I’ve taken at least two weeks of time away from home every year since starting my Etsy shop. I handle each trip a little bit differently – sometimes I leave my shop open, but others I close up shop days ahead of time. Today’s tips for preparing your Etsy shop for vacation are based on various things I’ve tried over the past five years. As we prepare for our summer trip, I’m in the middle of following my own advice right now! I hope you enjoy these tips for preparing your Etsy shop for vacation and find them useful. 🙂
As I wrote several years ago in my post about how to get more positive Etsy seller reviews, I believe people frequently purchase handmade online for the same reasons they choose to shop at local boutiques. They don’t just want the unique, handmade item – they also want to feel like they’re part of something. People who like to shop handmade and/or local frequently see this as part of their identity. They’re people who want to support independent retailers and artisans, and they enjoy the personalized service. For me, preparing my Etsy shop for vacation is part of providing service to my customers. I could just set my shipping time to 6 weeks and hope for the best, but that’s not who I am and I don’t think that’s what my customers want! By prepping your shop ahead of time, you can keep your customers happy and your vacation more relaxing.
Alright, without further ado, my tips for preparing your Etsy shop for vacation!
Gradually ramp down your store. Whether or not you’re putting your store on “vacation” mode, you may want to gradually de-list items as you get closer to your departure date. I’ll keep ready to ship items available up as long as my store is open, but I begin removing custom and made to order items ahead of time based on how difficult/time consuming they are to make. Yoga mat straps are my easiest and quickest made to order item, so they get to stay available longer than signs (which take an absolute minimum of 2 days) and unity sand ceremony jar sets (which take even longer). I learned this lesson the “hands-on” way. When my store was young and I didn’t expect many orders, I planned to leave it open until the morning of my departure. Against expectations, I received an order overnight! Four am found me digging through my stock to find and pack the sold item so I could drop it in a mailbox on the way to the airport. No one needs added stress when trying to make a flight or stick to a schedule! Do yourself a favor and close up at least a day early.
If you’re leaving your shop open, add the fact you’re away to your shop description and/or announcement. Because people will, realistically, probably not see this information, you may also want to add a quick blurb at the top of every listing. This may feel excessive, but it’s a strategy I’ve used several times. “I’m away from X date to X date to spend time with my husband after deployment! All orders placed during this time will be shipped (or started) beginning Y day.” It can be annoying to copy and paste this into every listing, and then delete it after, but I feel like it’s a necessary precaution for me if I’m leaving my store open. Even when I set a lengthy shipping time, people frequently convo me after placing an order to ask for an item to be shipped more quickly or express dismay over the projected timeline. I believe many people either don’t notice the shipping information tab or don’t think to check it before placing an order, so simply changing the shipping timeline isn’t enough to keep potential customers informed.
Change your thank you note or set up a convo auto-reply. If you’re keeping your shop open, consider altering the message that sends with the purchase confirmation so it also contains your vacation information. Remind customers that items will not ship right away and invite them to convo you with any concerns. If you’re setting your shop on “vacation,” consider an auto-reply letting people know you’re on vacation but will return their convo in a few days.
Notify customers ahead of time. If you have a store newsletter or a following of customers and potential customers on your blog or other social media outlet, let folks know you’ll be away. People like to window shop and plan before making purchases! I’ve received more than one convo along the lines of “Oh nooooo! I was going to buy this item but now it says you’re shop is closed??? When are you coming back??” while away. Although you can’t reach everybody, you can at least try to let people know that you’re planning a trip, so please place orders now (or hold them for later). If I receive custom request convos shortly before I plan to put my store on “vacation” mode, I’ll usually let folks know that I’m not trying to be pushy or rush their decision, but I will be leaving in X days so if they’re not ready to place their order by a certain date, I won’t be able to help until I return.
Don’t feel like you have to jump back in 100% right away. It’s totally okay to leave your store closed for a couple of extra days after your trip, or to only reactivate ready to ship and easy to make items. Returning from vacation can be difficult and you can’t fill up someone else’s glass if your own well is dry. Give yourself time to get over your jet lag and unpack if you need to. Also, be careful about re-opening your shop too soon! I once turned vacation mode off right before heading home, only to face travel delays and, as luck would have it, an order with an item requiring a lot of time while I was still in Florida! Luckily the customer was understanding, but it’s far less stressful to just avoid this type of situation by waiting until you’re safely at home before reopening your shop.
Every shop and every circumstance is a bit different, but I really hope my experience and advice helps you out! Are there any other steps you take while preparing your Etsy shop for vacation? Any additional advice you have to share?