Flash sales have the ability to make us open our wallets in a hurry and buy things. And you know what? They’re pretty effective.
When a time-limited offer appears before us, the fear of missing out kicks in. “I’m saving half the price!” you tell yourself. If there ever was a perfect time to buy that television, it’s now.
By offering customers something similar in the form of significant discounts that trigger impulsive buying, flash sales typically result in a whopping 35% increase in transaction rates. When executed with careful planning, they become a highly effective marketing strategy.
In this article, I’ll be touching on some key concepts of flash sales, and also guiding you on how to plan and execute a successful campaign.
What Is A Flash Sale
Flash sales are discounts or promotions placed on products in your store for a certain amount of time. Putting discounts on products is one of the oldest and most effective e-commerce business strategies.
Even though it is short term, flash sales can do wonders for brand awareness because your customers are not only enjoying discounted offers but are also getting introduced to the products your store sells and the uniqueness of your brand.
If you ever want to quickly set out your products maybe due to excess stock, or stock that has spent a long time on the shelves or you want to increase your store’s visibility, a flash sale is the way to go.
For instance, let’s say you are a fashion-based store that sells clothing, shoes, and other apparel. Now a new line of clothing just got released for the new season, you can clear out your stock of clothing from the last season with a big flash sale event.
A lot of customers who are not able to afford newly released products tend to patiently wait for discounts and promotions like this.
Some customers will also make impulse buys due to fear of missing out on such offers. These set of customers are usually your target audiences in flash sales.
Your goals for running a promotion such as a flash sale are to gain new customers, build customer retention and loyalty, increase brand visibility, and make profits on products that are not selling well.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the most well-known online flash sales you can use to publicize your discounts.
Online businesses that ran the Black Friday/Cyber Monday flash sale events reported amazing sales numbers of $14.04 Billion and $10.7 Billion respectively.
8 Tips To Run A Successful Flash Sale
1.Set Clear Goals For The Flash Sale
What do you want to achieve at the end of the flash sale? Before starting any plans, you first need to answer this question There is a lot you can achieve with a flash sale, you could:
- Clear out your store for newer products
- Attract new buyers to the store
- Build customer loyalty and retention by providing offers exclusive to existing customers
- Improve brand awareness and visibility
- Win back inactive customers
- Acquire customer information and build an email subscriber list
- Pre-attraction for launching a new product
Knowing what you want to accomplish from a flash sale will help you determine your strategy for marketing, the amount of discounts you will be offering, and who your target audience for the sale will be.
2. Set The Duration Of The Flash Sale
While there may be no rules or best practices guiding the timing and duration of flash sale events, by properly analysing your customers and the product you want to discount, you can figure it out.
To figure out when to do it, ask yourself questions like:
- At what time of the day are people active in your store?
- When do your subscribers open your emails the most?
You can easily track these using a tool like Google Analytics which integrates with your website and emails and keeps track of metrics like these. Once you know this, you can schedule your flash sale for when traffic is high
Now, for the duration. How long should a flash sale last?
One thing traditional physical stores have taught us about customers is that they are willing to go to the extreme just to get a great deal with some going as far as camping over the night outside shops just to be first in line for a product on sale.
The reason this happens is the short amount of time placed on the discount for the products. Flash sales work best when you can create a sense of urgency and/or a fear of missing out on a great deal in your customers.
What does this teach you? Your flash sale events should be short and sweet.
In a study conducted by Experian, a finance and investment-based company, it was discovered that email open rates rose 59% higher than normal during 3-hour-long flash sales.
This means that the sweet spot is around 3 hours although, depending on the amount of products you are selling, you could expand it to around 12-24 hours but anything after will not yield profitable results.
The shorter the sale, the better. A short sale creates a sense of urgency and motivates people to act immediately. Most flash sales last between two and 36 hours.
3.Select The Products You Will Be Discounting
The goals you set for your flash sale event will determine which products will be featured.
If you own a store that carries a huge amount of products and are looking to just offload the items that are not selling or are not well-liked by customers you will have to first identify the problems your customers find in it.
Then you can use the discounted price to convince the customers that you heard their complaints and because of that, you will be selling at a discounted price.
You could also sell it as an extra addition when a customer buys another product for just a little increase in price.
If your goal is to attract new paying customers you may need to put out popular and trendy products that are sure to catch the eye of new customers. You could make this more special by marketing it as a special sale that only new customers can get through emails.
If it is for building loyalty in customers or reviving inactive customers, provide and push the discounts to a particular segment who have shown previous interest.
The products can either be slow-moving products or fast-selling ones. The goal for this is to show your customers they are important to you.
4.Keep An Eye On Your Inventory
As your flash sale event is going on, ensure you keep a close watch on your inventory. Flash sale items tend to usually sell out faster than anticipated.
Imagine a customer getting all hyped up from your marketing, only to discover that the product they’re eager to buy is sold out. That would probably bum them out.
Once the product is exhausted, inform your customers on the various communications channels or even stop the flash sales if that is the only product on sale.
Working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company can make things easier. They are usually equipped with inventory management tools that will be crucial for ensuring you have the right amount of stock.
Running out of discounted products too soon can result in a negative customer experience.
Choose a logistics partner like Globallyfulfill, which provides real-time visibility into your inventory levels.
This tool allows you to monitor available stock in fulfillment centers, giving you timely notifications when inventory is low or requires replenishment. This straightforward approach ensures your flash sale is well-prepared for success.
5.Use Effective Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve finalized your flash sale plan, it’s time to kickstart the marketing part.If flash sales are new to you, creating a buzz well in advance is crucial.
The goal is to build anticipation so that when the flash sale kicks off, your customers are not just ready but eager to dive into the shopping spree.
1.Email Marketing: You can send a series of flash sale emails once your event begins to create a sense of urgency. Flash sale emails boast high open rates as customers are always on the lookout for a good deal. Optimize your subject lines by highlighting key details like the sale duration and promotions.
2.Onsite Pop-ups: If your flash sale is open to all website visitors, consider using pop-ups to alert them about the ongoing promotion while they’re exploring your site.
3.Social Media Buzz: Your social channels are a goldmine for spreading the word about your flash sale. Encourage engagement by offering incentives like giveaways or exclusive social discounts in exchange for followers tagging friends in your posts.
4.Product Pages: Flash product pages play a crucial role in promotion, especially since they are visible in Google search results. Use precise keywords that accurately reflect the features of your products to boost visibility.
6.Start Marketing As Early As Possible
A well-thought-out launch is key to boosting the success of your flash sale. The earlier you start promoting it, the more you’ll captivate people’s interest and have them eagerly anticipating your event.
Early promotion not only creates anticipation but also helps generate momentum. You can build up your SMS and email lists, sending out countdown messages in the lead-up to the sale.
Alternatively, leverage a series of social media posts to expand your reach and enhance the visibility of your sale.
Katie-Jay Simmons, a retail expert at Fit Small Business, emphasizes the importance of making the sale truly buzz-worthy. To stand out and encourage word-of-mouth marketing, offer substantial discounts and unique savings during flash sales, and start creating a buzz from the new market.
Many blogs, websites, and influential social media accounts keep an eye on noteworthy flash sales, so aim to be featured.
7. Ensure Your Shipping and Delivery Services Are Ready To Go
If your new customers have to wait a whole month to get their purchased products, it’s a surefire way to destroy customer loyalty.
Today, most people are accustomed to the convenience of same-day shipping, so it’s essential to be prepared for mass shipping and delivery to ensure a seamless experience.
The magic word for many customers is “free shipping.” A whopping 93% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when they know free shipping is on the table.
When determining the pricing for your flash sale products, seriously consider incorporating free shipping—it’s a powerful incentive.
8. Make Sure Your Website Can Handle The Increase In Traffic
It’s vital to guarantee that your website is equipped to handle a spike in visitor numbers.
Here are essential steps to ensure your website can handle the increase in traffic during a flash sale:
- Performance Testing: Conduct thorough performance testing on your website to identify potential bottlenecks and weak points.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): Implement a Content Delivery Network to distribute the load across multiple servers, reducing the burden on your main server.
Examples of Great Flash Sales
MrBeast knows how to nail flash sales! Like in the Shopify Shop Day event, where they gave away over $1,000,000 in Shop Cash. MrBeast, a big player on Shopify’s Shop app, shows how it’s become a go-to for both famous creators and new retailers.
MrBeast’s marketing genius shines when he launched Feastables, his chocolate bars. To involve the audience, he made buying them an experience. Purchasers got a shot at winning cool stuff like Teslas, Seadoos, and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Taking it up a notch, MrBeast turned his chocolate factory into a Willy Wonka-inspired wonderland. Ten winners got to compete in Feastables-themed challenges, all recorded for his YouTube channel. It’s marketing magic that keeps his business booming!
Blenders, a cool eyewear brand known for polarized shades and ski goggles, is rocking the flash sale game.
They’re using smart automation to boost sales tenfold by smoothly switching between different flash sales.
Blenders makes this happen with Shopify Plus’ Launchpad, which lets them roll out two distinct site designs—one for their Black Friday flash sale and another for their fresh Cyber Monday promotion. That’s how they stay ahead in the flash sale scene!
Flash sales are a great way to make a profit from products that are not selling well, improve brand loyalty, or gain new customers. But, to accomplish this, you will need to plan properly and execute efficiently.
If you use the tips I have provided you in this article, you will be on the right path to successfully executing a profitable flash sale
Good luck with your next flash sale.