Shipping has never been easier, cheaper, or more time-saving since Etsy opened the option to print shipping labels through their site using your seller account. Along with the savings, you get free tracking, and the option for low-cost, third-party shipping insurance. Even on international shipping.
As an Etsy seller, I’ve learned a nice little lesson over the last week about the importance of shipping insurance. In short, it’s worth it.
I recently sold a record to an Australian customer. It was only a $5 dollar sale, so I decided not to put insurance on it. The insurance would have only cost me one dollar, and I passed thinking about my profit margin. Dumb move, since the shipping charge was $19. I ended up eating $24.
Here’s what you need to think about when sending orders internationally:
Once the package is out of the USPS’s hands and into the hands of a different country’s mail service, you are officially in the dark. Sometimes a country’s customs may hold onto the package for an inordinate amount of time (I’m looking at you Brazil), it may just go missing (stolen), or when customs opens the package to see what’s inside, the customs officials may damage the item. This is what most likely happened to my Australian order.
I’ve sent numerous records to Australia, and never once had an issue with damage occurring. I have a pretty nice packaging technique down, so there’s no reason something like this should happen:
Since the record is in a paper sleeve, inside the record cover, which is then inside a plastic sleeve and bubble wrap, the only way that this could happen, would have to be in customs. Otherwise the piece would have been inside of all of that packaging and the box.
It really sucks for my customer who was looking forward to listening to this record, and now it also sucks for me. I refunded the buyer in full. My customer’s satisfaction is one of the most important things for me as a shop owner. If I’d had another copy I would have sent it to her, but sadly I didn’t.
If I would have spent one dollar on insurance, the third-party insurance company would have written me a check for the $24 the damage lost me, and I would have broken even. But I was being cheap, and that cheapness cost me a lot more than a dollar.
Please, take a lesson from my experience. In the long run, it’s always worth getting insurance if you’re shipping internationally through Etsy. You never know what might happen once you send your package out into the world.