September 7, 2019

So… Etsy

While we wait for me to get up my courage to start my new video series or podcast (decisions, decisions), here’s a written word vomit about the changes coming to my Etsy shop.

Now, does it make sense for me to write about Etsy on my Squarespace site? Probably not, but I’m pretty grumpy about the whole thing.

Here is how a typical Etsy update goes for me: 

  1. Rumblings start about an update

  2. Update comes out

  3. I ignore the emails because I’m unable to deal with that shit at the current minute

  4. Grumblings start from Etsy sellers who are way more responsible than I am

  5. Grumblings turn into roars of frustration and aggravation from a seriously pissed off group of people

  6. I pay attention to what is going on and get closer and closer to shutting down my shop front.

This latest set of Etsy changes are no exception. Most people who aren’t directly impacted by it haven’t really paid attention to what has been going on. This isn’t a judgment, I don’t pay attention to your area of business either, necessarily. 

Last summer, Etsy raised the fees on both shipping costs and sale amount. This would have been fine, except it was supposed to make life easier for everyone. How? By increasing their marketing budget by a terrifying amount of money and making Etsy a household name. This, in turn, would mean that it would be raining orders from Heaven on sellers. Yeah, I’m still waiting.

This winter, Etsy announced their new subscription plans that start at $10/month. This isn’t something I could feasibly take advantage of as I already have my own website and wouldn’t get the full benefits of my monthly fee. It seemed like an additional money grab from a company that was already raking in more than ever with the increased fees.

Then. The latest. Etsy announced that they had done a truly astronomical amount of research (literally surveying every Etsy customer according to Josh Silverman’s comments in a recent Vox article) and come to a singular conclusion. Because sellers refused to offer free shipping, they were losing customers by the barrel full. Customers are fleeing left and right because free shipping was nowhere in sight.

The horror.

In order to find a fix, Etsy announced that they would be forcing enticing sellers to offer free shipping on orders over $35 to receive premium placement in search results. Premium placement in search results is a huge advantage when we are talking about 60 million or whatever shops. 

Here are the problems.

Is shipping actually free? Nope. Not on this earth in this day and age. All the parcel carriers still require payment before they will allow you to ship with them. Even though the Etsy order was over $35 and you have to offer free shipping, magically, there is still a shipping fee that has to be paid by someone. 

Is Etsy actually subsidizing shipping charges for those of us that are giving in to their ransom demands agreeing to their terms? Not a single red fucking cent. 

What is their solution? This is the real doozy. 

**Sellers are being advised by Etsy to increase their prices to compensate for the “free shipping” that they are being forced to offer.**

Just to be clear, there hasn’t been any value added to our products by way of improvements, but we are advised to raise our prices just the same. And then tell people we offer “free shipping”. But we aren’t. 

We aren’t because it’s not free.

You are still paying for shipping. Still. The cost of shipping is now just rolled into the price of the item. Which, depending on the item and shipping destination and starting point, could mean you are paying more than what you would have paid when shipping was considered separate.

There is a shitload of Etsy sellers trying to figure out “who to screw” when it comes to their customers and raising prices. Spoiler, they don’t actually want to screw anyone. 

What did I decide to do in my shop? I’m offering the “free shipping” guarantee. I already was at orders over $45 anyway because that made sense for my business. So much for being a small business owner without a board or shareholders. 

What I won’t do is lie about it. It’s not free shipping. I’m raising the prices of my products in my Etsy shop to compensate for this bullshit program. Prices at shows and on this website will stay the same. I’m going to be posting a shorter version of this on my Etsy shop as an update, but won’t be able to link to this website due to Etsy policies. I’m also going to be slowly moving my emphasis over to this site and away from Etsy. I like being in charge of my own shit and I’m over being told what to do. I don’t like being given an ultimatum. 

Thanks for reading this. I know it was a bit rant-ish and very long. Who knows, maybe I’ll pull this and put it in podcast or video form. Maybe.