Holiday Settings for your Ebay Shop – Do’s and Don’ts

My experiences with putting my shop on holiday, and some big lessons learned.

I have worked very hard at my Ebay shop for almost two years now.
In the summer when the kids break up from school we typically take a couple of weeks off to go away for a well-earned break.

Shop Holiday Settings – Options

With an Ebay shop, Ebay allows you to suspend your listings in certain ways, so you can resume them after your holiday.
There are two basic options :

1) Put up a holiday message stating your return date, and let buyers continue to purchase from you;

2) Put your listings on hold, so they do not appear in searches, and disallow purchases from your listings.

In July/August 2011, being all innocent I selected option 1) while we went away for two weeks.
BIG mistake!

Many buyers do not see the tiny warning shown by Ebay at the top of your listings, indicating your holiday dates.
Not only do many buyers ask “Where is my item”, the horrendous repercussions are that my DSR ratings (detailed seller ratings) took a big dive, I received several poor ratings.
A secondary problem with having a long dispatch time is that buyers also tend to leave more than one DSR as low – it is infectious.
If buyers are cross about one thing they may rate you down on other points simply because they are cross anyway.

I was already struggling with my sales and DSR ratings, as I had lost my top-rated seller status that May (2011) due to multiple bank holiday shipping delays.
I was working towards getting Top-rated seller status back, but the holiday low DSR’s basically set me on a poor course for a great many months more.
It was only the following May – a year later in 2012 – that I finally got my Top-rated seller status back.

So the next summer, when we went away, I tried option 2).
I got no sales for 2 weeks. And I got no bad DSR ratings either (so far at least).
So a small sacrifice gives rise to good ratings and continued good sales after the holiday.

But – Ebay don’t tell you this!!!
So please if you read this, use Option 2) when you go on holiday. It will save a lot of hassle in the long term.

A few other quick pointers relating to holiday settings

You also need to set up a few other things when you go on holiday.

Listing Holiday Settings
A message that appears at the top of your listings when you set your holiday dates.
You cannot change this and unfortunately it is a one line message that many people just don’t see.

Holiday message on your shop header
Set this up on the same page as your shop holiday settings.
Your shop holiday message can be a one line message, simple and boring and un-noticeable to all but the trained eye.

But it is easy to make this message more visible – the text box actually has formatting buttons and you can make several lines of text.
For example my latest shop holiday message has :
– empty line
– a top line, like this in BOLD RED :    ***  CURRENTLY AWAY ***
– empty line
– Some intermediate lines describing my holiday dates and how I will deal with outstanding orders and questions while away
– empty line
– a bottom line, again in BOLD RED :  *** THANK YOU ***
This framing gives a lot more prominence to the holiday message and will be seen by those visiting your shop home and custom pages.

Out of Office Autoreply – Ebay
Set this up on the same page as your shop holiday settings.
This is the autoreply that your customers will receive when they write to you through Ebay.

Out of Office Autoreply – your own email
Set this up from your email application or provider.
This is the autoreply that your customers (and friends) will receive when they write directly to your email address.

And some more interesting facts about Holiday Settings

Best Offer
Best Offer, if you have it set up, CAN be used by your customers even if you use Option 2) preventing actual purchases.
If you accept a Best Offer while you are on holiday, the sale DOES go through even though you may not be shipping for some time.
If you do not reply within 48 hours to the Best Offer, you can still recontact the buyer and they can put in the SAME Best Offer again when you are back from holiday.
So probably the best way to deal with this is to not accept the Best Offer, but write to the buyer and explain that you will be away until x date, and that you will recontact them on your return so that they can resend the Best Offer then.

Copies of Autoreplies
You will receive your own email autoreplies to your email inbox for every Ebay message received, if your settings are to copy your email address when Ebay messages are received.
This will bulk out your inbox and there is nothing you can do about it except carefully bin them as they arrive.

Ebay Messages Not Sent
I find from my android device if I reply to Ebay messages from my email, sometimes the messages are not sent and I receive a message to tell me this within minutes.
So I have to go right into Ebay Messages to reply again, and I can copy the failed message straight in with no problem.
But, if I normally copy my sent Ebay messages to my email, I also receive a further out of office email response to my email inbox, which again needs to be carefully binned!

Timing of closure
You will need to set up your holiday settings and close your shop a couple of working days BEFORE you go on holiday.
This is so you can both clear your orders, packing and posting them, and do your holiday packing before you go away.

Timing of return
When you set your return date, the default holiday message on your listings says you will be away until the day BEFORE that.
Could be misleading, bear this in mind when choosing the return date.
It could be useful to set the day after your expected return, this may give you a little more time to get settled in before your customers expect you to be on the ball again!

Losing your Holiday Autoreplies and Message
If you spend time crafting some great messages in the Ebay Shop Holiday settings page, SAVE THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE AS WELL.
This is because if you then switch off the holiday settings, however briefly, you will lose the messages.
They do not reappear, they need re-writing (or pasting in from your backup file)


I hope this article is helpful to you. If you find it useful and wish to be notified of new articles, just submit your details in the yellow box at the top of this page.

Happy selling!

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