New Etsy Policy Leaves Some Sellers Upset

by | Jul 22, 2019

2 min read


Etsy to Prioritize Free Shipping

E-commerce site Etsy is beginning to prioritize items on their site that ship for free. In an email, the company announced that items will get priority in U.S. searches if it ships for free or if the shop guarantees free shipping on orders of $35 or more.

The company justified their decision by saying that “Etsy buyers are 20 percent more likely to buy items with free shipping,” according to an article from The Verge. Regardless of Etsy’s reasoning, many who sell on the site were displeased with the news.

One of the criticisms comes from the idea that Etsy has always differentiated itself from Amazon or Walmart. Instead of a fast-shipping company, the site is supposed to serve as a global marketplace where independent artists can sell their products. By prioritizing sellers who offer free shipping, the company makes it harder for international sellers to promote their goods, betraying the original purpose of the company’s existence.

Etsy acknowledges this criticism. In an interview with Business Insider, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said, “We know that this is going to be a lot for sellers to absorb – it’s a real change in how they think about pricing.”

While Etsy’s decision has left sellers disappointed, the company knows that with sellers like Amazon promising free and fast delivery, they need to keep up. Customer expectations for shipping have changed and those who don’t innovate will be left behind.

E-Tailer “Reformation” to Offset Environmental Impact of Free Global Shipping 

Fast fashion company “Reformation” is gaining a reputation for being one of the most environmentally friendly retail companies. They publish annual sustainability reports, encourage customers to offset their carbon emissions and claim to be the most sustainable option for clothing (besides “being naked”).

On July 11th, the company confused their loyal customers by announcing that they would begin to offer free global shipping. While consumer expectations are moving toward fast and free shipping, experts say that this phenomenon will have a lasting impact on the environment.

Axios reported that, combined, FedEx and UPS account for 0.5% of the U.S.’s carbon dioxide emissions, and that number is continuing to grow with more consumers shopping online, and with the promise of free delivery.

International shipping is also a big contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Air cargo contributes to 2% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and maritime shipping contributes to another 2-3%. The environmental impact of global shipping led many to believe that Reformation is betraying the values they promote.

Reformation is countering their increased emissions through carbon credits. After calculating the company’s total carbon emissions, they will purchase credits that offset their emissions and give money to projects that promote sustainability. While not everyone is a fan of carbon offsetting, environmentally conscious companies like Reformation will continue to use the tool to tout carbon neutrality.