Is Making Etsy Star Seller Worth It? Explained
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Etsy released the Star Seller program as a way to highlight some of its sellers, but it’s definitely not an easy goal to reach for many shop owners out there. It was created to not only highlight the best sellers on the marketplace, but also as a way to build trust with its customers and keep them from looking at Etsy alternatives.
Etsy’s Star Seller badge is given to sellers that reach the high criteria that is set by Etsy and prioritize their customer service. We are going to cover everything you need to know about becoming a Star Seller and if it really is worth it!
What is Etsy Star Seller?
The Star Seller program according to Etsy is “a way to recognize and reward Etsy sellers who consistently provide excellent customer service.”
Basically, when customers come to Etsy they are wanting quick response times, they want their items to ship on time, and want shops with five-star ratings so Etsy wants to bring attention to these sellers and reward them for reaching these goals.
Etsy started handing out Star Seller badges back in September 2021 to shops that had the best customer service records. You can see this badge on the shop’s homepage, and on each listing as you see them in the search results.
Each shop is evaluated by looking at the last three months of the shop’s performance, so you can potentially have the star seller badge for one period and then lose the badge in the next evaluation. And you can keep getting the badge back, but it all depends on how you are performing.
Basically, the Star Seller badge helps build the trust between you and your potential customer because it shows that you go above and beyond for your customers. It can catch the attention of customer’s eyes in the search results to potentially have them choose your product over another person’s.
What are the Benefits of Being an Etsy Star Seller?
You know what a Star Seller badge is now, but what is the advantage of having this badge? What makes it so desirable that Etsy sellers are stressing out about how to get one? Let’s cover some of the benefits of becoming a Star Seller.
It builds trust
As we already mentioned, this badge can really help build trust right away with your customers, since they know that you must already make your customers a priority. They can see this badge right away when they visit your product listings as well as on your shop page.
Basically, this badge is a quick way of Etsy highlighting a shop that is trustworthy and that a buyer can know is somewhere they will get what they pay for.
It helps your shop stand out
When you go to search for a specific item on Etsy, usually there is a bunch of results, right? So when you go to search for something like a daily planner, but there are 100 results, how do you choose which one? Obviously seeing that a shop is a Star Seller will make a big difference in your choice.
Previously you would look at the ratings of the shop, and then how many sales they may have. But, now the Star Seller badge is a quick and easy way to highlight certain shops and these shops can stand out among the crowd.
It can increase sales
Because this Star Seller badge means Etsy is recognizing you as having top-notch customer service, this may result in bringing more sales to your shop! When customers come to Etsy, they want that superior customer service. They would rather choose a shop that values their customers, rather than just making it more about the money.
So Etsy is helping buyers seek out these quality sellers and most likely bring in more sales for your shop. This seems to be the biggest reason Etsy sellers are worried about getting that Star Seller badge, because the goal is to bring in more orders.
You can be featured by Etsy more often
When Etsy features a shop and its listings, it means it is displayed on some of the more high-traffic pages on Etsy’s website and part of their marketing promotions. This can be their emails, commercials, etc. So having this Star Seller badge can make it more likely that you are featured, although they still feature other shops that don’t have the badge as well.
It’s obvious that if you are being featured by Etsy, there is a very good chance that this will result in more sales. So having a bigger opportunity to be featured is a big deal!
How to Become a Star Seller on Etsy
Now it’s time to cover how you actually get this Star Seller badge on Etsy! What are the requirements? Exactly what are they evaluating your shop for? What can you do to improve your shop to reach this goal? Let’s cover the requirements!
1. Five Star Reviews
The first requirement to receive the Star Seller badge is to have all five star reviews previously, but as of August 2022, the requirement will be an average of 4.8 stars. Having these high ratings means that you are a trusted Etsy seller and worthy of this badge! Five star ratings has always been a way for buyers to determine whether the shop is a good choice or not.
Why would you choose to buy from a shop that has reviews that are 1, 2, or 3 stars, when there are other shops out there with all 5 star reviews? Which one would seem more trustworthy to you?
Etsy wants at least 95% of your reviews to be 5-stars, which can be quite challenging! But this will earn you the Rave Reviews customer service badge, and get you one step closer to the Star Seller badge.
According to Etsy, “your ratings average is calculated by adding up all of the ratings you’ve received during the review period, and then dividing that by the number of reviews you’ve received.” So this is how they calculate if you reach the goal of 95%.
Unfortunately, sometimes you will deal with customers that love your product but will still only give you a 4 star review. These customers are difficult, but unfortunately sometimes they can be unavoidable. But, as long as you work to keep as many of your customers happy as possible and receive those five star ratings then you will be good!
2. 95% Response Rate
Making your customers a priority is such a huge key to success on Etsy and one of the biggest parts of that is responding to their messages quickly! Etsy values this quick response time, which is why answering questions quickly will help you receive the Star Seller badge.
You are required to keep a 95% response rate for all initial messages in your inbox within 24 hours. Basically, this means that you need to at least respond to the very first message in a thread with a customer before the 24 hours is up.
Yes, this can be difficult especially if Etsy is a part-time gig, if you take the weekends off, or if you are a parent with a lot on your plate. But there are some ways around this. One way is to download the Etsy app if you haven’t already and enable notifications that can easily respond to a customer message while you’re away from your desk.
This can be a simple message like this that acknowledges that you received their message.
A message example:
“Hi, thanks so much for reaching out! I’m currently not at my desk at the moment, but I will happily give you more details and answer any questions you may have when I am back. Have a great day and thank you so much for your interest!”
This will help you satisfy Etsy’s evaluation of responding within 24 hours, but also give you an opportunity to be away from your computer or phone without stressing about not responding in time.
Etsy’s algorithm can factor spam messages as needing a response in order to satisfy the terms, so this means you would need to mark these messages as spam in your inbox. There has also been criticism that sellers were required to respond to admin messages from Etsy, and if you didn’t then your response rate would be knocked down. This is even if the message really doesn’t need a reply! Thankfully, Etsy recently made a change that we will cover shortly where this is no longer a requirement.
If you are going on vacation and not going to be able to respond to messages within that time period, then you can set up auto-reply for your messages before you go! This is also helpful during the holiday season when things are much more hectic and responding to messages can be more difficult.
Setting up auto-reply messages will help you keep up on answering your customer’s messages without having to stress about constantly watching and waiting for them.
3. Have at Least 10 Orders
The requirement for the number of sales isn’t a big one, which may be a relief for those smaller shops! But if you only make a sale or two every 3 months then it will be impossible to get this Star Seller badge.
Etsy wants to see some type of steady sales, so they set the bar at 5 orders per review period (previously it was 10 orders) which is a pretty reasonable threshold to reach.
4. Always Ship on Time
Thanks to Amazon and other big storefronts that can ship out their products crazy fast, customers expect this when they come to Etsy as well. They don’t understand that it may take you time to create the product. They just want it in their hands instantly. But, to help with this it’s important to set a processing time and stick to it, because if you ship orders late this will ding your Star Seller evaluation.
The buyer also needs to be provided with tracking, which is part of the evaluation for Star Seller as well. Proving on time shipping and the tracking information will help build that trust with your customer. This results in customer satisfaction.
To receive a Star Seller badge, Etsy wants to see that 95% of your orders were processed and shipped on time. If you have a small shop, basically this means every single order needs to be processed and shipped on time otherwise you can’t receive this badge.
Have a busy time of year and worried about staying within processing time? Then definitely increase your processing time on Etsy to be safe, rather than sorry that you didn’t! Sticking to your timeline is a big part of customer’s expectations on Etsy. So it’s important to make this a priority!
5. Have $300 in Sales
Finally, besides having at least 10 sales in the review period, you also need to have $300 in sales. Etsy wants to see that you are bringing in income. Setting a minimum revenue shows that you are a shop bringing in consistent sales.
This may be difficult for sellers that sell things like stickers or jewelry supplies. But for some sellers they may reach this with just one sale. It all depends on your pricing and how often you are bringing in new orders.
These are the five requirements to becoming a star seller!
Common Questions about the Star Seller Badge
It’s understandable why even after some explanation that you may still have some questions about how the Star Seller badge works. Here are a few questions with answers about Etsy Star Seller from Etsy.
How often will my shop be evaluated?
“Star Seller eligibility will be calculated on the 1st of every month. It may take up to 24 hours for your badge to appear on your shop and Star Seller dashboard.”
What time period is my shop being evaluated for?
“When evaluating shops for Star Seller, we’ll look at the last 3 months of data prior to the review date.”
Does a Star Seller badge affect my search ranking?
“Star Seller doesn’t directly impact your search ranking on Etsy. Even if you don’t earn a Star Seller badge, following customer service best practices can improve your performance in Etsy search.”
How do I track my progress to Star Seller?
You can see how close you are to earning Star Seller in your Star Seller dashboard:
- Sign in to Etsy.com and go to Shop Manager.
- Select the Star Seller tab.
- You’ll see two tabs: Current review period and Last review period. Your current review period is your performance toward Star Seller this month. Your last review period is what determines if you currently have the Star Seller badge.
- Using this dashboard, you can track your progress across five areas related to delivering an excellent customer experience. You can also track your progress towards earning individual customer service badges for message response rate, on-time shipping, and excellent reviews from here.
How many Etsy Star Sellers are there?
There isn’t a clear answer to this question. Etsy has mentioned previously that only .5% of its sellers have kept the Star Seller badge for 6 consecutive months.
Hopefully this covers some of your biggest questions and helps you feel more confident about this program!
Recent Changes to Star Seller
When the Star Seller badge first came out in the fall of 2021, there were a lot of unhappy sellers. This resulted in Etsy asking for feedback and how they can improve the program for the future. Etsy listened and these are some of the changes they have made.
The first major change has to do with messages to the customer. Oftentimes, customers will message a seller through multiple threads, which can be difficult to keep up with when you’re supposed to respond to every message but would rather keep communication in one thread. So, before this change it was frustrating that even though you replied to the customer in one thread, all the others would be “un-replied.” Now, all messages from the same buyer will be combined into a single thread. This makes things much easier!
Etsy released new changes to the Star Seller program in October 2022. They include the following:
- Star Sellers now have access to live chat support in Shop Manager
- Highlight your customer service with individual badges
- In the works: Respond to messages on your schedule
- Streamlined Messages in a single thread
The access to customer support is huge for Etsy sellers. Bravo to Etsy for making these changes.
Reviews and order minimum
Another change is one we mentioned briefly. Now instead of having 95% five star reviews, it has changed to an average of 4.8. This means that when you have one of those satisfied buyers that only leaves you a 4 star review, it’s much easier to get enough 5 star reviews to offset it.
We also mentioned that another big change is the order minimum. This changed from 10 orders to 5 orders in the 3-month review period. This is a much easier goal to reach for those shops just starting out. Also for those that sell high-ticket items that may sell less often.
A final change is allowing custom digital products to be shipped at a later date. This way you don’t have to list custom digital products as “physical” and have this negatively affect the shipping and tracking requirements for Star Seller. To do this, you can choose “Digital” as the product type. Then choose “Made to Order” in the “About this Listing” section.
Problems with the Star Seller Program
This program has definitely faced a lot of criticism from Etsy sellers that think some of the requirements are a little far-fetched. Here are a few of the problems and complaints about Star Seller.
- Not all messages need a response. I’ve seen some sellers say that they will simply send an emoji to some messages. They really don’t know what else they can say, but it needs some type of response to fit the criteria!
- Sellers can use the auto-reply feature in a bad way. They simply use this constantly instead of just when they are away from their desk.
- Not all shipping services come with tracking numbers
- There’s always going to be buyers that give you bad reviews for reasons out of your control. This can largely impact your percentage.
- You may receive spam messages, so what do you respond to these?
Read this post if you want to learn more about Etsy vacation mode and setting auto-reply messages.
Some sellers had concerns of disadvantage
Tia from TTXBiz.com shares perceived disadvantages for certain groups of sellers when it comes to achieving the Star Seller badge:
- Some sellers don’t track every shipment, and sell locally.
- Some sellers don’t use Etsy labels and shipping with tracking is less feasible, like Canadian sellers
- Sellers who have “life happen” and can’t ship out an order within processing time, because that happens!
- Sellers that sell low-priced items
This program can be very difficult for some sellers to reach, which can make things very frustrating for them.
Luckily Etsy has been responsive to feedback. One thing they did was group two duplicate messages sent by the same customer about the same order together. In past, a seller used to respond to just one instance of the message and might be penalized for not responding to the other from the same customer. Now, sellers can see these messages in a thread and non-responses to a duplicate message are not counted against them.
That is just one example of the ways Etsy has improved the Star Seller criteria to be more seller friendly.
Is Making Etsy Star Seller Worth it?
The big question is whether becoming an Etsy Star Seller is actually worth all the stress of meeting the criteria. Here are our thoughts! First of all, since Etsy is saturated with a lot of other sellers, having this badge does help you stand out!
It increases your chances of a buyer choosing your product over someone else’s that doesn’t have the same badge. So having this way of making your product stand out does have a big advantage!
But something that you should keep in mind is that the biggest reason that Etsy started this program is to highlight shops that provide the highest-quality customer service. They want to see shops prioritizing the customers. They want to keep buyers on their site rather than going to sites like Amazon or Target instead.
At this point, we do not believe that any seller should be losing sleep over not making the Star Seller badge. We also believe you can make a good income on Etsy without becoming a Star Seller.
Prioritize your customer service!
If you are prioritizing your customer service though and making your customers happy, this will result in higher ratings, return buyers, etc. Which is more important! But it also means that if you simply focus on your customer service, that some of these metrics for the Star Seller program will come on their own.
Yes, it does mean you need to put more work into responding promptly. Or, setting up a system for auto-reply to help you maintain these messages. But otherwise, most of the other requirements should be things that come if you are providing the most top-notch customer service and bringing in consistent orders!
Basically, we say yes it is worth it for the fact that it can help your products stand out. But does it mean you can’t have success on Etsy without it? No! So if you don’t have the badge on your shop yet, and feel unsure of how you will ever reach it, don’t give up and still provide the best customer service that you can!