Becoming a Star Seller on Etsy isn’t as easy as it seems. In an online world where every website is vying for your attention and sales, Etsy is determined to establish a sense of trust and reliability with its shoppers. In Etsy’s most recent attempt at offering buyers transparency into who they’re purchasing from, the Star Seller badge was born. But is becoming a Start Seller on Etsy worth the trouble?
Etsy’s Star Seller badge is awarded to sellers that meet Etsy’s criteria of excellent customer service. But to no surprise, the system isn’t without its critics.
In this article, we’re analyzing Etsy’s Star Seller badge and showing you how to get the coveted award for your Etsy shop. Do you offer outstanding customer service, in the eyes of Etsy?
What is an Etsy Star Seller?
“Star Seller” status is given to Etsy sellers who provide an excellent customer experience for Etsy shoppers on their global marketplace.
Etsy uses Star Seller badges to help build instantaneous trust between you and your potential customer by showing that you go above and beyond to help cater to your customers. A literal badge is displayed under each of your listings in search, which can help point shoppers to your listings instead of your competitors. The badge itself comes with some perks that Etsy sellers have been discussing at length since the announcement of Star Seller back in July of 2021.
The benefits of Star Seller on Etsy:
Being recognized as an Etsy Star Seller comes with some advantages that can help your handmade business in the long run. Let’s take a look!
Star Seller Helps You Stand Out from the Crowd
It’s only a small badge, but it draws attention when seen. And, when it is seen, it stands out and makes your shop, listings, and products more noticeable when viewed alongside your competitors.
Star Seller Builds Instant Trust
The Star Seller badge is visible when people visit your product listings and your store page. It’s a quick and concise way of indicating that Etsy does not only recognize a seller as being trustworthy but that the seller is focused on providing a high level of customer service.
Star Seller Can Come with a Potential Increase in Sales
Etsy’s own research shows that Etsy buyers value good customer service. People want to give their money to sellers that care about providing a good experience and a good product. While it’s still new, the Star Seller badge on Etsy is designed to quickly show which buyers meet their criteria. In other words, buyers may be more likely to spend their money with you when they see that Etsy trusts you, and you have a history of good standing on their marketplace.
Note: Becoming a Star Seller is not known to impact your search rankings. In theory, though, it can help improve conversion rates from searches – a minor technicality that’s worth taking into consideration.
You Can Be Featured by Etsy More Often with Star Seller
Being featured on Etsy means that your listings are displayed on some of the busiest pages on the Etsy website and marketing promotions. It’s easy to see how this can translate to more money in your back pocket. Etsy says that later this year (it’s unclear precisely when), they’ll start featuring Star Sellers. This means the potential traffic for Star Sellers alone is huge.
How to become a Star Seller on Etsy:
Etsy takes a retrospective look at your past performance when assessing your eligibility to become a Star Seller.
On the first day of the month, Etsy will automatically determine your eligibility to become a Star Seller. They’ll take a close look at what’s happened in your store over the last three months to establish whether or not you’ll be awarded Star Seller status.
Some of the things that the Etsy team looks at are as follows:
No. 1 – 95% Response Rate
If you respond to customers quickly – ideally within 24 hours – you provide customers with the confidence to buy from you. That’s why answering questions quickly will help you get your Star Seller status. Etsy wants you to keep a 95% response rate for all initial messages in your inbox, within 24-hours. This means that you need to at least respond to the very first message in a thread before the 24-hour deadline is up.
Pro Tip: You can download the Etsy app and enable notifications to easily respond to customer messages while you’re away from your desk. Even if your response is just an acknowledgment of your buyer’s message:
“Thanks for reaching out! I’m away from my workshop at the moment, but I’ll be able to provide you with customization details by tomorrow morning. Have a great evening and thank you for your interest in my product – I hope to be able to earn your business!”
Planning a trip?
If you know you’re going to be away from your shop for a couple days, make sure you set up an auto-reply for your messages before you go. Likewise, the holiday season can be extremely busy – that’s where auto-reply can become your best friend for keeping your response rate high.
Some criticism has been drawn that Etsy’s algorithm even factors spam messages as needing a response in order to keep your response rate at a minimum of 95%. You can get around this by simply marking these messages as spam in your inbox.
Further criticism came from the initial launch of Star Seller that required Etsy Sellers to respond to admin messages from Etsy. If you ignore admin messages, even if they aren’t the type of messages deserving a response, your response rate can be dinged. Luckily, Etsy has since made a change to Star Seller that no longer requires sellers to respond to Etsy messages.
No. 2 – Five Star Reviews Only
If you regularly receive 5-star reviews it means that you’re trusted by the Etsy community and worthy of the Star Seller status. And it’s no secret that shoppers have always used the rating system as a way to weed-out undesirable shops. Why shop from a store with bad reviews when there are tons of 5-star shops out there with competitive pricing? Which shop would you trust with your significant other’s anniversary present?
Etsy wants at least 95% of your reviews to be 5-stars if you want to be a Star Seller. This can be quite challenging. Especially for new shops, or shops selling in a popular market.
What’s even worse is that during your time selling on Etsy, you’re sure to find shoppers that love your product but they still only give you 4-stars. “Only perfection deserves 5-stars” is a sentiment that all too many shoppers share. This is especially true for shoppers that often purchase from big-box retailers and online giants like Amazon and Walmart.com.
Here’s the reality for those shoppers: perfection doesn’t exist with handmade products, and that’s precisely what adds to their charm.
No. 3 – Ship On Time, Every Time
A vital part of providing a good customer experience is ensuring that your customers get their orders on time – and that they can track them. Provide them with both these things, and you’ll improve your customer satisfaction and your chances of getting Star Seller status.
Again here, Etsy wants to see 95% of your orders processed and shipped on time. So, if you know you’re going to be busy during a certain holiday or time of year, it may be wise to extend your processing times if your Star Seller badge is important to you.
In general, it’s important to stick to your commitments. If your expected delivery date tells your buyer that they should receive their product by a certain date, you’ll want to make sure you fulfill your end of the bargain and ship it on time. Once it’s in the carrier’s hands, it’s out of your control.
No. 4 – At Least 10 Orders
If you make just one sale in 3 months, even with a 5-star review – well, that’s not going to cut it when it comes to Etsy’s Star Seller badge. You don’t need thousands of sales a month, but you do need a steady flow of sales to increase your chances of getting Star Seller status.
Etsy wants to see a minimum of 10 orders per review period. For a newer shop or a shop that sells large ticket items, this can also be rather difficult. But that’s part of the requirements Etsy puts in place if you want to be a Star Seller.
No. 5 – $300 in Sales
At the end of the day, Etsy is a business and so is your shop. You should want to make money, just like Etsy does. Along those lines, Star Sellers need to bring in a minimum revenue each review period.
Etsy wants to see at least $300 in revenue each review period. Yes, this can be difficult for shops that sell smaller items like stickers, etc. While on the other hand, large ticket items can reach this minimum with only one sale. It’s sort of a catch-22, with Etsy sellers that sell a middle-of-the-road product reaping the most benefit.
Criticism of Star Seller on Etsy
Etsy’s Star Seller system has come with its fair share of criticisms. Many Etsy sellers and eCommerce experts have voiced the following concerns:
- Not all shipping services generate tracking numbers. How does that affect shipping status?
- Not all messages that Etsy sellers receive warrant a response.
- A seller can distort thier response rate by responding to a buyer’s message with complete gibberish, not even answering their question (this one will likely hurt you in the review department).
- Buyers can send sellers spam or suspicious links – what should the seller respond with? (The report as spam buttom may be your friend here).
Even more criticism…
- Sellers can exploit Etsy’s message auto-reply feature. And they do.
- We’ve all seen negative Etsy reviews for reasons the seller couldn’t control. If Etsy doesn’t take down reviews that are against their guidelines, what can you do?
- 5-star reviews aren’t indicative of just customer service. Great customer service and excellent products will receive 4-star reviews.
- And now, in theory, a 4-star review can ruin a seller’s reputation.
- Number of orders is a terrible metric to follow for customers that sell expensive ($1000+) products.
So – is becoming a Star Seller on Etsy worth it?
Etsy is a competitive marketplace. Any advantage to stand out gives you a leg up on the competition.
The Star Seller badge is an award to those that provide top-notch customer service. And if you strive to provide top-notch customer service, you’ll make your customers happy. And at the end of the day, making your customers happy is the main goal here, not getting a little purple Star Seller badge…
Ultimately, providing good customer service and making a product that shoppers want to purchase is more important than a badge that acknowledges this.
So put your customers first and foremost while running your business. Many of the requirements for the Star Seller badge should come naturally, over the course of selling on Etsy. And if you’re a new shop, it’s going to take time right out of the gate. Don’t let Star Seller consume you. Like all changes to the Etsy platform, we can expect tweaks in the future.
What are your thoughts on Etsy’s Star Seller system? Did they rush it just to meet the 2021 holiday season? Do you think Etsy will put their Star Sellers above “normal” sellers in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.