Sometimes we have to take a break from our businesses too such as online selling in order to do some other things in life. I am here to share with you guys some tips on how to take a break from online selling without losing customers.
In my personal online selling journey, I have taken multiple breaks due to various reasons. And since I’m a one-man team, whenever I take a break, I have to put on hold my online selling activities.
Of course, if you have a staff or two, then you can take a break without worrying that much. But most small online selling businesses that I know are just one-man teams just like I am and taking a break can be a bit tricky.
Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash
Why Did I Take Some Break from Online Selling
One of the advantages of being your own boss is that you can always take a break anytime without asking permission from someone else. The tricky part though is, you have to think of its effect on your business and as much as possible, you would want to minimize the negative side-effects especially if it’s a very long break.
In the past, I have taken some breaks in order to:
- Buy new inventories outside of my town (Still related to online selling though)
- Personal Travel/Holiday
- Family gatherings/activities
- Build new projects
If you have noticed, one of the reasons why I took a break is still related to online selling. As I have mentioned, I am a one-man team and prior to the pandemic, I travel to other places to find new merchandise to sell. And in doing so, I couldn’t attend to all the online messages that I get from prospective buyers since I’m out of town.
How to Take a Break from Online Selling without Losing Customers
I’ll be dividing this into three segments, Before, During, and After your break.
Before Taking a Break
Once I have confirmed the days of my break, I will do the following in order to minimize the impact of my break on my customers:
Schedule my Time Away on eBay
eBay has a setting called Scheduled Time Away that you can use to inform customers that you’re away automatically whenever they message you.
You can choose to either Allow Item Sales or Pause Items Sales. If you choose the first option, you can set your Time Away for 15 days. If you choose the latter option, then you can set your time away for as long as 30 days.
You can read more about eBay Time Away on this link.
Update My Social Media and Carousell Profile
I will put on my Instagram and Carousell profile the dates that I will not be able to accept orders and the date of my return. I usually do this a week before my break starts.
I will also put the date when I will be accepting the last orders.
Put on Hold New Listings
Personally, I put on hold new listings a week prior to my break. This is to minimize the messages that I will get. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I do this to minimize possible dissatisfaction from customers when I send them a message that I can’t attend to their orders at the time being.
During the Scheduled Break
Respond to Customers within the Day
Unfortunately, I don’t know if Carousell has a setting of ‘Scheduled Time Away’ like eBay. So normally, during my scheduled breaks, I only get messages from Carousell and Instagram customers.
Whatever I am doing during the break, I always make sure that I respond to all messages that I get within the day. Usually, I do this late in the afternoon until nighttime.
I inform them that I’m out of town and wouldn’t be able to attend to their orders until the day I come back. And also, to ensure that I still get to sell, I also tell them that I can reserve the item for them.
Some customers do prefer to pay right away or pay a few days before I return so I can ship their items the day or two after I get back from my trips.
Some customers do cancel since they need the item urgently. In cases like this, I still thank them for inquiring.
After the Scheduled Break
Contact Customers who Placed Orders During the Break
The first thing I do as soon as I get back is to contact the customers who placed orders during my break to confirm if they will proceed with their orders.
For those who have placed orders and paid already during my break, I will then ship their items the day I get back and send them the tracking number as soon as it becomes available.
Update Online Selling Accounts
As soon as I get back, I also update my Instagram and Carousell profile to remove the scheduled time away details that I put on there prior to my break.
Resume to Normal Operations
I also start posting usually a day or two once I get back. This is to encourage the online selling algorithm to show my merchandise to their app users.
Some Additional Tips
Here are some additional tips if you’re planning to take a break from online selling:
1. To maximize my productivity, I schedule my personal holiday alongside my trips to shop for new merchandise. This does not only saves me time but it also saves me money.
2. If the break is only 1 – 3 days just to attend a family gathering/activity out of town, then I don’t change my profile settings anymore. I just send them a message regarding a possible change with the shipping schedule. For example, my shipping schedule is usually on Saturdays. If a family gathering/activity is scheduled on a weekend, then I will just inform the customers that I will be able to ship their items on Monday or Tuesday.
3. Some customers are insistent even if you already have informed them of your schedule. Regarding these cases, I just thank them for inquiring, apologize for my inability to accept and ship their orders at those times, and sometimes, I do even suggest for them to try buying from other online sellers that may have a similar item on their inventories.
Taking a break is important regardless if you’re an online seller or not. This is the time when we expose ourselves to new experiences in life by traveling to other places. You can also use this time to be with your family and friends or to just spend some time on your own to rejuvenate and relieve the stresses of the past few weeks/months.
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