Everyone needs a break once in a while. The vacation mode button on Etsy is tempting if you want to put everything on pause for a few weeks.
But is it the best move for your shop? Should you put your shop in vacation mode? How does vacation mode work? Is there a better way?
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.
In this guide, you can learn the step-by-step process of actually increasing sales during my break. Read on:
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.
However, there are also other etsy shop owners that say they are not negatively affected by it. Their views are similar before and after the holiday.
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.
Controversies aside, you still shouldn’t put your shop in vacation mode.
Because you are losing on sales.
Everyone needs a break here and there. Your customers understand that. Given that you communicate with them properly, this is actually a great opportunity for your shop to grow!
In the next section, I’ll talk about some alternatives to vacation mode that are better for your shop in terms of views, sales and growth.
I’ve used this method many times for my top 1% Etsy shop over the years, and it brings me income even when I’m on vacation.
Put up a “late ship” sale to compensate for the delay in shipping. A 15-25% discount works well given that you don’t put up a sale every week.
Most of the customers won’t mind waiting a few weeks more to receive the order, and will be happy to get a discount on your handmade product.
If done successfully, you will get a big list of orders when you are on vacation. You just need to work a bit harder to finish them all at once when you are back.
If you don’t want to put up a sale like that, you can find someone to help you out instead. It would be much easier if you already have other staff in your shop.
Hiring outside help could be tricky. The main concern is whether the quality of the product is up to par. You also need to bring them up to speed with tasks like packaging and shipping. Training could take weeks.
Here is a list of things I do for my 6-figure Etsy shop when I go on a holiday. I use the first method mentioned above (running a late-ship sale).
I’ll run you through step-by-step of the process so you can do it for your shop next time you need a break as well.
This method will work much better if you have an email list for your customers. Click here to read how to use email marketing to grow your shop.
This is for customers who need your product quickly and cannot wait for another few weeks. Things you should mention in your email:
Yes, you should mention about the sale even though you are not offering it in this email. This is because you don’t want the customers who buy at that moment to be surprised a week later, that they could have saved 20% if they just waited a few more days.
This is the day when you run your sale. Go to the “Sales and coupons” section on Etsy and set up the sale.
A 15-25% discount works well for most shops. I sometimes coupled it with a minimum quantity required to get the discount, like a minimum of 2 pieces. Set the end date to when you are expected to return from the trip.
You can also coupled with a coupon if you want to give your return customers a higher discount than normal shoppers. A 5-10% extra in discount will do the trick.
It’s time to go to your product listing and adjust your product titles. Bulk edit your product and for example add “20% Late Ship Sale” in front of your listings. If the title becomes too long, cut off the least important keyword.
Type up a short paragraph explaining the discount and the expected shipment date of your sale. Add the paragraph to the front of your product descriptions (bulk edit in the listing page) and your shop announcement.
Change the processing time to the appropriate time frame in your shipping profile. So that the orders won’t go overdue before you have a chance to make them. Having orders go overdue will have a negative impact on your product ranking in search.
Go to “Settings” and “Info and appearance”. In the “Message to buyers” section, add a paragraph explaining the delay in shipment so the customers who buy your product during your holiday will have a clear idea of when the order will be shipped.
Make an Etsy banner (I recommend 2000x500px for a clear image on desktop computers) and social media posts for your sale announcement.
Canva (https://www.canva.com/) is a quick and easy option if you don’t want to use Photoshop and Illustrator. It has quite a lot of templates that work well for this purpose. You only need to change the words and the colors for the graphics.
This is the big one. Shortly after you put up the sale, write an email to send to your customers. If done right, this alone can bring you a whole month of income in a few days. I’ve had times that I earn 5-figures in a few days by this one email alone.
Be sure to communicate your sale details (Size of discount, minimum quantity, etc), and the next shipping date to your customers.
Reassure them that even with the lower price, the quality of the product will remain high.
Scheduling a reminder email to send a few days before the late-ship sale ends is another good idea.
Announce the sale to your social media followers. Make sure you have the link to your shop ready. Again, Canva is a good option to create graphics to post on your social accounts.
Trust me, even though you have done all that you can to communicate your late ship sale, there will still be customers who buy your product and expect it to arrive in a few days. For this case, a quick apology, an explanation and an option to cancel the order would be appropriate.
Writing up a few template answers for a few situations can save you a lot of time when it comes to explaining to customers.
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.
Here are the 6 simple steps if you need to turn on vacation mode for your Etsy shop:
The announcement will be visible at the top of your shop page. And the auto-reply message will be sent automatically when prospective customers message your Etsy shop. Etsy shoppers also have the choice of signing up to be notified by email of your return.
You will still have access to your orders, cases and messages. Also, you can still issue refunds, cancel orders and print shipping labels. Your items will stop showing up on the Etsy search engine.
During this period, it may be a good chance to improve the SEO and keywords of current listings. Also, add new products as drafts is a good idea. You will publish them once the vacation mode stops.
This is a great time to use your email list of your previous customers. Let them know that you are back and ready to create beautiful crafts for them again. Couple this with a sale or new products to give your shop a boost when it opens again.
Similar to the point above, you can announce your return to your social media following. This would work better if you have a dedicated fanbase.
This is one of the most direct ways to bring shoppers to your shop. 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.
Adding new items increases the 'freshness' of your shop, which helps improve your ranking in Etsy search algorithm.