Summer is fast approaching and that means vacation season is on its way. If the thought of leaving your online store unmanned for a few weeks terrifies you, rest assured that there are a few easy ways to prepare for your vacation without sacrificing top-notch customer service. Read along to learn what your options are for managing your eBay listings while on vacation this summer.
1. Take Advantage of Vacation Mode
eBay makes it easy for sellers to notify their customers about vacation dates. To take a break from your store, you can turn on vacation mode and also leave a note to notify customers when you’ll be out. If you navigate to the Change Settings section of the messages tab in My eBay, you will find Store Vacation Settings and can select Turn on. To let customers know when your store will be back up and running, you can select Display a Return Date and enter the date you’ll reopen your store. And when you’re ready to get back to business, select Change Vacation Settings, and choose Turn Off. Please note that you will still be charged normal fees (i.e eBay Store subscription fee and listing-related fees) while in vacation mode.
Additionally, in the Message to Display on Your Storefront section you can write a short holiday message that is more personal and customized than the vacation mode setting. This way, you can notify customers interested in purchasing from your store that it may take a few days to ship out.
2. Increase your Handling Time
According to eBay, the handling time is the number of business days you (as a seller) will take to ship the item after receiving your cleared payment. The handling time does not include the number of days it will take to ship to your buyer. While it’s best practice to keep your handling time within 3 days, you do have the option to increase the number of days for each listing while you are out.
To increase your handling time, you navigate to your Active Listings, select the products that you would like to edit (if you’re going out of town, this may be all of your active listings), Edit Handling Time, change the handling time to the number of days that you will be out (or more, depending on when you plan on getting back to your eBay store), and Save.
3. Turn Off Your Listing All-Together
While closing shop may seem a bit drastic, there’s no risk of being unable to fulfil orders or upsetting customers while out. The main disadvantages here are that you may lose out on business and your sales history will be affected. If you have loyal customers searching for items in your store, they may turn elsewhere for their buying needs. One potential solution for this issue could be leaving a message on your eBay store clearly communicating that you will be re-stocking your inventory on a specific date.
It is important to remember that de-listing your inventory will mean that you will eventually have to re-list it all upon your arrival. If you only have a few items currently listed, this likely won’t be a challenge; however, for larger scale operations, re-listing hundreds of products can potentially be a huge time commitment.
If you decide to close your store, you will need to go to the Subscriptions section of your account, find your Active Store Subscription on the My Subscriptions page and select Cancel Subscription. eBay will save your settings for 30 days after cancelling your subscription so that you can reopen it when you get back.
4. Hide Fixed Price Listings
By hiding fixed price Buy-It-Now (BIN) listings in your eBay shop, you can be sure that customers won’t be waiting for products to ship while you’re on vacation. The advantages to just hiding your fixed price eBay listings instead of closing down your shop completely are that you won’t have to re-list everything when you’re back in town and your sales history and search ranking won’t be affected.
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, you simply click End Your Holiday and your eBay listings will appear for sale within the next 36 hours.
5. Keep Your eBay Listings As They Are
This choice is certainly the riskiest of all the aforementioned options but it might make sense if you are only planning on being away for a short period of time and/or are able to periodically check your online store while out. With that said, it is always important to remember that great customer service is built on timely communication and fulfillment. If you are away and a customer makes a purchase, be sure to get in touch with the buyer and let him or her know that their shipment will go out as soon as you are back in town.
You know your business and customer needs better than anyone else and the best way to determine how to manage your eBay listings while on vacation is by trying the different options out. If one method doesn’t work well the first time around, you can always try another during your next vacation.