- Buyers want to know they are buying quality products. When you have a product that has been rated several or even many times at 3.8 or above, buyers will know that the product is a good one. Of course the opposite is also true, poorly rated products will scare potential buyers away.
- As TpT grows, there will be more competing products. For example, right now there are at least five, and possibly more products that feature spelling activities that can be used with any list. Why buy one that is rated at 2.6 when several are at 3.9 and 4.0? I compare it to looking for a recipe on Allrecipes.com. When I search the term, I get back 200 recipes. I don't even look at ones that don't have at least four stars.
- TpT will soon be undergoing a major redesign. The new format features ratings more prominently when buyers are searching and browsing. Ratings will be displayed in a graphic star format, making it really easy for buyers to spot the high (and low) rated products.
- Oftentimes, products are organized by rating as the default when buyers are using the browse function. That means that they will see the higher rated products first and may not ever even get to the lower rated ones. Buyers alway have the option of sorting by rating.
- All your product ratings are combined to create a seller rating for you. Your seller rating is displayed with each product page and in your store. You want a rating you can be proud of. Also, when you have a new product that does not yet have a rating, sellers may look at your overall rating to get an idea about the quality of your work.
- It is really fun to get positive comments! It feels good to know you have created a product that other's value enough to comment on.
As you can see, the TpT rating system is similar to a traditional grading system. Because buyers will be evaluating your work on these points, it is a good idea to keep them in mind while you are creating your products.
Get More Ratings
Ratings are great when you can get them, but one of the frustrations of selling on TpT is that few buyers leave ratings. You may may have sold 200 downloads of a particular product and maybe 2 or 3 people will leave feedback. Here are some ways to encourage your buyers to leave more ratings:
- Create free products. More people are likely to rate them because more people download them than products that are for sale. They also tend to rate higher since they haven't paid for the product. Once you have some positive ratings, you could choose to put a price on the product. Also, all those ratings you got become part of your overall seller rating.
- Ask for ratings. On seller information page in your product (your store ad) you can ask sellers to come back and rate the product. It helps if you include a link (this will mean you will have to edit the product once it is listed in order to get the product page link and then reload it onto TpT). You can also put the request in your product description, like Teachers Unleashed did on this excellent free product.
- Offer a deal. You could, for example offer a free product to buyers who rate a certain number of your products or a specific product. Here is the deal that I run. It is posted on my facebook notes page, my TpT store and on my blog. Not many people have taken advantage of it, but it is nice when they do. Here is a much more successful approach from David. When you download this free product, there is a note that says that if you rate the product, you can have a product worth a dollar or less from the seller's store for free. 123, people have taken him up on his offer. That is 123 positive ratings that all get added into his total seller rating - and the free product that is up for rating is all of one page, so he clearly did not slave over it for weeks. This is a great example of how to get maximum benefit from a free product.
Of course, when you ask for ratings, you run the risk of receiving poor ones, but if your product is a good one, this shouldn't be a problem.
Dealing with Bad Ratings
A bad rating can be heartbreaking, especially if it is a product that you worked hard on and are proud of. There are several things you can do when you receive a bad rating.
- First off, evaluate the rating...does the rater have a point? Perhaps you need to revise your product and/or your description.
- One nice feature of the ratings page is that you can respond. If the person rating your product misunderstood what the product included or felt the price was too high or whatever, you can respond by politely defending your product. This doesn't get rid of the low number, but it does explain things for future buyers.
- If this is the very first rating, consider deleting the product and relisting it. When you delete a product, the ratings get deleted with it. Start again with a clean slate.
- Ask for help. If it is a free product, ask your buddies in the seller's forum to rate it. Here is a really nice example of how that can work. This is a free product that has been up for at least a year. Recently, someone rated it for the first time. At the bottom, you can see the original comment. I think the rating she left was like a 2.6. I actually didn't ask for help, just brought it up as a question in the forums - was she right, should I have included an answer key? Most people agreed with her, yes I should have, so I revised and reposted and responded to her comment. But the best part was that several other sellers rated the product, and now it is rated at a respectable 3.8!
- If the rating is truly unfair, or just plain irrelevant, you can write to TpT and ask to have it deleted.
Spread the Ratings Love
Helping each other out is one of the benefits of joining the TpT seller community. If you see a free product that you love, by all means, leave a rating. If you see one that is not so great, there is no reason to leave poor feedback - it is free after all. Just move on.
If you purchase a great product, again, leave feedback. If you purchase a product that turns out to be a disappointment, consider contacting the seller in his or her Q&A section instead of leaving a poor rating. This gives the seller an opportunity to address your concerns without harming his or her rating. In many cases, the seller is more than happy to make it up to you - perhaps even sending you a free product.