Should you put your Etsy shop on vacation mode 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?

Unless you won't be able to answer customer messages or you will be away for more than 3 months, putting your Etsy shop in vacation mode could mean you are losing out on sales. Instead, put up a late-ship sale can capture more sales and entice return customers if done correctly.

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? But first..

What does vacation mode look like?

When you put an Etsy shop in vacation mode, shoppers and customers will see this message when they visit your shop: "(your shop name) is taking a short break".

How to turn on/off vacation mode on Etsy?

Here are the 6 simple steps if you need to turn on/off vacation mode for your Etsy shop:

  1. Open shop manager
  2. Click settings
  3. Click options
  4. Vacation mode tab
  5. Turn it "on" or "off"
  6. Fill in a brief shop announcement and message auto-reply message and when you turn it off just empty those boxes.

What you put in the “Note from shop owner” field will replace your Shop Announcement. You can also write an auto-reply message here. This will automatically be sent to anyone who sends you an Etsy message while your shop is in Vacation Mode. You can update and re-save both of these as needed.

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!

Does vacation mode affects the traffic & sales after its turned off?

There has been a lot of controversy whether putting your shop in vacation mode would tank your Etsy's search rankings. Many Etsy sellers report horror stories. They say after putting on vacation mode, their Etsy shop views and sales are down to almost nothing, especially after a long vacation. And some even say the stats don’t recover after a year.

The graphic indicates what happened to the shop's traffic before, during and after the vacation mode


As you can see the recovery process of the traffic to the previous levels is very tough and challenging.

Etsy has said
that your listing quality score (one of the main ranking factors on Etsy search) won’t be affected after a holiday mode, although in our experience the recovery after vacation is very long and at some cases shop's never reached their previous success in both traffic and sales.

Why Etsy vacation mode can hurt your Etsy store performance

Because you are losing on sales simple as that? But there are more things to consider while your shop is on vacation mode.

  • Your shop will still appear if someone searches for your exact shop name, but will not appear as an auto-suggestion in Search or other shopping tools.
  • Your listings won’t be visible to people who view your shop.
  • Your items won’t appear in Search.

What happens to the Etsy shop's status?

1) Etsy ad campaign?

If you use Etsy Ads, your ad campaign will automatically pause until you reopen.

2) 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.

3) 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.

3) Listings?

  • You can make edits to current listings the same as you would when your shop is not on vacation.
  • You can list new items and save them as drafts. You won’t be charged a listing fee until the listing is actually published once you return from vacation.
  • 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.

4) Etsy Plus subscription?

If you have an Etsy Plus subscription, Vacation Mode does not impact your Etsy Plus billing. Your subscription fees will continue.

What to do instead of turning on the vacation mode?

1) 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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 your Etsy shop

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.

Remember to re-activate the Etsy Ads. This is one of the most direct and quickest ways to bring shoppers to your shop. Promote your previous bestsellers first for the best chance of success. If Etsy ads have worked for you before, then it should work for you now given that your niche has not changed drastically in a few months.

You can introduce new items which increases the 'freshness' of your shop, which helps improve your ranking in Etsy search algorithm.

Conclusion

If your break is over a long period of time (6+ months), or when you have a big influx of orders that you need to catch up to, then vacation mode may be needed if you can’t find external help otherwise its better to keep your store active and just follow our recommendations how to keep the shop going while away.

Georgi Bosilkov
Etsy SEO Team Lead

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