I just read this article on the Etsy Blog re shipping strategies for vintage sellers and thought it would be of particular interest!:
I have been following many of the sellers' tips for a long time and they really work (for me, at least:)
Great article! Well worth reading!
Thanks for sharing this article...it puts a lot of great tips in one convenient blog.
I love Etsy Success. you can sign up for weekly emails , i think they come every thursday.
unlike most sites that have useless or insulting "seller tips" Etsy's suggestions are very useful because they are written by actual sellers not corporate suits.
I didn't find anything new there ... I guess 13 yrs online shipping and you eventually get it.
I did smirk a bit at the comment about packing up the item while listing .... man if I did that I'd need another room just for "holds". And a new memory cell in my brain! LOL
We really just need Etsy to buck it up and do a shipping calculator like eBay on listing forms. It really is the best!
What does this mean? "Just pack sufficiently, double-boxing fragile items, and charge a modest handling fee. The handling fee will essentially act as your ‘self-insurance,’ covering the rare instances when an item is lost or damaged.” Is she adding more to the cost of all her shipments to self insure?
Also, those flat rate boxes are a joke. They are always too small for the item that's heavy enough to want to ship in them. The small one is way too small for most items. They are only good for the heaviest of items anyway. It's still cheaper to send it Priority mail in a regular box in most cases.
I always box my items when I list them because I never find the right size box when I need it. What it all comes down to, do what's best for your situation. I use UPS on occasion if I have heavy or fragile items. It's a drive but costs the buyer less in the long run.
I've learned to stay away from certain items that are going to be a difficult in the neck to ship. The article is great for those vintage sellers just starting out and need a variety of shipping information.It's better than learning along the way and loosing time and money.
Since I have been selling online I have always used Priority Mail with my pieces. A couple of times I used something else by request of the buyer, but when things were done and calculated....priority mail was generally the better way to go. I do not charge a handling fee, but with the shipping the cost of insurance is included with it. I have done it like this ever since I can remember with the insurance, have only had 1 item break....and it looked like they jumped on the box too going through the mail.
I pretty much have been using the 12x12x8 bigger box of priority mail, with once in a while a smaller box being used for some things, but things have been secure with the bigger box, and it leaves room for the wrapping and peanuts I always use. I print the shipping label, shows insured on it which I make a colored marking there to bring attention to it, and on the shipping label under customer address I will write "Insured" on there too. Around the box I do not use the fragile stickers, but use a marker to write fragile in big words on all sides of it. I know, sounds out of ordinary, but I have not had any issues with doing things this way. Shipments have been received in a time customers like, and no issues of breakage or problems....whew! Always crossing them fingers:)
Appropos the packaging aspect---for newspaper packing material (since I don't read any newspapers), I use the free weekly trade newspapers one can get at the antiques malls, i.e., Antiques and Auction News and Antiques Week. My local antiques mall gets several boxes each week, and they are free to customers. There are always tons of extras when the new ones come out each week and they just get recycled (or thrown out;) anyway, so I regularly bring some home for packing purposes.
I will never mark a package "fragile" again. I was telling a friend about my recent mishap with a mailed package whose contents came back to me destroyed and which never even made it to the customer. She told me that her husband years ago had worked in a USPS sorting facility and had told her that he had witnessed workers throwing packages marked "fragile" against the wall for their own amusement. Oh really?? très amusant;)...I assume he called them on it, but in any event, it just reinforced my suspicion that some people in these facilities do, indeed, intentionally "mishandle" items. There are, without doubt, bad apples in any organization; however, I refuse to invite trouble where my own items are concerned;)