Thursday, 16 June 2016

Can you help me?

I have a question that I really need some help with an I am hoping that you are just the person to offer your advice and thoughts!

The quandary?  Well, it relates to my Etsy shop and the things I sell there.  I am not trying to sell or promote anything to you, I just need some help.

Postage costs.  It seems that everything I send, no matter how thick or thin it is, ends up being a small parcel.  Postage costs for small parcels are considerably higher than for letters.  That means that my postage costs are higher and I suspect that that is putting buyers off.  I only charge the postage cost, plus a small amount to cover the packaging materials.

To date I have been sending things in bubble wrap envelopes.

Today I noticed that a fellow blogger had bought some lovely progress keepers from an Etsy seller - not me - and I went to have a look following the link in the blog post because I thought they were very pretty.  They were and there were lots of other lovely pretty things and I will be going back to buy something myself.

I had a quick look at the postage costs and noticed that this seller is charging a lot less for postage than I am.

For a very similar - I mean REALLY similar - item they are charging about a third less than the amount I need to charge taking into account the cost that I reckon the post office will charge me and my packaging costs (based on the rate table that I obtained from the post office). 

Now, I realise they may well sell loads of things and buy envelopes and so on in bulk to reduce their costs, but given that after my costs and the charges that Etsy puts on the items I sell, I am making about 5 pence profit (yes, really!) on the item, I cannot afford to reduce the price or reduce the P&P cost.

I do reduce the costs for multiple purchases.

So, my questions to you are this.

1.  If you buy something of very low cost do you expect it to be wrapped and packaged as well as it if were something more expensive - I know I would which is why I wrap and package them that way.  However, if it meant that the cost was less would you mind that the packaging might not be as lovely?

2.  Do I need to send things in bubble wrap envelopes?  Could I send them in a normal envelope or one of those plastic mailer thingys - can't remember the name! - which are thinner and therefore as the postal cost is based on size as well as weight, it might reduce the cost.  What are your thoughts?  As a purchaser, what do you prefer?

3.  My other thought is to actually increase the cost of the item, but for it to include the P&P.  I don't like the idea of this myself, but I wondered how others feel about it?

4.  If you see similar items from different sellers, how do you decide which one to purchase from?  Do you go with the person you know, the number of reviews, the lowest price?  What is the deciding factor for you?  I would love to know.

I hope that you can help me as I feel that my postage costs are higher than I would like them to be, but I don't know any other way to get around it and would love to know your suggestions as purchasers!

Thank you for your help.



  1. 1 yes I would expect good packaging regardless of costs
    2 If it is not fragile then a plastic mail envelope is fine
    3 sometimes free p&p makes me choose to buy
    4 best price for similar items

    Hope this helps

  2. I suspect it may be the link in my post which you followed. If it is, I can confirm that the item was posted in a Jiffy envelope and that it came as a large letter. The seller has charged postage at cost(96p)and nothing for the packaging materials. I think it's always nice to receive things nicely wrapped but this doesn't have to be the outer postage materials, an item inside a normal envelope can be just as nicely wrapped in tissue paper or whatever once the packing material has been removed. Price is always a factor in what I buy but I always look at the reviews too. Hope this helps.

  3. It's always nice to receive something nicely packaged, but as long as it arrives safely, it doesn't really make me go back to a particular seller again. Postage and packaging do influence me when buying something. With such a small profit margin, are you underselling yourself? xx

  4. I like nice packaging but not necessarily the outer packaging, a plastic envelope would suffice as long as it was wrapped inside. Price is always a factor but I do read reviews too. I do wonder if you are underselling yourself Amy you do need to make a profit.

  5. I buy a bit on line...only breakable stuff costs more for postage, Jiffy bags for wool, buttons, they need jiffy or bubble wrap? I don't think so...if need be for effect , tissue paper is light and with twine etc weighs little and can be made to look so pretty ....if I was you I would get 3 items of the same, one in a jiffy, one on a cardboard/do not bend envelope, one in a "normal envelope fitting the size of the order, get the post master to weigh all 3 then decide.xx

  6. Hi Amy. I am not bothered about the packaging as long as the items are protected from damage. Price does play a role in decision making but is not of the essence, if I like something very much. I wonder if a flat rate postage model might work? I don't read reviews as I am never quite sure if they are genuine, although that's probably not a issue with Etsy, where you get invited to write a review when the goods have arrived. Earning money with craft is not easy and a high price might put people off but you need to make sure you are not underselling yourself. I am not experienced with craft selling but I recently spoke to a friend who has a baking business. The rule of thumb there is to work out the costs of the ingredients and then triple to quadruple the price to reflect work and include a profit. Maybe you could work with a sales model based on this? Have you spoken to fellow crafters who sell on Etsy or elsewhere? Wishing you luck. x

  7. When buying wool, I always go for the free p&p option. I expect my orders to arrive in one piece but I don't mind about the wrapping. I don't envy you trying to decide on prices, this seems to be the hardest bit. x

  8. Postage has gotten so high that it is often the determined when I buy online. We sell online and usually make our packaging to save money. As long as the item gets to me safely I really don't pay that much h attention to the packaging.

  9. My daughter has used jiffy envelopes very successfully. I like to receive things that have been wrapped in tissue paper. It always looks as if someone has made and effort. And tissue paper isn't expensive or weighty. I would pay more for s good quality item. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  10. Forgot to say, I do read the reviews and will buy if people rate the seller well. Over price factors.

  11. I know postage costs are exhorbitant here too, so understand your misgivings on all this. Why not see if you can go to your local Post Office and have a good talk with staff and see if they can offer some advice. As long as it isn't breakable, I don't think bubble wrap is necessary, but pretty lightweight wrap & the plastic type envelopes should ensure safe delivery. Do some more research & see if there is some sort of other delivery service, as here in Oz, there are a few options these days. Hope all that helps & don't undersell yourself as the others say. Take care.

  12. If you are selling things that cannot be damaged such as something made of wool or fabric then I would think that the simple plastic bags would suffice with perhaps some tissue paper around the purchase inside. If it is something that could be broken if not handle correctly then bubble wrap would be best.

  13. That IS a conundrum. I bought my huge kitchen island on Etsy and I still shudder to think about how much shipping I paid, but it was reasonably priced (and I LOVE it) so it seemed okay.
    When we consider the responsibility of the mail, the shipping companies, and the value of the product, it IS worth it. I think you should raise your prices.

  14. I don't think you need to bubble wrap if it's not fragile Amy. I think wrapped in some pretty tissue paper looks nice and helps keep things safe & is nice and light. I think the outer package doesn't matter as long as it protects the item. I think maybe you should think about charging more but doing the free p&p. I think when folks see anything as "free" they think it's a good deal (even if it doesn't really work out that way) - just the nature of our brains. Lol You're probably worth more sweet Lady and could be charging more anyway to make a bit more of a profit in my opinion!! Hope you get the right plan figured out for you...and please let us know what you've found out once you do. I still think about starting an Etsy store; so this topic interests me greatly. ;)

    Good luck Sweetie!! xoxo

  15. I think you are getting good advice from many. I compare product and price when buying. My main interest in packaging is that it arrives safely. Unbreakable I purchase usually arrive in plastic bags within envelopes. Breakables wrapped in bubble wrap in cardboard envelopes or boxes. Nothing fancy unless stated as a gift being sent straight to giftee.
    Good luck

  16. I think it depends on what the item is. If it is breakable I would like it well packaged and in a bubble envelope. If it is made from fabric I would suggest trying the cheaper packaging. I don't purchase much from Etsy but have done from Ebay and I don't mind paying the shipping costs if they are reasonable. Not sure where you purchase shipping supplies, but try the pound shop or somewhere like that. Maybe you could add some of the shipping supplies in with the item and charge less on the shipping.

    How was the cost of the similar item? More of less than yours?

  17. If it is not breakable, you can avoid the bubble wrap.

  18. Hi Amy, I just visited your Etsy store and you have beautiful items at very reasonable prices; and the shipping costs are very reasonable, too. Here's my answers: 1) I don't expect fancy packaging but "clean" looking packaging. 2) I wouldn't expect bubble wrap. My daughter had a very successful Etsy shop that sold pillows. She sent them in plastic, unpadded wrappers to customers all over the world. 3) Maybe you could increase the shipping as it looks like your shipping costs are on the low side especially international shipping. 4) I buy both by the sellers rating and the price. If its a couple of dollars, then it doesn't matter to me. But, if it's a larger item, I would pay more for an item with a seller that has an outstanding rating, like your shop. My daughter's sales were very high because she had outstanding quality/rating. (she temporary closed her store due to the birth of her little daughter) Your Etsy shops looks great, with wonderfully made items and reasonable costs. International shipping costs here in the US have skyrocketed. I'm excited to see your business continue to grow. Congrats! Pat xx

  19. I think Joy and Dotty are spot on. I buy loads of stuff online and to be honest if I want something I'll pay the p and p BUT I much prefer when it arrives in a jiffy envelope because I can reuse it! Too many ch packaging annoys me! 5p profit is not enough Mrs. Up your prices. If people want it they will buy X

  20. Hi, I am a seller on Etsy here in the USA, and here are a few things to consider.

    I like to package all my shipments out the same no matter how much was purchased. The type of envelope you are thinking that is very thin is made from Tyvek and they are incredibly light and indestructible, UPS and Fedex both have envelopes made from this material. You will need to purchase them in bulk for them to be economical. They do decrease the postage. Are you buying your shipping label through ETSY itself, this is how it works in the USA and we get a price break on the postage. Can you buy your shipping in England directly from Etsy? I buy items from other sellers on ETSY and I do like to read the reviews so encourage your customers to leave you a review if they were happy with their purchase. I don't know how long you have been on Etsy but it does seem to take a bit to build up clientele. So keep at it, look at all your costs carefully. I wish you lots of success!!

  21. I have an etsy shop but no longer stock it as shipping costs here in France are exorbitant. As I was selling pottery I had to make sure everything was wrapped securely and in the end it was just too expensive to make the shop worthwhile.
    I would say as long as your items are not breakable tissue wrap and a jiffy bag would suffice.
    Going to have a look at your shop now!

  22. I expect items to be well packed, certainly enough to prevent damage and you should certainly charge what it costs you. I often use padded envelopes and then items can go as a small package which never seems too expensive.

  23. Loads of good advice there Amy, I would say as long as the item arrives safely and undamaged that's all that matters, I also think that you should up your prices is it really worth going to all that effort for so little profit, your stuff is beautiful and you should reflect that in your prices. :) xx

  24. Hi Amy,

    After reading all the comments about postage etc I wondered if you had ever considered using another postal service instead of Royal mail which I know can be really high. Just a suggestion.
    Good luck with the shop.
    Hazel c uk


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