Reading time: 8 minutes
Publication date: May 25, 2023
Should you put your Etsy shop on vacation or not? Every year as summer nears, we hear that question. Etsy offers the option to put your store in Vacation Mode. You can use it whenever you need to take a break. But should you?
You may have heard that some Etsy sellers advise against it. And it’s true, there are experienced sellers who never use it. On the other hand, plenty do and claim it’s never harmed their shop or sales. So, which is it? And what alternatives are there? Let’s talk!
What, exactly, does Vacation Mode do?
When your shop is in Vacation Mode, anyone visiting your Etsy storefront will be greeted with a notice like this.
What you put in the “Note from shop owner” field will replace your Shop Announcement. (More about how to set this up in a bit). There’s also a button, “Email me when they’re back,” that visitors can click. If they do so, Etsy will notify them on your behalf when you reopen.
When you put your shop on vacation, your listings will not be shown in search nor on your Etsy storefront. However, by searching its name, users can still find your shop and will see this notice. Potential customers will still be able to favorite your shop. And your loyal customers will know that no, you haven’t vanished off the face of the earth. You’re just taking a breather!
What happens to ad campaigns?
If you use Etsy Ads, your ad campaign will automatically pause until you reopen. (With all your listings unavailable for purchase, why pay for advertising, right?)
What about open orders?
No need to worry! When your shop is on vacation, you still have access to your shop manager dashboard. You can still respond to messages, print shipping labels, and edit listings. In fact, you can do all the tasks you normally do while running your business.
And your Star Seller status?
It’s important to note that Etsy will still evaluate the last three months of your shop’s performance on a monthly basis for the Star Seller program regardless of vacation status. If you’ve been meeting the program’s metrics, you should retain your Star Seller status. That is, provided you still meet the sales-count metric. Otherwise, having no sales while on vacation could impact your status. And if you’re shy of qualifying for Star Seller, the time you’re in Vacation Mode will be lost time you could otherwise have used towards that goal.
How to put your shop in Vacation Mode
On your Etsy dashboard, go to the Settings tab (look for the gear icon, bottom left), then click Options.
Next, click the “Vacation Mode” tab at the top of the screen. From there, you can activate (and deactivate) Vacation Mode. What you type in the “Vacation Announcement” section will appear to customers as “Note from shop owner” in place of your shop announcement. You can also write an auto-reply message here. This will automatically be sent to anyone who sends you an Etsy convo while your shop is in Vacation Mode. You can update and re-save both of these as needed.
Be sure to note the fine print Etsy adds here under Vacation Mode. “Listings with Auto-renew enabled will continue to renew while your shop is on vacation.” Therefore, if you’ll be gone longer than a week and you use Auto-renew on any of your listings, you might want to disable that setting during your break.
When should you use Vacation Mode?
Putting your shop in Vacation Mode may be the best option if you need to focus on a personal emergency. Or any situation that could keep you away for an indefinite amount of time. Closing down temporarily will ensure that you don’t miss convos or ship late. Or return to an unmanageable queue of orders to fulfill. Please don’t hesitate to use Vacation Mode if you find yourself in a spot like this. In fact, it’s wise to teach a trusted family member or partner how to access and put your Etsy shop on vacation for you. Just out of an abundance of caution, in the rare event you’re unable to do so yourself.
Caution! Especially those of you with busy shops that have a steady volume of sales, beware. Some well-established Etsy sellershave reported being put on payment reserve once Vacation Mode was disengaged and they resume selling. Etsy’s automated payment reserve system can be triggered whenever any shop has a sudden, sharp increase in sales. So, if you have a busy shop and prefer not to risk this, consider the following alternatives to Vacation Mode.
Popular alternatives to Vacation Mode
If you plan to be away for just a short while, extend your processing times
This option is what many sellers prefer over using Vacation Mode. It keeps orders coming in but allows you extra time to get your orders out. However, if you do this, make sure to alert your buyers. Post it at the start of your shop’s announcement and your order confirmation message. If you have an image slot available, add it there too, and/or in your listings’ descriptions. This way, your regular customers won’t be surprised when their order takes longer than usual to ship.
Extending processing times is also an option sellers use when they are feeling under par, or otherwise just need a bit more time. Simply message each buyer and ask. Do they prefer to wait a while longer for their items, or to cancel for a full refund? While this is acceptable, it really isn’t a viable option for a high-volume shop. And it’s important to note that Etsy only allows you to extend processing time once per order! So if you are uncertain when you’ll be back, allow for that. It’s always better to cancel an order than ship it late.
Temporarily deactivate your listings
If you won’t be available to fulfill any orders, you can just deactivate all your active listings. Simple.
Maybe you’re not going away but you’re absolutely buried in orders and need to catch up. Don’t hesitate to deactivate all your listings. It may even be worth putting your shop in Vacation Mode. Especially if you run your business alone. Or have other pressing full-time commitments.
The thought of temporarily closing when your Etsy business is doing so well may be scary. However, it might just save you from missing convos and shipping deadlines. And those definitely would impact your shop and listing quality scores! Sometimes, best practice involves knowing when to take a step back.
Deactivate some of your listings or what options you offer
Just need to curtail your current sales volume a bit? Try deactivating your bestsellers or your most time-consuming products. Doing so will lighten your workload and, hopefully, leave you feeling a bit less overwhelmed.
Do you offer personalization or customization? Maybe deactivate those and just fulfill your ready-to-ship items for awhile.
Raise prices on your bestsellers and/or most time-consuming products
Experienced sellers suggest this option surprisingly often. Do you often feel pressed for time? If so, it’s only fair that you price your time a bit higher! This will, theoretically, slow down your sales a bit. However, you may just find that your profit stays the same or even increases. Once you feel like being busy again, you can change it back (but if you find that you’re still making a decent profit, maybe it’s time to raise prices!).
What to do after resuming business as usual
Did you use Vacation Mode or opt to deactivate all your listings for more than a few days? Once you reopen your shop, make sure to let your followers on social media know. And remember to reactivate any ad campaigns or auto-renewals, etc.
And your listings? Despite the baleful tales some sellers tell, they’ll make their way back into search results faster than you think! All that happened while they were inactive is that comparable products continued to garner clicks and favorites and sales while yours did not. You lost a little momentum. But, worry not — your sales will be back to normal soon. Because everyone has to take a break some time!