The Jam

Will Etsy’s Vacation Mode Break My Shop?

Have you wanted to put your shop in vacation mode, but you’re terrified it would nuke your sales? How does vacation mode work? Will you take a sales hit? What have other sellers experienced when using it? Keep reading as we tackle all things vacation mode! We’ll also be chatting about some alternative solutions. Learn if vacation mode or one of these alternatives is something you’re interested in doing to find even more Etsy shop success!

We all need it

Everyone needs a break from time to time! Especially during summer or when it’s time to enjoy the Holidays. Many, many Etsy sellers will be looking into taking some time off.

But recently we’ve seen a lot of folks asking questions about Etsy’s Vacation Mode feature! So we’re going to take some time to talk about that today. We’ll talk about the upsides, the downsides, and some alternatives.

What is Vacation Mode?

Vacation Mode lets you put your shop on hold for a period of time, and is helpful if:

  • You’re temporarily unable to run your shop.
  • An emergency keeps you from being able to manage your shop.
  • You’re traveling or sick for an extended period of time.
  • OR you might need a quick break to catch up on current orders.

Be sure you’re communicating 

When you put your shop into vacation mode, you want to make sure you communicate that to your customers. This means it’s important to remember that you can set an auto-reply. It will be sent in response to any messages you receive while your shop is on vacation mode.

When we say “on-hold” it really means that your listings aren’t showing up in Etsy search. This also means that customers can’t purchase from your shop. Your listings are still in your shop and they don’t go anywhere. But they are put on-hold and people cannot find them through Etsy. Along with this, if you’re running any sort of promoted listings campaigns, those are placed on hold too.

What happens?!

So what ACTUALLY happens when you put your shop into vacation mode? We find that a lot of sellers put their shop into vacation mode without fully understanding what’s going to happen or the ramifications of doing this in their shop. The answer there is one of the reasons why we decided to dig into this conversation and there’s some information in here you’ll want to pay attention to. This is straight from Etsy so take some notes if you’re interested!

When you put your shop into Vacation mode: 

  • A notice will show up at the top of your shop page saying that you’re taking a short break.  
  • The Add to cart button will be grayed out.
  • Your shop will still appear if someone searches for your exact shop name (it won’t look like you’ve gone out of business), but it will not appear as an auto-suggestion in Search or other shopping tools.
  • THIS IS A BIG ONE- Your items won’t appear in Search. This is something you’ll really want to think about as it’s important to understand that this is going to happen.
  • Other Etsy members who visit your shop can sign up to be notified by email of your return.
  • You’ll have access to your orders, cases, and messages.
  • You can issue refunds, cancel orders, and print Etsy shipping labels.

You MUST be good to your word

Now, when your shop is in Vacation Mode, you are still going to need to fill whatever orders have already been placed. And if you have any open cases, you’ll need to make sure you’re present and accounted for with regard to taking care of those. If you can plan ahead for this before going into vacation mode, that’s the most ideal plan. Obviously, there will be times when life is out of your control and you won’t be able to plan to put your shop in vacation mode (like sickness or an accident).

What are the details?

You might be thinking, “Well what about my listings in Vacation Mode?” can I get a little more detail about that?

So again, straight from Etsy-

  • You’ll be able to make edits to your current listings the same as you would when your shop is not on vacation.
  • You can list new items and save them as drafts. Now, when your shop is in vacation mode you won’t be charged a listing fee until that listing actually gets published- in other words, the listing won’t actually publish until your shop is out of vacation mode.

You and Marmalead

So how does this work for Marmalead? Well if a listing isn’t published, Etsy doesn’t see it, so Marmalead won’t see it either. That means you won’t be able to see listing grades while your shop is on vacation mode, because (like we talked about earlier) those listings are either not showing up in search or they’re not officially published yet. Do keep that in mind if you decide to put your shop on vacation mode but still choose to do a little SEO work with Marmalead.

A work around

If you’re looking to be able to work on your SEO without those listings being public, if you’re not in vacation mode, you can still have them in your shop in draft mode or deactivated. They will still show in Marmalead. There’s a little drop down that you can choose to change the listing status. This allows you to still work on SEO on listings that aren’t being shown on Etsy. But in vacation mode, this won’t work. 

Why is this?

Marmalead connects directly to Etsy to pull back lots of information. This information is not only about keywords but also about people’s listings. And it’s simply that when we request the listings from the shop, they don’t get returned to us when a shop is in vacation mode.

And one last thing

If you have auto-renew turned on for listings in your shop, these listings set to auto-renew will continue to be charged a renewal fee when they expire. Also, if you have an Etsy Plus subscription, vacation mode does not impact your Etsy Plus billing. Your subscription fees will continue.

You’ve got the details!

Okay, so now you know the ins and outs of vacation mode and what its impact will be on your listings, we can chat about some situations where you might want to consider some alternatives to vacation mode. 

For some shops, having their listings leave search is a big deal! If you’re one of those shops, you may want to consider some alternatives so that you’re not trying to regain the ground you’ve worked so hard for in Search. Remember, Etsy is a big machine and it will keep churning every moment that you’re away from it. There’s something to be said for keeping your name in the game even if you’re stepping back for a bit. 

This can also affect your SEO

While you won’t lose “your” place as far as the positive or negative sway you had before putting your shop on vacation mode. It’s mostly that all the other sellers whose shops aren’t on vacation mode are continuing to sell and accumulate points from Etsy one way or another. If you have a lead on people, you’re not taking a negative for going on vacation mode, but you’ve basically “gone to the bench” for a little while while everyone else is still in the game and playing. 

The other side

The other view you need to be sure you look at in all of this is, if you NEED a vacation, you should definitely take it! It’s true that people are torn on their advice about using vacation mode or not using it. But the bottom line is that it depends on you and it’s a personal decision. There is something to be said for being able to step away and not have to worry about orders pouring in while you’re away. And the last thing you want is to push yourself until your burn out because you didn’t feel you could take a vacation at all. 

A key to considering vacation mode

One of the major things you should consider with vacation mode is how concerned Etsy is with making sure that orders get out in a timely manner. Etsy wants their customers to have a really good experience. If shops are taking a long time to get orders out, that will negatively affect Etsy’s view of those shops.

If you’re in a position where you know you’re not going to be able to fulfill orders in a timely manner or you’re concerned you might not be able to, that’s definitely one of those times where vacation mode could be a good option for you. However, if you have inventory already lined up and you’ve got a way to get it out the door, then you might be ok to cost through without having to go into vacation mode. 

A few alternatives 

So what would a few alternatives to vacation mode that look like? Well, here are a few ideas:

1. You could look into changing processing times. 

If it generally takes you a day or two to turn around an order, you can extend that time in the listing so your customers know to expect a longer turn around. If you have a lot of listings….like too many to go through and individually update processing times, you’ll want to make sure you make announcements everywhere you can so no one misses the change. That will mean your shop announcements section, social media, your blog,  if you have an email list, sending it out to them for sure! Basically, all the places. 

Make sure to make the announcements at least a few days in advance so you don’t catch too many folks by surprise. Also, make sure the announcements are clear and right up front. This is not something you want to do for an extended amount of time, but a week is definitely doable with this work around. You want to keep this few and far between as well, do not make a habit of this work around. 

2. Hire someone

We do understand that not everyone has the luxury of doing this. However, if you can, hire someone to watch over your shop while you’re away. We know everyone doesn’t have the budget for this, but if you do or you can plan in advance and budget this in for the year, you can hire someone to keep things running while you take some much deserved time off. Yes, you might have to answer some questions and be reachable, but it might be worth it for you if you’re looking to avoid the complications of vacation mode.

3. A little here and there

If you don’t mind keeping up with things a bit while away on your vacation, you could choose to travel or be away during a quieter part of your year. Many folks have slow months and if you know when those months are, it might be a good idea to take advantage of these months and plan vacations during these times so you know the amount of work you’d need to do while on vacation would be minimal. This is all about timing, so if you pick a slow season for you, the impact will be so much less than if you try and go on vacation during a super busy season. 

Final thoughts

So now you know what vacation mode is. You know when it might be helpful and how sometimes it might not be. You also know a few alternatives if you’re looking to step away for a bit. As with a lot of the advice we give, the final piece of it is to make sure you carefully weigh each of your options and choose the one that will work best for you and your shop.

There really isn’t a one size fits all strategy so it’s best to take your personal situation into account and then choose the best option. But remember, at the end of the day, everyone needs a break from time to time. A healthy seller equals a healthy shop. Hopefully, you now have some information that will help you feel a little more confident about taking a break when you need to! 

Happy selling, everyone!

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8 replies on “Will Etsy’s Vacation Mode Break My Shop?”

When I put my shop on vacation mode it has far less impact than it used to. I’m not sure what the reason is, maybe after a shop reaches a certain amount of sales and activity it is easier to fall right back into line. I know when I first started out it would really hurt for the weeks following vacation mode.

I left my store on vacation mode for 5 days, 2 years ago, and vowed never to do it again. It took my store months to recoup and get customers to my shop again. Others I talked to said it was because Etsy puts your shop back to the start. But I think it was just a delay in customers being able to discover the shop. Since then, I find it beneficial when checking out for a week, to change my processing times, and post to all my social media and Etsy to let people know of the temporary delays.
Thank you Marmalead for posting this much required article.
Hope this helps!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Melissa! We’re so glad you did and appreciate having you as part of the Marmalead community🍊

I put my my shop on vacation mode ONCE about 5 years ago and i NEVER fully recovered from the loss of sales. I will NEVER do that again. Many sellers say there is no long term effect to sales but i sincerely know otherwise.

Thank you for sharing, David! It’s definitely important to seriously consider all the downsides before putting your shop on vacation mode! We hope you’ve found an alternative solution for your shop that still allows you to take vacations!🍊

I put both my shops on vacation last fall for 10 days and will NEVER do that again. It killed my visits & views and has still not recovered an entire year later. I only get less than half the views & visits.
Instead I adjust my processing times by editing my shipping profiles. And I can easily adjust them down over the course of my vacation. I also send a convo to anyone who purchases an item to let them know the date I will be shipping their item. No one has ever said that they wanted to cancel an order.

Thank you for sharing your experience, Jewel! We’re SO thrilled that you’ve found an alternative to vacation mode that works well for your shop🧡

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