If you’re an Etsy seller, then you know that the competition is stiff. With over 1.5 million active sellers now on the platform, making your business stand out from the rest can be difficult.
One great strategy to increase your Etsy shop’s visibility in searches and promotions is to aim to become a Star Seller.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the Star Seller program, including what actions you need to take to qualify and how to improve your business practices so you don’t lose your rating. Let’s get started!
See also: How to improve your Etsy SEO »
What is the Etsy Star Seller program?
Etsy’s Star Seller program is a way for the company to recognize and reward sellers who are consistently providing a great shopping experience for buyers. To become a Star Seller, sellers must meet certain criteria in three areas: quality, customer service, and shipping.
In terms of quality, Etsy looks at things like the number of sales a seller has made, the average review rating, and whether or not the seller has had any items returned.
For customer service, Etsy looks at factors like response time to buyer messages and whether or not the seller offers buyer protection.
Finally, for shipping, Etsy looks at things like shipping times and rates. Once a seller becomes a Star Seller, they’ll receive a badge on their profile page and will be featured more prominently in search results.
What is the criteria for becoming an Etsy Star Seller?
This is the qualification criteria for becoming an Etsy Star Seller, and is based on the last three months of your shop data (known as the “review period”):
- Message response rate: 95%+ of 1st messages in a thread are responded to within a day (24 hours).
- On-time dispatch & tracking: 95%+ of orders are dispatched on time with tracking or with a postage label purchased on Etsy
- Great ratings: 95%+ of your orders receive 5 star reviews (from 1st July 2022, this will be changed to a 4.8 rating average - see below for more details)
- Order volume: You need to have had at least 10 orders in the review period (this will lower to 5 as of July 2022)
You also must have been on Etsy’s platform for 90 days since your first sale.
Changes to the Star Seller program (for July 2022 onward)
Etsy has recently announced a number of changes to the Star Seller program, designed to make this program more achievable to sellers. The changes are:
- 95%+ of your orders receive 4.8 star reviews
- Messages will now be combined from the same buyer where possible, meaning you need to respond in the 24 hour period limit only to the initial messages (rather than respond to many different threads as was the case previously)
- The minimum order volume has dropped to 5, this is down from 10.
How is the average star seller rating calculated?
The rating average is tallied from your last 3 months of reviews. Etsy adds up your ratings for this period, and then divides it by the number of reviews you have received in the same period.
As an example, if I am a seller that has had 10 reviews in the last 3 months and they are: 8 x 5 star = 40 2 x 4 star = 8
This would be calculated as a total of 48.
Dividing this amount by the 10 reviews, this comes to an average of 4.8, which would qualify the seller as a Star Seller from the criteria above.
What are the benefits of being an Etsy Star Seller?
Being an Etsy Star Seller comes with a few perks.
For starters, you get a shiny badge to put on your profile that tells everyone you’re an Etsy expert. The other big benefit is that you’ll also get preferential placement in the seller search results.
This means that if you have more chance for your products to be seen by potential customers, which can be a massive boost for your sales.
Another huge advantage is that you’ll be more likely to be featured in any marketing that Etsy produces. This means you’ll have a chance to be promoted by Etsy in their emails and other promotional activities.
How do I become an Etsy Star Seller?
Sounds overwhelming to become a Star Seller? It’s not so bad when you break down these areas into actionable parts. Here are a few key areas to focus on if you want to keep your etsy star seller rating:
Stellar Customer Service = Etsy Star Seller
Being an Etsy Star Seller is more than just about making and selling great products. It’s also about providing stellar customer service. After all, happy customers are more likely to leave positive reviews, which in turn can lead to more sales. So how can you make sure that your customers are always happy? Here are a few key areas to focus on:
- Responding to inquiries quickly and courteously: Customers should never feel ignored or that their questions are unimportant. Make sure to respond to all inquiries promptly, even if it’s just to say that you’re looking into the issue and will get back to them soon.
Tip: For certain time periods such as weekends and public holidays, you can consider setting up an auto-reply, which counts as an in initial response.
Keeping communication channels open: Once an order has been placed, keep your customer updated on its status. If there are any delays or issues, proactively reach out and let them know what’s going on. This will help avoid any frustrated customers down the line.
Going above and beyond: In today’s competitive market, simply meeting customer expectations is not enough. Look for ways to exceed them, whether it’s by adding a personal touch to each order or offering a small discount for their next purchase. Little things can make a big difference when it comes to keeping your customers happy.
Pay Attention to your Shipping
In addition to maintaining high-quality products and excellent customer service, it’s also important to pay close attention to the details of shipping. After all, nothing is more frustrating than waiting (im)patiently for a package that never arrives. Here are a few shipping areas that Etsy star sellers need to focus on:
Packaging: Make sure your products are well-packaged and protected against damage during transit. This will not only minimize complaints and refunds, but it will also ensure that your customers receive their order in perfect condition.
Shipping times: communication is key when it comes to shipping times. Be clear about when orders will be shipped, and do your best to stick to those timelines. If there are delays, make sure to communicate those as well.
Tracking: always provide tracking information for orders, so customers can see where their package is at every step of the journey. This transparency will go a long way in keeping customers happy (which doubles back to customer service in the section above).
Read more about how to Optimize your sales process on Etsy »
Keep your Etsy product ratings 5 Star
In order to maintain a 5-star rating on Etsy, it is important to continue to deliver high quality products and outstanding customer service. This can be challenging, especially for small businesses, but it is essential for maintaining a top rating.
One way to ensure that you continue to receive 5-star ratings is to solicit feedback from your customers. Ask them what they liked about their purchase, and what they didn’t like. Use this feedback to improve your products and your customer service.
In addition, be sure to respond quickly and kindly to any negative reviews. By addressing concerns and resolving issues, you will show potential customers that you care.
Etsy Star Seller Backlash
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the Star Seller Program has been a controversial topic among Etsy sellers. Due to the many requirements to be met, many Etsy sellers feel that the program is unfair and gives an advantage to larger, more established shops.
Additionally, some sellers have accused Etsy of overly manipulating their algorithms to favor Star Sellers at the expense of other sellers who are offering higher quality items. As a result, the program has drawn criticism from all corners of the Etsy community.
Regardless of your own personal views on the program, it is now an established part of being an Etsy seller. For this reason, it’s important to understand how you can use this program to your best advantage.
Is being a Etsy Star Seller worth it?
There is quite a bit to consider in order to ensure that you become (and stay) a Etsy Star Seller, and if the effort is worth the increased exposure and opportunities for your business.
It’s really important to note however, that most of the requirements of the Etsy Star Seller program will improve your business, Star Seller rating or no.
Delivering great customer service, a quality shipping experience and a thoughtful and professional way to resolve any issues with your products or delivery are all key parts of building a handmade business that will succeed in the long term. For this reason, it’s worth trying to improve your processes and aim towards earning the Star Seller badge.