Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Etsy Quick Trick: free shipping plus 15% off

help for Etsy vintage sellers
Free shipping can be an effective marketing tool for vintage sellers

Have you tried free shipping? Many vintage sellers have expressed concern that free shipping is unattainable.

Will free shipping discourage multiple purchases?

My shop has free shipping. My shop also runs a 15% discount all the time off from purchases of three or more items. I have had a many takers.

Lots of vintage shops give volume discounts when asked; what I do is not much different. Shipping costs are rolled into the price... Multiple buyers get their "free" shipping cost back. They feel like they are getting a bargain to boot, a win-win!

Items with "sales" such as "15% off three or more purchases" receive another benefit: they show up on any Etsy search for items on sale.... (And of course searches with free shipping...) I get fewer requests for lower prices, too.

Etsy's take on free shipping

rural mailbox
Is free shipping viable for online sellers?

Etsy asked buyers, and
...They see no reason why they should pay more for shipping on Etsy than anywhere else...

There was a belief... that because Etsy is person-to-person that people would understand that and pay more shipping. The buyer research was definitive: They won't.
"They're willing to pay $50 for that beautiful product. But having to pay $10 for shipping felt wrong. In fact, it feels wasteful for them to pay for shipping when everywhere else they don't have to pay. We saw time and time again that if the buyer had to pay $60 for an item and shipping was free, they felt great about it. But if they paid $50 for an item with $10 shipping, they felt bad about it."

Case studies for offering a 15% discount along with free shipping

***Example 1: an 8-oz item along with 2 jewelry pieces.***

Estimated shipping built into the cost to cover the “free” shipping: $2.99 + $2.99 + $3.99 = $10.00

Actual shipping $4.38

Order cost $64.83
15% discount on that total was $9.83

The amount  of the discount was about what I had rolled into the prices toward shipping. In this case for the three items I spent about half of that on shipping ($4.38). So when receiving $9.83 off their purchase, my customer received in effect a 7.5% discount. Does that makes sense?

***Example 2: a $100 bracelet with 2 post cards.***

This buyer purchased 2 inexpensive post cards in order to secure the 15% off. How did it work?

Bracelet $99.99 + post card $0.75 + post card $0.49 = $101.23

15% off $101.23 is $15.18 taken from the total is $86.05

$86.05 + Shipping (post cards only; shipping is not free for them in my shop) $3.98

Order total $90.03

So my buyer got 10% off plus two post cards (which I consider to be of no value and I sent one more as an extra). The buyer did not have to contact me to ask for a discount, and I am pretty happy about the sale.

15% off sale setup

A percentage-off sale on Etsy can only be a maximum of 30 days. That means that I actually run 12 sales per year. I can set them up well in advance. They are named something like "201915off01" for January, "201915off02" for February and so on.

***Example 3: six lots of window glass ***

This buyer scored 10 lovely pieces of crackle glass.

$185.94 - $27.89 (15% off) = $158.05

Calculated into the item cost toward free shipping: $3 + $5 + $5 + $5 + $5 + $5 = $28 

Actual cost was $21.05 + $3.82 = $24.87 (I could not get all those pieces double-boxed into a box under 1 sq ft.) 

So essentially my shop gained $3 extra over the calculated shipping. My buyer scored a net 13.5% off. With an order that big, I would have given 20% had they asked. So I am happy, and so is my buyer!

eye candy vintage art glass
We love combined orders

Saturday, January 5, 2019

USPS shipping prices will increase on January 27, 2019

The US Postal Service is making a significant change to postal rates in early 2019. Besides the expected rate increases, first class mail is switching to zoned service.

This means that $2.66 will no longer be the smallest package rate to ship to any U.S. destination. Effective January 27, it will cost  $3.09 to ship that same little package to zone 8 (coast-to-coast from your location; zones 1 & 2 will remain $2.66 and close zones will cost slightly more than that).

Highlights of the 2019 USPS Postal Increase 

Average postal increases are:
  • Priority Mail 6.2% 
  • Priority Mail Express 3.9% 
  • Priority Mail Express International 3.9% 
  • First Class International 3.9% 
  • First Class Package Service 11.9%.

A further rate hike for bulky packages:
  • The USPS is extending dimensional weight to Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express for packages over 1 cu ft, with the DIM weight divisor becoming 166
antique letters
USPS letter rates will increase to 55 cents
And, of course, first-class packages rates are switching to zoned-base pricing in 2019. (A first-class stamp increases to 55 cents, for the record.)

Here is a USPS document with the new rates outlined. For my shop, I print the applicable pages. I post them in my shipping room for reference. (Try pp 13, 17, 40, 25, 27, 32, 42 and 74 for starters.)

First Class Mail zone rates

Particularly hard to absorb are the changing of first-class mail to zoned rates... I present them to you here:

Wt (oz) 1 & 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8
1 2.66 2.68 2.70 2.76 2.84 2.96 3.09
2 2.66 2.68 2.70 2.76 2.84 2.96 3.09
3 2.66 2.68 2.70 2.76 2.84 2.96 3.09
4 2.66 2.68 2.70 2.76 2.84 2.96 3.09
5 3.18 3.20 3.22 3.28 3.36 3.49 3.63
6 3.18 3.20 3.22 3.28 3.36 3.49 3.63
7 3.18 3.20 3.22 3.28 3.36 3.49 3.63
8 3.18 3.20 3.22 3.28 3.36 3.49 3.63
9 3.82 3.85 3.88 3.96 4.06 4.19 4.33
10 3.82 3.85 3.88 3.96 4.06 4.19 4.33
11 3.82 3.85 3.88 3.96 4.06 4.19 4.33
12 3.82 3.85 3.88 3.96 4.06 4.19 4.33
13 4.94 4.98 5.02 5.12 5.24 5.38 5.53
14 4.94 4.98 5.02 5.12 5.24 5.38 5.53
15 4.94 4.98 5.02 5.12 5.24 5.38 5.53
15.999 4.94 4.98 5.02 5.12 5.24 5.38 5.53

They are in price groups: 1-4 oz, 5-8 oz, 9-12 oz and 13-15.999 oz. I have price points in my shop, and it looks like the US Mail does this as well.... for each zone of course... My add-on for "free shipping" will be ranging from $3.50 to $6.00 depending on the estimated packed weight.

The first-class package prices are mostly increasing (except the zone 1/2 packages):
  • Any package shipped across the USA (to Zone 8) increases from $0.43 (Zone 8, 1 ounce = $3.09) to $1.43 (Zone 8 – 13 ounces = $5.53)
  • 13 ounce package rates in particular will be higher, increasing $0.84 (Zone 1/2 = $4.94) to $1.43 (Zone 8 = $5.53)
  • Heavier first-class items weighing 15 ounces to 15.999 ounces are seeing a smaller increase, going from no increase at all (Zone 1/2 = $4.94) to an increase of $0.59 (Zone 8 = $5.53)

My shop will be able to absorb much of this increase because of using a cheaper (free to join) shipping service called Pirate Ship.

Are you all ready?
USA map with Maine highlighted
My shop is geographically challenged.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Etsy forums and teams will be temporarily read-only

Etsy newsbreak:

Teams and forums will be essentially offline for nearly 2 weeks... Starting in one week, Etsy will begin their "improvements ... to Etsy's community spaces."

“...we’ll be entering a brief read-only period in Teams and Forums spaces from January 10-22. During that time you’ll be able to view community content, but unable to post comments or start new discussion threads.“

“Starting January 22, members will have access to improved tools and features in the Teams and Forums spaces... We appreciate your patience while we finalize these improvements."

Admin officially announced the team migration here. 

Since making it official, they have amended the above announcement twice. The first adjustment was to state the "The only exception [to the full shutdown of the forums and teams] will be the Bugs forum, which will remain open for both reading and posting new threads and comments.

A day later, they added:

**More about the read-only period: In addition to putting the finishing touches on new tools and features, the January 10-22 read-only period allows for the extensive migration of existing Teams and Forums content—including over 10,000 Etsy Teams and millions of discussion posts—into our updated community spaces. Our aim during this period is to ensure a seamless transition that will make it easier for you to connect with other sellers, grow your creative business, and keep up with the latest Etsy news.**

Information for team captains and leaders here.

Etsy has provided some clues about how the new team spaces will be

1. They will run on Lithium. Lithium is the operating system used by PayPal's forums. So take a peek at how it may work. It seems like a less pictorial, less warm and fuzzy place for sure.

2. Previously deleted threads will no longer be accessible, and any deleted threads in the future will not be saved.

3. Forums threads without a comment in the past three years will not be available in the refreshed community space. If you have older Forums threads saved, you’ll want to jot down any pertinent tips or resources prior to the read-only period.

4. Improved tools for Team Captains and Leaders make it simple to quickly communicate with all members, including a streamlined group messaging feature and a customizable announcements section on each team's home page.

5. If you have set up a question for new members to answer, their answers will not be saved and teh question will not appear to future people trying to join.

6. There will still be the option to make your group open (anyone can join) or closed (members must request and be approved to join), but there will no longer be an option to hide your team completely and make it invite-only.

7. There will no longer be an option to download a CSV file of your team's members.

What about promotion? Etsy has said nothing. The indications I am receiving are that the new spaces are not designed for it.

What is is store for forums?

1. "We’re increasing the overall number of sections available in the Forums, and adding intuitive labels to surface the answers you need quickly." Included is a "new shop critique section provides an easy way to share and request feedback."

2. "... enhanced comment functionality lets you @mention and “like” other members’ posts. After posting a new thread, you’ll be able to select an accepted solution that indicates when another member’s reply addresses your question effectively." You will have "the ability to like and tag other members within threads..."

3. " simultaneously across existing Forums and Teams threads to see what questions have already been answered by the community. You can even follow threads or saved searches that you want to pay close attention to."

4. There will be "an increased character limit and text formatting tools including bullets, numbers, and emphasis options like bold and italics."

Will it be better? I have not seen it so I cannot say.

We will find out soon!

Etsy Quick Trick: free shipping plus 15% off

Free shipping can be an effective marketing tool for vintage sellers Have you tried free shipping? Many vintage sellers have expressed...