go to the purchases and reviews section as described in the previous section, there won’t be a tracking button.

You can click on the “view receipt” button to see the map where Etsy says the package is. It will only say that they don’t have any tracking information, but you’ll be able to see that the package has been shipped.

Package with no tracking included.
Package with no tracking included.

For this order, it was international and I didn’t pay for tracking, so there’s no information about the delivery process to show other than the initial shipment.

How to check tracking on the app.

On the Etsy app, you can check your tracking by clicking on “you” at the bottom of the app, then selecting “purchases and reviews.”

This will take you to your orders page. Scroll down to find the order you want to track, then click on it to open it up.

Scroll down to find the order details and tracking information. You can tap on the tracking number to see the postal service website for the most updated information and the status of your package.

If there’s no tracking information on the order, it means that it wasn’t sent with tracking. You can use the “Help with order” button to contact the seller to see when it was shipped.

Can guests track their Etsy orders?

If you purchased on Etsy using the guest checkout, you’ll receive an email receipt and confirmation after you place the order, and then another one when the order is sent.

This is the only way to get the tracking number since you won’t have access to a logged-in buyer account! You can also contact the seller with questions if you don’t get the tracking email, but those come from Etsy directly so you should receive it.

If you purchased as a guest, you can create an account by claiming the order and that will let you get into your profile to see the tracking. For another article about that, click here: How To Leave Reviews On Etsy (And How Guests Can.)


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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