Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Feb 12 2013 15:55:58

Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

By: Ina Steiner

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Any time an online marketplace sets out to measure a seller's performance, sellers get nervous about the implications - eBay sellers have learned that less than perfect metrics can cost them exposure in search, for example. Etsy is now testing ways to measure a seller's performance in customer service before rolling them out site-wide, and some sellers are starting to worry.

Etsy uses something called "prototypes" to run tests of new features, inviting sellers to participate and provide feedback. Etsy launched the Customer Service Stats prototype, explaining, "For the customer service factors that are measurable, we want to make it easy for you to see how you're doing. Are you responding to conversations quickly? How about sending tracking information? By joining this prototype, you can view your shop's Customer Service Stats, and help us test out this new feature. Think of these stats as an internal barometer, to help provide the best possible experience for your customers."

Some sellers believe Etsy is laying the groundwork for rating sellers and wonder about the implications. One seller asked if the new Customer Service metrics could in any way be tied into sellers' feedback ratings, or if the metrics could be in any way tied to relevancy search, now or in the future.

An Etsy moderator replied:

"We do not have a secret roadmap (plan for the feature) that we are hiding. Our goal is to be as open as possible. Right now we are iterating, starting with this prototype. Before we make any changes on the site we test and prototype extensively to make sure we understand the impact.

"This is still a prototype for us to gather information to make improvements. No matter what we do, our guiding principle for the feature on the whole will be to err on the side of not punishing the innocent. We definitely understand that there are unique challenges that some sellers face with some of these metrics, so this prototype is to help us find them and take them into account. There will be more changes coming!

"With that in mind, to answer your questions from above, the Customer Service Stats pages are not tied to the Feedback system and your stats do not affect your ranking in search, category or browse."


From seller comments, it appears Etsy is measuring customer response times, processing time, and package tracking data.

Have you seen the new customer service metrics Etsy is testing? Are they helpful to you as a seller? And do you fear Etsy could use them beyond providing you with information about your own performance?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Tue Feb 12 16:49:29 2013

I am wondering if other sellers have noticed the ''sneaky new customer service tactics'' with Ask Seller inquiries from member buyers with ZERO feedback asking really dumb stuff or offering to buy an item for 50-80% off less the listed price? Could these be etsy folks testing your reply?

Another item that concerns me: are sellers feeling like they've done wrong when buyer disputes an ETSY PAY transaction? Not a paypal but the actual new etsy pay option. I understand they act WORSE than paypal pressing sellers to refund to avoid being SUSPENDED fast.

Also, buyers have been providing wrong registration address and claiming NOT RECV'D with a different credit card address than their registered address.

Etsy tracking links don't work well and buyers ask seller why the tracking provided is incorrect. All anyone has to do is go to direct shipper website to track details.

Personally, I don't think they're very bright with CS over at etsy.

Any info pls?

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Feb 12 17:20:32 2013

Etsy should just leave things lone.

They seem to be doing very well.

Why rock the boat, unless there are lots of complaints.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Feb 12 18:35:28 2013

I do not sell on Etsy so I have no dog in this fight....

BUT... I would agree that Etsy seems do be surviving just fine, so why stress sellers over performance metrics?

Here is a question for Etsy... So you are burning all this brainpower and devoting capital at a system to measure seller performance. At The same time, if as the Etsy moderator claims " ..." the Customer Service Stats pages are not tied to the Feedback system and your stats do not affect your ranking in search, category or browse."

So if there are no 'secret' plans to tie performance ratings to search rank, and they are not tied to feedback.... WTF is the intent behind the program?

As to the statement " ....No matter what we do, our guiding principle for the feature on the whole will be to err on the side of not punishing the innocent." I would say this -  Look at how eBay created a cookie cutter one size fits all process and how many innocents have been put out of business as a result.

Etsy, unless your plan is to integrate eBay like policies and systems as a precursor to selling out to eBay, then why not try something different?

Don't open Pandora's Box and instead LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE!!

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: whybuy/freerental This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 12 21:20:54 2013

Etsy is turning into a joke. I went to look at there necklaces a few weeks ago for a wedding my friend is in and what did I find.....every other necklace was bought from a Chinese wholesale company.

I questioned several esty reps about this but they could careless. I even gave them the links to the exact items listed with the wholesale companies.

All they would say is we will look into this. I checked back with them but nothing was done.

It is a real shame for the sellers that are making their items. They are getting less sales because of the wholesale Chinese jewelry.

I ended up finding a really nice necklace at a local venders shop.....not Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: YesNoMaybe This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 08:10:23 2013

@whybuy - really you were able to question several etsy reps?  I'd like to know how you were able to actually 'talk' to anyone and get answers no less. The problem with resellers is people keep buying from them.

On the subject matter It seems to me that etsy is trying to go the ebay way with DSRs. Which I don't think would work at all.  I'd say about one third of the buyers actually leave feedback.  Most buyers are happy with their purchase and there is no need for feedback.

If they are going to verify buyers satisfaction they need to let sellers leave noticeable feedback to negative feedback

What is a joke is etsy's Direct Checkout. No Phone?  Sellers are constantly complaining about paypal being a pain, think about giving your money to a 'money processor' with NO ONE to speak to.

@sandy - lots of posts about sellers getting questions from so called buyers.  I don't think for one minute that they are true buyers.  You don't just all of a sudden get requests for half off or free shipping for days on end.

If etsy is being sneaky they need to improve their sneakiness.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Feb 13 08:17:26 2013

Ric says: "Etsy, unless your plan is to integrate eBay like policies and systems as a precursor to selling out to eBay, then why not try something different?"

Excellent observation Ric.  If eBay do end up requiring Etsy the owners of Etsy will prove that they are just as greedy as eBay management.  I would also imagine that there would be a mass exodus of sellers away from Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Feb 13 08:18:10 2013

and I meant "if eBay do end up acquiring Etsy", not requiring Etsy.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 09:55:44 2013

I don't sell on Etsy so I don't have a horse in this race but it seems to me that most sellers already know how they are doing. The crappy ones know that they suck and they don't care. The good ones take pride in their work and reputation. I don't need any stinky stats to tell me what I already know. The whole, "We're only doing this so sellers know how they're doing" is a bunch of Bologna.  

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: vman This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 10:11:41 2013

Etsy is a piece of crap website.  I sold 4 things in as many months.  If someone gives you negative feedback you're screwed because Etsy actually encourages feedback extortion.  Do what the buyer wants and you could ge the  feedback removed. At least Ebay treats Feedback extortion for what it is.    

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 10:13:43 2013

Ugh.  Yes, really, why rock the boat?

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Feb 13 10:16:57 2013

Why does the feedback have to be public?
If Etsy is so keen to ''know'', then, find out quietly and privately out of view and act, one on one, with those who are problematic.

This system, public viewing, is a ''shoot first and ask questions later'' solution. Innocent parties get permanently ''dead'' no matter how many apologies follow the gun shot.

Just my humble opinion

Kathleen.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Wed Feb 13 10:58:15 2013

What is happening is that script-happy coder-dweebs trip over vibrant maretplaces, and then muck 'em up with so much crud they grind to a halt.

RULE of thumb if the developer is younger than the website DONT LET EM NEAR the codebase!

Second rule of thumb if you pay your guys the same whether your site does good or does bad, guess what IT'S GONNA DO BAD!

It's getting to be that there's nowhere on the web that you can go to get away from all these 'good ideas'.  

And the ones that start out promising 'simple' are always the worst offenders.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 11:17:34 2013

Past year sold 25 items... only 5 feedback.  Now how can you rate performance with low feedback percentage. Amazon is even worse. They will not remove for a review. Frustrating.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: Disillusioned-Seller This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 11:26:47 2013

Is eBay planting people in here to badmouth Etsy, because some of these comments seem to be flat out lies.

I have been selling on Etsy for 13 months now. When it comes to buyer/seller experience they are heads above eBay. Knock on wood, but I have never had any feedback extortion attempts, I get at least one per month on eBay and eBay does not care. That report buyer button is a joke.

I had one issue with an Etsy credit purchase in that a buyer reported an item as not received. And they were right, even though I had shipped the item a month earlier, USPS showed the item as 'Out for Delivery' for 3 weeks without anything showing it was ever delivered. Thinking that they would operate the same way Paypal does, I gave the Etsy rep the info I had (tracking number etc) and told them to not drag this out, go ahead and issue the buyer the refund because it's obvious USPS lost the package somewhere. They did not. They refunded the buyer without it coming out of my account. And let me point out that even though a claim was filed, those funds were not put on hold or withdrawn the way Paypal does it. Imagine that. A buyer filing a claim and money not immediately confiscated from the seller's account. Sit and think about that one for a second.

In 13 months I've sold a few hundred items on Etsy. Something I did not anticipate at least not so soon.  I just checked my total January sales and Etsy sales accounted for 40% of my income for that month. I have had absolutely no regrets in opening shop on Etsy. Their customer service and helpfulness and low fees reminds me of how eBay USED to be years ago, before they became synonymous with greed and incompetence.

As for this issue, this does sound to me like eBay's DSR's and I hope they don't go down that road. I still do not see the point of the DSR's since as a buyer I usually only check out the overall score, how many negative feedbacks are received and why. In my opinion DSRs were only introduced as a way for eBay to weasel out of providing a discount in fees.  

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: whybuy/freerental This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 12:23:02 2013

@yesnomaybe.....yes I emailed back and forth with three different Esty reps....Sandy, Richard, and Mary Ann. Sandy was a lower level employee and the other two where supervisors.....or so I was told.

I wanted answers as to why this was allowedto go on. I only got the run around from them. I have heard such good things about etsy and was very surprised to see what I seen.

Really sad for the sellers that are making their items and as for people still buying from sellers that are cheating the system....most buyers don't have a clue that what they are buying is Chinese wholesale jewelry. The buyers assume etsy is running a truthful site that monitored this behavior.

He'll when I first saw this going on I was trying to help etsy by giving them links to the exact item is they could see it. I figured they where be snowed like the buyers and needed or could use the info to make the site fair. Oh no they could careless.

Real shame but true.  

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 12:29:47 2013

It's just a pity that Etsy runs under the philosophical viewpoint of:

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

I do my best to ignore them. to keep my stress levels in check. They still haven't mastered the concepts of what customer service SHOULD be all about, and until they do I wish to God that they would stop displaying their ignorance.

Personally, I don't find them fit to judge MY customer service. I have NEVER told ANY unhappy customer that they needed to term their complaint in "constructive terms". I dealt with the problems instead of telling the complainee to either rephrase, or lose the right to have a public oppinion.

There's an article coming out in Time magazine on the 18th.

Etsy, same old same old.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: uniquecozytreasures This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 14:49:03 2013

I Have been a seller on Etsy for two years. I left Ebay for all of their  "changes" mostly to benefit scam buyers. Most of us came over to Etsy and left Ebay. Please don't go the eBay way Etsy. It will hurt you and all of your people, shops and sellers and buyers. We like this place. Please leave it alone. Thank you...

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 16:08:20 2013

LOL I have little to worry about with Etsy.  We sellers should be measuring THEIR performance!  We pay to list on Etsy...okay, its only pennies really, but something paid for needs to have a definite service attached to it.  Etsy has no real search feature and so whether or not an item sells is simply a random matter.  Whether they want to get Ebay-snotty or not is their sellers to lose!  At this point, they could use some performance searching of their own!

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

by: JimJuris This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 13 17:19:12 2013

All that I can say is that the future looks brighter every day for other handmade selling venues like Artfire because by the time that Etsy wakes up it will be too late.

Perminate Link for Etsy to Measure Seller Performance   Etsy to Measure Seller Performance

This user has validated their user name. by: Lido_Shuffle

Wed Feb 13 18:16:40 2013

Yikes! The EB Blog saves the day again...

We have been evaluating some new venues for selling lately, and Etsy just came right off the list. Shame, too, cause they did have some nice qualities. But we're not about to jump on a ship after the captain announces it might soon be sinking.

This little bombshell has terrible implications. As has been stated many times in other comments, the more that any venue meddles with its system, usually the more horrid the results are (and more often than not it is the sellers whom are directly and negatively impacted.)

I'm sure that Etsy will do just fine without our business, and (now) I'm even more sure that we'll do just fine without theirs.

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