Managing Your Amazon Business When on Holiday

  • Amazon seller holiday

Guest post by Amanda O’Brien, Amazon and eBay Expert

It’s official, it’s summer! Holiday season is here and this is what you need to consider if you fancy a break too! Depending on what type of products you sell online, the summer months can see periods of peaks and troughs much more than other seasons, and this is simply to do with the fact that many people take off on their annual holiday, take days out because the children are off school and the weather is better (allegedly). So in general, a normal routine can be completely disrupted as life becomes a bit of a juggling act.

Firstly, I want to reassure you that as a seller, you should not worry if you do see your sales dipping at this time of year – they will come back – and you can use this time to research new products, add some seasonal products to your inventory or if you can’t beat them, join them…take a well earned holiday yourself. Everyone needs a break from routine occasionally!

But how should you be managing your Amazon business when on holiday?

It’s a fabulous feeling jetting off on a two week break, but if you don’t consider what to do with your product listings before you go, you could end up spending time worrying about what’s happening back at home, or even stressing out trying to find an internet connection to send emails to buyers explaining why you haven’t posted their items yet, and this will not result in a very relaxing holiday for you.

Part of the reason why an online seller’s lifestyle is so great is that it does grant you the freedom and flexibility to go on holiday or take a day off whenever you choose to. But to take full advantage of this you need to be aware of the different options that are available to you regarding your listings when you are away. The last thing that you want is to receive a bunch of negative feedback because of orders not dispatched whilst you were lying in the sun or sightseeing.

So, to give you a helping hand if you are planning a getaway in the near future, and to ensure you are prepared I want to give you some information regarding the options available to you to keep your online business ticking over. You’ll be pleased to know that there are a few choices available.

 

1. Close up…completely

Whoa! That sounds a little bit crazy doesn’t it? And I’m sorry to put this as first on the list, but that’s not because it’s the option that is necessarily the best, it is just by far the safest one when it comes to avoiding sales of items that you will be potentially unable to dispatch whilst you are away.

By completely ending all your eBay and Amazon listings you can be sure that no one will accidentally stumble across your products, as they simply won’t appear in any searches at all. If you also have an eBay shop you can also leave a message there to explain that you currently have no products available but will be re-stocking very soon.

Now, although this option will most definitely prevent buyers making purchases, unfortunately it can also lose you business, as anyone (including repeat customers) searching for your products in the meantime will be unable to find them or buy them.

You will also lose any sales history you’ve built up on individual Good Till Cancelled listings and what’s more, once you return you will then have to re-list everything, which is definitely not ideal, if you have an inventory of hundreds of products.

Advantages:

  • No eBay shop required
  • No chance of accidental sales
  • You get to completely relax and have a proper break

Disadvantages:

  • Repeat customers may purchase elsewhere
  • Those who are ‘watching’ your products won’t be able to purchase
  • Loss of sales history on Good Till Cancelled listings
  • You will need to relist all products on your return

Best Option For:

Sellers with small inventories and no eBay shop.

 

2. Hide your BIN / Fixed Price Listings

eBay offers ‘holiday settings’ for your listings but this is only available if you have an eBay shop. One of these settings allows you to make your fixed price (BIN) listings invisible or ‘hidden’ to potential buyers.

This setting does not affect any of your normal auction-style listings if you have them, so you will need to ensure that these auctions are set to end after the time that you are back from your holiday – for example you could list on a 10 day auction if you are going on holiday for 7 days. This way you will still have some stock listed and won’t have to shut up shop completely.

The advantage of this option is that you won’t need to relist your Buy It Now listings when you return from your holiday, as they will simply be waiting there for you. All you need to do is turn off your holiday settings to make your listings visible again. You can access your holiday settings by going to ‘My eBay’, ‘Manage My Shop’, ‘Holiday Settings’.

Another advantage is that you will not lose your search ranking and sales history whilst you are away. Generally if it’s a short period such as 7 days, your listings will remain in roughly the same search position when you make them visible again.

You may wish to consider though that there is the chance that by keeping auction listings running, you may receive questions via eBay messages and you won’t be able to reply to these unless you have regular access to an internet connection. Also, even though your BIN listings will be hidden, they are visible to anyone who has added your item to their ‘watch’ list, so there is the risk that they could decide to make a purchase.

Amazon also offer a holiday settings option. Simply go to your seller account and click on the ‘Store Settings’ link under the ‘Settings’ heading. This will show you the status of your listings. Then you can edit the status. Click on the ‘Start Your Holiday’ button and this will remove all your open listings from sale within 36 hours.

When you arrive back from your holiday, refreshed and ready to go just click the ‘End Your Holiday’ button and your listings will appear for sale again within 36 hours. Simple!

Advantages:

  • No need to end BIN listings – so no re-listing required
  • If you are away for only 7 days your search ranking will remain
  • 10 day auction listings allow some stock to be visible
  • Easy to switch listings on and off on Amazon

Disadvantages:

  • Repeat customers may purchase elsewhere
  • Risk of ‘watched’ BIN items being purchased
  • Risk of questions being asked and not responded to

Best Option For:

Sellers with access to a guaranteed internet connection whilst away

 

3. Display a holiday message

This is another option that can be found within the holiday settings of your eBay shop. You can add a holiday message on either your listings, within your shop, or both. This message will let visitors know when you will return so that they can still make a purchase, but will know not to expect to receive their order until the specified date. This can be used for BIN’s and Auction style listings.

The settings for your holiday message can be found by clicking through from the ‘Holiday Settings’ link as before and scrolling down to ‘Shop Holiday Settings’. Here you can turn on or off your holiday message and create a personal message to display in your shop.

If you decide to do this you can create some custom information for your clients for your shop front, however in your actual listings you will be restricted to eBay’s default message filled in with the date that you return.

I realise that this might sound like the best option so far to you. Prospective buyers can still see your listings and even make purchases knowing that they will receive their order upon your return. However, I must point out that not every buyer reads listing descriptions carefully. Bearing in mind that the message that eBay displays is quite small and situated at the very top of the page it could be easily missed.

To counteract this though, if you have only a few listings, you can always add a larger message within the body of your item description just to reiterate that you are unable to post until a certain date.

Just a very quick note on security here. Since eBay have insisted on your address details being displayed on your listings I know that you may be concerned that if you work from home and you state you are on holiday it could potentially make your address vulnerable to opportunist burglars.

This is a very valid worry, therefore I would suggest that you never actually state that you are away on holiday in your listings, but instead state something along the lines of:

“Please note: Due to new products arriving and stock takes taking place, all orders placed between XXXX and XXXX will be dispatched on XXXX. Thank you for your patience”.

This way you are informing buyers that there will be a delay but you are not saying that you are away – much safer all round!

Advantages:

  • No need to end your listings
  • Works for BIN and Auction style listings
  • Purchases can still be made by buyers
  • All listings remain active – make sales even when on holiday!

Disadvantages:

  • ‘Holiday Message’ appears very small – can be easily missed
  • Fewer sales due to potential delay in dispatch
  • You must be prepared to answer questions from potential buyers

Best Option For:

Sellers with an eBay shop, larger inventories and access to a guaranteed internet connection.

 

4. Leave your listings exactly as they are

The fourth and final option is simply to leave your listings running exactly as they are. This could be a reasonable solution if you are only away for a few days, but remember that your buyers may get frustrated if they pay for an item only to be forced to wait for two weeks before receiving it and with no prior contact, warning or explanation.

The alternative is to keep dispatching whilst you are away! Now I know this is not the best option – especially if you are holidaying abroad, but what you could do is draft in the help of a friend or relative to post your orders for you. In other words leave your business in the hands of someone else that you can trust.

This is a sensible option if you have someone who is willing to help you – and quite honestly, if you are reluctant to turn your eBay and PayPal passwords over to anyone else, if you have an internet connection whilst you are away, you can always log in a couple of times a week and then email the orders over to your helper who can then print the address labels off and dispatch them.

Advantages:

  • No need to end your listings
  • No need to use ‘holiday settings’
  • All listings remain active – make sales even when on holiday!
  • No disruption to your business

Disadvantages:

  • The ‘trust’ element
  • You may need to answer questions if your helper doesn’t have the knowledge
  • You may need to grant access to your accounts to someone else

Best Option For:

Sellers with an eBay shop, larger inventories, access to a guaranteed internet connection and a trustworthy friend or member of staff.

 

So which option should you choose?

There isn’t any single option that will suit everyone, and I wish I could give you a definite answer as to which will be the best option for you, but as I’ve explained there are advantages and disadvantages for each possible solution.

You know your own online business better than anyone else, so have a think about the best option for you and your own customers, taking into account the length of time you will be away and so on.

The most important thing for you to remember is that you really shouldn’t be constantly worrying about your business when you should be having a nice relaxing holiday. I know this is easier said than done – and I am as guilty as anyone of thinking about work whilst I’m supposed to be chilling out!

So, if shutting up shop completely will help to put your mind at ease then don’t be afraid to go for this option. If your listings are down for longer than seven days you may drop your place in the search results slightly when you relist – but you should be able to regain momentum within a few days, especially if you are listing well-researched hot products.

If you are going on holiday shortly – enjoy!

As always I wish you the best of success,

Amanda

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About the author:
Amanda O’Brien is an ecommerce author, product sourcing expert, product description and content copywriter dedicated to helping your ecommerce business grow successfully online.
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2018-12-12T09:58:36+00:00

About the Author:

Marketing Executive at RepricerExpress with a passion for all things digital.