What Happens When you put Your Etsy Shop on Vacation?

Creative Entrepreneurship | 13 comments

What Happens When you put Your Etsy Shop on Vacation? | the merriweather council blog

In December I put my Etsy shop on vacation for about 25 days. That’s 25 days longer than I had ever had my shop on vacation.

I was WORN OUT, people. Plain and simple, I just simply needed a break.

I’m sure you’ve heard all the awful things that happen if you put your Etsy shop on vacation, right?

“You fall out of the search results, and it takes months to recover! *CRY*”


“People can still order from you because it’s not that great of a feature, so… yeah….”


“It’s basically death to your shop and everything you’ve worked for all these years, so avoid it at all costs.”

You used to not even be able to edit your listings while in vacation mode, but that’s no longer the case. 

So that is why I have never put my shop on vacation mode until recently. The whole “you drop off the face of the Etsy-Earth” thing was a substantiated theory about two years ago. Some improvements were made and Etsy posted (somewhere, I can’t seem to find it again now) that they improved this but lots of things play into search ranking, yadda yadda yadda, basically…. anything can happen and it depends how long your shop is on vacation for.

Of course the main reason for NOT putting your shop on vacation mode is money. If your shop is open, you still have the potential to make money. Sometimes SANITY > MONEY. Or LIFE > WORK. And I’ll say this: don’t feel bad about having to take a break. I wish I had done it sooner… a couple of times… yup.

Here’s what happened when I put my Etsy shop on vacation:

It was December 8th – YES I know, that’s like, peak online-holiday-shopping season – and I put my shop into vacation mode with a custom “away message” that would show on my shop’s main page. I changed my banner to say something about being back after Christmas and email me with any issues, questions, concerns, etc.

I didn’t deactivate my listings, I just went into true vacation mode.

If a listing is deactivated, people cannot view or buy it, same as with vacation mode. There might be some algorithm thing that plays into differentiating these two features but I am not aware of it. I find vacation mode is more favorable because when you are on vacation mode, shoppers are aware of that, and can opt to be alerted once you reopen. If you deactivate all your listings, you’ll probably want to put a note in your shop announcement about the status of your shop – you’ll have to replace your existing one in order to do that (save it, I guess, for later when you reopen, and repost it) and no one can opt-in to be notified when your shop reopens.

No one was able to order from me during the time my shop was on vacation mode.

That’s what I wanted. But of course I had heard the rumors, like I mentioned above, that for whatever reason orders were still sometimes able to come through. In my case: no orders.

The only listings people could see or favorite were the sold listings.

This is actually sort of nice in my case because I sell the same sort of thing over and over for the most part, so everything I make was still able to be seen. So if someone wanted to show their friend, or bookmark something, or see an image, they still could. This wouldn’t be the case for someone with only OOAK listings or vintage items.

My stats were still active, and I could see some views and favorites.

Again, these were on the sold listings. These could’ve been accessible through favorites, the new homepage feed, Pinterest links, or any other links out in the great wide internet.

Before I went on vacation mode, my listings were appearing well in searches.

I spot checked a few of them randomly and made notes about them the days before I went on vacation.

When I reopened my shop

I waited about three days to back through to check the listings in search. I was surprised to see they were not only still ranking well, but some were ranking even better!

I think some of that could’ve been because a lot of other shops go on vacation at that time of year and so many listings were out of the field so to say. But even now, my listings are ranking well and clearly, if vacation mode was going to ruin my shop forever, it would still be an issue two months later. It wasn’t.

The moral of the story is that vacation mode is not as scary as I once believed it to be. I was in the right place to take a break, and I’m glad I did it. I’m thrilled to know that it didn’t break my shop or “ruin everything” and I might take another break someday. For now, I’m happy with my new part time pace.

I hope this makes anyone feeling trepidation about vacation mode feel a little bit better.

I would love to hear your experiences with vacation mode as well if you have any!


The Merriweather Council Party Bus


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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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  1. I wish I could say my experiences have been like yours. Two Septembers ago, we went to Australia for a month for our honeymoon. When I returned, it took me nearly two months to get my listings back to where they had been in search results. When I reached out to Etsy admin about the situation, they told me to never put my shop in vacation mode. I did it again for a week during this holiday season while I was out of town visiting family. This time, my listings didn’t totally disappear, but my most popular cards did. Some of my least popular cards were showing up on the first few pages of search, so that caused a bit of a slow start to January, which is usually my busiest season. I thought that was almost more strange than not showing up at all– almost like Etsy had resurrected old listings from the dead…haha. Regardless, now I’m super paranoid about having to put my shop in vacation mode again!

    • I’m sorry to hear that – that is pretty much in line with what I said about that being substantiated two year ago :( lots of people have stories like that. But in recent times it seems to not be an issue

  2. This is a good resource for me, perhaps later on down the line when I start making real sales. :) I would love to make more of an income from my shop, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be happening. I’ve tried to change up keywords and categories, and I think my photos work well – I’m not sure what else to do besides pay for advertising through Etsy, which I really don’t want to do. Any thoughts? If you have time, I’d love for you to peek at my shop and tell me what you think! Thank you.

    • Hey lady! thanks for stopping by. I think your work is beautiful! I have a few things coming up the pipeline that I think you’ll find helpful, so I hope you’ll stay tuned. Biggest thing I think you might want to try is putting your most valuable keyword first. Example: Watercolor print would be more important than the phrase the print features. Switch it up from listing to listing to see what works. Maybe add a few more words to your titles as well.

      • Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll try changing it up and see what happens. I appreciate the advice and can’t wait to read more posts like this!

  3. First of all, I love that your share your vast Etsy knowledge with other sellers! I’ve put my shop on vacation mode in the past (like when I was really on vacation) and always felt like it took a few weeks or even months for views/sales to get back to where they were before vacation mode. I’m glad to hear that it sounds like they’ve made some changes!

    • yeah it seems it was pretty much bound to screw your shop up a couple years ago but seems they’ve improved it!

  4. I had the same experience than you Danielle.
    I had to close down my shop two times this Holidays Season, for a number of reasons, and I think it things haven’t greatly changed for me.
    I’ve used it whenever I’ve needed it before and it never impacted in any major way on my shop. Of course that after I reopen I would move things along, renewing or listing a few things, but nothing more than this. I think now things come back to what they were before being on vacation a lot faster than a few years back.

  5. Wow, such great info!! Since my shop is still a baby, it’s been easy for me to just increase my shipping times. But hoping to get busier, so I can use Vacation Mode!! Headed over to read your post on SEO. so this will happen!! Thanks so much for sharing!! :-)

    • Heck yeah it’s gunna happen!

  6. Can shop owners still see when they receive messages while on vacation mode?

    • yes!

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