Hurry up 50% discount! Buy 2 get one free! Deal of the day!
You’ve probably seen a flash sale before, but what is a flash sale and how does it work? The easiest explanation is that it’s a short term discount on e-commerce websites that lasts between 3 to 24 hours with the main goal of creating a fear of missing out emotion from the buyers and thus benefit the business from making impulse purchases. But a business has other goals other than selling, such as creating brand awareness since people normally tend to ignore most new brands until they give them a really good deal, and if you managed to pull it off without any mistakes, you’ll also get increased traffic to the website plus customer loyalty in the long run which is why flash sales are the perfect opportunity for your business.
How do you operate and manage a flash sale?
1-Choosing the right product
It goes without saying that the product you’re putting out there is something the customers will actually line up for, and not something that’s simply been on your shelves for a long time and you want to get rid off but on the other hand it also makes sense that you try to balance it to push a slow product or to try clearing an excess inventory. But know that no amount of marketing can save a sale unless it combined a great product with a great price.
2-Keep it simple
Not because you’re not making the original profit you thought you’d make that means you make your customer jump through hoops to get the discount. Just ask for the info you’d normally ask for and just let him click on the link or banner ad to get the discount
3-Provide excellent customer service
Imagine this, your customer buys something from your website during a flash sales, only to discover that it doesn't work when he receives it and now he contacts your call center and they tell him no refunds are allowed during a promotional sale! Would that look good for your business? Wouldn't you feel cheated if that happened to you too?
Then, help out your customers and be grateful for them, take their feedback so you can make the next offer even better.
4- Make it short
The reason why flash sales work is because it plays with your emotions and the feeling of urgency. By definition, they’re meant to expire quickly, if they had lasted all year, that would just be the normal price. As mentioned earlier studies show that the best performing sales last between 3 to 24 hours with the three hour flash sales pulling the highest results at 14%. The trick is not to give them time to reconsider or google the competitors.
But if it’s all fun and games, why doesn’t flash sales always work?
As the number of online shopping websites got bigger and people started to sign up more for their newsletters, people began to tune out when viewing subject headers as they would normally receive about a dozen emails from different sites on a weekly basis which also lead to the unsubscribe routine and email marketing started to lose it’s edge. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't use it, it just means that you should have all sorts of other marketing efforts next to it.
The main reasons why flash sales might fail
1-Shipping problems A customer’s experience doesn’t just stop at the checkout page but rather till he gets the product and uses it and makes sure it’s working perfectly fine. Telling your customer that he’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks for his order to arrive would distant him from making future purchases. As we all know Amazon Prime delivery service has set the bar too high for any courier. Be sure to follow their example.
2- Inventory run out Make sure you have enough products to cover all your sales and even your customer’s expectation, 45% of flash sale items sell out faster than expected. . You don’t want to build up a hype only to visit the website and find out that the product is out of stock.
3- Site Crashes Fail
Flash sales often result in a high unprecedented level of traffic to your website. Make sure you have an extra server capacity for a successful flash sale. You certainly don’t want your website to crash during this crucial time.
Not all flash sales are successful and the saying goes “fail to prepare or fail or prepare to fail”, just make sure that you learn from whatever problems you face so you can make it better the next time.