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How to Use Etsy Vacation Mode

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For many sellers, they hear “Etsy Vacation Mode” and they instantly say they will never use it since it could ruin their sales. But for many shop owners, that is all they really have heard about it and don’t fully understand how to use it. 

We want to cover everything that you need to know about Etsy vacation mode, and if it could potentially impact your shop. So here’s what you need to know!

What is Etsy Vacation Mode?

What exactly is Etsy vacation mode and what is the point of using it? Simply put, it is a way to be able to take a break from your shop, or even to pause new orders so that you can catch up with current orders. It really gives you a chance to take a step back for whatever reason you need. 

This option helps you temporarily close your shop without having to change any other settings, such as your processing time for listings. To let customers know about this, there will be an announcement displayed on your shop page letting buyers know that you are taking a short break. It will also display any other information that you want the customers to know on that banner. 

It basically pauses all of your buyer activity, but doesn’t pause activity for the seller. This means that you still have to handle any outstanding orders and anything else that needs to be finished up with your current customers.

This mode exists to help catch up with current orders or just take a break and prevent any additional orders from being placed. But, you still have the ability to work behind-the-scenes if needed.

How to Turn on Etsy Vacation Mode

If you decide it’s time to turn on Etsy vacation mode and take a break, these are the steps straight from Etsy on how to do so. 

  • Sign in to Etsy.com.
  • Click Shop Manager.
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Options.
  • Click the Vacation Mode tab.
  • Change the setting to On.
  • Fill in a temporary shop announcement and Message auto-reply.
  • Click Save.

How to Turn Off Etsy Vacation Mode

Once you are ready to be done using this mode, here are the steps to turn it off. 

  • Sign in to Etsy.com.
  • Click Shop Manager.
  • Click Settings.
  • Choose Options.
  • Click Vacation Mode.
  • Change the option to Off.
  • Click Save.

When Should I Use Etsy Vacation Mode?

When is a good time to take advantage of Etsy vacation mode, and when can you maybe choose a different option? These are just a couple of the reasons why you may want to use Etsy vacation mode. 

  • An emergency happens
  • You’re traveling for a long period of time
  • You give birth and need a maternity leave
  • You are sick and can’t fulfill orders physically
  • You have a large number of current orders and need to catch up
  • You are unable to run your shop for any reason

The reasons can go on and on. You may need a mental health break, or maybe you just aren’t currently enjoying what you’re doing and want to make a change. Whatever it may be, sometimes you just need to step back and pause your shop, and vacation mode helps you do that! 

I think many people don’t realize that this mode can be used for more than just an actual vacation and being away from your shop. It’s a great way to catch up on orders and pause current orders so you don’t fall behind. 

You don’t want to risk impacting your customers and receiving negative feedback by not fulfilling orders on time, so using this vacation mode is a great way to keep on track.

What Happens When You Put Your Etsy Shop on Vacation Mode?

The details of what actually happens when you are on vacation can be a bit confusing. So there are three things that happen when you turn on vacation mode: 

  • Your listings won’t appear in search results
  • None of your listings can be purchased
  • When someone comes to your Etsy shop they’ll see a banner that says “this shop is taking a short break”.

But, as the shop owner, you are still able to fully access your shop from your Shop Manager to edit listings, add new listings, respond to messages, etc. So although it appears your shop is closed to buyers, it will all look the same on the backend. 

Now, there are a lot of questions that come along with Etsy vacation mode and how it works. So we want to answer these for you! 

Can you use it with open orders?

What if you have open orders in your shop? Are you still able to turn on Etsy vacation mode? The answer is yes! You can turn on this mode both when you have zero orders, or when you have a bunch. But does this mean you can just turn it on and forget about your current orders? No, definitely not. 

You are still responsible for fulfilling these orders and providing anything your current customers may need. If you aren’t able to fulfill these though, like in the case of an emergency, you can either message the sellers to see if they are okay with a delay in the order, or cancel and refund it fully.

Can you answer messages?

There are some customers that may still need to get ahold of you while your shop is in vacation mode, and yes you can answer messages! You have full access to your messages while in vacation mode so you can continue to communicate back and forth with customers. 

If you have an auto-reply set up, it will send that message automatically if they send you a message, but you are also able to still add more to the conversation. Don’t have an auto-response message setup? Be sure to do so! You can find this in the vacation modes settings, and you can let customers know when you’ll be back and that you may not respond to questions immediately. 

Having an auto-response set up will also help if you are aiming to keep a Star Seller status, because this would count towards a message sent within 24 hours. It’s just important to have a system set up, as you will most likely still have customers reaching out. 

A big question sellers tend to have about Etsy vacation mode is if their shop will still be found in search. Will buyers still be able to find their listings? Yes, shops are still visible when they’re on vacation mode, and their shop page will still be accessible with a banner about taking a short break. 

But, listings will not show up in the shop. They can still be found through other sources like reviews and sold items though. Customers can also choose to receive an email when the shop reopens using a link on the shop page.

Listings from your shop will NOT show up in Etsy search results though. Which makes sense, because a customer may not want to be shown an item that they can’t actually purchase. But your listings can still be found through favorites, reviews, etc. They just won’t appear in search. 

Can you still receive reviews? 

When you are in vacation mode, you are still able to receive reviews from your customers. You are still able to have cases opened up against you as well, so that is something to keep in mind and a reason why you may want to periodically check on your shop if possible.

Can people favorite your items?

Customers are still able to favorite items while you’re on vacation mode, which is great if they happen upon your listings through a review or elsewhere. This is a great opportunity for buyers to save your listing and potentially purchase it once you are back. 

Will ads get turned off?

Etsy ads should be paused automatically once your shop is put in vacation mode. But, just in case you may want to check in your marketing tab on your dashboard to make sure. Or you could always just manually turn them off before turning on vacation mode. 

You don’t want to be getting charged for ads when buyers can’t purchase your listings, so it’s worth it for you to double check!

Can you edit your shop?

As we have already mentioned, you have full access to all of the backend to yoru shop. You can add listings, edit current listings, renew them, and make any other necessary changes. Nothing changes on the backend for you, it really only changes for your buyers. 

Something to keep in mind though is that the renewal period for listings is not paused, so they will continue to renew automatically if you have that set up. You will still be charged for your listings as normal as well. 

Instead, if you want to add new listings you can always save them as drafts and then activate them once you are back from vacation mode. That way you aren’t wasting any money on that listing when it can’t be purchased anyways. 

How Does Etsy Vacation Mode Affect Your Shop?

Here’s the big question: how does vacation mode affect my shop? Every seller wants to know this, and is often hesitant to choose vacation mode because of the potential effects. So what can actually happen when you put your shop on vacation mode? 

Does vacation mode affect sales?

Possibly sales can be affected after coming back from vacation mode as your shop just went an extended amount of time without any activity. This is part of how Etsy prioritizes listings in its search results. It wants to see that recent activity, and so without that activity, your listing may not be prioritized by Etsy. 

So it may take time to refresh this and if you start bringing back activity to your listings then your sales could go back to normal quicker. But if your listing is struggling to bring in activity, it may take quite a bit longer to gain that attention to your listings. 

It can also depend on how long your shop was on vacation mode. If you put it on vacation mode just for a day or two to catch up on current orders, then you may not see much of an effect on your shop. But, if you are gone on vacation for two weeks and have vacation mode turned on, then it is likely you will see a much larger effect. 

When this is the case, it will be hard to get Etsy to place your listings in search results, so more will have to be done on your end to bring in the activity to your listing. Once you do some of the work, you’ll start seeing sales return to normal.

If you are struggling to maintain your shop and choose to not do vacation mode, that can also have a negative effect on your Etsy shop search placement.

We have already somewhat addressed this, but your placement in search definitely changes when you go on vacation mode. But, there are different things that you can do to drive that activity to your shop and bring your results back up in search. 

You can do things like running a sale, bringing in traffic from social media pages, or running Etsy ads, and we will cover more ideas of what can help bring more activity to your shop. But, finding ways to increase activity for your listings is the best way to improve your placement in search much quicker. 

And again, it also depends on how long you were on vacation mode. If it was very short then you most likely won’t see any difference in your placement on search. But if it was an extended period of time, your placement may be much more affected and it could take more time to fix this.

Is it bad to use Etsy vacation mode?

So, is it not a good idea to use Etsy vacation mode? It’s hard to say, as sometimes it may be necessary. Yes, it stops activity in your shop and can slow down the sales after you’re back, but usually, it’s temporary and can be fixed. Sometimes it is just needed to be able to slow down sales or take a break from your shop. 

There are many people that debate between using vacation mode or just extending processing times, and which is actually better? It really all depends on your shop and also the type of customer. This is because most customers purchase items expecting them quickly, so you would potentially end up having to cancel and refund once they realize it will take a long time. 

You may also have to make changes if you have it noted anywhere that you have quick shipping, as you don’t want to mislead them. But, if you find ways to let them know before purchasing that the items will take longer to ship, then lengthening your processing times could work for you. 

If you care about maintaining Star Seller status then vacation mode might be a good way to make sure you are not losing points on responsiveness.

How to Effectively Use Etsy Vacation Mode

If you are going to use Etsy vacation mode, there are some ways you can ensure that it is successful and that you bounce back. The first is to make sure you have a shop announcement that lets buyers know how long you will be gone (if you know this) and when they can expect to be able to purchase from you again. 

You can encourage them to sign up to receive an email about when you’re back, that way if they showed interest in you and your products, they can still potentially end up purchasing from you. But having clear dates set out for them is a good way to keep your buyers in the know. 

You should also have an auto-reply message set up for any buyers that have questions about your products, or maybe a former customer with a question about their order. You want them to know that you aren’t ignoring them and will get back to them as soon as possible. 

Here are some things to think about with your message to buyers.

Message to buyer example

Your message to buyers is an important way to keep everyone updated on what is happening with your shop. Here are a few things that you can include in your message: 

  • The reason why you are in vacation mode (emergency, a trip, catching up on current orders, etc.)
  • Give dates when you started on vacation mode and when you plan to return
  • No promises of when you plan to ship out new orders or anything like that, you don’t know what may come up
  • If you are planning to respond to messages, or if they will not hear from you until you return

Here are a few examples of messages you could send to your buyers: 

Hi, thanks so much for stopping by my Etsy shop! I’m currently taking a short break so that I can catch up on current orders and make the best products for my customers. I am not currently taking any new orders, but I am free to answer any questions you may have and will get back to you as soon as possible! 

I plan to open my shop back up by the last week of March & will be taking new orders again!

Thank you!

(your name)

Another message example:

Hi, thanks for visiting (name of your shop)! I’m currently not taking new orders, as I am out of the country from June 1 until June 13. I will be opening my shop back up June 14 to take orders again, and if you don’t want to forget, be sure to sign up to be notified when I return! Until then, feel free to send me a message and I will aim to respond within 24-48 hours. 

Thanks so much & you’ll hear from me shortly!

(your name)

Obviously, change these to how they would make sense for your business and to fit your style of speaking. But, just being very straightforward and not including too many details is exactly what you need!

What Should I Do When I’m Done Using Etsy Vacation Mode?

Okay so you came back from vacation mode, instead of waiting for the sales to come back in, what can you do in the meantime? 

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Add some new listings! Etsy will like to see your shop returning to normal and adding new listings is a great way to do that. 
  • Renew listings. Give some of your current listings some activity by renewing them and potentially bring them in front of more eyes.
  • Refresh your shop! This can be adding a new profile image for yourself, adding a new shop banner, etc. 
  • Promote your shop on social media and let customers know you are back!
  • Raise your prices? Some buyers do this when they see sales slow down, but this may not be the best option for you. 
  • Run a sale. Sales can typically bring in more sales, and it can be short to just bring back activity to your listings and then you can turn the sale off again. 

Make changes after using Etsy vacation mode

Just putting in some work rather than waiting for activity to return will ensure that things go back to normal much quicker. Especially if you have loyal returning customers, you should see orders returning even sooner.

Something you could do is if you know in advance when you plan to be on vacation mode, you can announce this to your current customers whether through social media or a shop update and then they are aware of when they can purchase from you again. You could even mention that you will be running a sale, if that is a route you are wanting to go. 

The important thing is just to remember that you can’t return from vacation mode to expect everything to return to normal right away and just wait for that to happen. But put in some work and that will make a big difference!

How to Improve Your Etsy Shop SEO After Vacation Mode

SEO is such a big part of running an Etsy shop, but many sellers don’t really know much about them. Learning about SEO and how it affects your shop is very important, and especially after coming back from vacation mode to bring in traffic. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use all of your tags! Fill these with quality keyword phrases that buyers would actually use to search for your items. This may take some research!
  • Have quality photos. They need to be high resolution, free from clutter, and have some white space to draw the eye to them. 
  • Use your titles properly. This means you use words that are searchable, not just fun names for your listings. You want it to be very simple and straightforward and use keyword phrases that your buyers would use to look for your products 
  • Work on your branding. This doesn’t really tie into your SEO but it is important to keep your brand consistent across your listings and on your shop page.

Do extra keyword research and find out exactly what customers are searching for to find products like yours. You can use tools like Marmalead or eRank as a way to help you narrow down those phrases and see where you need to make improvements!

What to Do if Vacation Mode Negatively Impacted Your Shop

So what happens if you return from vacation mode and a few weeks go by and you still haven’t seen your shop go back to normal? There are a few different things you can try and see if it helps you bring customers back to your shop.

Use social media

If you use social media, this is the best place to start! Make sure your buyers know that you are back and ready to ship out orders again. You should especially announce if you are having a sale. If you don’t have social media, that’s okay. You can start pages if it’s something that interests you, otherwise, you can try something else!

Appeal to return customers

If you have an email list with previous customers, this is a great way to let them know you are back as well. If you don’t have an email list, then this may not be an option and the way to reach out to previous buyers may only be on social media. 

Add new listings

We’ve already mentioned that adding new listings can help with bringing attention to your shop and it shows Etsy that you are back and wanting to make sales. This improves your ranking in the search algorithm, so adding new items is a great way to signal to Etsy that you are up and running again.

Use Etsy ads

Obviously, this isn’t the most ideal option since you have to pay for ads to run. But, if you’re feeling desperate and want to start driving some sales to your shop, you can always promote some of your best sellers with ads. If you’ve done them previously, then they should work out for your shop again. But if you’ve never used them before, you may want to try something else first.

Alternatives to Etsy Vacation Mode

If using Etsy vacation mode still scares you off and you want to try something else, you do have that option! Even though your shop can come back after being on vacation mode, it may feel a bit nerve-wracking to risk slowing down your sales. 

So here are a few other alternatives that you can potentially use:

  • Extend your processing times. This means that customers can still purchase your items, but it will take them longer to receive them. You need to make this really clear to your customers and you can do this on the listing or send a message after they purchase to make sure they are okay with this. 
  • Deactivate listings to sell only things that are done and ready to ship. And you can easily reactivate your other listings once you have the time to catch up. 
  • Raise your prices. Many sellers will start doing this around the holidays to slow down their sales, and it does work. But it can potentially leave buyers very confused and not wanting to come back to your shop.
  • Set an auto-reply. Etsy allows you to set an auto-reply for up to 5 days and that could help set customer expectations on response time. Here is information setting up auto-reply.

These are a few ways you could slow down orders, without actually turning on vacation mode. But they do take more work and you need to ensure that your customers understand what is happening.

Final Thoughts

Etsy vacation mode can be a bit intimidating for many people, as they see it only as having a potentially bad effect on sales and ranking on search results. But, if you are prepared and know the right actions to take when returning, you can bring your sales back to normal in no time!

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Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”
Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina Waardenburg

Katrina is an Etsy seller and content writer who was formerly a teacher. In her own words, "Being a mom of two girls, I work hard at growing this business and helping others grow as well so I can provide for my little family.”

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