EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3011 - February 28, 2013     1 of 4

Etsy Sellers Worry over Launch of Seller Ratings

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Etsy has launched a new seller rating system called Customer Service Stats that is proving controversial among shop owners. Despite Etsy's assurance that the ratings can be seen only by sellers, the announcement was greeted with lots of questions and concern on the part of sellers. "I hope Etsy doesn't have plans to make this visible to customers," was one of the first comments left in the announcement thread.

In a video explaining the ratings, Stephen from Etsy Support said the new seller ratings were "just for your own reference to shed light on how you can build a stronger business. They don't affect your feedback score or how your shop appears in search results and browse pages."

But sellers, particularly those who have sold on the eBay marketplace, are wary of any rating system that could be used as part of a carrot-and-stick approach to influencing seller behavior.

Some sellers expressed skepticism about Etsy's statement that the ratings were simply provided for sellers' sake. "And how long will it be before Etsy DO decide that it will affect our visibility in search / relevancy / SEO's," one asked. "I have no wish to be graded as if I were a small child nor as if I were selling on Ebay which is exactly the route that Etsy seems intent on taking."

The five criteria Etsy is now providing ratings for are as follows;

  • Responding Quickly to Buyer Convos;
  • Providing Processing Times;
  • Meeting Your Processing Times;
  • Marking Items as Shipped;
  • Providing Tracking Info - US only.

The latter metric, the percentage of time the seller provides tracking information, is a major area of concern, which was no surprise to Etsy - the issue had come up during testing, when Etsy explained, "Right now, we don't have functionality set up to pull in third party information. We are investigating the best course of action to address this, however at this time we're not able to parse out items that were shipped with third party vendors from those that were shipped without any tracking information. We're collecting information right now to better understand this challenge and I'll be posting a new thread to learn more. We're very interested in which third party vendors are most popular among our sellers, domestic and international."

After the announcement on Wednesday, a seller wrote, "I use shipstation and it is uploading the tracking info to the order. You can look at any sold order and see the info it uploaded. Why is it then saying I provide 0% tracking info?"

Aan Etsy moderator tried to reassure sellers - "We do understand not all of the Customer Service Stat scores will be in line with the recommendation, for example if you're shipping internationally or if you use a third party shipping notification system, and thatís totally okay. Though these scores are meant to surface areas where you may be able to improve, if you're not meeting the recommendation due to an outlying circumstance, there's no need to focus on that specific score."

Nevertheless, comments were coming in fast and furiously on the discussion thread from sellers about how this new system would affect them, whether Etsy would eventually show the scores to shoppers, and whether Etsy would use the scores to influence sellers' exposure on the site.

Sellers can access their Customer Service Stats by going to Your Shop and clicking Customer Service Stats on the left under Orders. They can read about the stats on this page and can read about how the stats are calculated on this page

Two weeks ago, reported that Etsy had begun testing seller ratings. You can leave a comment on that EcommerceBytes Blog post.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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