Etsy is making changes to its brand-new Star Seller program that it launched to make it easy for buyers to identify sellers who have a “proven record of offering an excellent customer experience.” The program evaluates sellers by looking at their performance in the following areas: responding to messages, shipping, 5-star ratings, sales, and orders.
On August 6th, it answered frequently asked questions and let sellers know that in the months after launch, it would experiment with a few placements for the Star Seller badge, “including testing into showing the badge in search results, on a seller’s listing page, shop home, and in buyer marketing (like email) as a few examples.”
In order to be eligible for the Star Seller badge to display showing they are a member of the program, sellers must respond to 95% or more of initial messages from buyers within 24 hours. This week, Etsy announced that it would no longer count messages from Etsy staff in sellers’ overall message response rate.
Another requirement of the program: sellers must ship 95% or more of their orders within their stated processing time and with tracking (digital orders do not require tracking information).
Etsy said this week that any second label associated with an order, such as a return or replacement label, would no longer be counted in sellers’ on-time shipping and tracking calculation.
Etsy also said that it became aware that some tracked orders shipped using Royal Mail were not counted as having tracking in Etsy’s system, which was negatively impacting sellers’ shipping performance. “We looked into this issue for sellers in the UK who use Royal Mail, and we now have a fix in place, so this should be resolved moving forward.”
Etsy also said it would soon allow sellers to download a CSV file with more details about their message response rate so they could better understand which messages were being counted as late.
In the thread set up to answer sellers’ questions on August 6th, sellers expressed concern about the response rate required of them – one seller wrote in part, “You all really expect us to respond to every single message in 24 hours? Am I not allowed to take a day off?”
In response to such concerns, Etsy advised sellers to set up an auto-responder. “We fully understand you can’t and shouldn’t be tied to a computer 24/7,” a moderator replied. “If you are taking any time off, we highly recommend setting an auto-reply up so that you let your buyers know you might not get back to them immediately, which will also ensure your Messages score isn’t negatively impacted. Also, Etsy only counts initial buyer messages in your score, so responding to follow ups from the same thread in under 24h is not required to be a Star Seller.”
Moderators linked to this page with instructions on how to set up autoresponder.
There were also questions about how Etsy would measure sellers’ performance when it came to sales of digital goods rather than physical goods.
“We are aware of the need custom digital sellers have, and that our existing digital product is not fully serving you,” an Etsy moderator wrote on the August 6th Q&A forum. “We are exploring this as an area of improvement, but in the meantime, I’d recommend listing your digital items as digital downloads, and letting your buyers know via the listing description or in the placeholder/download itself to reach out to your with customization choices.”
You can also find sellers discussing the program on this August 5th AuctionBytes Blog post.