What Happens If You Deactivate A Listing On Etsy?

If you’re an Etsy seller, you might have wondered what happens when you deactivate a listing, vs, deleting it or just letting it sell out and not renewing it. There are subtle differences that may or may not matter, mostly depending on whether you have a website in addition to an Etsy shop or not.

So what does deactivating an Etsy listing really accomplish?

Deactivating an Etsy listing removes it from the active listings that show in your shop, but it doesn’t remove it from the Etsy system. Customers who find the listing through a social media post or a review will still be able to click the link, but a notification that the item is unavailable will show instead of the listing details.

There are also other things that you need to keep in mind when you deactivate a listing, so read on for those tips.


For a quick explanation of how to deactivate an Etsy listing, click here: How to manage your Etsy listings


Table of Contents

What does deactivating an Etsy listing do to it?

When you deactivate an Etsy listing, you’re basically taking it out of circulation temporarily. It will still be in your listings manager and you can go back and reactivate it when you’re ready to later.

It will keep the sales history with it, so when you do reactivate it all of the favorites and sales stats will still be there.

Deactivating doesn’t pause the 4-month listing period that the listing is on, so when that time runs out you’ll have to pay to renew it. If you reactivate it before the 4-month listing period has passed, you won’t have to pay another listing fee, you’ll still have the rest of the time on the clock for it.

The listing won’t be changed by deactivating it, so if you just need to take it out of your shop temporarily, deactivating won’t hurt its stats or history.


Can people see inactive listings?

Customers will still be able to see your deactivated listings if they find them through reviews, social media posts, or favorited items on Etsy. They won’t show up in your shop, though, so they won’t be included in things that are for sale, and nobody will be able to buy them.

Etsy review for a deactivated listing
Deactivated listings still show up in reviews and other places.

This silver fake cake is an inactive listing in my shop, but since it was sold before, there’s a review for it in my shop.

People could still find the listing by seeing the review for it, but when they click on the listing there’s nowhere to go since it’s not an active listing in my shop and they won’t be able to buy it.

Customers can also see the listing if it was favorited by someone while it was active, or if there was a social media post about it. Those links won’t take them to an active listing that they can purchase, though.


If someone clicks on a link to an Etsy listing that’s not active, they’ll see a message that says that the listing isn’t available. They’ll also see a bunch of similar listings that they might want to buy instead.

Clicking on a deactivated listing.

This is a dead-end for your shop, because this message doesn’t give customers a way to contact you. They can go back to the place where they found the listing to send you a message, but there’s no direct way on that message page to contact you to ask about the product.

This is fine if you don’t want to sell the item, or if you can’t make it anymore, but if you plan to reactivate the listing at some point it can be bad to have people sent to other listings. There’s not a lot that you can do about it, though.

The one time that this can be really bad for you is if you sell on both Etsy and a website and you want to deactivate listings to get people to buy from your website instead.

If people come to your listing from links on social media, that could prevent them from finding your website.

The best thing to do in this case is to hunt down all of the social media links for things you’ve deactivated and totally delete them. Only do that if you definitely don’t want to reactivate the listing to sell it on Etsy, though!



How does deactivating a listing affect the listing quality score?

When you deactivate a listing on Etsy, it loses the part of the listing quality score that involves activity on the listing. This includes favorites, sales, clicks to the listing from search, and having it added to the cart. Because of the lack of activity, the listing quality score is going to die down over time.

A listing that you deactivated more than a few weeks prior might have enough of a dip in the listing quality that it’s noticeable when you reactivate it.

It might not show up as high in search results, and it might not get as much activity right away.

picture of an etsy listing with the deactivate button highlighted
Deactivate button on an Etsy listing

To get it back into a groove, you might have to promote it on social media, run ads to it, or run a sale on it to get some activity started.

If it was only deactivated for a short time this isn’t going to be a problem, but you should pay attention to listings that you reactivate if you want them to get back to where they were when you took them out of circulation.

It might be worth making a copy of the listing and publishing that instead of reactivating the older one. That will force Etsy to test the new listing out by showing it to customers to see what kind of reaction it gets.

If you want to do both, reactivate and make a copy, that can be the best bet. Wait to see which listing gets the most activity or sells first, then deactivate the other one.

Once you get a sale on the listing, it will be back in Etsy’s good graces, and it will get better search placement.


Deactivating a listing doesn’t have to hurt it, but long-term deactivations might. Pay attention when you activate listings and adjust accordingly!

Kara

Kara Buntin has run a home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 46,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO.

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