Flash sales always feel good. You have your eyes set on a new television but the expensive price tag is in the way. Then, bam. The television 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 very real. “But I’m saving half the price!”. If any time was a good time to buy the television, it’s now. 

The same holds true 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 both new and returning customers.

What’s a flash sale?

A flash sale is a limited time discount on your products. 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 more likely to seek instant gratification as compared to B2B consumers. This makes flash sales a hit for e-commerce websites, bringing you peak visitors and transactions.

Is a flash sale right for your business? 

flash sale grows revenue

Flash sales increase your sales and bring attention to your brand. Almost 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:

  • Increased sales: The limited-time duration of a flash sale makes customers buy fast and buy more to truly make the most of a good deal. This generates high sales in a small amount of time, generating revenue that your company can then use to grow. You can also use promotions to boost profits during slow seasons.
  • 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 you care about their experience. This promotes warm feelings towards your brand and increases loyalty towards you.  
  • 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 putting up a surprising sale, it will quickly become fodder for gossip in your target market. People will also share around 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. The buzz surrounding your brand will keep bringing in new prospects, even after the sale is over. All you need to do is execute a flash sale right.

Planning a flash sale

flash sale planning

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.

So, how do you successfully plan and execute a flash sale without stumbling upon these misfortunes?

  1. Make it live for a short duration: Since flash sales rely on customers’ fear of missing out, 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.
  2. Pick the right flash sale inventory: There are a couple of ways to go about this. 
    • 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’ bestsellers and beat their price to steal some of their loyal customers. 
  3. 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.
  4. Offer a free shipping policy: Make your flash sale even more attractive by stacking up a free shipping policy on it. 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.
  5. Consider offering limited stocks: To further attract attention, you can also offer limited stocks to further pace up buying decisions. Show the current inventory count and host reviews to leverage the bandwagon effect.
  6. Stick to simple terms of purchase: Impulse buying isn’t going to work if there are too many strings attached. Set clearcut, simple terms for your sales so customers quickly make it to the purchase stage without any hiccups along the way. Flat discounts or easy buy-one-get-one offers simplify the shopping experience.
  7. Remind visitors of the limited period: A timer on your website and in your email blasts will encourage visitors to make instant buying decisions.
  8. Steer clear of flash sale fatigue: Consecutive flash sales should be spaced apart so customers don’t get used to these. If you hold them too frequently, your customers will only wait for discounts to buy from you. You want your flash sales to be sporadic and adequately spaced apart to get your customers excited.

Marketing your flash sale

Carefully planned flash sales are marketing all-rounders. If you play your cards right, the sale will market itself. Here’s how to prime it for continued attention:

    1. Inform website visitors about the ongoing sale. Use a prominent CTA on your landing pages to direct visitors to the sale pages/items.
    2. Leverage email blasts. Flash sale emails have very high open rates as consumers flock to your website in search of a good deal. But it’s important to optimize your emails to get the best open rate you can score. 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 they should hurry before their favorites run out of stock.
      – Mention any added benefits, like free shipping.
      Here’s a flash sale email blast example we like from Colourpop. It’s eye-catching, displays the timer right at the top, and highlights the flash sale code.
      colourpop flash sale email
    3. Market to your target segment. Email marketing also enables you to segment your email list by existing customers and new leads. If you’d like to market to only one of the two, tailor your email blast just for that segment. 
    4. Optimize your flash sale pages for your product category keywords, like “Sportswear flash sale”. This will also help you bring in some organic traffic from search engines.
    5. Promote your posts on social media. Flash sale posts immediately attract social sharing so it’s important to put the word out on your social networks. 
    6. Use ads on both social media and search engines. You can also retarget visitors that didn’t convert by marketing products that they had browsed on your site. 

 

Conclusion

Flash sales can quickly generate a lot of money for your company. They offer not only short term benefits like getting rid of excess inventory, meeting sales projections, and increasing revenue, but also 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 be getting a lot of queries!

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