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Etsy Star Seller Program: Harmful to Seller Morale?

Etsy Star Seller Program: Harmful to Seller Morale?

Despite their best efforts to qualify for the Etsy Star Seller program, a number of sellers say the program is unattainable due to flaws in its design and implementation.

“Post-Christmas, many Etsy sellers are being hit with 1-3 star reviews due to late deliveries by postal carriers, even though items were dispatched on time and in some cases customers ordered after the last order date for delivery before Christmas,” a seller told EcommerceBytes.

“In Etsy’s Star seller admin under the reviews section it says “…Sometimes we can remove a negative review when it’s about something you couldn’t control, like a late delivery caused by a carrier…,” the seller said.

“Yet when a seller reports a 1-3 star listing that just complains that the item hasn’t been received yet or arrived late – Etsy refuse to remove the review. I am sure there are many sellers being affected by this.”

The Etsy discussion boards include similar sentiments from sellers who fail to qualify for the program for what they say are factors outside their control – including some reports that Etsy doesn’t include their latest sales within a review period.

Another factor: sellers say buyers who haven’t upgraded to the latest version of the Etsy mobile app are unable to leave a 5-star review (it only goes up to 4 stars). A seller suggested what they called a simple fix: Etsy could choose to stop weighing a 4-star review the same as a 1-star review.

Sellers are also expected to respond to all messages, which can lead to confusion. One seller whose buyer sent three rapid-fire messages quickly responded to the last one and learned they were penalized for not responding to all three. Others have issues with Etsy’s auto-responder system (which must be reset every 5 days). “How hard IS it to have a system whereby if you don’t respond in a certain time the auto response is sent should you choose to enable/use it?”

Another EcommerceBytes reader wrote to us to say their badge went missing:

“In December 2021, one of our Etsy shops met all of Etsy’s criteria for the Etsy Star Seller Badge, and we also got an email saying we are a star seller for December 2021. Still, to our surprise, the star seller badge that we worked hard to maintain was removed from our Etsy shop.”

The seller was told it was due to a technical issue and said, “As an avid reader of eCommerce bytes, we wanted to know if any other business owners were experiencing this same issue with the Etsy Star Seller Badge missing from their Etsy Shop? We have not heard back from Etsy regarding this issue since their last message to us, and we are still waiting to see if we will get our Etsy Star Seller Badge back on our Etsy shop for January 2022.”

A few sellers advised their colleagues in discussion board threads not to be so concerned about the program, but as one seller wrote, “I know people will say Star Seller Badge is trash anyway but we worked hard for it and earned it, answering messages at 2am….And we want to see for ourselves if the badge will increase sales or not.”

The point of the program is to highlight top sellers, and in September, Etsy promoted “Star Sellers” in an email marketing campaign. Its CEO said he has considered using the program to influence placement in search results, though it has not disclosed any plans to sellers.

Etsy launched the program in September to reward sellers who provide buyers with outstanding service, but it appears to be contributing to low morale among some sellers.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

5 thoughts on “Etsy Star Seller Program: Harmful to Seller Morale?”

  1. I didn’t qualify for the Badge in December 100% messages and shipping, reviews 92%, however all of a sudden the badge appeared on my shop around mid December. ??? First message to Etsy produced a canned response, second message said they will look into it and respond. No reply from Etsy. Then, to make matters even more confusing the Badge appeared for a couple days in January with stats of 100% messages and shipping, 95% reviews and now the Badge has disappeared. Too many technical issues that Etsy doesn’t know how to fix. And, they don’t want to admit that this Star Seller program is a joke!

  2. Many of our orders are picked up by the customer. These transactions have no tracking number. This counts against our “On-time shipping & tracking”.

  3. Before Etsy considers it has the knowledge, expertise, and responsibility to micro-manage individual sellers, it first must fix problems with the services it sells: faulty search, undesired mature content, poor responsiveness to its customers, troublesome shipping products, and the rampant reselling, counterfeiting, and trademark infringements that are coming to characterize the entire platform. Until Etsy improves its own services, Etsy does not have the moral authority to tell others how to treat their customers.

  4. We sell in excess of $400K USD of tableware a year and as a marketplace, Etsy has always been our only one. As of 2022 we will set up a standalone – Josh and his SSP math – the Silverman Effect as we call it, some of us – is driving us away. NOT TO JOSH! – if you sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of dinnerware yearly, you may get 4 4-star ratings against your sales – we lost 8% of our SSP for 4-star ratings. OMG. AND your app on old phones only lets the customers rate a max of 4!!!!!

  5. Post Christmas the 4-star reviews tend to be greater. I think it is related 1. to people getting their cc bills and being in a bills blues mode. The larger issue Etsy would be able to and should address is the “old app, only 4 stars available” review option for buyers. Three customers indicated to me within the last 30 days that they use an app and it only allows them to rate a max of 4 stars, it does NOT offer them a 5-star rating option. When I brought this to the attention of Etsy online support (through chat) the rep told me they had (a) never heard of this problem and (b) that if it were the case, I should go back to the customer and ask they go onto a desktop or laptop to leave reviews and to update any reviews that they felt were not correct. I was also told by the same rep that “even if the Buyer updates the review, only the first review is calculated into the SSP”. ETSY! four stars is not dissatisfaction and sellers should not be penalized for four stars. Also, if some of these 4-star ratings are related to app issues you should fix them – not penalizing sellers for 4-star reviews solves the whole mess entirely and I feel that is the easiest remedy!

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