Learn how to activate vacation mode on your Shopify store, and why it makes sense to use an app.

Shopify merchants around the globe work around the clock to fulfill orders, enhance their stores, and make customers happy.

However,  even merchants need a vacation from time to time. It’s hard work running an online business. Or maybe something unexpected came up that you need to attend to, or you just need a little pause to catch up fulfilling orders before taking any new ones.

I have been looking into other online platforms and what they offer merchants to pause their online sales or disable buy buttons in order to have that much needed break. Etsy has a Vacation Mode option and eBay has Time Away.

As a member of the Magical Apps team that developed the Magical Vacation Mode app for Shopify, I felt compelled to also take a look at what they provide merchants in order to ensure what our app offers is valuable and aligned with merchant expectations. You’ll be surprised with what I found.

I am going to walk you through all of the research I have compiled so you can better understand and gain insights on how using Shopify Vacation Mode can help your business. 

Whether you are planning a big trip, revamping your online store, or just need a tool to help strike a better work life balance, this guide will help you with the basics of Shopify Vacation Mode. 

What is Shopify Vacation Mode?

Shopify Vacation Mode is a feature that allows online store owners to temporarily pause or adjust the operation of their e-commerce businesses when they need a break or time away. 

While in Vacation Mode, merchants can communicate to customers that they are not taking any new orders, and that there might be delays in order fulfillment. Merchants can also use this feature to manage inventory effectively, and even use the idle time to plan and execute strategic marketing initiatives.

In our beginners guide to Shopify Vacation Mode, you can learn about the best ways to pause your online sales and the top reasons why you would want to do this in the first place.

Shopify Vacation Mode is a feature that allows online store owners to temporarily pause or adjust the operation of their e-commerce businesses when they need a break or time away.

Types of Vacations for Online Stores

There are different types of “vacations”  merchants can take:

  1. Holiday Breaks: Putting your store on hold while taking a temporary break for a holiday.
  2. Weekend Retreats: Closing up shop from Friday evening to Sunday night for better work-life balance. 
  3. Seasonal Closures: Temporarily closing the store during specific times of the year when demand for seasonal products naturally decreases.
  4. Unexpected Life Events: Taking time away because of live events such as illness, accidents, family emergencies, or the loss of a loved one.

Reasons to use Vacation Mode for Online Stores

  1. Prevent Burnout: Taking a break can help you recharge and come back with renewed energy and creativity.
  2. Maintain Work-Life Balance: Establish a healthier work-life balance by designating specific days or times when your store is closed.
  3. Prioritize Customer Experience: Pausing sales temporarily can help you fulfill existing orders more efficiently.
  4. Enjoy Special Occasions: Take time to enjoy important life events or holidays.
  5. Refine Your Store: Pause sales to make time for improving your website’s design, optimizing product listings, or refining your marketing strategy
  6. Store Maintenance: Pause sales to update your website, such as adding and removing products.
  7. Dealing with Sales Surges: If a sales surge becomes too challenging to manage, briefly give yourself the breathing room you need to catch up
Running an online store doesn’t have to be a 24/7 job. Activate Shopify Vacation Mode to pause sales. Return anytime.

How to add Vacation Mode on your Shopify store

You can either use Shopify’s natively built solutions or use a third party app that is dedicated to solving your specific need to take some time off.

Native Shopify solutions for Vacation Mode

Shopify doesn’t have a true native solution but you can use one of two things:

  1. Password protect your store: Activate the password-protected landing page that will require your customers to enter a password in order to visit your store. This can be done by going to your Online Store > Preferences and checking off “Restrict access to visitors with the password”.
  2. Shopify’s Pause and Build plan: For eligible stores, the Pause and Build Plan will disable your checkout process while allowing you to work on building your store. To do this, go to Settings > Plan, click Deactivate store > Pause and build plan.

Some merchants combine both solutions so they can have a password protected landing page with a message notification for customers and pay a reduced subscription fee for pausing their store.

Shopify app solutions for Vacation Mode

Shopify apps provide merchants with specialized solutions based on your store’s specific needs. You can use Shopify apps to provide a Vacation Mode for your business in two ways:

  1. Develop your own app: You can develop a new app that gives you full control. This option is customizable in every way, but very expensive and slow to implement.
  2. Use apps that support Vacation Mode: Magical Vacation Mode offers online store owners a convenient way to deactivate buy buttons, hide prices, pause sales, collect email addresses from interested customers, and more.

Apps that support adding Vacation Mode

Through all of my research, the only true Vacation Mode app on all of the Shopify App store currently is the one our team developed:

  1. Magical Vacation Mode

How using Vacation Mode on your online store can positively impact your business & well-being

If you’ve been running a Shopify store for some time, you know the feeling. The feeling that you’re on a bit of a treadmill with no way to stop without potentially impacting your business negatively.

But burnout, as well as other unexpected events are real things that happen which can impact your ability to continue running your business. The best policy in these types of situations is honesty and transparency. Using Shopify Vacation Mode on your store helps to accomplish this, and more.

Read more about the top 5 benefits of putting your Shopify store on Vacation Mode can positively impact your business & well-being.

Benefits of using Vacation Mode for Online Stores

  1. Ensuring a Seamless Shopping Experience: Make customers happier by setting expectations about delays in order fulfillment and notifying customers when your store re-opens.
  2. Avoiding Product Availability Confusion: Offer clarity on product availability, avoid out-of-stock frustrations, and let customers browse products while you’re away.
  3. Supporting Merchant Well-being: Vacation Mode supports merchant well-being, promotes work-life balance, and leads to more motivated service. 
  4. Encouraging Strategic Shopping: Use the time away to build promotions and sales to give customers a reason to return. Make this a trend every time you come back.
  5. Building Trust and Loyalty: Enhances trust by showing you care about customer experience and communicating delays, fostering long-term loyalty.

How to set up Shopify vacation mode with the Magical Vacation Mode app

The Magical Vacation Mode app for Shopify allows you to pause sales for your online store and notify your customers that you are temporarily away.

The installation and setup are as easy as clicking a button. Please use our guide to help you through how to use vacation mode on Shopify with the Magical Vacation Mode app. This article will help you with the following:

Initial App Setup

The guided setup process within the app will help you disable buttons and purchasing options in minutes. Open the app within your Shopify store to complete each of the following steps:

  1. Add a rule: Click the Rules link in the app navigation menu, click the Create rule button to create a new rule, enter a title, and configure rule settings. Click the Save button.
  2. Activate the app embed block: Go to Online Store > Themes, click Customize, click Theme settings, App embeds, and then beside Magical Vacations, click the toggle to activate it.
  3. Activate Inline message app block: Go to Online Store > Themes and click Customize. O​​pen the drop-down menu, select the template you want to edit, and under the panel click the + Add block or + Add section button. From the APPS section, click Inline message, click Save.
  4. Turn on a Vacation: Click the Rules link in the app navigation menu and click the Edit button. Then, click the dropdown in the Rule status section and select Active. Finally, click Save.
  5. Turn off a Vacation: Click the Rules link in the app navigation menu and click the Edit button. Then, click the dropdown in the Rule status section and select Draft. Finally, click Save.
  6. Let customers know you are back: Go to Customers. Click on the Filter link and select customer tags. Select Contains this exact tag. Select vacation-mode. Click Apply filter andSave segment. Then, enter Vacation mode for the segment name. Click Save. Afterwards, from your Shopify admin, go to Marketing. Click Create campaign, and then click Shopify Email. Choose an email template. Click To, and then select the Vacation mode customer segment, enter a subject for the email, and customize the email body content.

App Setup Instructions Library

  1. Change the visual style of the banner or message: Go to Online Store > Themes, click Customize > Theme Settings > Embeds Tab, then click the Magical Vacation Mode section to view the dropdown menu.
  2. Change the position of the banner: Go to the app Settings page, find the Display heading. Under the Banner subheading there is a dropdown menu labelled as “Position”. There, you can choose one of the various options to reposition the banner.
  3. Prioritizing rules: The app follows some logic in order to decide which message or banner is shown first if there is an overlap. Go to the Rules section and click on the 2 columns of vertical dots beside the rule you want to select. You can drag and drop to change the priority.
Magical Vacation Mode: Pause sales and collect emails from customers while you are away.

Vacation Mode Message Templates

We recommend using a short descriptive message on your shop when you activate vacation mode to let your customers know what you plans are, and when they can expect the store to reopen. Please feel free to use these templates on your shop:

Template 1

Thank you for your interest in our [SHOPNAME]! We will be on vacation mode from [DATE] to [DATE]. During this time, we will not be processing any new orders. However, all of our existing orders will be fulfilled as normal. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We will be back in the office on [DATE]. Thank you for your understanding, and happy holidays!

Template 2

I’m taking a much-needed break from Shopify to focus on my mental health. I’m not sure when the shop will be back online but if you sign up for my newsletter I’ll email you as soon as I am back. I’m looking forward to this break and I’ll hopefully return renewed and reenergized.

We recommend using a short descriptive message on your shop when you activate vacation mode to let your customers know what you plans are, and when they can expect the store to reopen.

Magical Vacation Mode FAQs

Take a look at our frequently asked questions about Magical Vacation Mode on Shopify.

  1. Can I disable ordering on specific products or collections? No. When vacation mode is turned on, ordering will be paused for the entire online store.
  2. Can I disable ordering on specific sales channels other than the online store? When vacation mode is turned on, ordering will be disabled for the entire online store. If you want to turn off other sales channels entirely, you need to do so separately in the sales channel section of your admin or within the “Publishing” settings of individual products or collections.
  3. Can I still process draft orders with Vacation Mode on? Yes, draft orders can still be processed. The app doesn’t disable the checkout, it only removes the checkout buttons from the online store.
  4. Can I choose how often the popup message appears on the online store? The pop up message will appear the first time a page is loaded. After being dismissed, it will not show again unless a user opens the website on a new device or a brand new browser.
  5. Can I re-position the banner message? Yes. You can customize the position of the banner to match your theme on the Settings page under “Display”.
  6. Can I customize the visual style of the message? Yes. You can customize the style settings of the banner or message to match your theme in the App embed settings.
  7. Can I set up my store to be on vacation for a specified period of time? Yes. When creating a rule, under the Schedule heading, you can select a start date and a separate field to select an end date. Otherwise, the rule will run indefinitely.
  8. What should I do with my existing orders when I put my Shopify store on vacation mode? We recommend that you fulfill any existing orders before you activate vacation mode.
  9. Can I still use POS when my store is on vacation mode? Yes, you can continue to sell through POS or other sales channels if you want to do that. Vacation Mode simply removes the ability for customers to use the purchase options on your online store sales channel.

Compare Shopify vacation mode apps with Etsy and eBay Vacation Mode

Given Shopify’s lackluster native options for pausing your online store sales, many merchants turn to the world of apps to find a solution. Currently, there appears to be only one: the Magical Vacation Mode app.

Because there isn’t really a comparable app in the Shopify ecosystem, I decided to explore the nuances of Vacation Mode across three e-commerce giants: eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. I dive deep into the functionalities and quirks of each platform’s feature, comparing their strengths and limitations. 

Read more about how Shopify’s only vacation mode app compares with the vacation mode feature on Etsy and eBay

You’ll get a detailed overview of the Magical Vacation Mode app, how it compares with Etsy and eBay’s versions, and what customers think about them.

Magical Vacation Mode

Use the Magical Vacation Mode App to pause your online sales letting you take a break, go on holiday, or get caught up.