shipping packages

The Latest Updates at Needle & Foot

Hi Everyone!  I want to share a change I am implementing at my shop.  I have had so many issues with trying to properly list my products and use the shipping tools provided by Etsy.  I think the tools are great for sellers who usually receive orders for one item at a time. With an order for just one item, the postage is calculated based on the region the item is being shipped to and the weight of the item.  This means if I receive an order for a yard of fabric, the shipping is calculated accurately for my customer.

The problem occurs when a customer orders a list of different things.  If an order is made for 2 yards of one fabric, a yard of another fabric, and a bundle of fat quarters, the shipping is invariably over-charged (by quite a bit).  Many of you have been very loyal customers since I started stocking the shop with quilting fabrics (which I am oh so grateful for!!) Those of you who have ordered a number of items on one order know about this issue and also know that I refund the shipping overages to you.  As time has gone on, the shop has grown and my order rate has become nice and steady. At this point, I find I am spending a bit of time refunding shipping overages and sending notes to customers explaining why they were overcharged for shipping. It has become tedious and time consuming.

Flat Rate Shipping, Only $6.99!

After thinking about this for a while, I have found a solution! All orders at the shop will now be charged a flat rate of $6.99 for shipping.  Any order, no matter how many items – one fee, $6.99.  This means customers ordering a number of items, regardless of the weight of the items will only pay $6.99.  I will happily cover the rest of the shipping expense.  Coming to this decision was difficult. I have been looking at the order rate and the number of orders I had to refund shipping on.  As that number grew, it just made sense to streamline things.

Another factor that drove this decision is that I realized I was losing sales because of the mis-quoted shipping charges.  If a customer shopped and put a number of items in her cart, the shipping quote would be for $14 or $15.  In fact, just two weeks ago, a customer wrote to me asking if this was the correct shipping charge.  I explained the situation and reassured the person I would refund the overage once I packed their order for shipping.  However, the person ended up shopping elsewhere.  I understand that.  She isn’t familiar with me and has no reason to trust I will actually refund the extra $9.00 she was going to have to pay at checkout.

Over the past months I have tried to work with the tools Etsy provides.  Don’t get me wrong. I am a very happy Etsy seller.  Etsy provides a great way for me to own and run my business. I believe the problem lies with the variety of items that are combined on any one order I receive.  With flat rate shipping the transactions will happen smoothly and for my shoppers who need to order a number of things at one time, it will actually make shipping less expensive.  Any order of two and one-half yards or more will usually weigh over one pound.  This means it needs to be sent flat rate for the best shipping cost.  At this point, shipping is charged at $7.10 for the padded flat rate envelopes I use to ship orders.

What if I Only Need a 1/2 Yard Cut?

I realize this flat rate shipping charge isn’t the best option for the person who chooses to order a 1/2 yard of fabric or a couple of fat quarters. Don’t worry!  I have figured out a solution for this too.  I will have two listings available for purchase.  There will be a listing for a generic fat quarter.  On that item, you will be able to leave a note telling me which fat quarter(s) you need.  That listing will use the regular shipping calculation and my customer won’t have to pay $6.99 for shipping one or two fat quarters.  Similarly, I have a listing for a generic 1/2 yard cut.  Again, the customer will tell me which fabric they need a 1/2 yard of and the shipping will be charged accordingly. To find these listings, you can type “fat quarter listing” or “1/2 yard listing” in the search box and they will come up for you.

It is my hope I have considered the variety of needs you, my customers, might have.  But as always, I want to hear your thoughts!  Please let me know what you think of this policy change. Did I explain it clearly?  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  When one reader has a question, it is highly likely others are wondering the same thing.  Please ask!

Having this shop over the past 18 months has been a blast.  You are all the greatest and I am so appreciative of you.  Thanks so much.  Hard to believe but the fourth anniversary of my blog is June 4th. That seems reason enough to celebrate, doesn’t it?  Come back in a few days and we will have a party!

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11 thoughts on “The Latest Updates at Needle & Foot

  1. Wendy

    This makes complete sense to me, Bernie. Thank you for thoughtfully working out a solution that both benefits you and us. I’m looking forward to the party on the 4th!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks so much Wendy. I am feeling confident this will be a really good solution – I appreciate your thoughts. See you on the 4th!!

      Reply
  2. Kathyh

    Etsy’s shipping process is way better than the old days. Whenever a customer orders multiples, -I hear you on the shipping overages. And the subsequent shipping refunds. I like your solution.
    Runningwithneedles.etsy.com
    Runningwithhandmade.etsy.com

    Reply
  3. Patty Morris

    Shipping is a conundrum for many sites and it seems you have come up with a great solution. In managing operations at my company, I totally understand the challenges associated with equitable shipping! Thank you for a thoughtful option for us!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      You’re very welcome Patty. I think it is going to be really helpful – much speedier for me and the expense will be less for my customer. It is a win-win. Why didn’t I know you had a blog? I am having so much fun reading through prior posts. I can’t believe I missed that!

      Reply

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