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How to Deal with Negative Reviews in Your Etsy Shop - Part 2

How to Deal with Negative Reviews in Your Etsy Shop - Part 2

Getting a negative review on Etsy can be totally stressful.

We want people to love our handmade work, and the time that you put into creating your product is really meaningful and valuable to you, so when someone leaves a bad review, it can really be upsetting and really bring you down.

Katie and I have certainly experienced this before, so we really wanted to talk about this in a transparent way.

This is part 2 of this topic, so if you haven’t read/listened to Part 1 yet, we recommend you go back and listen to part one of the episode, where I talk about how to report reviews that violate etsy’s policies, how to analyze reviews for feedback, and how to feel okay after getting a bad review, then you can come back to this episode. Get Part 1!

I want to teach you about the 3 options you have for responding to negative reviews and even share some exact ways I’ve responded to bad reviews.

You can listen here, or keep reading below:



As I mentioned in Part 1, you can report reviews that you are unfairly hit with if they are in regards to third party shipping delays or damages.

You can also report reviews that violate Etsy’s TOS like hate speech or discrimination. But, if the review is simply negative without a policy violation, it can’t be reported and Etsy won’t take it down.

And, as I said in Part 1, a negative review is not a huge issue and the bigger your shop gets, the more likely it is you will have a bad review from time to time, but let’s talk about how you can try and resolve negative reviews for you and the customer, which is sometimes possible.

When it comes to negative reviews, you have 3 options:

  • Responding Publicly
  • Responding Privately
  • Not Responding at All

Option #1 Responding publicly:

This is not what I would do first. Once you respond publicly, a customer cannot edit or take down their review.

So if they say something untrue or ugly, and you fire off a reply, they might realize they are in the wrong but they cannot change their review. So I actually don’t recommend that you do this first.

Option #2 Not responding at all:

In my opinion, responding to reviews is not something you are obligated to do on Etsy.

What you have an obligation to do is to respond to customer messages if they message you directly for support.

If a customer posts a negative, public review of the product without contacting you first for help, it’s likely they have already made up their mind that for whatever reason, they are unhappy and you reaching out to them honestly may not have much of an impact. 

But you can try a private response. I would recommend you do this IF you feel like the customer has either:

 1) left no explanation for their negative review at all so you truly want to know what went wrong. It’s even possible they meant to give you 5 stars and accidentally hit the wrong button.

or 2) have mentioned something in the review you could fix, for ex. Like if they accidentally received the wrong item from your shop (which happens sometimes).

Option #3 Responding privately:

Go into your orders, and find the order and message the customer privately. It’s best to keep your message short and polite and try to understand if you can solve the problem for them.

You can say something like, 


I see that your scarf was delivered to you safely and I noticed that you left a review that was less than five stars. I’m not sure if this was done by mistake, or if there was an issue with the product. I would love to know more about your experience so - if possible - I can help!

Thank you and have a great day.”

It could be that there is a misunderstanding you can clear up with the buyer privately by message - and then they may edit their negative review to be a positive one. It’s not a guarantee but it could happen, which is why I don’t recommend that you respond publicly to a negative review right away, especially if it seems like something you can fix.


More on responding publicly:

Not every negative review is going to be able to fixed unfortunately.

There are Karens out there who are going to have skipped out on reading your product description, or your processing time, or just be having a bad day themselves and take it out on you.

This is rare but it does happen to all of us.

So, if the review is just flat out untrue and you cannot resolve a problem that isn’t your fault, you can respond publicly as a last resort to a negative review. 

But when I do this, I ALWAYS try to put a positive spin on the review.

So, for example, if someone says something like “it’s great but it’s smaller than I expected.”

You could say,

“Thank you for your review. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful customers who find our size guide (included in the photos and the product description) helpful before purchasing to make sure the size is exactly as they imagined when picking out a picture frame for their home.

We’re really thankful for all of the positive feedback we’ve received from customers who styled this boho picture frame so well in their living rooms, bedrooms, and college dorms.”

So, I always take a public review response to not only thank other customers, mention where the info can actually be found, but I also work in some of my Etsy SEO keywords in there too.

Just never negatively attack the customer in anyway, that’s not the right thing to do.

Let me give you another example:

If a customer says, “I just decided I didn’t like the item after I got it. Might be unfair…guess it looks like the picture.” 

This is a real but funny review that I saw on smallbizmemez but while it’s kind of laughable, it would also be really frustrating if I got this review in my business because, as you can tell, the customer isn’t going to be happy no matter what you do, even though they’re acknowledging that it’s a personal preference.

You could say,

“Thank you for your purchase. I hope the next time you shop on Etsy, you find something that fits your personal style better, just like all of the customers who have bought necklaces from my shop and really enjoyed them. That’s the beauty of Etsy, you have so many choices and you can look around for something you truly like and feel confident in the pictures the seller provides before you purchase.”

Now, again, this is probably not going to get you a higher star review, but if you have already tried to resolve it, the best thing you can do is either ignore it, or use your public response to be engaging, funny (without being mean), and helpful to future customers who might see the review.

Again, please don’t sweat a bad review too much. In the grand scheme of things, a single unhappy customer is not only likely, but normal.

And, as I said Part 1, you are not tacos, so you cannot please everyone, 100% of the time.

Getting negative reviews can be stressful and is sometimes unfair, but the best thing you can do is to put a positive spin on your response and practice gratitude for your small business.


BTW - if  you're tired of googling "how to get more traffic and sales on Etsy," we created this FREE Etsy Seller masterclass just for you.


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