Enjoying the sunshine and thinking about how lovely it would be to take an eBay holiday? I’m not surprised! We’re heading at a speed of knots towards the longest day of the year.

I love the light mornings, the long balmy evenings and the promise of warm weather, as I’m sure you do.

The reality is though that we don’t always get the warm weather! And that’s why so many of us choose to travel to warmer climes at least once a year. To get our guaranteed sunshine fix, to relax, chill out for a couple of weeks and refresh ourselves.

You can’t work all the time! Oh, I know that it’s super important to be focused when you’re running your own business and you must put the effort in – that goes without saying.

There is such a thing as working too hard and being so consumed with it all, ending up not being able to make even the simplest of decisions. Or you end up making the wrong decision because you haven’t taken a break and reflected on things. So it’s important to recharge the batteries and think about taking an eBay holiday.

Working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year may seem productive to you – but it very often isn’t because you don’t have any down time. No time to look back and think, plan or make changes – and that’s why holidays are good. I fully endorse them!

But hold on! That doesn’t mean that you can simply down tools, leg it down to the nearest travel agent and book a six-week cruise. Holidays are great – but you must plan for them. And this is super important when you’re selling online.

The next four months are most definitely the period that most people consider to be ‘holiday season’.

Those who aren’t restricted to school terms tend to head off for a break this month, in early July or mid to late September. And those who are unfortunately still at the mercy of the school holidays – like me – must take their annual breaks during the latter part of July and August.

So as an online seller, what should you do with your business while you take a break? Around this time of year, I usually dedicate an eletter to this very topic, simply because it’s a question I get asked every year without fail.

Here are my suggestions for the 2016 holiday season

Depending on what type of products you sell online, the summer months can see periods of peaks and troughs much more than other seasons.

This is mostly to do with the fact that many people take their annual holiday and take days off because the children aren’t in school and the weather is better (allegedly!).

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 shouldn’t worry unnecessarily if you do see your sales dipping at this time of year – they will come back after your eBay holiday.

Obviously you should make the usual checks to ensure your keywords are still working for you as they should and keep an eye on your competitors. But if all seems well and it’s an obvious seasonal dip, you can use this downtime to research new products or even add some seasonal products to your inventory to fill the gap.

But what should you do with your online listings while you’re on an eBay holiday?

Forward planning is essential. You can’t just up and leave your business!

If you don’t consider what to do with your product listings before you go, you’ll just end up spending time worrying about what’s happening at home, and getting stressed out.

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 when you choose to. But to take full advantage of this you need to be aware of the different options available to you regarding your online store while you’re away.

If you are planning a getaway in the near future, I want to give you some information regarding those options – and to ensure you are prepared and keep your business ticking over. You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to literally ‘shut up shop’, as there are several choices available.

1) 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 doesn’t affect auction-style listings, if you have them, so you will need to ensure that if you do have auction listings, these are set to end after your return from holiday.

For example you could list on a 10 day auction if you are going on holiday for seven days. This way you will still have some stock listed while you are away but won’t have to fulfill the order until after your eBay holiday is over.

However, you may wish to consider there is the chance that by keeping auction listings running, you may receive questions via eBay messages – which you may not be able to reply to unless you have regular access to an Internet connection.

The main advantage of this option is that you won’t need to relist your Buy It Now listings when you get back, 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 eBay 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 while you are away. Generally, if it’s a short period such as seven days, your listings will remain in roughly the same search position when you make them visible again, even though you won’t have made any sales for a week.

I must also point out that 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 while you are away.

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!


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


– 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 guaranteed access to the Internet while away.

2) Display an eBay ‘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 are due to be back so that they can still make a purchase but will also know not to expect to receive their order until the specified date. This can be used for both BIN and auction-style listings.

The settings for your holiday message can be found by clicking through from the eBay <‘Holiday Settings>’ link as before and scrolling down to <‘Shop Holiday Settings’>. Here you can turn your holiday message on or off and create a personal message to display in your shop. If you decide to do this you can create some custom information for 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.

Prospective buyers can still see your listings and even make purchases knowing that they will receive their order upon your return. But I must point out that not every buyer reads listing descriptions carefully.

Bearing in mind 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, 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… Since eBay insist on your address details being displayed on your listings, I know that you may be concerned if you work from home and state you are on holiday that it could potentially make your address vulnerable to opportunist burglars. This is a very valid worry. Therefore I would suggest you never actually state you are away on holiday in your listings, but instead state something along the lines of:

Please note: due to new products arriving and stocktakes, all orders placed between X and Y will be dispatched on Z. Thank you for your patience.

This way you are informing buyers that there will be a delay while you’re on your eBay holiday but without saying that you are away – much safer all round!


– 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!


– ‘Holiday message’ displays in a very small manner – 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.

3) Shut up shop while you’re on your eBay holiday!

Whoa! That sounds a little bit crazy, doesn’t it? But this is in fact by far the most foolproof option when it comes to avoiding orders that you might not be able to dispatch while 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 leave a message there to explain that you currently have no products available but will be restocking very soon.

A word of warning: although this option will most definitely prevent buyers from making purchases and leaves you to enjoy your eBay holiday, unfortunately it can also lose you business.

Anyone (including repeat customers) specifically searching for your products 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. What’s more, once you return you will then have to relist everything, which is definitely not ideal – particularly if you have an inventory of hundreds of products. So use this option with caution.


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


– 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 very small inventories, little sales history and no eBay shop.

4) Leave your listings exactly as they are

This could be a reasonable solution if you’re away on more of an eBay mini-break than an eBay holiday, but remember 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 while 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, you can always log in a couple of times a week and email the orders over to your helper who can then print the address labels off and dispatch sales.


– 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


– 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.

5) Use a fulfilment house to deal with any eBay holiday orders

The final option is to use a fulfilment house to store and dispatch your orders. In other words, store your inventory and get your orders fulfilled by a third party.

This will take some forward planning, so it is best to investigate this option and set it up well in advance. Using a fulfilment house is a long-term strategy – not a plan that you would use just for a couple of weeks.

Bear in mind that all fulfilment companies differ and so pricing will vary depending on your inventory storage and your order volume.


– 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


– Needs forward planning
– Extra costs involved

Best option for:

Sellers with an eBay shop and large, profitable inventories.

Which option should you choose?

There isn’t one single option that will suit everyone, but as I’ve explained there are pros and cons for each possible solution.

The most important thing for you is to remember you really shouldn’t be constantly worrying about your business when you should be having a nice, relaxing eBay holiday.

I know this is far easier said than done – and I am as guilty as anyone of thinking about work while I’m supposed to be chilling out. But you know your own online business better than anyone else, so think about the best way forward for you and your own customers when you’re taking an eBay holiday.