In April, thousands of Etsy sellers held a week-long strike (placing their Etsy Shops in vacation mode), protesting the 30% fee increase the marketplace implemented that week among a number of other issues they felt needed to be changed.
Striking sellers demanded the company cancel the free increase (it did not), crack down on resellers (a problem dating back to the early days of Etsy), improve customer support services, (a problem the company already planned to fix), end the Star Seller Program, and allow sellers to opt out of Offsite Ads.
Etsy did not relent on the fee increase claiming it planned to use the additional revenue to beef up the previously announced improvements to customer support in addition to other platform refinements that it said will be positive for sellers.
The company also did not address the Offsite Ads grudge which requires most active sellers to participate in the program and forces them to pay a higher selling fee on sales that came through those ads.
The Star Seller Program was another issue many sellers felt was difficult for many small businesses to achieve or maintain as it often required them to offer fast and free shipping, easy customer returns, and fast responses to customer questions.
Ironically, Etsy requires its sellers to offer excellent customer interaction to make it into the Star Seller Program when the marketplace itself has had a reputation of having slow customer support.
Striking sellers felt they should be allowed to run their shops according to the terms they feel comfortable with and not be lumped into an Amazon-like experience when they don’t have the scale or margins to offer these solutions.
While striking sellers wanted the Star Seller Program to be eliminated, the company took another direction by announcing tweaks to the program that may address some of the complaints.
Etsy Star Seller Program Changes
So what is changing with the Etsy Star Seller Program?
Simplifying the rating criteria
Etsy is changing how it calculates the rating stat for Star Sellers. They’re updating the criteria to a 4.8 rating average so that 4-star ratings count more positively toward a seller’s eligibility for Star Seller.
This month, Etsy will introduce a new-and-improved messaging experience that will start to combine messages from the same buyer.
In order to earn the Star Seller badge, sellers are required to reply to initial messages from buyers within 24 hours on fewer threads, making it easier to stay on top of customer messages.
Lowering the order minimum
In July, Etsy shops will need to have at least five orders (down from 10) within the three-month review period to qualify for Star Seller Program. Those orders will still need to total $300 before shipping and taxes. This change helps lower volume sellers who provide great customer service earn the Star Seller badge.
The program is not going away, but the company did listen somewhat to the complaints and is trying to improve the program. It should make it easier for sellers to get into and stay in the program.
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