A PHOTOGRAPHERS JOURNEY THROUGH SELLING ON ETSY (Part 6)

 

This week will be our last post in the Etsy series, and our last post for the year. Last week we reviewed creating a Shipping Profile.  What I left for this week was if you should offer free shipping as well as how to process your orders.

 

Free Shipping:

If you visit my site you will notice that I offer free shipping on any order over $35. Etsy gives you the option of offering free shipping or charging the customer for shipping and handling. So you may ask why I am doing this.  From their site, “If you offer a free shipping guarantee on items $35 and up, you might find that shoppers buy multiple lower-priced items to reach $35.’ Honestly, given the way this year has gone, anyway I can increase sales is worth a try.

If I look back at most of my on-line shopping, I find that I am more drawn to stores that offer free shipping.  Now you are going to say that ‘Free Shipping’ is not really free. The seller just adds the price of shipping to the COGS.  Of course that is true, but for some reason we are all drawn to free shipping as opposed to paying for shipping. In addition Etsy will promote free shipping stores a little more than those not offering free shipping. Setting up free shipping is easy.  Go to the setting menu and under shipping setting you will see a menu for Free Shipping Guarantee.  Just follow the instructions and Etsy does the rest.

Finally, I do offer on item that is below the $35 cutoff price, but when you add shipping to it the final cost is around $37 so there is some incentive to purchase a larger print or multiple small prints.

 

Processing an Order:

So the big day arrives and you get an email from Etsy that an order has been placed, what next?

When you log into your store and look at the shop manager menu you will see an option, Order and Shipping.  Select this option and you will see all of your orders, divided into 3 sections, New, In Process and Completed. New is the default, so scan down the page and you will find the order details.  Under the customer name will be the order number, as well as a thumbnail of the item, quantity and cost.  To the right of that will be the estimated delivery date (based on the process time you set up in the shipping profile), the ship to city, and some selection as to creating a shipping label, emailing the customer, and the ability to print the order details.

At this point what I do is click on the order number to open the order details. When that opens, I first will go to the message section and email the customer that I have received the order and that the order is in process.  If it is an item that I print in house, I let them know an estimated ship date, which is always sooner than the one displayed.  If it is a print that I have done outside, I let the customer know that I have submitted the print for processing and will let them know when I receive it. Of course I also thank them for the order and let them know that we are always available for questions.

Next is I actually place the order in process by selecting the More Action button at the top and selecting In Process. I close the order until I am ready to ship.

Once I am ready to ship, I first open the order and send another note to the customer that the order is ready and will ship the next day or 2. I then create a shipping label using Etsy to process and print the label. In your shipping profile you set up a preferred shipping method.  In my case it is USPS Priority Mail.  When you open the order and go to the shipping section, you will see the shipping, and across from the shipping cost.  If this is a free shipping item the customer will see this as the cost, but they will also see a credit on their order. In addition, when you create a label through Etsy, they will email the customer when the order is dropped off at the Post Office with the tracking number so you do not have to do anything.

For packaging my prints I will use either the priority envelopes that you can get from the post office, I find that my 5 x7 fit nicely in the small envelopes and the 11 x 14 in the large envelopes.  For anything bigger is use cardboard tube.  PLEASE NOTE: the post office will BEND the envelopes no matter how many time or label you put on it indicating that it is a photo, so plan accordingly.

If you look at the more action button, you will see a print option.  Before sealing the envelope/tube, I print out a packing slip as a confirmation that what they ordered is what is shipped. I also print an extra copy for my records.

Under the shipping method will be a black button that allow you to get a shipping label from Etsy.  Since Etsy has a deal with both the USPS and FedEx, there is a discount on the cost to ship the item so I find this cheaper than taking the item to the post office and purchasing a shipping from them. I select the get shipping label, authorize the charge on my Etsy account and then print the label on my printer. NOTE: for some stupid reason if there is more than one item in the order, Etsy will have you create a label for each item.  All you have to do is on the left hand side, select one of the items, and print a label, then exit. 

That’s it, you shipped your first order.

 

Final Thoughts:

When I started these posts I had said that selling on Etsy was never meant to be a big source of my income, only a way to sell pictures that were on my web site.  Covid changed all of that and to say it has be an educational journey is an understatement.  After 11 months I think I finally have gotten the process down to being more efficient and easier.

There were a few things I did not talk about, like running an Etsy sale, offering promotion discounts and return customer discounts.  These are things that I have tried and are still working with.  I may post again in the future as to the success or failure of these promotions.

I also did not talk about how I promote my Etsy and Web sites. I plan on doing a post or two at the start of the year on the importance of Instagram to Photographers. So stay tune for more.

I hope you have found these posts both educational and interesting.  If I have peaked your interest in selling on Etsy then welcome to the chaos! If you ever have any question please do not hesitate in contacting me using the links on the right.

 

Please have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years.  May you and yours be safe during this time and see you again on 10 January 2021.