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Tips for Preparing your Etsy Shop for Vacation

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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. 🙂

preparing your Etsy shop for vacation

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.

preparing your Etsy shop for vacation

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.

preparing your Etsy shop for vacation - write a new thank you note

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.

preparing your Etsy shop for vacation - let customers know

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?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Miranda May 9, 2018, 13:08

    Great tips! I didn’t think about the note to buyers suggestion, I just did that before even finishing the article 🙂

    Another tip (and maybe the sale feature wasn’t there at the time you wrote this) is to put up a sale, and to make the terms of your sale say something like “I will be out of town from x until x, please take off 15% on me for waiting a little longer for your items to ship!” and that message shows up at the top of every listing that is put on sale. I am leaving in a few days and setting things up now, hopefully I come home to a bunch of orders!

    • Natasha May 9, 2018, 14:53

      That sounds like a great way to use the new feature! You’re correct – I wrote this long before that became an option.

  • Lisa June 13, 2017, 21:31

    This was really interesting – I’d never given much thought to putting my shop on vacation mode but now you’ve given me lots of things to consider.

    • Natashalh June 14, 2017, 01:25

      Thank you and thanks for stopping by!

  • BeadedTail June 12, 2017, 06:35

    Great tips! I’ve been putting my shop on vacation more often in the past few years. It never failed that when I didn’t I’d get a sale while I was gone. It’s just less stressful and easier to put it on vacation a day or two early.

    • Natashalh June 12, 2017, 09:44

      I used to worry that putting my shop on vacation would somehow hurt things when I got back, but that’s never happened. Just yesterday I got a convo from someone wanting two of an item she found in my “sold” listings. It would have put me in a difficult place if she’d actually been able to order them yesterday since I’m headed to the airport in just a few hours!

  • Pamela Baker June 12, 2017, 01:35

    Thank you for some great suggestions and ideas for what to do with your Shop while on vacation. Every year, when I visit my cousin I bring some extra yarns and hooks to work on my most popular selling items; so I am a little ahead of the game!!! I am a very early riser and she is a late sleeper, so I would use that time to sit by the pool and work on a few Sweaters. Great idea to let your regular customer’s know that you will be away, although for me, early Summer is my very slow time, so that works out.
    Once again thanks as always for some very sensible ideas!

    • Natashalh June 12, 2017, 09:46

      I’m planning to do some kumi braiding tonight on my flight! It’s kind of time consuming, so I find planes are a great time to work on re-stocks for my braided cords. I’m glad I’m not the only one who works on items while on vacation! Crocheting by the pool sounds quite nice. =)

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