Etsy has sent a letter to their US sellers informing them that 83% of all sales on Etsy come from the 1st page of search results and that Etsy Free Shipping is going to dominate the page. If you are charging shipping on top of the item price then basically you’ll be buried in search with the highest page your listings will reach in search being page 2.
It’s worth noting that ti’s not enough just to offer free shipping on the listing, the 1st page of Etsy search results will be reserved for items that “ship free and items from shops that guarantee free shipping to US buyers on orders of $35 or more”.
“To continue improving our buying experience, now when a shopper in the US searches for an item, the first page of results – up to 48 listings – will be reserved for items that ship free and items from shops that guarantee free shipping to US buyers on orders of $35 or more. Keep in mind that 83% of purchases from search on Etsy come from the first page.
Because you’re not currently offering free shipping to the US, you could experience a significant decrease in views to your listings. To ensure your items are eligible to appear on the first page of search, we recommend setting up a free US shipping guarantee for orders of $35 and up.”
The Etsy Free Shipping campaign has been going on for some time as Etsy encourage and coerce sellers to end charging separately for carriage. Etsy reminded sellers that should (according to Etsy’s rules) be offering free US shipping on all orders of $35 and up.
Sellers are complaining that, especially for low cost items, offering free shipping isn’t always practicable but this latest move looks set to cut the legs off those sellers that can’t comply. Naturally the Etsy forums are rife with complaints, although some sellers have been pointing out that they never get to the first page of search results anyway.
It’s yet to be seen quite how Etsy enforce this new Etsy Free Shipping dictat. For instance if a search query is so specific there are only a handful of search results as the buyer refines their search then it would appear unlikely that if there weren’t enough listings with free shipping that Etsy would leave the 1st page half empty and relegate sellers with charged shipping to page 2.
As is always the case, if you have a great product and do everything else to best standards, Etsy free shipping might not kill your sales if buyers genuinely want your items. However if you’re selling in a highly competitive field and your fellow sellers are all offering free shipping then they’re likely to start winning more sales while yours decline.