This Etsy Canada shipping page will give you a breakdown of shipping options for sending your products across Canada, to the United States and Internationally. With the big push toward “free shipping” you may be asking yourself how you can possibly offer free shipping on Etsy given the shipping costs in Canada. How can you compete with the ultra low, or free, shipping on Etsy? Unless you are selling low priced goods, there is no reason to compete on shipping prices. There are lots of good reasons NOT to offer free shipping or cheap shipping. Plenty of sellers are now disabling their free shipping on Etsy and doing so without adverse effects on sales. I for one never opted in for free shipping because it just didn’t make any financial sense for my business.
Before I cover the issues regarding low-cost and free shipping, if you want to skip to the Etsy Canada shipping recommendations, you can find them further down the page.
You have to remember that Etsy is not like Amazon who sends massive amounts of orders daily from large fulfillment centers. Amazon can afford to compete when it comes to shipping because they have their own integrated delivery system. Individual sellers on Amazon can also compete with free shipping if they set up as FBA sellers (fulfillment by Amazon). This means that the seller can ship hundreds of their products to an Amazon fulfillment center where the items will be shipped individually by Amazon as orders come in. Etsy however, is the entire opposite with the onus entirely on each individual seller. Each seller must ship orders individually, making both time and shipping fees reach a much steeper cost.
It’s unfair and unreasonable to expect most sellers to offer free shipping. This is a handmade marketplace and unless one is selling a high ticket items, it’s very difficult to sink the shipping fee into the product cost and still maintain an appealing price point. Etsy is unique and, in my opinion, the idea of training buyers to expect cheaper and “free” will over time erode a system that is based on a love for creative entrepreneurship and design.
As I've suggested in the selling on Etsy page, you can sink some of your actual shipping costs into your product by raising the jewelry, or product, prices by one to three dollars in order to cover your actual shipping cost. This will remedy the issue if you would like to give the illusion of a lower shipping price, but I urge you to not lead with the idea that you must offer free or cheap shipping.
Ironically it’s cheaper to ship from Canada to the USA, and internationally, than it is to ship to some areas in Canada. Some of the issues include price increases for boxed products, and high fees for tracking and insurance. Even if you can send a pair of earrings in a mailer and fit the package through what is referred to as “the slot of doom”, meaning your package can ship cheaply because it’s under a specified weight and thickness, there are lots of risks in sending orders out without tracking and insurance.
Given the new world we live in, and the persistent issues with mail delivery, I don't send items without tracking and here’s why I think you shouldn’t either:
It could cost you a lot more in the end...
With the exception of shipping out handmade greeting cards, small magnets, stickers, and the like, it’s not a good idea to ship items without tracking. For low cost items such as a single greeting card, be prepared to ship the item out again should the buyer not receive the original item as you will have no way of proving that the item was sent. The only way to have that proof is with tracking.
If you can slip a pair of earrings into a mailer and send it out for roughly two dollars, you might want to rethink all the trouble you may face as your sales increase and buyers claim their items were not received. Without tracking, it will cost you much more in the long run to resend orders, or it may cost you sales should you receive poor reviews if you don’t offer top-level customer service to remedy any issues. All the more cost to you if you need to insure a replacement order to guarantee delivery the second time around.
Even if you’re sending a handmade greeting card and you can offer free shipping, or two-dollar shipping, you need to make it ultra clear in your product descriptions that the order will not be insured or tracked. This is a decision you’ll have to make if you’re selling low cost items and you want to offer cheap, untracked shipping.
Since the onset of the pandemic, I have encountered countless horror stories from other Etsy sellers around this very topic and, frankly, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble to offer free shipping, or cheap shipping, if it means your orders will go out untracked. Both the US and Canadian postal system are inundated with a higher than ever volume of packages, while also contending with Covid outbreaks at various sorting facilities. The new “guaranteed” shipping is that there are no guarantees, especially in regards to delivery times.
We’re also seeing more packages marked delivered even though customers claim they have not received their orders. This is largely due to an overwhelmed system as well as porch theft. Unfortunately, as business owners, we must eat up the cost of this widespread problem should it happen to us. In short, the current reality dictates that we must cover our bases as best we can with the appropriate measures even though we don’t have ultimate control over delivery mishaps.
It is far better to put attention to detail in your packaging and wow your customer with an unboxing experience that elicits joy rather than send out items such as jewelry without a box in order to ship it for a couple of dollars. You might be surprised to know that if you charge a little more for your work, and the appropriate cost for shipping, you will attract buyers who see more value in your work. The more you attempt to save the customer a couple of bucks on shipping, or the product itself, the more likely you are to attract buyers that don’t have an appreciation for your artistry, so don’t be afraid to charge a little more and say... yes, there is shipping on top of that!
Peace of Mind...
Sending your orders out with tracking and insurance will give you the peace of mind your looking for. You will easily be able to stay on top of orders and know when items are received and you’ll free up your time to work on your next orders. Having multiple orders without tracking can eat up hours of time not to mention how chaotic that could be during the busy holiday season.
Now let’s look at your cheapest options for Etsy Canada shipping for domestic, US and internationals orders. I’m going to recommend my two favorite ways to ship items to the USA and overseas. Please keep in mind that some countries may be problematic in terms of sending parcels. On that I cannot advise, but the following two shipping options are your best bet when it comes to shipping outside of Canada.