It’s Summertime and for many that means going on vacation. For us online sellers,
we have a number of things to do before we can leave our online businesses and enjoy ourselves while we are away.
1) Put your eBay store on vacation hold. Go to ebay.com, click on My eBay and click on the link Manage My Store. Scroll down the related links column on the left and click Store Vacation Settings. Turn on Vacation Settings, select the dates you will be away and when you will return. One important check box is the one that will hide your listings. This will prevent purchases while your away and give you a well deserved break from having to ship within the one or two day handling period many sellers have as their setting on eBay. When you get back, go through the same steps as above and turn off your vacation settings.
2) Put your Amazon listings on vacation hold. If you are an FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) seller, your items will sell as usual. If you manage your orders with Merchant Fulfilled, you can turn vacation settings on by going to Amazon Seller Central and clicking on the link: Settings, Account Info. There will be choice, “Going on Vacation”. Click the radio button for YES. When you return, do the same but click NO.
3) Make sure that all items that you need to ship for eBay and Amazon have been sent before you leave. Many sellers have reported to me that they have been known to take unpaid for items with them on their trips, me included. I travel with a portable printer, laptop and shipping labels. When the customer pays, I slap the label on the box and drop off at the local post office. Be aware that your return address may be in a different zone and need adjusting. You can always use a Staples or UPS store to send packages that you brought with you!
4) Working backwards with a couple of weeks to go on your listings, make sure that any auctions you have running have a few day cushion before you have to leave, for the buyer to pay. We know some buyers pay right away, but others do not. See #3 if that is the case.
5) Set an auto-response message for replies for your seller account email addresses if you are going to be off the grid. This message can be a simple one, saying that you will be away for a few days or a few weeks and will respond once you return. That can give the customer some piece of mind, knowing that you haven’t just abandoned them and their questions.
6) If you are going to unplug yourself from the social media grid, don’t show everyone on Facebook when you are leaving and when you are coming back. There are lurkers who love to watch for just that and go to town burglarizing innocent victims. You can make it seem that while your away, your staff will be handling the store, even if you are just a business of one! I often have auctions that go up on eBay while I’m away, scheduled in advance of my leaving. I make sure to give myself a day or two buffer zone, so I am not overwhelmed by having to ship 100 items (like I did last summer!). Note to self: don’t do this again!
7) Enjoy your vacation! You deserve it and have worked hard for a break from the daily regimen of listing, taking photos and shipping. When you return, it will all still be there, but you should be energized and ready to hit the next cycle of selling with new vigor.
Hope these tips will get you ready to take your trip. It will only take a few moments and a few clicks to get yourself on vacation mode as an online seller. And don’t forget to drop your friends a post card! Wish you were here!