How To Put Your Etsy Shop On Vacation Mode & Is It Necessary

As an Etsy shop owner, I’ve had my fair share of moments when I needed to step away, be it for some well-deserved vacation, a personal matter, or to catch up on inventory management. Now, I know what you’re thinking – how do you ensure your shop stays afloat while you enjoy that much-needed break? 

There are a few options – and one of them is to put your Etsy shop on vacation mode. 

In this article, we’re going to explore exactly how to put your Etsy shop on vacation mode, keeping your customers informed throughout the process and ensuring a smooth transition upon your return.

Is it always the best option? We’ll delve a little deeper into that further down in this article.

Disclaimer: to find out all the details about putting your Etsy store on vacation, be sure to read the Etsy Sellers Handbook

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What is Etsy Shop Vacation Mode?

Etsy’s vacation mode is a feature that allows Etsy store owners like you and me to set their shop in an inactive state and turn off orders temporarily. This way, customers are aware that the store is closed and can check back once it re-opens.

When using vacation mode, your title, banner, shop announcement and items will remain visible on Etsy but you won’t be able to accept new orders. You’ll also be able to customise your shop banner and vacation announcement to let customers know the exact date of when you will be back.

How Long Can You Use It?

One of the good things about Etsy vacation mode is its flexibility. It’s completely up to you to decide how long you need to step away from your shop – be it a few days or several weeks. 

Preparing Your Etsy Shop for Vacation Mode

Managing an Etsy shop can be a lot of fun, but sometimes we just need to take a break. Don’t worry – putting your Etsy shop on vacation mode is easy. Here are some useful tips on preparing your shop to go on vacation mode.

Managing Open Orders

Before you switch on vacation mode, make sure to take care of any current orders. I like to check my “Orders” tab in the Etsy shop dashboard to see if I have any incoming orders that need attention. Make an extra effort to complete these orders as quickly as possible.

Trust me, the last thing you want is customers complaining about late shipments while you’re sipping on a cocktail by the beach.

Handling Shipping

Speaking of shipments, let’s talk about handling shipping while you’re away. If you have some outstanding shipments lined up before you leave, you might want to consider setting a longer processing time. You can do this by going to your “Shop Settings” and adjusting the “Shipping” options.

Providing a clear and accurate shipping time ensures that your customers know when to expect their orders, and it helps you relax without having to worry about any surprises while you’re on vacation.

Setting up Auto-Reply

I recommend setting up an auto-reply message for incoming messages. You never know when a potential customer might have a question about a product, and a friendly auto-reply can keep them engaged and informed. You can set up an auto-reply by going to the “Conversations” tab in your Etsy dashboard.

To create an auto-reply message, simply click on the “Settings” icon in the top right corner of the “Messages” tab, and then click on “Auto-Reply.”

Craft a message that lets customers know you’re away and when you’ll be returning to answer their questions. Don’t forget to add some personality to your message.

How To Activate Vacation Mode

The moment you activate vacation mode on your Etsy shop, your shop quickly turns from publicly visible to Ross and Rachel style “on a break.”

Your items and listings will no longer show up in search results or be available for purchase by Etsy shoppers. During this time, you can still answer any lingering messages and resolving open orders. And you can add an auto-reply to respond to messages received while you’re away, keeping your customers informed and aware of your absence.

  • Pros: Allows you to take a break without closing your account permanently; customisable announcement and auto-reply message.
  • Cons: Your listings won’t appear in search results, which may affect your shop’s visibility when you return (more on that later).

Here’s a step-by-step guide to putting your Etsy shop on vacation mode on both  desktop and mobile:

How to turn on Etsy Vacation Mode on Browser

Etsy shop manager and settings

If you’re using your browser and not the Etsy app, navigate to your Shop Manager and scroll down to click Settings

Under settings, you’ll find the Options button. 

Vacation mode

Once there, select the Vacation Mode tab.  

From here, you can choose to turn vacation mode on or off and customise your announcement and auto-reply message.

Finally, don’t forget to click Save to confirm the changes. 

How to turn on Etsy Vacation Mode from the Etsy Seller App

Etsy sellers app instructions for vacation mode

If you’re using the Etsy app, log into your account and click on the more option on the bottom right.

Under shop settings, click on holiday mode / vacation mode​. 

Etsy vacation mode

Toggle the holiday mode and fill out your shop announcement and auto-reply.

Again, don’t forget to tab save​!

That’s all there is to it! Your store will now be in vacation mode until you come back and turn it off again or disable it by going through the same steps above.

Setting Up Temporary Shop Announcement

A temporary shop announcement lets any visitors know about your vacation, and setting it up is a breeze! 

Here’s an example of what you can write in your announcement:

“Hello! I am taking a well-deserved break from Oct 28th till Nov 5th. Any open orders will be fulfilled as usual, but no new orders can be placed during this time (although feel free to browse for now). I also won’t be able to reply to any messages during this time, but as soon as I’m back I’ll be holding an epic sale to thank you for your patience! Thank you for your understanding, and see you soon!”

Enabling Auto-Renew

If you have your listings set to auto-renew, these will still renew, even if your shop is on vacation mode. If you don’t want this to happen – perhaps you’re unsure when you’ll be back and you don’t want any charges to incur – be sure to go to your listings and change their settings so they don’t auto renew. 

Deactivating Vacation Mode

I know how exciting it is to come back from a vacation and get back to business. So, to make sure I don’t miss out on any post-vacation orders, I deactivate vacation mode pretty quickly on my return.

Let me share with you how to switch it off and manage your orders upon returning.

Switching off Vacation Mode

Turning off vacation mode on Etsy is just as easy to set it up in the first place. Just follow these quick steps:

  1. Log in to your Etsy account.
  2. Head over to the Shop Manager and click on Settings.
  3. Select Vacation Mode from the list of options.
  4. You’ll see a toggle switch at the top of the page, just slide it to the left to turn off vacation mode.

Voilà! Your store is now back in business, and you’re ready to start hearing that “cha-ching” sound again!

Managing Post-Vacation Orders

Now that your store is up and running again, you may be wondering how to handle new orders, right? Here’s what I usually do to stay organized:

  • Set a clear processing and shipping time for your products: Make sure to give yourself some buffer time to catch up with the orders that were waiting to be placed while you were on vacation. Adjust the processing and shipping time accordingly in your shop settings.
  • Create a to-do list: List down orders in the sequence they were received. This helps in prioritizing and fulfilling them as quickly as possible.
  • Communicate with your customers: If you anticipate any delays in processing the orders, it’s always a good idea to let your customers know. They’ll appreciate your transparent and proactive approach.

Overcoming Vacation Mode Challenges

Etsy shop owners may face a few challenges when putting their shop on vacation mode. But fear not! I’ve got some tips and tricks to help you navigate these challenges successfully. 

Star Seller Program

When I first put my shop on vacation, I worried about how it might affect my Star Seller status. Here’s what you need to know: while your shop is on vacation, your Star Seller eligibility won’t be affected. You’ll still be evaluated on the last 3 months of your shop’s performance once you reopen your shop. 

Managing Etsy Ads

Taking a break doesn’t mean you have to lose all your momentum with Etsy Ads. Here’s what I did to manage my ads during vacation mode:

  • Pause your ad campaigns: Before setting your shop to vacation mode, pause your ads to avoid wasting money on visitors who won’t be able to make purchases.
  • Plan ad budget: Allocate a budget for when you return so you can immediately resume your advertising efforts and gain some of the lost ground.
  • Analyse ad performance: Review your ad performance and make any necessary adjustments to improve efficiency upon your return.

Best Practices for Vacation Mode

Creating New Listings

When I put my Etsy shop on vacation, I like to prepare in advance by creating new listings that will be ready to launch when I return. This helps me keep the momentum of my shop going and ensures my customers have something fresh and exciting to look forward to. 

To do this, I draft new listings with all the titles, descriptions, and photos, and then save them as drafts. Once the vacation mode is over, all I have to do is hit ‘publish’, and voila – new products are live!

Maintaining Transparency

One thing I’ve learned from my experience with Etsy is that transparency is key in building trust with my customers. And because of that, I have many return buyers to my stores.

So, when I enable vacation mode, I make sure to update my shop announcement and auto-reply message to clearly inform customers about the temporary closure. Customer satisfaction is key to any successful business, and this simple step goes a long way. 

In my announcement, I like to mention the reason for my absence (a personal touch goes a long way!), the duration of the vacation, and any alternative contact methods for urgent queries. This lets my customers know that I genuinely care about their needs and I’m taking this time off for a good reason.

Mobile Alerts and Notifications

Even when my shop is on vacation, I still want to stay connected to my Etsy community and be aware of any important notifications. To do this, I rely on the Etsy Sellers App to send me alerts and notifications.

By turning on notifications for various events like new conversations or order updates, I’m able to monitor the situation in real time and make sure I don’t miss anything crucial. This helps me maintain my shop’s reputation as a responsive and attentive seller, even when I’m on a break.

Alternatives to Vacation Mode

Do you always need to put your store on vacation mode if you’re taking a break? 

No! 

In fact, I’ve only used vacation mode once, and that’s because I was travelling somewhere where I would have zero internet. I’m glad I did this, as the trip unexpectedly ended up being longer than planned (picture stranded on an island without a way home…).

Sometimes, putting our entire Etsy shop on hold just isn’t the best option. What else can we do then? 

One of my Etsy shops is a POD shop. The great thing about POD is that I don’t have much to do once the order goes through. So I don’t need to put my store on vacation mode – the orders come through and are sent to customers automatically! 

I also have a digital products shop, so I don’t need to physically put together orders – it’s all automated! 

For these stores, instead of putting them on vacation mode when I go away, I just set up an automated reply to customer messages to let people know I’m away, but that their orders are still being fulfilled. I let them know that if they have any issues or questions, I’ll be able to respond by a certain date. 

Another alternative is to add extended processing times to your product listings. This way, you can manage customers’ expectations and still keep your store active. 

I tend to do this if I’m just taking a short break, and not going to be completely without internet for a long period of time.

Horror Stories and Solutions

Late-Ship Sales

Things happen and  sometimes a package just doesn’t arrive on time. This happens more often than we’d like, and it can be extra stressful when you’re on vacation. The best way to take care of late-ship sales is to have a plan before they even happen. So, to avoid such horror stories:

  • Monitor your shop closely, even on vacation.
  • Communicate with your customers and update them about shipping times.
  • Adjust processing times for each listing if necessary.

Paying Fees and Subscriptions

I’ve also made the mistake of putting my shop on vacation without pausing my Etsy Plus subscription. A week later, I realised I’d been paying for features I wasn’t even using, which is a little frustrating! This taught me the importance of staying on top of subscriptions and fees. To save yourself from a similar fate, make sure to:

  • Before vacation, calculate the cost of subscriptions and Etsy fees.
  • Pause or cancel subscriptions/services not in use.
  • Analyse which features you’ll need and plan accordingly.

Dealing with Refunds and Cases

Then there’s the customer who opens a case against your shop while you’re away. To avoid this from happening to you, follow these steps:

  • Address any existing issues before putting your shop on vacation.
  • Have clear return and refund policies in place.
  • Keep open communication with your customers to prevent disputes.

Dealing with a loss after re-activating vacation mode

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of vacation mode is that it might take some time for your listings to show up in Etsy search results once you’ve re-activated it. To try to mitigate this, make sure that you:

  • Optimise your listings for keywords before going on vacation.
  • Make sure your listing images are high quality and attractive.
  • Update the descriptions of your listings regularly.

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How to put your Etsy shop on vacation mode PIN

Recap

So, now you know how to put your Etsy shop on vacation mode. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it? You also know that it’s not always the best idea, and that there are alternative ways to manage your shop while you’re away. 

No matter, which option you choose, make sure to leave behind clear communication with customers and contact details for any urgent matters while you’re away. This will help keep your shop safe and ensure that customers have a great experience even when you’re not available. 

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