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Etsy guide 5: Creating delivery profiles

Etsy Guide 5 covers everything to successfully set up your delivery profiles for listings and how to tackle international settings. One of the critical things to stay on top of when running an Etsy shop, or any online shop I guess, is to ensure your delivery times are accurate. You can become really unstuck if you enter the wrong delivery costs of if you underestimate how long it will take.

Size then weight

Firstly decide which courier service you want to use. I use Royal Mail and sometimes Parcel Force for over 2 kg, but you may need to use a pallet service or need extra reliability. Anything that is postie friendly, e.g. small light things then the post office offers enough service to cover all eventualities. If you need a more specialist carrier ask on forums and social media as to what crafters in your field use. The following examples are using the post office pricing list, I like the actual booklet but the information is available online here


Size: Once your item is packed check the measurements as to what class post it will be. Depending on what you make it is worth having packaging that falls within the lowest possible dimensions, so have a play around and consider packing in different ways to reduce your postage costs.


Weight: Once measured you can work out the postage cost. So as an example, a large letter weighing 150g will cost £2.25 1st class or £1.85 2nd class.

Now that you know the cost of the postage you can start entering the details into the delivery settings. You can either do this as you write the listing or you can create some delivery profiles ready to use. Personally I'd rather spend a concentrated few hours sorting out postage details rather than half an hour here and there. It's quite draining so be in a focused frame of mind!

In your shop manager look for the 'settings' icon on the left hand side and select 'Delivery Settings'. From here we can start filling out a profile.

The red arrow shows the edit button for existing delivery settings and the purple arrow is for a duplicate. This is really great as you can simply duplicate a profile, make any slight amendments and rename it without having to look everything up again. You can have one setting for each of your ranges. When you first start, you click 'Create profile' (just above the red arrow) but as I have profiles already set up, we'll go through one of these.

 

Create a delivery profile Click 'create profile' and fill out the product name, your country and postcode. How long will it take you to pack and post the item? My pre-made stuff is all 1 business day (and about 30% of the time I post on the same day as the order) but commissions and made to order are set as anything from 1-3 or 3-5 days. Always protect yourself by not setting impossible deadlines. Be kind to yourself and allow for lost time. You're making a handcrafted masterpiece, so if it takes 1-2 days why not set the profile as 1-3, people will wait and if you get it posted in 2 days you'll be classed as a star for such a quick turn around.


You will also need to change the processing times during seasonal holidays or whenever the post office is closed on a working day, e.g. Bank Holidays etc. Maybe you want a few days away so instead of putting your shop on holiday mode (see my next Etsy Guide no 6: Shop Settings) you can simply extend your processing times.

 

Delivery Times Below you can see that the pre-set delivery times for a second class parcel is 2-3 days, but I prefer 2-4 days. Adding that extra day can save you a whole lot of 'where's my parcel', which is something I've only ever had rarely during the peak of Christmas. To input your own delivery time, select 'Other' and personally choose how long your stuff will take. At Christmas I gradually lengthen the delivery time as I notice that the system is getting busier. By 1st December my 2nd class will be set at 14-28 days and I will gradually reduce it as we near Christmas so that the last delivery date is always after Christmas. This shows customers it may not arrive on time.

NB. I also write a sentence to add at the bottom of every listing stating that the Christmas post is struggling. As we near Christmas I amend the message and by 6th December I write in capitals that it may not arrive by Christmas. Each year varies of course, but stay vigilant on social media to see the problems before they reach you.

Additional Items Once the delivery time is set, you need to enter in the cost. This information is in the post office booklet we discussed at the start. You also may need to set 'Additional Item'. Ask yourself, if a person bought more than one, would it affect the postage weight and cost? Here is a really simple example:

  • I item costs £1.00 to post.

  • Two item weigh more so they fall into the next price bracket of £1.35

  • Therefore an additional item will cost 35p, which is the amount you would then enter.

  • I also guarantee the refund of over postage from combined orders

Subtract the cost of the next postage bracket from the original to work out what the extra cost will be. It's not an exact science as if they buy say five, the additional item cost may make the postage more than it will be. That's fine, just remember to message that you'll refund any difference.

 

Upgraded Postage Once you have set your standard postage and worked out if an extra item will cost more, you can also offer an upgrade. My standard postage is 2nd class, but folks can choose to upgrade to 1st class or 1st and 2nd class tracked. Everything is filled out just like the standard postage, choose 'Other' to enter your own wording and times. The only difference is the cost. The red arrow below shows an extra charge of 70p postage, do not enter the full cost of 1st class, you enter the extra amount needed to make the standard into 1st class. Again, at Christmas these dates were extended and 1st class was gradually changed to 5-12 days at the very peak of Christmas (at the end of November)

Once you have set upgraded postage, you can turn it off and on with just one click. Below shows how, simply click 'Upgrades' from the 'Delivery settings' page.

 

International Settings Just as before, setting up international is no different than the standard and upgraded postage. There are things to consider however before offering international

  1. Does the item already have good reviews? You need to know the item meets the customers expectations. I wait until an item has a few reviews so I know there'll be no issues I have not foreseen plus it'll give internationals some confidence to buy if the item is already selling well.

  2. Can your item be legally sold in the country you have chosen? You must check with the government of that country to ensure you're not exporting an illegal item. The five minutes it takes to check is well worth it.

  3. Remember the southern hemisphere has their summer when we have our winter so anything for cold/hot weather offer to Australia etc. You'll be selling it year round then!

  4. An item that is of value I always send 'tracked and signed for' and there are two reasons, 1, the customer cannot say they haven't received it and 2, you're fully protected if it gets lost

As you can see from the picture below, The cost to post a £29 draft excluder to Canada is insane but people do pay it. I believe 'you pay for what you get' and as I have a huge amount of excellent reviews for my Drafties, I know there won't be any problems with them and so I have the confidence to charge an appropriate amount of postage. A few years back I bought a handmade patio umbrella from India for £98 and the FedEx postage was £68. It didn't matter that the postage was so high, I was so happy to have found exactly what I wanted. It proves that people will pay, but the item needs to be worthy of high postage.

A few tips I have learnt in selling abroad are:

  1. When you message your acknowledgment of the order to the customer, confirm you are posting from the UK. They cannot turn round at any point and say they didn't realise they had bought internationally

  2. Have a roll of sticky customs forms from the post office so you can fill them out at home (unless you are buying your postage online. I am old school and like to take my stuff to the post office for them to weigh etc). I fill out the customs form and stick it on the front of any parcels making it quicker when you are at the counter.

  3. Do not make your parcel look too fancy. Cover any pretty wrapping with plain brown paper as there have been reports of fancy parcels of high value being pinched at customs.

  4. International customs and taxes are worked out for you by Etsy. You do not need to worry about this as its added to the customers bill for the item and any postage.

Below is the international section of the post office price list. It works just as the UK one does, except the dimensions of the parcels have to be considered, not just the weight. Check the total length of it's 3 sides, the height, width and depth. Pack your item so it cannot get damaged, so the packing is extra secure and ensure your return details are on it. On the customs form I put just my house number and postcode and my parcel labels have my web address so I am contactable in two ways.


From the booklet below you can see the world divided up into different zones. If we are sending a 300g parcel to Australia which needs signing for, look to see which zone it is on the chart of pricing zones. Australia is in World Zone 2, signed for 300g would be £19.30. Make sure you get it right, as unsigned is £17.00, a big difference.

Since Brexit there are new codes to describe the contents of parcels and new packing laws, all different for different countries. It was too much of a faff for me to bother with but if you have the time it is worth setting up. Plus the post office has split EU Europe into two now so whereas before you simply listed you delivered to the EU, you now have to list the countries separately.


There are lots of different ways to run and set up your Etsy shop, I'm just suggesting a way that worked for me. I have never had any problems, maybe 3 out of the 1,100 parcels I have sent out. I have never had any damages, ever! The only real problem I have had with internationals was when a lady said the door knobs were too small. It was a sad excuse as the dimensions were clear in the listing. Knowing the horror stories of how things go missing and get damaged I had a great idea for this instance where we were both happy and no issue arose. I didn't want the problems that returned parcels can cause and I was fortunate this problem had been solved so amicably.

 

Summary

  • Fill out delivery profiles carefully getting the cost and length of time right

  • Remember to include 'Additional items'

  • Offer postal upgrades

  • Don't be afraid of international, research and sell with confidence

  • Enjoy the thrill that your crafted piece will be loved in a different country, it's marvellous!

  • Understand the perils of international and conduct your shop accordingly. The effort is worth it, but it is an effort before you take it all on. Fresh in the morning is a great time to set up all your delivery profiles, well, it is for me!

  • Stay on top of delivery times, amending them for holidays and when there are postal problems but remember to put them back to normal. If ever you're really busy you can extend the times too for a few days to help you catch up.


Other blogs in the Etsy Guide series (I'll be doing one a fortnight, ish):

Etsy Guise 1: Christmas Chaos

Etsy Guise 2: SEO, E-Rank basics

Etsy Guide 3 : Writing a listing


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