Should You Offer Free Shipping on Etsy? Pros and Cons

Should You Offer Free Shipping on Etsy? Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking of ways to grow your Etsy store, offering free shipping must’ve come to mind. While it sounds like a great idea, there are many things to consider. 

In this blog post, we’ll examine all the pros and cons of offering free shipping.

Before you read the pros and cons, take a close look at the two primary reasons that make Etsy free shipping an appealing option.

Why is Free Shipping Important?

Right off the bat, people like seeing free shipping on listings across all ecommerce platforms. Etsy is no different. 

Therefore, let’s look at two crucial reasons why offering free shipping is a good idea.

Improves Your Listings’ Ranking

If you offer free shipping, your listings will rank better. How so? 

People want free shipping. Therefore Etsy prioritizes listings that offer this shipping option. Always remember that Etsy is a platform that wants happy customers.

Therefore, if you decide to take this route, your listings will rank much better.

It is important to note, though, not all people get to your listings via Etsy search. They use other methods as well. So the ranking advantage only refers to cases when someone uses the Etsy search bar.

Drives More Sales

As your listings get a better ranking, their exposure is higher. That can potentially lead to higher sales. However, it’s also crucial to optimize your listings for better conversion rates.

One crucial step might be to write a killer description or take outstanding product photos.

High ranking descriptions with well-optimized listings drive more sales.

Free Shipping Deep Dive: Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve covered the crucial points why offering free shipping on Etsy is beneficial, let’s take a closer look at all the pros and cons of taking such a step.


1. Etsy Emphasizes Free Shipping Label on Your Listing

Etsy does not only rank your free shipping listings higher. It also emphasizes that you’re offering it.

All listings that come with free shipping feature a prominent green badge next to the price. It clearly states that the shipping is free on that item. All the visitors who are looking for free shipping can quickly notice it on your listing.

2. Straightforward Purchasing Process

Your goal as a seller is to make it simple for your customers to purchase items from you. One way to achieve that goal is to state an exact price that includes all the costs.

Opting for free shipping allows you to create a single price. The customer doesn’t need to do any math. They’ll immediately know how much they need to pay.

3. Enjoy the Free Shipping Filter

If you choose to cover the shipping costs, your listings will be exclusive in a popular filter, the Free Shipping filter. All other listings that don’t have this shipping option enabled will be gone.

That’s a nice perk, as you can get more exposure to your listings.

4. More Listing Views

As Etsy incentivizes free shipping, you’ll get more views on your products. More views can lead to more sales.

It’s something to try out, at least.

5. Offering Free Shipping Makes Your Listing More Appealing

People like free stuff. That’s simply in our nature. 

Let’s compare two listings, one that sells for $100 with free shipping, and the other sells for $90 + $10 shipping. Customers will opt for the free shipping one.

There’s simply something exciting about getting something for free in the whole process. It can give the impression that the customer is getting a more premium product for the same overall price because shipping is free. 


Unfortunately, free shipping ironically comes with a price. There are a couple of crucial cons to consider.

1. Complex Calculation Process

Be thorough when calculating your costs. Besides including the standard Etsy fees and product cost, remember to add the shipping costs. 

Failing to do so will result in miscalculations that can cost you a lot. You can quickly end up in a situation where a sale automatically turns into a loss.

With a little bit of effort, you can prevent this from happening. You’ll need to check what the shipping costs for all the US states are. Additionally, if you’re an international seller, see what charges you might face when selling overseas.

Ensure to include these in your pricing, and you’ll remain profitable with all your sales.

2. High Cost of Refunds and Returns

Our guide to increasing sales mentions how offering returns is a great way to build trust. There’s a catch, though. If you offer free shipping, you’ll need to factor in the potential costs of refunds and returns.

While this is not going to happen often, it’s still a good idea to create some sort of a budget that’ll cover those expenses.

The best you can do is establish clear store policies and create perfect listings. Successfully achieving that will result in a lower number of refunds and returns.

3. Variable Profit Margin

Your shipping costs are going to differ from one sale to another. While it’s still going to be possible to calculate your profits, it’ll be harder to evaluate which products bring in the highest profits. They’re going to vary from one sale to another.

These cons are not something that you’d face if you’d charge shipping separately.

Free Shipping on Etsy: Yes or No

In the end, we believe that it’s best to give free shipping a chance. The potential to increase your sales is worth it. And if it performs poorly, you can always stop offering it. 

Understanding the best option for you will require you to test it out.

Calculate Your Fees with Alura

You can use our Alura Fee Calculator to figure out all your Etsy fees quickly. If you’re curious about our platform, please contact us to learn more.

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