Can marketplace sellers really go on holiday?

BeachWith the summer holidays fast approaching it’s reasonable to expect many small businesses to close down for a few days while those that run the businesses enjoy a few well deserved days off. What’s the best approach however? One Tamebay reader tells us what went wrong with their strategy at Easter with a warning to other sellers not to do the same.

Our reader tells us that they have been suffering from a drop off in sales since April. No matter what they have done they’ve been unable get sales to increase. They’re an experienced eBay seller so know all the normal tricks like checking listings are still up to date with great images, item specifics completed and checking they’re in the correct category etc.

However they turned to eBay for help today who told them that because they went away on holiday at Easter and instead of closing their shop down they pushed out the despatch time to 5 days, then counted down each day. This tactic of offering slower shipping has a negative affect on their Best Match placement for the past three months.

Having just passed the 3 month phase 2 days ago sales are starting to rise again so it would appear that it’s the Easter holiday period that is the culprit. Any sales which were impacted by the slower shipping and Easter holiday break are now outside the period that the seller is assessed on.

With the holidays coming up fast it would appear that the best advice is to close your eBay shop if you don’t have the staff to man the warehouse and keep shipments going out while you’re away. Whilst it might be tempting to try and retain income streams it’s better to have a week with no sale than suffer a slow down for the next three months.

When I was a full time seller on eBay I used to stop selling around a week before I went away, but would put auctions live to run for seven days ending the day before I returned and schedule fixed price listings to go live two days before my return. That meant there was time to get payments in and sales shipped before I went away but ensured I have more orders ready to ship (and money in PayPal!) for when I returned.

Amazon do of course make things easier – if you have stock in FBA you can quite happily go away for a week or more without a care in the world knowing that Amazon will take care of shipping orders on your behalf. All you need do is make sure you monitor any messages and respond within 24 hours (or find someone to do it on your behalf).

What are your top tips for going on holiday as a small business owner? Do you have the staff to run the business in your absence, or does a holiday mean shutting down your eBay and Amazon businesses while you’re away?