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Should you offer Etsy free shipping? Pros & cons for Etsy sellers

Offering free shipping on orders is a great perk for shoppers, but it’s not expected as a given. Here we look at the pros and cons of free shipping on Etsy.

If your Etsy sales have dropped, or you’re looking for ways to grow your Etsy store, you’ve probably considered offering free shipping. 

Etsy free shipping is an appealing option – for both shoppers and buyers. But offering free shipping does come with a price for Etsy sellers. In this article, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of offering free shipping.

Why is free shipping important on Etsy? 

Because shoppers love free delivery! That really is a major factor to consider – shoppers are used to searching multiple e-commerce sites and many will purchase items if shipping is included in the price. 

But from an Etsy success point of view, offering free shipping on your items can also be beneficial.

Free shipping on Etsy improves your listings ranking 

Just like if you gain lots of positive reviews for your store, if you offer free shipping, your listings will rank better. Etsy knows that shoppers like free shipping and so it prioritises items that offer it. If most shoppers find your store through Etsy searches, rather than social media, for example, this can be hugely beneficial for your business. 

Free shipping on Etsy drives more sales 

Once your listings start to improve their ranking, their exposure is higher – and this can potentially lead to higher sales. If you want to increase your sales, make sure you avoid these common Etsy mistakes and ensure that your listings are well-optimised. 

Etsy free shipping: The pros and cons


Etsy includes a ‘free delivery’ label on your listings, like this:

Free delivery badge on Etsy listings
Note the 'free delivery' badge on listings

Etsy actively promotes your free shipping with an eye-catching green badge next to the price. It tells shoppers that shipping is free on those items, making it potentially more likely that shoppers will add the item to their order. 

Makes the purchase process easier 

If you want to convert as many shoppers as possible, you must make the buying process as easy as possible. Free shipping helps with that, as shoppers know the exact price that they will be expected to pay – and that there won’t be any additional cost at checkout. 

Increased views on listings 

As Etsy incentivises free shipping, there is more chance that you will get more views on your products. More views can lead to more sales 🙌

Shoppers love FREE stuff! 🆓

Who doesn’t like getting something for free? Free shipping gives shoppers the impression that they are getting a quality product, but for less. 

Free shipping filter 

Etsy has a free shipping filter, which as a seller should be considered another opportunity to get more exposure to your listings.

Etsy free delivery filter
The 'free delivery' filter can bring more visitors to your Etsy store


Yes, there are quite a few pros to offering Etsy free shipping – but there are some cons to consider too, unfortunately. We wouldn’t be giving you the whole story if we left these out! 

Difficult calculation process 

We’ve heard from a number of sellers that miscalculations have cost them big. If you are intending to offer free shipping on your Etsy store, make sure you have correctly calculated all your costs. Include the standard Etsy fees, the product cost AND the shipping costs. Not doing so is likely to see you make a loss on your orders.  

Thankfully you can make sure your calculations are correct. Whether domestic or international, always check what the shipping costs are for all areas and countries that you deliver to. Add these costs to your product pricing and you will remain profitable with your sales. Hooray! 😀

Refunds and returns can add up 

Offering shoppers returns is a great way to show customers that you are a reputable shop. However, if you offer free shipping, you will need to factor in the potential costs of refunds and returns. While we hope that you don’t get many refund requests, when it does happen, you must have a way to cover those expenses. 

To keep refund requests as low as possible, we advise you to provide clear shop policies on your Etsy store and give as much accurate detail as possible in all your listings. 

Variable profit margin

Shipping costs will vary from one sale to the next – especially if you sell a number of different products. This will make it more difficult for you to evaluate which products bring in the highest profits. If you charged for shipping separately, this isn’t an issue that you would face. 

The bottom line – Should you offer Etsy free shipping to customers? 

Weighing up the pros and cons, in our experience, it is worth offering free shipping on your Etsy store. By doing so, you have a much better chance of increasing your Etsy sales. If it’s not quite working for your needs, you can simply stop offering it as an option. Only by testing it out will you be able to decide whether it’s the right approach for your business.

Good luck! And if you offer free shipping on Etsy and have seen results (good or bad), let us know over on Twitter, @SellWithAthlete

Got an Etsy shop? Then you might also be interested in:

How reviews can lead to more sales on your Etsy shop

What to do if your Etsy sales slow down

Athlete loads your Etsy orders to your Shopify store, so you can manage them in one place.