one of the first things you do when you set up a new shop is outline you policies- shipping being one of the most important ones. today we’re going to talk about shipping- and if you haven’t written your policies yet, etsy’s seller handbook has a great section on seller how-to’s for shipping that will help you get started!
etsy released this article recently- that has tons of great info in it- i’m summarizing it here for you plus adding a few of my favorite shipping features! customer service is of the upmost importance on etsy. good communication along with clear policies, prompt shipping and thoughtful packaging will do wonders for getting you off on the right foot. to begin- here are some general shipping guidlines for the following countries:
calculating weight and rates:
depending on the service you use, you may have to calculate your weights. us first class mail uses weights to ship, while priority mail depends on the type of envelop you use. having a measuring tape and a shipping scale like this one makes your job of shipping (and correctly calculating the cost of shipping) a breeze! once you know the weight of you package (and possibly the dimensions) you can use the following calculators to accurately calculate the rate.
the holiday hustle and bustle can make shipping deadlines a bit stressful. use these shipping deadlines provided by your postal service to make sure your items will arrive on time. this would also be great to refer your customers to!
etsy just announced that as of november 2009, 30% of all etsy transactions are across borders- how exciting! but, if you haven’t shipped much internationally before- it can be a bit of a learning curve. here’s a few quick guides:
if you find yourself constantly going to the post office to fill out customs forms, make sure to check out endicia.com. endicia allows you to print shipping labels online- along with their customs forms! printing all your information and printing at home makes shipping internationally so much easier.
personally, customs forms tend to get a little tedious for me, but if your shipping overseas you’ll have to include one. make sure not to mark your package as a ‘gift’- if it’s an item that you sold. filling out customs forms appropriately will help prevent your packaged from getting held up in customs. although international shipping goes smoothly most of the time, make sure your customers know that you cannot be responsible for items held up in customs. it’s just nearly impossible to track a package once it leaves your country.
your customer should also be aware that they are responsible for any additional fees charged by customs- let them know by adding it to your policies page.
etsy provides this great information about customs forms:
- In the U.S. you’ll need a green CN 22 customs form which you can pick up at the post office or order for free from USPS.com.
- In Canada, refer to this link on the Canada Post website. Terrain adds, “For U.S. and International Xpresspost and Expedited parcel services, fill out the ‘Customs Declaration’ section of the shipping label. For U.S. Small Packet/Light Packet, CN22 Customs Label (white for SP, green for LP).”
- PeculiarForest notes that for UK sellers, “Customs forms will need to be filled out at the post office if parcels are being sent outside of the European Union.” Memake notes that you may also download a PDF form from the Royal Mail website here.
- Australians need the green forms available from your post office for free.
paypal shipping labels
for your customers that use paypal to purchase their items, printing shipping labels can be a breeze! as long as you can calculate the weight of your item, you can print your labels right at home, then just drop them off at the post office or have them picked up (below). even if your customer didn’t use paypal, you can still print their labels by creating them yourself using their multi order shipping tool- you can read more about that here. there are also a few forum’s that can be very helpful when considering shipping w/ paypal: ‘how to ship with paypal‘ and ‘do you prefer paypal shipping’.
finally, when your shipping out even a few times a week- running back and forth to the post office can get tiring. there are a number of ways that you can let your mail carrier come to you! thus, shipping your items without ever leaving the house (imagine that!). here are the options for usps pickup: usps pickup options and a forum that helps explains it: click ‘n ship, paypal, package pick-up.
no homework! i think there are plenty of links above to keep you busy! what’s been your experience?