Here at Merriweather, we encourage makers to use Etsy as a tool in their business. We encourage Etsy sellers to leverage the power of Etsy and appeal to any of the many and various opportunities of Etsy that suit them.
As a business owner making use of Etsy, you should see and use Etsy as a tool in your business. When it is, you make it work for you, not the other way around. You do not work for Etsy.
Having a presence on Etsy is an opportunity for your business in itself. There is a baseline of optimization all sellers should have in place – certain best practices that all sellers should implement in their Etsy shop regardless of what they sell.
There are also a smattering of OTHER opportunities of being on Etsy that sellers might choose to lean into and appeal to depending on their unique shop and business.
For example, the fact that Etsy loves personalized work and regularly feature it is an opportunity that some sellers can lean into and benefit from. It is not an opportunity for all sellers, but for those sellers, there are other opportunities.
A new opportunity of Etsy is the Star Seller program. Almost immediately, this announcement was met with negativity from sellers who pointed out flaws and oversights with the program. Etsy could not, as far as I saw, adequately respond to all of them. If you haven’t heard about the Star Seller program yet, you can catch up here.
Star Seller is an opportunity of Etsy just like the others. It is not a better opportunity or a more important one (it might seem like it is right now because it’s new and getting a lot of attention), but it might be one you feel is worth leaning into and leveraging, and that’s great! If you are a seller who feels annoyed by it though, I want to share with you why you should feel comfortable letting this one go.
It’s my personal opinion that the program rolled out prematurely and could have benefited from some more thoughtfulness. Also, I do not think that sellers should worry about achieving this status. (Just like I don’t think any one particular opportunity of Etsy is worth any seller’s worry.)
In general, sellers need to stop looking at everything surface level and start thinking about how different things can work for them. Sellers should exert energy on identifying which opportunities WILL work for them and leave the rest alone.
No matter what your product is, there are opportunities for you on Etsy beyond that baseline of just being there at all. Whatever you CAN DO, do it. Do it well! We can teach you. But don’t WORRY about not being able to achieve Star Seller, don’t worry about not having all your listings rank on page 1-4, of search results, don’t WORRY about not being able to offer free shipping. Identify the opportunities you can appeal to and lean into them. Leave the rest behind.
Whether this program was rolled out prematurely or not is a story for another day. Etsy sellers should not worry about achieving Star Seller status and earning the Star Seller badge on Etsy.
It’s a needless competition that anyone who cares about the things it rates is already doing their best on.
Anyone who cares about Star Seller status at all is already working to improve the metrics it measures. Or, they are already doing their absolute best in the areas Star Seller measures.
All the sellers I know want to deliver amazing products on time and receive amazing five star feedback. And they are all doing everything they can do to make that happen. The problem is that might still not be enough to achieve Star Seller. If you are able to keep the majority of your customers happy and maintain your business, you are already a Star Seller with or without a badge.
It’s a difficult opportunity to appeal to for not much reward.
It’s possible that some shoppers might prioritize sellers with Star Seller Status (though I doubt it, honestly) or that some sellers might see features as a direct result of earning SSS (like an Etsy email blast specifically featuring Star Sellers, or similar.) But the metrics for Star Seller are pretty difficult to hit and there are a lot of them.
As stated, most sellers who would care about Star Seller at all are already trying their best in these areas and understand the tolerance of their customers and in their business. Sellers know what does and doesn’t work for them in their reality, which ultimately is more rewarding, there is just no badge to show for it.
It’s a temporary, 11 point font sticker on your shop.
Star Seller status is evaluated every month. From one month to the next, you may or may not achieve it. The fact it is temporary and also fleeting contributes to my thoughts about not prioritizing it as an opportunity to lean into. (There are other ‘temporary’ achievements but they tend to be more impactful, longer or they last longer to begin with.) However, I do think that if you can achieve Star Seller one month, and were featured because of that, that feature might live on for a while and generate recurring results. Star Seller status on its own though, for one month, will not impact your shop into the future.
Humans first, algorithms after that
We firmly believe in a humans over algorithms approach on all platforms. You and the customer matter more than any algorithm or temporary. Do what works for the humans, yourself included.
Your business should complement your life, not compete with it. If you need to leave a message unresponded to for 48 hours because you’re taking the weekend for your mental wellness, so be it. It’s more important that you, as the owner of your business, are well taken care of than it is to have a 95% 24 hours response rate. (It is possible that you leave messages unresponded to over the weekend and still achieve an average 95% 24-hour response rate, however it really depends on the message volume distribution across the days of the week which is out of your control as you have no jurisdiction over when people choose to send you messages.)
There are lots of ways to increase the chances your shop is featured
While Etsy has said that Star Seller status will not impact your search ranking directly, they have said that they would promote sellers with Star Seller status. It does NOT say they will ONLY promote those sellers.
My prediction is there will be a lot of shops featured in various Etsy places that do not always have Star Seller status, or that have never had it, and that Etsy will occasionally create features that highlight shops with Star Seller status exclusively. It’s important to note that Etsy will never feature a shop JUST BECAUSE it hits whatever single item they are promoting or focusing on. You will not see a shop featured in a Star Seller focused feature that DOESN’T also have amazing photos, shop policy etc. This is why Star Seller is an opportunity ON TOP of that baseline, and why that baseline is so important. It’s critical to optimize your shop so that the opportunities you do lean in to can actually be meaningful to you.
Having a shop that is well established and optimized means that Star Seller and features of any kind are MORE LIKELY to happen. There are plenty of Star Seller rated shops that aren’t feature worthy, so you definitely need both in order to truly lean into any opportunity – not just hitting the mark, but making your shop likely to be selected among the many options Etsy has.
In summary, Star Seller is definitely a reward NOT a punishment. If you happen to meet all the criteria for Star Seller, you might see a benefit from it and that is awesome! (Again, same goes for all other opportunities but in the case of Star Seller the benefits available do not seem worth the effort, IMHO.)
We know people will buy from shops without the badge because the badge did not exist til now and we know that when given the option of shops with or without other badges, like the best seller badge, shops without Best Seller badges still make sales.
There actually is no tangible benefit of this badge as it stands. And the benefits that are intangible do not, in my opinion, feel worth the anxiety of having to meet these criteria.
I also want to mention that the language chosen, “Star Seller’, feels really juvenile to me.
Almost like something we would encounter in a 5th grade classroom. I don’t think it speaks to the professionality that any of the sellers who would care about the Star Seller program exhibit, nor does it adequately speak to the things it itself judges.
Ask yourself: what is more important, a tiny arbitrary badge on your Etsy shop or a business that thrives on my own terms?