The Definitive Guide to Holding a Flash Sale For Your Brand

Momina Ayaz
Momina Ayaz

Last updated on

April 11, 2023

Flash sales always feel good. Your eyes are set on a new television, but the expensive price tag is in the way. Then, Bam! The tv is suddenly half off for only 12 hours. What do you do?

You buy, of course. The offer is too hard to resist, and who knows if you’ll ever be able to afford the same item again? So, you buy.

Flash sales make us spend more money quickly. And the thing is, they work. Whenever we see a limited-time offer pop up in front of us, the fear of missing out is genuine. “But I’m saving half the price!”. If any time was an excellent time to buy a television, it’s now.

The same holds when you’re running a business. Everyone wants to save. Customers see sales as an added benefit to getting a product of their choice. This makes promotions a great hook to reel in new and returning customers.

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What’s a flash sale?

A flash sale is a limited-time discount offer that eCommerce stores run for very short periods of time. It often comes as a percentage reduction price or as a buy-one-get-one offer. Such propositions trigger impulsive buying by giving customers very little to deliberate on.

B2C consumers are more emotional and likely to seek instant gratification than B2B consumers. This makes flash sales a hit for eCommerce websites, bringing you peak visitors and transactions.

6 Benefits of flash sales

Flash sales increase your sales and bring attention to your brand. Like a wildcard for businesses, these will work any time of the year to help you meet your projections and optimize your profits. You’ll likely witness the most traffic and your best sales numbers during these promotions.

Considering this, should you consider hosting one? Absolutely yes. And here’s why:

Infographic 6 Benefits of flash sales
  • Increased sales: The limited-time duration of a flash sale makes customers buy fast and more to make the most of a good deal. According to Social Marketing Fella, flash sales or deals of the day can cause a 35 % average increase in transaction rates. Flash sales compel customers to shop quickly and big, resulting in increased sales.
  • Improved brand loyalty: Flash sales build brand loyalty in two ways. Firstly, they give curious visitors a reason to try out your products and become returning customers. Secondly, they show existing customers that you care about their experience. This promotes warm feelings towards your brand and increases loyalty towards you.  
  • Improved brand visibility: When potential customers see an attractive offer from you on their social media, the urgency in your offer will compel them to buy. And, if it’s terrific, they will also share the offer with their friends, family, and colleagues, improving your brand’s visibility and providing new customers.
  • Market products not in demand: Flash sales provide eCommerce stores the opportunity to market products that are not highly in demand by offering huge discounts. The discount offerings can work as the catalyst for customers to buy them in addition to products they buy frequently. This way, eCommerce stores can recuperate some of their initial costs regarding such products.
  • Stock clearance: The longer you’ll have idle inventory around, the more losses it will incur. Put these items on sale so they’ll find their way to the right customers. Reduce your storage costs and make room for newer, more profitable items.
  • Brand awareness: Consumers love discussing sales. If you’re making a surprising sale, it will quickly become fodder for gossip in your target market. People will also share your social media posts, bringing your brand in front of newer audiences. Even if they don’t make a purchase, they’ll still be more likely to buy from you in the future if they’ve heard about your brand from a friend.

All these are reasons you’ll see a massive spike in your website traffic during the sale season. Your brand's buzz will keep bringing in new prospects after the sale. All you need to do is execute a flash sale right.

When should you run a flash sale?

There is no fixed time for running flash sales. However, most eCommerce stores run flash sales during the holiday season. This can also backfire because customers are bombarded with tons of promotional emails that can lead to flash sales fatigue. So, when to launch a flash sale? Here are the times you can run a flash sale:

1. Before the holiday season

You should start early, as early as October, to create a sense of urgency among your customers by sending them promotional emails about your upcoming flash sale. You can get ahead of the competition and make room for extra inventory.

2. After the holiday season

By the end of the holiday season, you can expect a surge in sales and returns. The reason for this is that people will return unwanted gifts. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose money. 

By rolling out a flash sale right after the holidays in January, you can still make up for the money lost in returns.

3. Once in a while

Flash sales are a great idea when rolled out once in a while. Frequent flash sales, however, can damage your brand's reputation. 

You can run your flash sales according to holidays like Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's day, Father’s day, and Fourth of July, and whenever shoppers are looking to buy gifts for their loved ones.

How long should a flash sale last?

 Short flash sales are the best. No, seriously, they are backed by data. According to Kibo Commerce, 50% of purchases happen during the first hour of the sale. According to Shopify, flash sales should last between 2 to 36 hours. So, this should be the extent to which your flash sales should prevail, not more.  It can cause flash sale fatigue among your customers, lower sales, and tarnish the brand's reputation.

12 Tips for running a successful flash sale

Now, let’s get to work! While flash sales are great at promoting sales, they will still slash your profit margin. If you don’t plan it right, you’ll end up with negligible profits, one-time buyers, and little in the way of brand recognition.

12 Tips for running a successful flash sale

1. Make it live for a short duration

 Flash sales rely on customers’ fear of missing out, so they should last only a short while. Stick to between 3 hours to 24 hours. 3-hour flash sales have a 59% higher email open rate than average. The shorter the sale duration, the more emotional your buyers will be, resulting in higher transaction rates.

  • Flash sales are typically carried out to sell products with low conversions. Identify items that attract a lot of eyeballs but don’t make it to the purchase stage.  
  • 75% of your visitors will be abandoning carts, so recapture their interest by targeting their items of interest.  
  • Discount excess inventory to part ways with it.  
  • Put up your bestsellers on sale if you’re trying to bring in new customers.
  • Identify your competitors’ bestselling products and offer a competitive price that can entice the customers to shop from you instead of them.

2. Lower your price just enough to encourage rapid sales

 While your prices should drop jaws, you still need to make a profit. The sweet spot? Just slightly lower your prices than your Black Friday and Cyber Monday reductions. This will create an instant sense of urgency without completely denting your profits.

3. Offer free shipping

Make your flash sale even more attractive by stacking a free shipping policy. Emails with free shipping see 72% greater engagement. You can also set a minimum limit to qualify for free shipping. This will encourage users to spend more to qualify.

4. Consider offering limited stocks

To attract further attention, you can also offer limited stocks to pace further buying decisions. Show the current inventory count and host reviews to leverage the bandwagon effect.

5. Stick to simple terms of purchase

 Impulse buying isn’t going to work if too many strings are attached. Set clear-cut, simple terms for your sales so customers quickly make it to the purchase stage without hiccups. Flat discounts or easy buy-one-get-one offers simplify the shopping experience.

6. Remind visitors of the limited period 

A timer on your website and email blasts will encourage visitors to make instant buying decisions.

7. Use popups to attract customers

Using social media to create hype for your sales is a great approach, but you need to convert your website traffic into flash deal customers. The best way to do this is to use flash deal popups. 

You can use countdown timers with popups to create a sense of urgency among the customers. You can use Mailmunch to create attractive and converting popups. 

8. Make your landing pages attractive

Inform website visitors about the ongoing sale. Use a prominent CTA on your landing pages to direct visitors to the sale pages/items.

9. Leverage email blasts.

 Flash sale emails have very high open rates as consumers flock to your website searching for a good deal. But optimizing your emails to get the best open rate you can score is essential. Follow these best practices for highly engaging flash sale email blasts:

  • Go with short, crisp subject lines that clearly state both the discount and the time duration of the sale.
  • If you want to restrict your flash sale to just your email list, use a promo code.  Add product recommendations to the email. These can be either bestsellers or personalized recommendations depending on the user’s activity on your site.
  • Emphasize the limited-time offer. Tell readers they haven’t gotten long and should hurry before their favorites run out of stock.
  • Mention any added benefits, like free shipping.

10. Have a killer segmentation strategy in place

You can succeed in your flash sale by having a good segmentation strategy. Create segments based on previous engagement with your product, as these customers will buy from you once they see huge discount offers.

Speaking of segmentation strategy, you can also use your site data to segment those who abandon their carts and entice them with your flash sale discounts to complete their purchases.

11. Promote the sale on social media

Promote your posts on social media. Flash sale posts immediately attract social sharing, so it’s essential to put the word on your social networks.

12. Don’t let your website crash

Once your flash sale goes live, ensure your website doesn’t crash and ruin your customers’ shopping experience. Conduct loading tests on your eCommerce platform, apps, and third-party tools that rely on API calls. Check server capacity and bring it up if necessary. 

7 Flash sale email examples

So now that you know what flash sales are and how you can run a successful flash sale, it’s time for you to get inspired by looking at some real examples of flash sale emails.

1. Barebones

First, we have Barebones, a cookware, gardening, and foraging brand. The email from Barebones is minimalistic in aesthetics but does the job of announcing a 50% off flash sale.

Flash Sale Examples: Barebones

2. Hush Puppies

Next is Hush Puppies, a famous shoe brand. Their flash sale email does a great job of announcing a Father’s day flash sale by showing the recipient comfy shoes they can buy for their fathers and grandfathers. Also, they offer a generous 30% discount on all the shoes. The email culminates with a promo code and a CTA “Shop the sale.”

Flash Sale Examples: Hush Puppies

3. Pampa

You can model your flash sale email by looking at Pampa’s email. Pampa is a women’s clothing brand that is offering a 20% discount on scarves, ponchos, and oversized scarves, in their 5 day flash sale. The design is simple yet eye-catching and conveys the message effectively.

Flash Sale Example: Pampa

4. Peek & Cloppenburg

P&C is a German international chain of department stores. In this email, they offer 20% discounts on all of their T-shirt stock. The design of the email is a bit vibrant, which perfectly complements the font and the CTAs, “Shop Mens” and “Shop Women.” 

Flash Sales Examples: P&C

5.Collin Street Bakery

This is just how a bakery should announce its flash sale. Collin Street Bakery has done a fantastic job crafting this email. The mesh of vibrant colors, an excellent email copy, images of items available for sale, and popping CTAs make this email a great flash sale email, in our opinion.

Flash Sale Examples: Collin Street Bakery

6. Eight Sleep

With their cool flash sale announcement email, Eight Sleep has won us over. The use of black, blue, and white colors gives you a cozy and comfortable feeling, and the email copy is to the point. Moreover, the discount offering itself is exceptionally generous.

Flash Sale Examples: Eight Sleep

7. Mod Cloth

Mod Cloth’s flash sale email is straightforward, design-wise, and relies on one-liners to convey the message of the flash sale announcement. The discount offering is also great for a one-day deal.

Flash Sale Examples: Mod Cloth

Run your next flash sales with Mailmunch!

Flash sales can quickly generate a lot of money for your company. They offer short-term benefits like eliminating excess inventory, meeting sales projections, increasing revenue, and long-term advantages like building brand awareness, gaining customer loyalty, and fueling business growth.

This is why you should hold periodic flash sales, depending on your targets. Spend considerable time and effort marketing your flash sales to get the maximum benefit from them. This is extremely important since you’d like your users to immediately learn of the sale because it only lasts a short while. Experiment with email marketing and social media. And continue to offer stellar customer service throughout because you’ll get a lot of queries! And do all of this with Mailmunch!

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Author Bio

Momina Ayaz

Momina Ayaz is a Content Marketer at Mailmunch. She loves reading during lunch breaks and witnessing technology reshaping the corporate sphere.


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