My Thoughts on Etsy’s Star Seller Program

If you are a fellow Etsy seller, you know about the Star Seller program that Etsy introduced several months ago. If you also follow Etsy chatter on just about any social platform, then you know that it’s a somewhat controversial topic. Like everyone in the Etsy-verse, I, too, have an opinion on it, but it may not be what you think. Let’s get to it!

I won’t go into detail about the program, but I will briefly go over it at a high level for context. To qualify as a Star Seller, a shop needs to meet a certain threshold on 3 pieces of criteria: 1. responding to messages, 2. shipping orders with tracking, and 3. reviews.

If you qualify as a Star Seller, that gets you a badge on your shop profile and on your listing pages indicating as such.

With that out of the way, let’s get into my thoughts.

At a high level, I love the concept. I have achieved Star Seller every month since the start, and I haven’t made any changes to the way I run my shop. Those criteria are simply part and parcel of my typical shop operation, and I appreciate that Etsy recognizes that I’m doing the right things. Every now and then, I come across a shop that is clearly half-assed in one way or another, and that’s becoming a more common occurrence as more sellers join the platform – and that people assume Etsy is a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Star Seller is a great way for professional shops to stand out, and it’s nice that Etsy acknowledges our efforts.

Having said that, I wish Star Seller had actual benefits. You can argue that the badge will increase sales because potential buyers will see it, automatically establishing a level of credibility and trust that leads to conversion. I do think it’s fair to say that if you’re deciding between the exact same product from two sellers – one with the badge and one without, you’re most likely going to choose the Star Seller.

That level of intangibility, though, is not enough in my opinion. While I think Etsy’s Star Seller requirements are reasonable (more on that later), I still work hard to be a good seller and operate my shop in a way that meets its standards. If Etsy holds these activities at high importance, I’d rather see more than just a badge as recognition for my hard work, doing what Etsy wants me to do. A boost in the search algorithm is the first thing that comes to mind and would be ideal, and there are plenty of other more tangible benefits that Etsy could offer, like reduced fees or listing credits.

I do briefly want to touch on the main complaints that I have heard about Star Seller. The main gripes ultimately boil down to the qualifications being too stringent or exclusionary. At launch, digital products were ineligible by default, because they aren’t shipped and thus do not have tracking – totally unfair in my opinion, because it completely excluded digital-only sellers, and a valid criticism of the program! But Etsy recently updated the program to account for digital items. Other than that, which Etsy rectified, I think all of the criteria are fair and attainable. Etsy has to set a threshold somewhere, and I think that these are reasonable expectations and standards for the best of the best sellers.

As it sits now, I’m happy to earn a Star Seller badge through the course of my regular operations, but I wouldn’t bend over backwards to change any of my behaviors to meet the criteria. If I’m not already meeting those requirements ”by default”, it’s not worth just a badge. If a seller meets one or two of the three criteria, they’ll still get a badge specific to that one component – so even if you aren’t a full-blown Star Seller, you still get some benefit.

If you don’t qualify for Star Seller, you may still qualify for one of the three badges that comprise Star Seller

In short, it’s good to see Etsy recognizing shops in good standing, and there is always room for improvement.

Sound off! What do you think of the Star Seller program?

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