ShopSite Tip – 4 Ways To Put Your Store Into “Vacation Mode”

It may be a difficult process for an ecommerce business owner to find the time to take a vacation, but when they do they need a plan for their online store.

In this article we’ll take a look at 4 different ways you can put your store into a “Vacation Mode”:

No Payment Options

If you want to stop customers from placing orders while you’re on vacation, one simple option is to disable all payment options and add a message to your shopping cart page explaining when you will be shipping again and why there are no payment options. In the ShopSite admin system, you can turn off your payment options under Commerce Setup > Payment.

  • TIP: Before you turn off your payment options, make a note of which options you have turned on.  Some merchants use a combination of payment options, many of which look similar, so you don’t want to forget which ones to turn back on when you come back.

To let your customers know why there are no payment options, you can post a message on the cart and checkout pages.  Besides modifying your shopping cart template, there are a few fields in the ShopSite backoffice that you can use to do this:

  • Commerce Setup > Order System > Shopping Cart > Text at the top of the Shopping Cart screen
  • Commerce Setup > Order System > Checkout > Text at the top of the Checkout screen
  • Commerce Setup > Order System > Confirmation > Text at the top of the Confirmation screen
  • Commerce Setup > Order System > Thank You > Text at the top of the Thank You screen

A benefit to this option is your customers (and search engines) can still see your website and all your products, but the drawback is they will need to come back to your store later to place their order.

Going Offline

Another option, which wouldn’t be recommended but some people prefer it, is to completely disable the store with a redirect.  With this option you put a temporary home page online explaining why your store is offline.  The drawback of this method is no one can see your products and if search engines index your website during this time they may drop your pages from their database since all they will see is the temporary home page.

Use this option with extreme caution, as your search engine rankings may be negatively affected.

Disabling Checkout

A simple option that allows you keep all your pages active but still stop people from completing their order is to disable the checkout button on your shopping cart page.  This can be done by adding the following code to the “Javascript added at start of built-in CheckIt function” field under Commerce Setup > Order System > Shopping Cart:

if (button == "8") {
 alert ("Vacation message goes here...");
 return false;
  • Note: This method does not stop a customer from using Google Checkout or PayPal Express since those buttons also appear on the checkout page and bypass the default checkout process.  You would need to disable those payment options to stop people from checking out with one of them.

This code will display the message shown on the “alert” line to your customers when they click Checkout and the store will not allow them to continue with the checkout process.

  • TIP: With the “Keep unfinished shopping carts” field on the Commerce Setup > Order System > Shopping Cart page you can set how long a customer’s shopping cart is stored.  You could increase this value to be longer then how long you will be on vacation and let people know in your alert message that their cart will be saved and when they can come back to easily complete their order .

Business As Usual – Almost

The option with the least impact for your customers (and search engines) would be to take orders as usual but post a blatantly obvious message explaining that you are closed for vacation.  Be sure to detail in the message when orders will ship and make the message stand out so people easily notice it.

The main benefit to this option is your customers place orders as they usually do without having to come back later.  Search engines  can also visit your store and all your pages will be visible so there is no risk in losing rankings.  The only drawback – is you come back from vacation with a pile of orders to ship.  But I think we can consider a pile of orders to be a good thing!

As you can see there are multiple ways to put your store into Vacation mode, and while there is always a chance a customer may decide to order from someone else during this time – making it clear when you will ship again and minimizing the confusion and work for your customers will help insure they will continue coming back long after you return.

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  1. Steve G says:

    So sorry I missed this one when it was first posted.. I have a 4th option that is even better..

    Post a clear message something like

    “We are taking a much needed vacation are going to be unable to fill orders for x days, however, here is a coupon code for “Free Shipping” for every order placed while we are away.. Your order will be shipped as soon as possible when we return. Thank you for your understanding.”

    I have seen sales actually go UP because of this..

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