As an Amazon business owner, your schedule operates on a different timetable than most. You’re busiest during traditional holiday seasons when others are off and have spare time when they have to get back to the grindstone. And because it’s important to take time off for yourself and get a break from things, you’ll have to schedule that into Amazon to keep things running while you’re away. Learn how with FeedbackExpress.

What Does Vacation Mode Mean on Amazon?

In a nutshell, it pauses your account by inactivating your listings for a set period of time. This prevents buyers from purchasing from you and not getting their orders fulfilled, as well as prevents your inventory from running out. In turn, you won’t get negative feedback from buyers, which can really harm the health of your account.

Vacation mode is a much softer way of handling things than closing up shop altogether, as you can simply restart things when you get back instead of having to take on the much more onerous process of opening from scratch again. Think of it like locking your phone versus turning it off. In both cases, you can’t use it, but locking it means opening it up faster and easier (while still having some processes running), while turning it off stops all processes and saves more battery but also means waiting longer for everything to boot up again.

As for setting it up, there are different ways of going about it, depending on whether you use FBA or FBM.

  • Fulfilled By Amazon: Because Amazon takes care of the whole shipment process, you can keep your listings active and they’ll take care of your orders for you. However, a big caveat is you won’t be totally hands-off, as you’ll still have to check in periodically to keep track of account health and performance, respond to buyers’ messages, and make sure inventory management is where it needs to be.
  • Fulfillment By Merchant: This option inactivates your listings so that they won’t appear on Amazon. Your listings will still be there, they’ll just be temporarily inaccessible. A head’s up, though, that Amazon can take up to 36 hours to temporarily take your listings off their site, so factor that time into your vacation. When it comes to reactivating them, you can do them from your Seller Central account.

Vacation Mode Sounds Great, But…

Because you’re running your own business, you don’t necessarily have coworkers to step in and cover you while you’re away. You might if you’re big enough and have staff trained in your areas of expertise, but it doesn’t always include all sellers. If that’s the case, here are some of the downsides you could face:

  • To avoid a sharp drop in sales, you’ll have to be super on top of planning your vacation around everyone else’s holidays. Thinking of taking time off around Christmas? You could be losing out on a ton of sales. Is a family member getting married on Prime Day? Yup, more sales to lose out on.
  • You’ll still have to pay Amazon fees while your account is on vacation mode, but you might not have the sales coming in to counterbalance those costs. You might if you use FBA and let inventory management software keep your ordering cycle going, but it’s no guarantee. Even then, you’re still paying for your account to be kept open.
  • If your listings aren’t active, it means they’re not visible to shoppers. And if the supply-demand cycle tilts in their favour, they’ll simply take their business to merchants/listings that are active and visible. It’s also possible that you could lose existing customers (like those with repeat or subscription purchases) because they won’t be able to access your listings while you’re gone.

However, all of those potential downsides can be remedied with some foresight and planning. You don’t have to spend all day glued to your phone or computer while you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself, but you should briefly check in once or twice a day to stay on top of customer questions and reviews, especially the negative reviews.

Another thing to keep in mind is to log into your Amazon account on the same device every time. There’s a quirky clause in Amazon’s Terms of Service that says sellers can’t use the same IP address —  doing so could lead to account suspension. You can always email Amazon at seller-performance@amazon.com to let them know ahead of time that you’ll be logging in on a different device so alarm bells don’t go off at their end.

And lastly, take care of any pending orders or unresolved customer issues before you leave. Buyers don’t want to be left hanging while you’re off sunning yourself in the Bahamas, so tie up loose ends before you pack your bags.

Final Thoughts

If you decide to use FBA while on vacation mode, then getting customer feedback should also be something to maintain in your absence as well. However, this can be pokey-slow and frustrating at the best of times, two qualities that can harsh the mellow of any vacation. To avoid this pitfall, use FeedbackExpress to automate the process for you so you can Instagram your fun without worrying about falling behind on reviews. Plus, when you sign up now you’ll start with a 30-day free trial, putting more money in your pocket you can spend on souvenirs and drinks while you’re away.

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Related: Managing Your Amazon Business When on Holiday