Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Etsy International Shipping 101: Tutorial

how to ship etsy international without fear
{image: Fairface Washcloths now shipping worldwide!}
For the first couple years running my etsy shop, I have shipped U.S. only. I know how to put my product in a package, label it and bring it to the post office. Done. No worries (for the most part).

In the back of my mind, however, I've thought about all the people around the world I was missing. I've had several potential customers outside the U.S., but I turned them down because international shipping sounded too daunting and unpredictable.

So many what-ifs...and I can be a worrier. What if my package gets lost? How will I ever find it again? What if my package gets stolen? What if someone tries to scam me? What if I fill out the customs form wrong?  What if, what if, what if.

As I've tried to push myself out of my comfort zone this year and grow my shop and products, I've decided to take things to the next level & ship internationally. I'm not going to let the "what if's" ruin my what can be.

And look at these stats from Fed Ex:

International Shipping for small businesses, according to FedEx:

"If you’re only selling in the U.S., you’re only reaching a small share of your potential customers.  According to the U.S. Commercial Service, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S."
If I hadn't seen a reason to ship globally before, this is certainly convincing!

Etsy International Shipping: made easy

*Are you an etsy shop owner and see potential in shipping worldwide? Make sure to check out the etsy forums where tons of etsy shop owners, like yourself, are helping to take the mystery out of what international shipping is all about.

Ship Etsy International and use an electronic scale for accurate weights
{image: supplies for International Shipping: electronic scale}
Step 1: Buy a digital scale. I found one at Harbor Freight on sale + a 20% off coupon + a free tape measure with purchase. Score!

Step 2: Weigh your products with all packaging and paperwork. Your weight needs to be accurate (not like your drivers license. ha!). Round up to the nearest ounce (i.e. item 3.2 oz, pay for 4 oz).

Step 3: Check the ship-to country's import laws. Make sure the country you're shipping to accepts your products. Some countries have strict import laws. See: Shipping Policies by Country: USPS

Step 4: Create Shipping Policies. Be sure to state in your shop's shipping policies, that you are not responsible for import taxes, customs fees, etc. that may be required upon package arrival, for international customers. I've heard shipping through FedEx or UPS results in high charges on the customer end once the package is received, but USPS does not.

Step 5Calculate shipping. The general consensus seems to be, if your item is under 4 pounds, First Class International gives you the best rates. Once you have weighed your shipment, check the International Price Calculator from USPS to see what the cost will be.

Step 6: Add shipping locations to your product's page. Some shops start by shipping to a few countries instead of opting for "Everywhere Else". Price shipping based on the item's weight with all packaging, + handling fees, and insurance (if you choose - see step 8). Some etsy sellers price shipping costs high enough to ensure coverage for the most expensive country, but offer their customers refunds for overages.

Step 7: Shipping labels & Customs Forms. Using Etsy shipping labels is not only convenient, it's *cheaper* so you can pass your savings on to your customers! Yay! PLUS, Etsy international shipping includes customs forms so it takes the guess work out of what you need to fill out! *Some countries require a 2nd customs form on the outside of the package also. Be sure to check that country's policies. I've heard you can use PayPal labels too - not sure if they offer insurance or customs forms, but check them out if you'd like.

Step 8: 3rd party insurance. Purchasing insurance for your shipment is to your benefit in case the package gets lost or stolen and you have to re-send or refund the customer. It is our obligation as sellers to make sure our customer gets what they paid for. 3rd party insurance (through Etsy's U-Pick or places like or covers item & shipping) costs under $2 for $100. On the flip side, the customer can submit their own claim to their credit card or paypal, but it makes sense to offer that service & take care of the customer. *Insurance is available to most countries when purchasing Etsy shipping labels, so it's very convenient to purchase (*Also see: Etsy seller protection for a list of countries covered by direct check-out purchases). Many sellers say, "If my 3rd party insurer will cover it, I will ship there." Which seems to be a safe route. You decide.

Step 9: Drop off your package at the post office (or arrange to have it picked up). Some 3rd party insurance companies require you to have a receipt from the post office, showing you dropped it off, so check with your insurer. For most domestic shipments, I simply do all the postage at home and drop the package in the post office mail bin. No lines!

And that's all folks!

Is International Shipping still intimidating? Maybe a little, but it certainly isn't as ominous as it once was. It's not as easy as slapping on a label, but it may just be the best decision you ever made. I'll let you know what I think in a few months. ha!

*If you're experienced with shipping internationally and have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment to benefit us all!

Look out world! Shannon Sorensen Designs + Fairface Washcloths just went global! 

how to ship internationally with etsy
{image: now ships worldwide!}

SUBSCRIBE (never miss a post!): Subscribe to ShannonSews
BLOGLOVIN: ShannonSews on Bloglovin
TWITTER: @ShannonSews1
INSTAGRAM: ShannonSorensenDesigns on Instagram
SHOP: Shannon Sorensen Designs + Fairface Washcloths


  1. Yes, that FedEx press release is very engaging. And a slight push like that is what many etsy sellers have been waiting for. However, there's more to shipping than just closing a deal and the overseas delivery. It is important to know the basics and to never miss a single detail. A shipment flop can be very destructive since most part of the transaction is online. News spread painfully fast! Luise@FTA

  2. I found your blog quite interesting and the concern in the blog is really impressive

    Car Transport Germany

  3. I read your post and i really like your post. Thank you for sharing this post.

    International Courier Services

    International Shipping

  4. I found your blog is quite unique on intentional shipping. Thank you for sharing this information.


I'd love to hear what you have to say! Thanks so much for your comments! ♥


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips