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What’s your holiday advice for fellow online retailers?

By Dan Wilson July 9, 2016 - 1:24 am

It’s a challenge that faces any small business. How do you run an enterprise and also get a holiday as well? And for many ecommerce sellers, the problems are amplified. Especially if you run as a one person band, or perhaps as a couple, it can sometimes seem near impossible to get a well-deserved break.

(Of course, the wags among you will ask: “what’s a holiday?”)

It’s not that easy to shut down your operation
Of course, you can switch on your eBay or Amazon holiday settings but such systems are not fool proof and a temporary hiatus very likely damages your standing in search and means your sales may well be sluggish when you return. And who can take a cut on income for a few weeks anyway?

Do you trust someone to take the reins for a few weeks?
If you’re in a fortunate position you will have someone who knows how your business works and is competent and willing to take over the day to day running of operations. You need to be confident that they under stand the importance of keeping up to your standards. But I suspect, especially with smaller outfits, that thus us a hard person to find.

Can you run your business remotely?
Admittedly, this does spoil some of the fun of a holiday, but can you use modern tech and communication to run your business remotely? You can administer your sales and customer support emails on an iPad beside the pool. Then someone back home can do the despatching or you could engage a fulfilment firm for the duration of your break.

You likely have brighter ideas. What are your bright ideas about taking a well deserved break?

  • Darren
    11 months ago

    The first piece of advice is simple – you must find a way to be able to have a Holiday at least once a year! Otherwise surely what is the point.

    I’m just a one man band and simply close for 1 week, I take our quietest month of the year to book the Holiday and do spend 30-60 minutes on a morning checking the laptop for emails and messages. However, I put a message on the website with a discount code if people are willing to wait for delivery and I put Ebay and Amazon in Holiday mode.

    The other thing I do is try and get the days correct so that I can switch Ebay & Amazon back on the day before we fly back home meaning we have orders ready to go on the first day back. Remove Expedited delivery options from Amazon until the day you are back.

    It is not perfect, but has worked for the last couple of years whilst I have not had any staff to leave running the business. In the industry I am in most people want their products for the weekend, so arriving back say on a Tuesday means you can take orders as normally all over the weekend too.

    • 11 months ago

      Your killer point is about holidays. They’re a good thing. There is not much point otherwise. :o)

  • tinker
    11 months ago

    if your in charge of a business
    holidays are simply making decisions and dealing with situations
    from a different place in a different way

  • Bryn
    11 months ago

    FBA makes it less painful. I now take frequent holidays and sign in every day to keep things ticking over when away. Usually early evening with a couple of pints!

  • 11 months ago

    I take a similar approach to Darren, albeit probably a bit more cavalier.

    I put all of our selling platforms on vacation mode a day or two ahead of my departure and set the reactivation date a day or two after I return.

    I don’t check emails or messages whilst I’m away – I’m on holiday! Nobody will die because of this and the customers who shout and stamp their feet because their non-essential purchase is going to take a few days to arrive isn’t the sort we want anyway.

    • Terry
      11 months ago

      I think that sums it up very nicely indeed !

  • glenn
    11 months ago

    i use a combination of alwills and bryn above , holidaymode and use amazon FBA and spend 30 minutes in a hotel lobby on a ipad checking messages everyday which is normally ebay customers saying they havent recieved there item
    i book my holiday so i arrive back on a saturday , i then turn my ebay back on the day b4 i arrive so i have some sales to do on the sunday for mondays post
    i have even done short 4 days trips to europe friday – monday just to work round ebay/amazon

  • 11 months ago

    Surely there is a far easier way to get time off. I live in a small Village in Rural Cornwall. If nothing much is happening on ebay (fairly typical as ebay is and has been so slow for many months) and the Sun is Shining I take the rest of the day off. If ebay is busy(a very very rare occasion) then I stay at work.

    So the answer must be to move from some grotty Industrial Estate or Spare Bedroom in some dull rundown inland town or City like Cambridge and move your whole enterprise to a pleasant place to live such as Cornwall.

    After all if you book a holiday and you are hundreds of miles from home and it is raining you are stuck with it. If however you live in a lovely part of the Country and you decide that you are going to take Tuesday Off and it rains it does not really matter you just take Wednesday off instead and stay at work Tuesday.

    • 11 months ago

      Oh Chris I like your style.

  • Richard
    11 months ago

    Three weeks off in August for me.

    There’s a notice on my website two weeks before I go. Everyone on my mailing list is given opportunity to buy beforehand. I have a couple of people who buy off me to sell on ebay (I don’t bother anymore). They are offered the chance to stock up at a healthy discount.

    The website stays open. There are warnings at every stage of the buying process.

    I used to close the website completely but have left it open for the last three years. I’m amazed at how many people are happy to buy goods and wait three weeks for a delivery.

    As others have said. You’ve got to have a holiday, otherwise what’s the point?

    • 10 months ago

      It depends, though. If you have your own website then that’s fine but if you sell through third party marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, waiting weeks before fulfilling orders can really fudge up your account :(

  • SAM
    11 months ago

    I used to have to shut down totally every single time. I switch of eBay store, Webstore, goes into maintenance mode, and any other site I use like GAME are turned off. I did however this year take a Laptop with me made sure I had an internet connection and made sure I made some money from FBA, and deal with anything else.
    One of the reasons I went into business for myself, is to be able to take time for myself and family before we were getting nothing, always having to work around others. Am also super fit as I work my own hours and go running when I want like in about 20 mins when the red van is gone.
    Ok get no holiday pay but it is worth it at least I look forward to going back to work now.
    I take NO time of from 1st Oct till 25th Dec however.

  • 11 months ago

    When you run your own business it can be hard peeling yourself away for a much needed break, but it’s necessary for your own well-being!
    Smaller businesses with relatively small order volumes can likely afford shut shop for a week or so with minimal impact, but larger sellers who do not experience summer sales dips may want to look at outsourcing fulfilment to a third party to ensure service remains uninterrupted.
    Using a fulfilment provider not only means that orders can be picked, packed and despatched on your behalf, but the process itself is highly automated – you need not lift a finger.
    For those anxious to check in, the best fulfilment providers use cloud-based systems accessible from anywhere in the world.