If you shop on Etsy a lot, you probably wonder how to get free shipping on Etsy, because you’ll see a variety of shipping charges, ranging from free to what might seem to be really high prices.
That might be the actual shipping costs, though, because Etsy sellers buy their own postage, and the rates are different in different countries. Since Etsy’s sellers are international, there are a lot of variables.
As a shopper, you’re probably looking for the lowest shipping cost that you can get, and free is clearly the lowest. But if an Etsy seller does charge shipping, is there a way to get it? What are the ways that you can find free shipping when you’re shopping on Etsy?
How to get free shipping on Etsy.
As a general rule, the easiest way to get free shipping on Etsy is to purchase from shops that offer that by using filters in your product searches. You can also find shops that offer the Etsy free shipping guarantee, which gives customers free shipping for orders $35 and over.
Looking for the badge that says “free shipping” in search results is the first step, but there are other methods that you can try.
There are multiple ways to get free shipping from the shop owners that you want to purchase from, but not all methods will work in each shop because the owners set up their own policies.
Table of Contents
- How to get free shipping on Etsy.
- Does Etsy offer shipping discounts?
- What is the Etsy free shipping guarantee?
- Is the free shipping guarantee the only way people offer free shipping?
- What are other ways to get free shipping?
- Can you just ask a shop owner for free shipping on Etsy?
- How do you get free shipping coupons on Etsy?
- How to find items that ship for free on Etsy.
- What about international shipping?
Does Etsy offer shipping discounts?
The thing that customers need to remember is that Etsy doesn’t offer discounts, the individual sellers do.
Etsy as a business is only the platform that individual business owners use to sell their products. Each Etsy shop is run by a single business, so they’re the ones who offer discounts, not Etsy.
Etsy doesn’t ship anything or have a part in the fulfillment of any orders. There are no Etsy warehouses or central processing facilities, everything comes directly from the business that you’re purchasing from.
Because of this, Etsy sellers set their own shipping prices, and some might choose to offer free shipping, but others won’t.
Some sellers can afford to offer free shipping because they make things that are lighter or easier to mail. In my shop, A Cake To Remember, I offer free shipping on the edible wafer paper items, but not on the silicone molds that I make.
That’s because the wafer paper weighs under an ounce each for the most part, so I can plan for how much multiple items will cost to mail. The silicone molds vary widely in weight, so the price to ship those can add up quickly if someone buys multiples.
On Etsy, sellers also have to take all of the fees into account, and depending on different factors the price of the fees can be up to 25-30% of the item price. That really eats into your profit margin, so free shipping can result in losing money on each transaction if you’re not careful!
On my A Cake To Remember website, on the other hand, I offer free shipping on every order over $10, including the molds. That’s because I don’t have to pay myself fees when I sell something on my own website, so I can pass the savings along to the customer.
Sellers might or might not be able to offer free shipping to begin with, based on the weight of their products and their profit margins, sometimes it’s just not possible.
For an article about who pays for the shipping on returns on Etsy, click here.
What is the Etsy free shipping guarantee?
The Etsy free shipping guarantee gives customers free shipping to the US on orders from a single shop that total $35 or more. This guarantee is only available if the individual shop owner decides to participate in it, though, so it’s not available site-wide. Sellers can choose whether to participate in the free shipping guarantee, and it isn’t practical for a lot of people.
Like I mentioned above, I offer free shipping on an individual item level, not through the guarantee. That’s because of the cost of shipping multiple heavier items being too high.
I did have the free shipping guarantee in place for a while, but at some point I realized that the guarantee, plus the offsite ads fee when that was charged to my shop, left me making something like $1 on each order for heavier items.
Making $1 on a sale isn’t going to work for most people because that ends up being nowhere near minimum wage.
I decided to take the free shipping guarantee off of my shop and just charge the actual shipping cost based on weight for the things that don’t ship for free.
Is the free shipping guarantee the only way people offer free shipping?
The free shipping guarantee isn’t the only way that sellers offer free shipping on Etsy. Like I’ve mentioned, I offer free shipping on individual items, and many sellers choose to do that.
Other shop owners choose to offer free shipping over a different dollar amount by setting up a discount through Etsy’s sale system. This won’t necessarily show up in the search results, but you’ll be able to see it in the shop itself.
Other people run sales where you can get free shipping based on purchasing a specific number of items, so there are a lot of ways that you can potentially get free shipping on Etsy.
What are other ways to get free shipping?
Filtering for free shipping on Etsy is one way to find items that ship free, but you can also check to see if the seller has a website. Many businesses offer different promotions on their website than they do on Etsy, so you might be able to get a better price or free shipping if you shop on the website.
Check the shop’s About section, and if there’s a website linked, click to see that.
Because of Etsy’s policies about fee avoidance, sellers aren’t allowed to hand out their website address in order to get customers to go there to shop instead of shopping on Etsy. So don’t send us a message on Etsy asking about whether their website deals are better, because we can’t answer you!
Another way to get a discount or free shipping would be to see what offers the shop has if you sign up for their email list. A lot of people will offer free shipping off your first order if you sign up.
You can also send a message to the seller directly to see if they’re running any sales or promotions, but don’t be rude about it. Here’s an article about that: How to get discounts on Etsy without being a jerk.
If you’re planning on placing a large order, you can write to the seller to see if they would give you free shipping on it, but remember that your idea of “large” might be different from the shop owner’s.
I asked the people in my Etsy seller Facebook group what they would consider a large order, and how they would react is someone wrote to ask them for free shipping. Read on to see what they said.
Can you just ask a shop owner for free shipping on Etsy?
The Etsy shop owners in my Facebook group gave a wide range of responses when I asked them how they’d react if a customer asked for free shipping. Some said they don’t offer free shipping at all regardless of the amount of the sale, and others said that it would depend on the total of the sale or the weight of the items.
|What would you say if someone asked for free shipping?||percentage|
|No way, no how.||3%|
|Only if it isn’t international.||16%|
|It would have to be over a certain total for the sale||39%|
|Sure, why not?||16%|
|A combination of some of the above||23%|
The majority of people said that they might consider offering free shipping if asked, but only under certain conditions.
The most common response was that it would have to be a sale over a certain amount, and the most common amounts mentioned ranged between $100-$300.
This was pretty dependent on what the shop owner sold, because some people have items like wood signs that are large and heavy, so free shipping wouldn’t be a profit-conscious idea.
Something else that people mentioned was that they might prefer to offer a discount coupon for the order itself rather than the free shipping option, so that’s also something to consider.
Another response that I saw, and that I’ve had people do to me, is that they’ll ask for a special deal for a larger order, then they also use a discount code that they got somewhere else. If you plan on doing that, don’t be surprised if the shop owner cancels your order, because double discounts like that can end up actually costing us money.
How do you get free shipping coupons on Etsy?
Etsy doesn’t usually offer site-wide coupons, but it will send them out sometimes. To receive those coupons, you need to sign up to get the notifications from Etsy for their marketing emails.
To sign up for Etsy emails, go to the emails tab in your account settings from your profile.
In the emails tab, you can choose which emails you would like to receive from Etsy, including notifications, coupons and offers, and updates about new Etsy collections and events.
Signing up for marketing emails doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive coupons that are good site-wide on Etsy, but if you’re not signed up you definitely won’t get them.
To get notifications from individual shops when they run sales, you should follow the shop on Etsy by clicking the heart on the shop’s homepage.
When you’re following a shop you’ll see news about sales and discounts in your notifications feed. If the shop offers a free shipping promotion, you’ll see it in your notifications feed, which is the bell icon on Etsy.
You’ll also be able to click on the “your offers” section in your profile, which will show more sales and offers from shops that you’ve followed.
How to find items that ship for free on Etsy.
The simplest way to find items that ship free is to filter them using the free shipping filter in Etsy search. This will eliminate all listings that don’t either have free shipping, or aren’t eligible for the free shipping guarantee.
The items in search results that have the free shipping badge on them are things that don’t have an additional shipping fee.
Items that are marked as “free shipping eligible” are things that are covered in the Etsy free shipping guarantee, so they don’t ship free individually, but they will if the order from that shop is $35 or over.
If a shop has a free shipping promotion in their shops, it’s not going to show up here, so even though filtering for free shipping is a fast way to only see things in the two categories that Etsy sets up, it will make you miss out on other listings that might ship free.
What about international shipping?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of Etsy sellers don’t ship for free internationally The prices are a lot more when shipping internationally, even for light packages. Some sellers do offer the $35 and up guarantee, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see a lot of free shipping offers from international sellers.
In some countries, domestic shipping is actually more expensive than international shipping, so sellers have to take that into account.
I only ship internationally to Canada for various reasons, but I don’t ship there for free. The cost of shipping a light package is almost the same as the cost of most of my products, so it makes zero sense to offer free shipping.
Most businesses roll some of the shipping cost, if not all of it, into the price of the product. So adding that much into the price would make it seem too expensive to most people.
Seeing the shipping price separated out makes more sense to international buyers, because they know that shipping between countries is expensive.
Free shipping isn’t really free, it’s just one less thing to think about at the checkout. Etsy sellers try to price our products fairly, and sometimes free shipping works into that and sometimes it doesn’t.
If you want to ask a seller for free shipping don’t be surprised if the shop owner can’t do that. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but the answer is going to vary depending on the situation!
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