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The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Great Customer Experience for Digital Product Sellers on Etsy

As a digital product seller on Etsy, it can sometimes be hard to know what you can do to create a great overall experience for your customers, and now with the introduction of the Start Seller Badge from Etsy, it’s now more important than ever to make sure you are going above and beyond for your customers.

In today’s article, I’m going to run through what the Star Seller Badge means for you (specifically as a digital product seller) and how you can increase your customer experience to help lead to even more customers buying from you.

What is the Star Seller Rating?

The Start Seller Rating is a way to recognise and reward Etsy sellers who consistently provide an excellent customer experience. Etsy believes that ​​responding to customers quickly, dispatching on time, and getting 5-star ratings are important to buyers.

Within the Etsy seller’s handbook it states that on the 1st of every month, beginning in September 2021, Etsy will determine if you’ve become a Star Seller by looking back at the last three months of your shop's performance.

Here’s what they consider:

  • Your Response rate: 95% or more of initial buyer messages are responded to within 24 hours.

  • Your Dispatch Time: 95% or more of your orders dispatch within your stated processing time and with tracking* or with a postage label purchased on Etsy.

  • Having 5-star ratings: 95% or more of your reviews have 5-star ratings.

  • Orders, sales, and tenure: You must maintain 10 orders and around 300 USD in sales depending on your shop currency (before postage and taxes) in your three month review period, and have been on Etsy’s platform for 90 days since your first sale.

As a digital product seller, obviously, dispatch times don’t apply to us (and I have noticed this within my own Etsy dashboard) so no need to worry about that. But we can certainly work with all the other considerations.

So now that you know what Etsy’s Star Seller Badge is and you know how they rate your shop, let’s now go through how you can use this information to improve your own customer experience as a digital seller.

Rating No. 1: Response Rate

When you receive a message from one of your customers or potential customers, the best thing you can do is try to respond as quickly as you can. Now as we just found out Etsy is asking us to aim for 95% or more of initial buyer messages to be responded to within 24 hours. Now, this doesn’t include any follow-up message, just the first one. So when possible (I know it can be hard at times - especially if you’re like me and you live on the other side of the world to most of your customers) try to respond as fast as you can.

And if you’re out and about, or winding down for the day, perhaps just write a quick message letting your customer know when you’ll be able to answer their question or query with more thought and consideration. You’d be surprised at how understanding people can be.

For my own Etsy shop, I honestly don’t have too many messages coming through, and after looking over my previous messages I calculated that I have around 1 or 2 messages per month, so as a digital product seller, this is really quite simple to manage.

Having the Etsy Sellers app on your phone is the best way to manage your customer questions and messages, so if you're yet to download it, be sure to do that today.

Rating No. 2: Dispatch Time

Now unless you create custom or personalised digital items in your shop, the majority of digital product sellers won’t need to worry too much about this as for us, when a purchase is made by any customer, the digital file(s) as sent directly to the customer straight from Etsy where they can download and access it immediately.

However, if you are the rare seller that does create personalised or custom digital items (like art prints for example) then you want to be clear on how long it will take you to create the item and then get it sent to the customer, like by email for example.

Rating No. 3: Having 5-Star Reviews

I would say that this rating is probably where you are going to have to focus most of your energy. Now although it’s where your focus is mostly required, it doesn’t mean that it should be complicated or difficult to do.

Not only do "glowing" reviews of your products help get you the Star Seller Badge but it also lets any other buyer who visits your shop know that tons of happy customers have come before them. This inspires confidence when they’re deciding whether to make a purchase from your shop.

Here are a few tips that can help you to get more 5-star reviews for your digital products:

Tip 1: Use your listing description to answer shoppers’ questions

Try to describe and explain your digital item in as much detail as possible and where you can, try and answer any questions you feel the customer might have. Even if you think it’s a simple question for you to answer, it might not be so obvious to your customer.

Tip 2: Showcase your product with images

Etsy allows you 10 slots to fill with your images! Please, use all of them. Add images that include mock-ups of your product so that the customer can get a feel for what they can expect to receive (or create) using your digital product. If you feel like you still can’t quite fill up the 10 images slots, then why not create a few graphics that show off some of your best customer reviews or even share your current discounts or offerings.

Tip 3: Set expectations with a clear return policy

Be sure to set your returns policy and make it clear in your description too. For digital sellers specifically, it’s okay to offer a no returns policy, just make it very clear so there is no confusion for your customers.

Tip 4: Respond to messages quickly

Now, we have already covered this topic as it relates to improving your Star Seller rating, so I’ll just cover it briefly here. So like I mentioned before, you want to make sure that when any messages or requests come in from your customers or potential customers, you are responding as quickly as possible. If you find that people are asking the same questions over and over again, it might be worth including the answer inside your description or inside the FAQ section of your shop.

Tip 5: Let shoppers know how they will receive their digital product

When selling digital products on Etsy, in almost all cases, the files will be sent to the customer automatically by Etsy, however, it’s still good practice to let your customers know exactly how they will receive it and also instructions on how they can access or download the files. For my shop, Penny Street Studio, I include an instructions PDF document with every item I sell so the customer is crystal clear on how they can access their digital products, in my case specifically their Canva template links.

Tip 6: Surprise and delight with thoughtful touches

Isn’t it so nice when you get something you weren’t expecting or receive a personal message from a seller online? Creating thoughtful touches and surprising your customers doesn’t have to be only for physical sellers, digital sellers can do it too. For example, for my shop Penny Street Studio, anyone who buys a product from my shop is automatically given access to my Customer Hub. Inside this members-only hub, customers will find free resources and templates that complement the products they have already bought from me. I believe this is a great incentive and reason why people choose to shop with me over other sellers on Etsy who might be selling very similar products to mine. So have a think, what could you offer your customers that would create a magical experience with you?

Tip 7: Send a thank you coupon

Similar to the surprise and delight, why not offer your customers another chance to buy with you again but with a special offer or discount. Happy customers when offered a coupon not only have an increased chance of buying from you again but also have a higher chance of leaving a stellar review. Sending a thank you coupon can be set up in a matter of minutes inside your Etsy dashboard, and Etsy will automatically send it to your customer once the purchase has been made. Easy!

Alright, so there were some very helpful tips for you there!!

Now just so you know, currently your Star Seller rating won’t affect your search ranking on Etsy, but this doesn't mean you don’t want to take the time to focus on these areas. Although things like Etsy SEO and search ranking are important for your shop, what’s most important is creating quality products that your customers will love. Like I’ve mentioned before, and something I always come back to… just remember you want to optimise for people, not for robots.


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I'm Alicia.

I'm a wife & mama from the beautiful city of Adelaide in South Australia.


A self taught business owner who loves geeking out over all things business & strategies.

I'm here to provide guidance & tools to help you start & launch a successful online business selling digital products.

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