I wanted to talk a little bit about how I calculate my postage charges, a bit dry I know but I think transparency in business is so important. This is more of an issue for my lampwork beads because the higher value of my jewellery means it will always be sent using an insured service .
After my 8+ month hiatus I split my beads and jewellery from each other and I am revamping both my Lampwork Jewels and my Judith Johnston Jewellery shops on Etsy. Now Etsy are pushing HARD for sellers to offer free shipping, I don’t really understand why it’s such a big deal for them, they charge sellers a fee on listings and shipping these days so it’s not like offering free shipping makes them any extra money but I digress. In order to offer free shipping sellers have to swallow any charges within the price of their products which invariably means increasing the price to the buyer. Either way the buyer is paying for shipping, if they buy more than one item then they are paying for shipping more than once.
The next part of the equation are Royal Mails charges which have increased astronomically over the last couple of years, particularly for international parcels. It’s so frustrating because most of my beads get posted in a slender cardboard box that fit’s through your letterbox, hardly weighs anything and can be sent via their large letter service. I have genuinely spent HOURS on the R.M. website price finder trying to calculate the best prices and it comes down to this. I can send it uninsured (£20.00 compensation) at a reasonable price or insured at a much higher price and here lies the rub. People will choose the reasonable price (I know I would!) but what happens when something goes astray, and it will, because lets face it, we are talking about the worldwide postal system.
A part of me wants to write a disclaimer that if you choose the uninsured service and your parcel doesn’t turn up I won’t refund you but honesty that’s just not me. If your beads or jewellery don’t turn up I will take responsibility and refund you because you gave me your hard earned cash and in return I really want you to be happy.
Over the last 15 years of selling beads online I can only remember one parcel going missing and I had upgraded to insured as a thank you to the customer. Therein lies my answer, after all this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth the answer was hiding in plain sight all along. The only person who loses out financially if an expensive parcel goes missing is me…so I will just do a free “thank you” upgrade over a certain threshold. Phew I’m glad that’s sorted! Now back to the beads…
Edited to add: Etsy have announced that from 30.7.19 their search results will favour shops offering free shipping to USA for order over $35.00! I think this will be hugely detrimental to small, handmade and international sellers and while I will keep my Etsy shops open for now I will be focussing my efforts here on my website. I will offer free shipping in my online shop because the cost is more or less covered by not having to pay Etsy fees on every sale I make.