Running an online business is hard work and sometimes you may need a break. Reasons for doing so vary, but may include pausing for a temporary closure, an unexpected life event happened that you must attend to, you got sick, or you just need to catch up on your current orders before taking any new ones.
Most importantly, you want to maintain a professional and responsive image for your customers during your time away so you can get back to business without skipping a beat.
Merchants in this position often seek out functionality often referred to as Vacation Mode, or other similar names such as “Holiday Mode”, “Time Away”, or “Pause Sales”. Vacation Mode-type functionality across ecommerce platforms typically allow you to pause your sales for that much needed time off. I’ve been researching how this is implemented across some of the most popular ecommerce platforms and I wanted to share what I learned.
In this article, we walk through my research that explores the nuances of Vacation Mode across three e-commerce giants: eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. We’ll delve deep into the functionalities and quirks of each platform’s feature, comparing their strengths and limitations.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how these platforms cater to your vacation needs and which one aligns best with your unique business requirements.
Shopify Magical Vacation Mode App
Only app of its kind on Shopify but lacks some features
Starts at $4.99/mo
Magical Vacation Mode Pros vs. Cons
|Magical Vacation Mode Pros||Magical Vacation Mode Cons|
|Convenient sales pausing|
POS & other sales channel still work
|Disables every product|
Doesn’t disable products already in customer’s cart
Magical Vacation Mode Overview
Magical Vacation Mode is the only true 3rd party app-based solution we could find on the Shopify App Store that allows merchants to pause sales. Shopify does have a native solution through their Pause and Build Plan but that option seems more appropriate for someone who needs a pause in order to work on building/rebuilding their store, hence the name of the plan.
Another way Shopify merchants pause their store is through password protecting their store to restrict customer access. However, this looks unprofessional and shows a lack in Shopify’s native functionality to provide a true solution to merchants.
Magical Vacation Mode is an app specifically designed to provide online store owners with a convenient way to temporarily disable purchasing options and put their online sales on hold. Whether you’re planning a vacation, need a break, or have some other reason to pause your sales, this app offers a range of features to help you manage this process effortlessly.
The primary function of the app is allowing you to disable buy buttons and other purchasing options on your online store. This prevents customers from placing orders while you’re away, ensuring that no transactions occur during your intended break.
Magical Vacation Mode allows merchants to hide product prices along with the Add to Cart button, which is not a function of Shopify’s Pause and Build Plan, eliminating customer confusion when coupled with a sitewide message from the merchant.
The app allows you to publish a sitewide message that informs your customers about the temporary closure of your online store. This message can communicate the reason for the pause in sales, such as a vacation or break, and provide relevant information about when you plan to resume normal operations. Merchants can also customize the banners to match their store’s theme and style.
Merchants are able to use other sales channels like POS while using Magical Vacation Mode, unlike merchants on Shopify’s Pause and Build Plan.
During the time your store is in vacation mode, the app provides a feature to collect email addresses from visitors who are interested in your products. This email collection serves a dual purpose: first, it allows you to notify customers when your store is back online and ready for sales, and second, it provides a potential opportunity for marketing and engagement with your audience. This is a functionality that would not be available for merchants on Shopify’s Pause and Build Plan.
The user-friendly user interface makes it effortless to transition between active selling and paused sales. Merchants can also set a start and end date for their time away so vacation mode is automated to allow sales at the pre-defined date.
You no longer have to password protect your store, or use Shopify’s Pause and Build plan that may leave your customers frustrated and confused. Magical Vacation is accessible to any Shopify store while the Pause and Build plan is also limited to stores on a paid plan that have been live for at least 60 days. The Pause and Build plan is also not available for Shopify Plus stores.
Magical Vacation Mode Reviews
With a 4.7 out of 5 star rating, Magical Vacation Mode is making users overjoyed that this option is finally available to them.
Customers consistently praise Magical Vacation Mode for its ease of use, its positive impact on maintaining shop visibility, and the exceptional level of customer support it provides. This reflects the app’s value to Shopify merchants seeking an effective solution for managing their online stores during vacations and breaks.
Pleased about the app’s ease of use, Stringading said, “Neat app, super handy, makes it really easy to put your shop in vacation mode while customers can still explore the shop.”
Fed up with Shopify’s native solutions, Vogelsang Aeroscale expressed their joy by saying, “What a blessing this milestone app is. For years I confused my customers by doing the only thing that Shopify allows you to do: Password protect your site. Most of my not so tech savvy customers hence believed that I went out of business….Thank you, Magical Apps!!!”
Loving their ability to keep their store visible, EGOpicks shared, “As a one-woman show, this app is a life-saver!! I wanted a way for people to still be able to browse through my website when I take an occasional break, but not be able to actually place orders. It’s a WAY better solution than putting a site into password protection mode.”
eBay Time Away
Customer notifications but limits on days Time Away can be used
|eBay Time Away Pros||eBay Time Away Cons|
|Flexibility for sellers|
Maintains listing history
Customer notification messaging
Inventory control – hide listings
Adjust handling times
|Limits on Time Away length|
Can impact store rating if not used properly
Still pay listing and subscription fees
eBay Time Away Overview
eBay allows its merchants the Time Away option to pause their sales for any period of time that they will be away. This is an option that is available through a merchant’s account settings under the Selling drop down menu where an ebay customer service article explains you can:
- Go to your Time Away settings.
- Select Schedule time away.
- Select Allow item sales or Pause item sales while on time away.
- Set a Start date and End date for your time away.
- To start your time away immediately, select today’s date.
- Select Apply.
eBay’s Time Away option allows merchants to set up an automated response to any customer that tries to reach them through eBay messages while they are away. eBay makes a point to notify merchants that they still have to fulfil any orders made before the start date of their time away.
Merchants also have to continue paying any listing-related fees and/or subscription fees they may have.
eBay allows merchants to continue item sales during their time away where customers are notified through a message at the top of listings that the merchant is away. The estimated delivery date for items gets automatically updated in the Shipping and Delivery section of a merchants listings so these changes don’t have to be made manually.
If customers had saved an item to their watchlist or cart before the merchant went away, the customer won’t be able to complete the purchase and will be notified that the merchant is not processing orders until a specified date.
Merchants should note that any of their fixed price listings will not be visible in search results during their time away.
eBay also sets a time limit for merchants using the Time Away option. Merchants can use the Time Away option for up to 15 days if they keep items up for sale, and up to 30 days if they decide to pause item sales. If you wish to continue using the option because your vacation exceeds these limits, you would manually have to disable and restart it. There are eBay merchants who are really upset by this limitation and you can read their responses on the eBay community forums.
There also seems to be some concern on the community forums over how using the Time Away function and still selling items can negatively impact your store rating.
According to a YouTube tutorial I found on the Time Away feature, this function can only be enabled through a computer and not the eBay app. This could especially be important for merchants who may be in a situation where they do not have access to their computer and they need to pause sales on their store.
Overall, this is a really good option for eBay merchants to either continue listing their items while away or completely pause any sales until they come back or choose to continue sales. Buyers are made aware of the merchant’s absence and the delivery dates are adjusted accordingly. For more details, please read this short article on the Time Away option by eBay’s customer service.
Etsy Vacation Mode
Saves listings but can harm store rankings
|Etsy Vacation Mode Pros||Etsy Vacation Mode Cons|
|Maintain store presence|
Notify customers with store message
|Cannot continue sales during vacation|
Can harm store ranking and traffic
Still pay listing fees
Etsy Vacation Mode Overview
- Sign in to your account and go to your Shop Manager.
- Select Settings.
- Choose Options.
- Select the Vacation Mode tab.
- Change the setting to On.
- Fill in a temporary shop announcement and Message auto-reply.
- Choose Save.
Etsy also allows an auto-reply option to notify any customers who try to reach out during the merchant’s time away.
Customers will not be able to see your listings if they visit your store, and if you have an Etsy Pattern site Vacation Mode will display an overlay of your vacation message that customers will not be able to click through.
With the Vacation Mode option, merchants can still issue refunds, cancel orders, and print Etsy shipping labels. Merchants still also pay listing fees, and subscription fees while the Vacation Mode option is enabled. Any item that is set for auto-renewal will also continue to be charged a renewal fee.
Merchants can make edits to their listings just like they can when their shop is not on vacation. Etsy also recommends saving any new listings as drafts so merchants are not charged a listing fee until they publish the listing once they return to normal operations.
Unlike eBay, it appears that merchants do not have the option to continue sales while their store is on Vacation Mode. Etsy also does not appear to provide the option for merchants to set the time frame they will be away so that Vacation Mode is automatically removed on the merchants return date. Vacation Mode would have to be turned off manually.
Some Etsy merchants have expressed concerns about Vacation Mode impacting their store traffic, rankings and sales. To see what they have to say, check out the Etsy community forums. You can also check out this YouTube video that talks about this issue and their recommendation on how to go on vacation mode on Etsy.
In my research of Vacation Mode across three e-commerce giants—eBay, Etsy, and Shopify—we’ve uncovered the diverse approaches these platforms take to cater to the needs of their sellers during well-deserved breaks.
Magical Vacation Mode is, without a doubt, a game-changer for Shopify entrepreneurs seeking similar functionality to eBay and Etsy. While all three platforms offer valuable features, Magical Vacation Mode shines on Shopify for several reasons.
Shopify merchants will appreciate the seamless integration of Magical Vacation Mode into their existing store setup. It’s user-friendly, allowing sellers to activate, customize, and deactivate vacation mode with ease. The control over message customization, search visibility, scheduling multiple vacations, and inventory management make it a robust tool for any seller.
Magical Vacation Mode understands the importance of maintaining open lines of communication with customers. The customizable message and email collection features ensure that buyers are informed and cared for even when the seller is away. This commitment to customer engagement sets it apart. While eBay and Etsy have automated messages for customers, they do not collect customer emails for a marketing campaign to inform them once the store is back from vacation.
Shopify’s native functionality is limiting for merchants, but this Shopify app also offers much more flexibility. Sellers can tailor their vacation settings to match their unique needs, from specifying start and end dates to deciding how their listings are displayed.
And with eBay, merchants would have to remember to disable and restart their vacation mode because of eBay limitations. Etsy merchants don’t have the ability to specify start and end dates and would have to manually remember disabling vacation mode.
In essence, the Magical Vacation Mode app for Shopify encapsulates the essence of what vacation mode should be—an empowering tool that gives merchants control, keeps customers engaged, and allows for a truly worry-free break.
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.