What happened to our Etsy shop when we took a five week road trip? Well, if you have followed our blog (and read Should you put your shop on Vacation?), you'll know we don't close our shop when we go on vacation. Yes, we leave our shop open and keep the income coming while we're gone (after all, someone has to pay for our vacation, right?).
My better half retired last year (thanks to our Etsy shop) and we had so many plans for traveling here and abroad (again, thanks to Etsy) since we had no time constraints – we could go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted. Well, the world changed and we were stuck at home for 16 months. The good news is we worked on our Etsy shop and I worked on my Etsy 101 course on Teachable to show others how to open their own Etsy shop using the strategies we used to make 14,000 sales on Etsy (shameless plug here).
Long story short, we decided we would take a road trip, and not just any road trip, a 5 week long road trip. So, why did we put our shop on vacation mode this time? I will go into the reasons and the repurcusions (what happened to our sales when we came back).
First, we were gone for 5 weeks. In the past, our longest vacation was ten days in Italy (paid for by our Etsy shop). We just let our buyers know that the shipping on their purchases would be delayed, and we gave them the option to cancel the sale if this didn’t work for them(only 1 cancelled sale). We knew that 5 weeks would be too long for our buyers to wait for their items. So, we put our shop on vacation for 4 weeks (yikes, we missed a whole month of income!). We reopened the shop a week before we got home and let buyers know of the delay in shipping their items. Again, giving them the option to cancel the sale if that didn’t work for them (no cancelled sales).
Another reason we put our shop on vacation was that we would have little internet access on our vacation as we were traveling through mountains and national parks with little to no service. When our shop is open, we communicate as soon as possible after we are contacted by buyers and potential buyers, but that wouldn't be possible on this trip. We also put a note up in our shop in case previous buyers were trying to reach us.
The third reason we put our shop on vacation was that we had earned a well deserved break. We were extremely busy during the last 16 months as online shopping hit new levels. Our sales were 50-100% over the year before. We also had to get creative on where to find our vintage treasures as in person shopping became non existent for a time. We had to do some online thrift and vintage shopping ourselves to fill the gap due to the lack of in person auctions, estate sales, and garage sales left. Needless to say, it was a very busy time.
What happened to the traffic in our shop when we got back? Did we lose all the momentum we maintain on a regular basis by being active in our shop and adding new items regularly? Well, for the first 3 weeks since we’ve been back our traffic is down 24% and our sales are down about the same. It is a hit to the wallet, but as the holidays approach we are hopeful that our numbers will be back up as we’ve been adding new listings to our shop and interacting with our buyers.
November Update: Sales are back to the previous year's numbers so our numbers are back on track within 6 weeks of our return from vacation.
So, what do we recommend if you are putting your shop on vacation?
- Enjoy your vacation!
- Be prepared for the loss of income while you’re away.
- Be prepared for a drop in income in the first month (or two) when you return.
- Change your shipping times if you open your shop before you return so buyers will know about the delay in shipping,
- Pack up your sold orders as soon as possible after you return so that your buyers receive their items when expected.
- Communicate with buyers as necessary to maintain good relationships.
I hope this helps with your vacation planning. After all, we all need some down time. I’ll keep you updated as I get more stats in the upcoming months to let you know how long it took to get our income back to its pre-vacation levels.
If you're taking some time away, read How to Put your Etsy Shop on Vacation.
If you want to know how to take away and not put your shop on vacation, read Should you Put your Etsy Shop on Vacation?