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Fri Apr 5 2019 16:37:32

No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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It's difficult for many online sellers to imagine taking a true vacation away from work - many small business owners must remain plugged in when travelling for work or pleasure. So imagine what it's like to hear about companies that provide employees with paid sabbaticals. 

In a recent story on the eBay corporate blog, eBay stated: "After five years of service with eBay, employees are eligible for four weeks of time off with pay. This sabbatical is intended to provide a break from the pace and intensity of work and allow employees the opportunity to recharge and pursue areas of interest."

Entrepreneur vs corporate debate aside, the post raises an important issue - now that eBay has shifted all listings to Good Til Cancelled (other than auction listings), there's an even greater need for sellers to be able to easily suspend their listings. However, as we've reported, its GTC "Out of Stock" feature, while providing some relief, is an all-or-nothing option that can result in eBay over-charging sellers in some cases.

The whole topic raises the issue of having backup plans in place - not only for planned time away, but in the case of emergencies. Do you have a "kill switch" to shut off all of your ecommerce and social marketing activities, or a person who would swoop in and take over for you?

Or have you built your ecommerce business to give you *greater* flexibility than if you worked for someone else? (If so, please share your secrets!) 

What tools do marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy provide to help you shift gears if an emergency arises or if you want to take a break from active selling? What do they do right, and what could ecommerce platforms do better to support online sellers?

Should online sellers get the same perks as marketplace employees?



Comments (31) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 5 17:47:51 2019

We take 2 months a year off. December and June. When the first of that month comes we unplug the computer and put it in the closet. Never give another look until the end of the month. Never will be tied so tightly to something that I have to check it every five minutes to see if we made a sale or not.

Next year we might even take three months off.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Apr 5 18:16:58 2019

Amazon had the option to disable listings.  eCrater has the option to click and click and click and click and click and click to hide listings.  eBay has nothing whatsoever except the high chance that their blackout periods overlap will any "vacations."

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 5 18:36:33 2019

Its pretty easy other places, I thought Ebay had a vacation setting and it hides your listings? or does that not work anymore





Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 5 19:03:03 2019

The 'vacation' setting only removes you from Ebay search... you can come back home to find people have purchased your listings via a Google search or a direct link, and are screaming bloody murder and leaving nasty feedback because they haven't been mailed or received.

Been there, done that. Never again.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 5 19:03:32 2019

Vacation settings for ebay are so easy. You can just go on vacation and let your listings run with the tinnie tiny wee printing on each listing that your will be gone until whatever date and there might be a delay in shipping. OR YOU CAN JUST PUT THE WHOLE THING ON VACATION and everything just disappears until you uncheck the vacation setting

I'm not sure what is so hard to put the listings on vacation either way. Just something to cry about.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Apr 5 19:34:20 2019

Sasikat has a store, so obviously nobody on eBay doesn't have a store.  Therefore, it's inconceivable to her that the vacation feature might not be available.  And if what hopeforthebest says is true, she doesn't even understand how it works.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Apr 5 19:44:07 2019

No vacation in 30 years.
Once you get robbed, you never go away again.
Ever.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Apr 5 19:52:32 2019

The site is so goofed up lately I wouldn't be surprised if the vacation setting only halfway worked.  Half the time I get a list of traditional listings, half the time I get Amazon style product pages.  Desktop, mobile view, Google search, all different subsets of what should be there.  They don't want you on vacation.  Sellers are there to be farmed on demand.  Like a part time job that won't give you full shifts or the same hours two days in a row.

You could bulk edit your handling time to the length of your vacation or maintain a second shadow account to relist cancelled listings.  That's the sort of stupidity you have to engage in on this braindead platform.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: ORDDFW This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 5 23:29:49 2019

I average one three-week trip out of the country every 8 months or so. I'm a clothing seller and drop all my inventory off at my photographer's house and she takes care of my shipping while I'm gone. I just have to make sure I have the measurements, etc. ready to go for 150 or so items for me to list while I'm on vacation just so I can keep feeding the beast and not have sales stagnate without new activity. So I'm not truly completely away from work, but it sure beats the days when I just put the store on vacation mode and saw my sales drop dramatically when I was gone.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Sat Apr 6 02:41:27 2019

If you have an eBay store, the vacation setting is available to you.  It can be set to allow purchases (also stating that the shipments won't be made until your return), or set to hide all your listings and prevent purchases.  They won't show in search, won't show in your store (it will appear empty), won't show at all, to my knowledge.  

I go on vacation for 2-4 weeks at a time a couple of times per year, and just close things down a day or two before.  What @hopeforthebest describes, I have not had happen, but suspect anything is possible with the great tech company known as eBay.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sat Apr 6 06:33:08 2019

My past experience with eBay vacation settings was mixed.  Sometimes it worked, and typical of eBay, many times they did not.

What is so amazing to me when I sold there was that eBay would regularly relegate your listings to invisibility, but when you wanted them to drop your listings out of search for vacation purposes, their system failed.

The incompetence of eBay is exceeded only by their arrogance.  

$1 million cash in small bills would not be enough payment to me to go back to selling on eBay.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Apr 6 07:55:57 2019

RKTOYS says "Sasikat has a store, so obviously nobody on eBay doesn't have a store."

Yes, this is that "if it doesn't affect me it must not exist or be an issue" thinking.  

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Sat Apr 6 10:45:25 2019

What Hopeforthebest likely failed to do is either change the handling time to match the vacation time, or if they do auctions, they will run, of course for the duration. But, you can still change the handling to to 10 or 20 days if you require.

We generally only go away for a week at a time. Since I have a store and mostly GTC's (now!), its just a couple of steps. Turn on the vacation message, Change your out of office message and change your handling time.

We usually get 6 or 7 sales during the period and I haven't had a problem with customers upset about the handling time. I am always able to stay in contact with my customers when we are away as well. (Not really a vacation, though)

But, I'm really starting to get tired these days, so I think the next one, I'll just shut everything down for 10 days.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 00:51:09 2019

Etsy has a vacation setting with an auto-responder for convos. Shoppers can sign up to be notified when the shop reopens.

Amazon Handmade has a vacation setting, however sellers are still required to respond to buyer messages within 24 hours. I would guess that this particular setting is site-wide, but I know that different departments on Amazon have different rules, settings, etc.

As for eBay, I only had a store for about 3 months a few years ago. I think there was a vacation setting, but don't think I had the opportunity to use it.  

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Apr 8 01:20:32 2019

I would love a week or two vacation. I haven't had one in 17 years and that includes going in for major surgery three times. I can't afford to turn my selling off as we need the money. I sell on Amazon and eCRATER. ECRATER has a button to put your store on hold and no stupid rules about answering all messages within 24 hours. However, currently, about 3/4 of our sales come through Amazon and they do not think that their sellers need breaks at times.

Ebay's policy of after 5 years of giving their workers a paid sabatical to rest and recharge is so silly. Those folks are getting paid by eBay sellers dollars. The same sellers that can't take time off! What wasn't clarified was if this 4-week sabbatical is another way of saying a vacation or do they get one of those as well? More of the eBay seller's hard earned dollars down the drain. I would be really frustrated if I still sold on there.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 01:40:43 2019

I think eBay's sabbatical program is in addition to regular vacation or PTO.

https://sstagingjobs.brassring.com/img/images_13746_195/html/b
enefits.html

https://careers.ebayinc.com/join-our-team/view-our-benefits/

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Mon Apr 8 01:43:25 2019

Anyone who can be gone for 4 weeks, is 100% expendable.  Simple as that. Their lowest-level employee (not counting their outsourced call center) probably pulls 100K if you add up the salary and benefits.  So they get paid 3 or 4 times the average seller, only to take an entire month off to brainstorm how to take even more money from the lowly peasants. Shouldn't success be shared?  Why do we want to be part of this?  

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: ORDDFW This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 03:46:12 2019

DeathFromAbove, if $100k is 3 or 4 times what the average seller makes, then what does that seller need a vacation from? It's little more than a part-time gig or a hobby at that level.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 05:37:34 2019

wow - $100K per year? How stupid am I? I need to work for eBay - oh wait I already do. Every stinking day. BUT I gotta admit that with GTC I am now getting some well deserved rest. Thank you eBay. That said I can't be the only seller who's sales are in the tank am I? I've found the end result of this newest money grab from the peasants has resulted in no money coming in on eBay. Hope those eBay employess have enjoyed the free ride on the backs of the hardest working sellers on the planet. What to do what to do. Well I'm actually working elsewhere now. Ordered brand new business cards with a bigger discount than eBay - hope all those buyers who've gotten my cards kept them. Looking REAL hard at other venues which I have never done. Taking naps (what a concept). eBay you took away my motivation to keep plugging away at it 18 hours a day (Nice move) If there is a "Big" picture I sure as hell can't figure it out.

Oh I am still working kinda - 2x's per day I go in and look at my unsold to delete everything now that got under 5 views. I'm almost down to 500 from 1,000. Pretty sure I'm downgrading to Basic when the opportunity arrives. Already closed that other loser 2nd store entirely eliminating all that bothersome work.

Can't wait for the 1st quarter report - no wait 2nd is really gonna be interesting.

Glad I'm not sitting on the BOD - I shudder to think about being cohorts with such stupid people. This is the end result of having too much unearned money handed to you. Thank goodness I don't need to worry about that.

Perminate Link for No Sabbatical for Online Sellers   No Sabbatical for Online Sellers

by: rover This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 06:10:19 2019

I routinely take 3 vacations a year - a month each in April and August and 3 weeks over Christmas. I use the ''vacation'' settings to hide or disable all my listings on the various platforms where I trade.

However I do check email every day or so in case of customer queries. Then if someone has an issue or wants to buy something I can direct their attention to the fact that I am away from the computer. Generally I have found customers very understanding.

I usually take off my vacation settings about a week before I return so I have sales to come back to. Again I communicate with potential buyers about my delayed shipping. In most cases the answer is communication and keeping potential buyers in the loop. But of course this only works for small sellers.

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