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Can marketplace sellers really go on holiday?

By Chris Dawson July 13, 2015 - 6:30 pm

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?

  • Ian A
    2 years ago

    99p auctions. That’s how to kick start it. I’ve had a great few days of buy it now sales after a week of 99p auctions on some
    unique items that I wanted to move on.

    I had 2.5 weeks of in June abroad, and now I’m working my backside off to try make up the lost income. I’m lucky I have physical cabinets at managed retro/antique centres so I’ve had some income from them but being self employed is hard sometimes! I just turned the shop off while I was away, its not worth the stress or the risk of a negative numpty.

  • 2 years ago

    “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).”

    So unless you find someone else to monitor messages, Amazon sellers cannot escape fully, especially to remote non mobile reception places, not even on on xmas or new yrs day.

    now the “after 2 day” late posting metrics are integrated, low feedback / low sales… its very easy to have your metrics hammered quickly

  • 2 years ago

    I normally shut up shop in november ad open the followkng April to avoid going over the dreaded vat limit, no problem getting sales going again like the earlier poster said kick off with 99p auctins for ebay and aggressive pricing to get the buy buttons on amazon. Roll on Tenerife

    • Kieran
      2 years ago

      I understand that everyone is different, every business is different and every business sells different products BUT i still struggle to understand the logic of shutting down November to April as for most retailers this is the busiest time of the year, and regarding the VAT, this again seems like an odd choice unless you are very sure that your sales for what is generally the businest half of the year is only just going to break the barrier of VAT. I would like to believe that during the busiest 6 months of the year many companies can do sufficent sales to pay VAT and still make more profits overall than if they limit thier potential by strictly selling up to the VAT limit.

      The VAT limit is £82K i believe currently and VAT on that is £13666.00, i am assuming that turnover for 6 months is 82K or just under.

      If you are shut 6 months of the year then a basic assumption is that you are turning away at least another 82K of sales, but likely more as typically many businesses do better at the latter part of the year, so what i do not get is how £82K plus is not enough sales to cover VAT and provide a further profit to the business rather than staying under the VAT limit and closting for 6 months. There are many variables and differences between businesses but generally speaking i would think that doubling turnover from £82K to £164K should allow a business to pay VAT and still be better off overall, you also get to claim back VAT on purchases.

      It might be that a business might not do much more than the VAT limit in turnover, in which case breaking the VAT threshold might not make sense, as you would land yourself with a VAT bill for all future sales, but it is certainly a method of limiting a businesses potential if you are closed for half a year or limiting growth to the VAT limit.

    • 2 years ago

      Next Month I am 65 years old. Many pensioners go on extended holiday to such as Spain to get away from our long cold Winter. Perhaps this might be a reason for older ebay Traders to close down over the Winter and to re-open in April. VAT is given as the excuse and maybe this policy started a few years ago but was found to allow the Trader to go away over the colder parts of the year. Just an idea.

    • tinker
      2 years ago

      they will be buggered in iceland then? 12 months colder parts of the year

    • 2 years ago

      Not certain where Icelanders go in Winter. But don’t I remember something about energy being relatively cheap in Iceland because they have so much Volvanic Hot Water much of which has been harnessed to power Power Stations. So its possible that Icelanders just stay at home and glow.

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