Sellers who don’t qualify for Etsy’s Star Seller program will have a better chance of doing so thanks to new criteria the company will put in place this summer.
Etsy announced three changes to the program that is designed to showcase its best sellers. The company said in an announcement on Tuesday that the changes were based on seller feedback and were designed to “directly address key pain points and make Star Seller more achievable for sellers who provide excellent customer service.”
Etsy explained the first change as follows:
Simplifying the ratings criteria
We heard your feedback that the ratings criteria made it hard to achieve Star Seller because it only considered 5-star reviews. We’re updating the criteria to a 4.8 rating average in the three-month review period so that 4 star ratings count more positively toward your eligibility for Star Seller.
We’ll add up your ratings from the review period and divide that by the number of reviews you’ve received to calculate your ratings average.
This makes Star Seller more achievable for sellers with great reviews: 85% of shops with a review in the past 3 months have a ratings average of 4.8 or higher!
This update will be reflected on your Star Seller dashboard in June and will take effect on July 1.
There was some confusion among sellers about how the 4.8 average would be calculated. One seller pointed out that five 5-star reviews equals 25 divided by 5 is 5 average, while four 5-star reviews and one 4-star review equals = 24 divided by 5 = 4.8 average.
Etsy explained the second change as follows:
Responding quickly to customers’ messages creates a better shopping experience and ensures your customers get quick answers to their questions. That’s why responding to initial messages within 24 hours is one of the criteria for earning your Star Seller badge. But, we heard your feedback about how hard it can be to stay on top of all the messages you receive on Etsy.
In June, we’ll introduce a new-and-improved Messages experience that will start to combine messages from the same buyer into a single thread. To earn your Star Seller badge you’ll need to respond to initial messages from buyers within 24 hours in fewer threads than before, since you told us it was difficult to stay on top of your messages. Not only will this change make it easier to qualify for Star Seller, it will also make managing all your messages much more streamlined.
We’ve also heard your feedback about the message response rate criteria adding extra stress to managing your messages. We’re exploring tools that would give you more flexibility to decide when to respond to messages. Remember that you can always turn on an auto-reply to ensure your customers receive a response to their initial message.
There was some trepidation about whether the combined messaging would be confusing for sellers. One seller said Etsy had placed her in a test a few months ago “where all messages from each buyer were lumped together in one long string,” which they found confusing. “That being said, who knows if that was the version they decided to implement.”
Etsy explained the third change as follows:
Lowering the order minimum
To earn a Star Seller badge, shops need to meet orders and sales minimums in the review period. We’re lowering the order minimum to help lower volume sellers who provide great customer service earn a Star Seller badge.
Starting in July, shops will need to have at least 5 orders (down from 10) within the three month review period to qualify for Star Seller. Those orders will still need to total $300 before shipping and taxes.
You still need to have been on Etsy’s platform for 90 days since your first sale (that criteria hasn’t changed). You’ll start to see this new criteria reflected on your Star Seller dashboard in July and badges will be awarded using these new minimums on August 1.
There was a sense from some sellers that the change would only help shops with high-priced items, and one seller said: “I’m sure many sellers will be happy with the changes. For my shop, still not there. I sell lower priced items and even though I get 50+ orders, I never seem to get to the $300!”
Etsy invited sellers to take a survey about the changes. One question asked sellers, “In your opinion, what is the impact of the Star Seller program on you and your shop,” and they were asked to select an answer ranging from very negative to very positive.
Etsy also asked sellers, “How does the Star Seller program influence your plans to invest (e.g., time, effort, money) into your Etsy shop?”
You can find more information about the changes to the Star Seller Program rolling out over the next three months on the Etsy Seller Handbook.