Summer is fast approaching, which means vacation season is almost here! But, is the thought of leaving your online store unmanned ruining potential plans? Well, it shouldn’t! Read along to learn some easy ways to manage listings while still enjoying fun in the sun.
1. Take Advantage of Vacation Mode
Both eBay and Amazon make it easy for sellers to notify their customers about vacation dates.
On eBay, turn on Vacation Mode by navigating to the Change Settings section of the messages tab in My eBay. There, find Store Vacation Settings and select Turn On. You can also select Display a Return Date to let customers know when your store will be back up and running. When you’re ready to get back to business, select Change Vacation Settings, and select Turn Off. Note- you’ll still be charged normal fees (i.e- eBay Store subscription fee and listing-related fees) while in Vacation Mode.
Additionally, you can write a short holiday message to let customers know their orders may take longer than normal to ship. To do so, navigate to the Message to Display on Your Storefront section and create your desired custom message.
On Amazon, go to your Settings, click Account Info, and then Listing Status. Under Listing Status, click the link that says Going on Vacation and mark your store as Inactive. You won’t see any changes on your Manage Inventory page. However, you will see a Vacation/Listings Inactive message banner at the top of Seller Central. Follow the same process and hit Active to turn the mode off once you return.
2. Increase your Handling Time
Handling time is the number of business days between a seller receiving payment and shipping out an order. Handling time does NOT include the number of days the order will actually be in shipping transit. While it’s best practice to keep handling time within 3 days, you can consider increasing the timeframe while on vacation.
To increase your handling time on eBay, navigate to Active Listings and select the products you’d like to edit. Then, in Edit Handling Time, increase the timeframe to your desired number of days and hit Save.
On Amazon, hit Edit on the Manage Inventory page and update from there.
3. Temporarily De-List Your Inventory
While closing shop may seem extreme, turning off listings is the easiest way to prevent any fulfillment needs while you’re away. However, keep in mind this choice may lead to a loss in potential business and affect your sales history. Even loyal customers may turn elsewhere if they need an item right away.
Also remember that de-listing inventory means you’ll have to re-list all items upon your return. Although this isn’t that challenging for stores with just a few products, re-listing items for larger scale operations can require much more time.
If you decide to close your store, go to the Subscriptions section of your account. Find your Active Store Subscription on the My Subscriptions page and select Cancel Subscription. eBay saves your settings for 30 days after cancelling your subscription, so you can still reopen your store once you return.
4. Hide Fixed Price Listings on eBay
On eBay, hiding fixed price Buy-It-Now (BIN) listings removes the ability for customers to immediately purchase items while you’re away. In addition to not needing to de-list and re-list items, hiding these listing also won’t affect your sales history and search ranking, making it a great option.
To hide your fixed price listings, go to My eBay, Manage My Shop, Holiday Settings, and select Hide and Block Purchases from My Fixed Price Listings. When you’re ready to get back to business, simply click End Your Holiday and your listings will appear for sale within 36 hours.
5. Keep Your Listings As They Are
Although arguably the riskiest choice, keeping your listings as they are can work for short trips where you’re planning to periodically check in on business. That said, it’s important to keep customer service in mind and maintain timely communication and fulfillment. If a purchase is made, be sure to get in touch with the buyer to let him/her know their shipment may be delayed since you’re out of town.
At the end of the day, no one knows your business and customer’s needs better than you, so use these to determine the best vacation plan. Try testing a method while on a shorter trip, and modify until you find a good fit.
Sellers- what’s your business preparation plan before heading out on vacation? Let us know in the comments below!