For Brad Stanwick, selling — and shipping — imported 18th and 19th century English furniture on Etsy boils down to two things: math and a leap of faith.
“Many sellers are concerned about losing money when shipping large items,” says Brad, an art history buff and owner of the Parsons Nose Antiques shop on Etsy. “I ran the numbers and figured out that I can ship my furniture almost anywhere in the country for about $250 to $300 through uShip. So, I took a leap.”
With his predictable estimate in hand, Brad now has a two-pronged shipping price strategy: display his flat, up-front delivery rate right in his Etsy listing or roll the shipping cost into the item price to offer “free shipping.”
Ultimately, he knows what drives sales and is betting on buyer’s being comfortable with the cost displayed. “Buyers on Etsy want to know shipping costs right off the bat. They want to press the button and make a decision,” says Brad, who is a former IT systems developer turned Etsy seller.
From his location just north of Detroit, actual shipping costs to the East Coast are predictable (and within Brad’s calculated range); however, longer distance deliveries to the West Coast are often more expensive, sometimes cutting into his margins.
But after doing the math, he knows he’ll come out ahead in the long run, even if it means taking a loss on a shipment from time to time. “Know you’re not going to win them all.”
Brad is among a growing group of Etsy shop owners who have figured out the messy business of large-item shipping through uShip. The 15-year-old shipping marketplace uses machine learning to determine the most accurate rates based on millions of past deliveries.
uShip also provides sellers access to a network of over 41,000 feedback-rated carriers, most of whom are owner-operators driving sprinter vans, cargo vans, and pickup/trailer combinations.
Providers on uShip blanket wrap items, saving Etsy sellers time and money on each shipment. Insurance is also available through uShip, backed by Lloyd’s of London.
Brad uses uShip’s Name Your Price feature, which allows shippers to post their shipment at a rate they control. Carriers then accept the rate and pickup arrangements can be made. In some cases, sellers may need to bump up the rate if shipments are headed to more remote locations in the country.
While one-of-a-kind pine tables, dining room sets, or classic chest-of-drawers win the hearts of buyers, fairly-priced logistics ultimately win their mind.
For Brad, uShip has helped him find a way to win both. “Using uShip has been better for my bottom line.”
If you’re an Etsy seller with large items to ship, check your Etsy Dashboard for details.