Shipping Your Etsy Merchandise through the US Postal Service
Most Etsy merchants (at least in the United States) use the United States Postal Service for their shipping needs. It you opt for USPS, you need to decide whether you want to go with First Class or Priority Mail. In general, First Class, which is the less expensive option, is handled in the same way as Priority Mail, but it's put on the truck last — meaning that if the truck is full, the First Class mail has to wait for the next one, which may affect delivery time. Unless it's a particularly busy time of year or your packages typically weigh more than 13 ounces each (the First Class cutoff), First Class may suffice for your needs.
You also need to decide whether you're willing to offer expedited shipping — for example, USPS Express Mail for overnight delivery (for an added charge, of course).
If you decide to offer expedited shipping, be sure to indicate in your shop policies and item listings how buyers can take advantage of that option.
If you've opted to use the USPS, you can determine which shipping option is right for you by using the USPS Postage Price Calculator. Here's how:
Type ircalc.usps.com in your Web browser's address bar.
The Postage Price Calculator page opens.
Click the Select a Destination drop-down list and choose the country to which you want to ship the item.
Type your zip code in the From Zip Code field; then type the recipient's zip code in the To Zip Code field.
Note the flat-rate price that applies to your package.
To see whether a different option is cheaper, select the shape that best matches your package.
Enter the package's weight in the Pounds and Ounces fields and click Continue
A list of delivery options appears.
To view all delivery options together, click the Display All Options check box.
Depending on what option you choose, you may be able to purchase and print the postage online, right from the Postage Price Calculator. To find out, click the desired postage option; if a Print Postage button appears in the Product Selected area, it means that you can purchase and print your postage online. (Simply click the Print Postage button to do so.)
The USPS offers flat-rate pricing for Priority Mail in addition to weight-based rates. Which option you choose depends on how heavy your item is:
If your piece fits in the small flat-rate box or envelope and it weighs more than 1 pound, the flat-rate route is for you. Simply put, the more you can cram into the flat-rate box, the better the deal.
If your piece weighs more than 1 pound or requires a medium or large box, run the numbers before you commit to the flat rate. If the item is light or is shipping to a zone near you, the weight-based rate may be better.
These tips also apply to UPS, which offers flat-rate shipping on medium and large packages.