How reviews work?
Basically Etsy reviews work as any other online marketplace review system: buyers leave star rated reviews for their purchases that are available for reviewing. But there are some specifics we would like you to know.
There is a waiting time period after purchase date during which buyer is unable to leave a review. This time period consists of processing time (varies for each item, set by seller) + shipping time. Once this time passes buyer will have 60 days to leave a feedback for a purchase. During these 60 days buyer can also edit their review as many times as they want.
There is no processing or shipping time for a digital items so buyers are able to leave a review once all files were downloaded.
Also keep in mind that reviews on Etsy are public, which means that after review is posted everyone will be able to see buyer's profile information. Anonymous reviews are no longer available on Etsy. This also might be the reason why recently the review rate is significantly dropped as many buyers don't want other people know what specific item was bought.
As a seller you should remember that Etsy takes into account only reviews left for the last 12 months. So if you close your shop on a long vacation and re-open it after a year had passed your review rating will show 0 stars, though you will have a clickable review number right next to it. As soon as you get new reviews your rating will be recalculated based on them.
How to deal with bad reviews?
If you've got a bad review (3 stars or less) there are a couple of ways to solve the situation. First, you can contact customer privately via Etsy conversations to try to fix the situation. Maybe suggest a return & exchange if the product classifies for exchange. In some cases you can reach out to Etsy support with request for review removal. But keep in mind that there are specific rules when Etsy interferes in seller vs buyer situations. Also note that the ability to report a review expires 60 days after the review was left or last edited.
You can report a review, a photograph within a review, or a review response for removal for the following reasons:
it violates your privacy;
it is obscene, racist, or harassing;
it contains advertising or spam;
the review is about Etsy or a third party.
If nothing of it applies all you can do is to leave your public response to the negative feedback. Keep in mind that if you decide to post an answer the review will be locked up and customer won't be able to edit or remove it anymore (even if you delete your response afterwards). So remember that answering a bad review is really a last thing to do! However if this is the only option left make your answer look as professional as you can. Remember that this answer is for your potential customers who will see what the problem was from your point of view. Sometimes bad review isn't bad in eyes of potential customers if it's clear from your response that you as a seller did everything you could for buyer's satisfaction.
Keep in mind that reviews can’t be alse left or edited while a case is open for a particular transaction. The 60 calendar days window for leaving a review will run through the duration of a case. So if a buyer have already left a negative review it is in your interest to solve the situation and close the case as fast as possible so customer would have a chance to edit review.
Also reviews cannot be left or edited for canceled transactions once the cancelation is processed. But there is a 48 hours time frame while transaction is being canceled when customer can still leave a review.
Should I ask buyers for a review?
This is probably the most popular question that pops up on Etsy forums and mostly because there is no clear answer. There are a lot of people who would find this type of communication "spammy" or would not appreciate it. Some buyers even if they were going to leave a review for a product and then were asked for it by a seller would not leave a review.
But officially Etsy doesn't prohibit asking a buyers to leave a review. Moreover, they suggest communicate with buyer to ask for a review. But keep in mind that Etsy sends a reminder to customers to leave a review in awhile after purchase (if customer hadn't opted-out of notifications from Etsy). So this decision is mostly up to you. But if you decide to ask for a review be polite, professional and try not to look needy. Just explain that as a small business owner you value every review and a feedback form buyer can really help you understand if anything needs an improvement.
As of June, 2015 Etsy changed the way reviews appear in your shop listings. Now, reviews on your listing pages are arranged by relevance, rather than recency. When shoppers visit a listing page, they see reviews relevant to that listing at the top of the reviews feed for that page.
We hope this article will help you understand how Etsy reviews work and how to handle any review related issues.