Etsy is ‘slapping small sellers in the face’, merchants claim

Etsy is ‘slapping its small sellers in the face’ thanks to its new ‘Star Seller’ program, according to some merchants.

The Star Seller program was implemented in September to highlight shops that hit important or championed customer-service metrics.

These include responding to 95 per cent of messages within 24 hours, ship 95 per cent of orders on time and process at least 10 orders and $300 in sales within a three-month review period.

Sellers are saying that the program’s requirements are tough to meet and therefore are being punished.

“There are some lousy shops on Etsy that they should just take care of and get rid of,” one seller told Business Insider.

“But the way they have set this up just slaps small sellers in the face.”

The program makes sure that certain Etsy merchants are rewarded with a special ‘badge’ and increased visibility across the site.

However, a number of merchants are saying that the prerequisites are too tough to meet, especially since a large number of shops are operated by a single person.

The launch of the Star Seller program has caused concerns amongst sellers who believe that their sales will be affected by the fact they can’t meet the requirements.

Custom sticker merchant Ana Evstrati told Business Insider: “We’re not robots.”

“And we’re not like big companies that have a customer-service team or marketing team.”

READ MORE: Etsy users struggling to find products despite CEO’s claim that it’s “immune” from supply chain crisis

Etsy announced at the time of the launch of the program that it was to highlight the good work of merchants that provide the best customer service.

As a result of the Star Seller integration, the ecommerce platform has begun highlighting the prized merchants on special landing pages.

This has led merchants to grow concerned that the program is ‘taking the power out of the seller’s hands’ because sellers are judged on how quickly they are able to fulfil the requirements.

Evstrati said that she believed that an emphasis on a five-star rating means that a four-star rating becomes as harmful to seller’s reputation as a one-star rating.

She said that sometimes buyers become frustrated at things which are out of the control of the seller and leave a negative review.

“It doesn’t mean that you did a bad job,” she said.

The metric which requires sellers to reply to 95 per cent of messages within 24 hours means that merchants are even replying to messages which are clearly spam.

Another seller Cindy Baldassi told Business Insider: “I just respond to everything now, it’s kind of ridiculous, just to make sure that it keeps working.”

“But other people, if they don’t respond to spam, they’re suddenly just cut out of Star Seller.”

Baldassi can’t qualify for the program as she operates her business out of Canada, where shipping with tracking information becomes incredibly expensive for her business.

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