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What is a Flash Sale: An Easy Guide to Getting Started

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Picture this, you’re working through emails late Friday afternoon when a notification pings your attention with a headline that simply can’t be ignored.

‘Up to 70% off all items, hurry offer ends soon!’

The timing couldn’t be more perfect, this is the opportunity to get that item you’ve been eyeing up for the last few months. A few clicks later the regret-free purchase is made and all feelings of possible FOMO evaporate.

In a few days, the big discounted purchase arrives and the rejoicing continues at the sight of an absolute bargain.

Welcome to the world of flash sales.

A match made in marketing heaven.

What makes a flash sale so unique?

Flash sales are inherently different from regular online sales we see from most retailers and businesses for several distinct reasons.

  • Fixed Timing: A flash sale has a limited time before the selected deal expires.
  • Extreme Discounting: In contrast to traditional sales, flash sales stand out for their heavy discounts and attention-grabbing savings.
  • Limited Availability: With the deal being so good, unless it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday there will be limits on the amounts of products eligible for the exclusive deal.

When is the best time to run a flash sale?

There is a delicate balance that online brands have to consider when choosing the best time to run a flash sale. Flash sales are a great way of boosting online sales fast. However, if consumers get overexposed to flash sales and start to associate a brand with the marketing ploy it can have the
opposite effect causing long term damage to sales growth. Therefore, timing, as well as frequency, are crucial aspects of time-sensitive campaigns.

Knowing when to run a flash sale doesn’t have a one size fits all answer. It depends on several interconnected factors from seasonality to holiday buying periods as well as the type of product or service being sold. A great place to start is to review historical sales and assess the natural sales peaks. This will show trends to discover the optimal times to fuel additional sales growth. If you don’t quite have the sales data yet, here’s some typical tried and tested times for running a successful flash sale.

  • Before and after major holidays
  • Every quarter
  • Run up to major events
  • Aligned to important company announcements

Outside of choosing the perfect time to run your flash sale is the campaign plan to ensure its potential is maximized to the fullest.

How to know if a flash sale is worth doing for your business?

Every business is unique. No two companies are identical. Each has its own set of processes, value offers, challenges and distinct approaches to serving customer needs. But there are a set of commonalities and reasons why a business wouldn’t benefit from running regular flash sale campaigns.

Let’s start by examining the main reasons for incorporating a flash sale into your business marketing toolkit:

  • Sell off excess/slower performing stock to refresh with new product lines.
  • Inject cash flow back into the business if too much capital is held in inventory.
  • Attract new customer segments and audiences with lower price points.
  • Increase loyalty amongst existing customers as they’ll always be the first to hear about the best deals.

As with any viable business marketing strategy, there’s always negative potentials to take into careful consideration:

  • Decrease your profit margins with heavily discounted offers.
  • Increase the return rate with a higher mix of purchases based on impulse motivations.
  • Attract a customer segment that damages your core brand by alienating existing audiences who bought products at higher price points.
  • Damage your brand if you struggle to manage supplies and fulfil customer orders on time and to spec.

When you look at both sides of the equation (pros and cons), it shows the need for a clear strategy to get the most out of a flash sale campaign.

5 tips to executing your first flash sale successfully

Flash sales done right hold great potential for exponential spikes in sales revenue. Running a flash sale campaign for the first time can be quite daunting. All too often certain key details are overlooked based on the idea that when the price is dropped substantially that people can’t resist buying.

But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

So you want to avoid those common pitfalls, whilst ensuring a positive effect on your business and sales revenue long term. We hear you loud and clear, so here are 5 tips on how to run a successful flash sale (the easy way).

  1. Start with a clear campaign objective: Whether that’s to sell excess stock, target new customer markets or increase ATV of low season sales, always decide prior.
  2. Choose your target audience: Build the campaign around your ideal customer’s specific needs and target the reasons why they couldn’t resist the offer available.
  3. Set the time: Shorter the better to create the urgency desired for immediate action.
  4. Forecast & prepare logistics: Ensure that your warehouses and supply chain can manage with the forecasted order increases to avoid any logistical nightmares.
  5. Create pre-launch buzz: Give your loyal subscribers and followers an early heads up and see the momentum build as you get closer to the big launch date.

Now all that’s needed is to push the campaign live, watch the revenue skyrocket, conversion rates spike and orders roll in. No better feeling than when a good plan comes together.

The Igniterfy social proof app can support your plans for running a successful flash sale campaign. With custom notifications that can quickly inform website visitors about your upcoming or existing flash sales is critical to getting the message out at the right time. These notifications with time-sensitive scarcity are proven ways to encourage urgency and conversion decisions to be made.

Fuel your next flash sale campaign with the Igniterfy social proof app.
Join for free and ensure your website traffic is optimized for notifications about your not to be missed super flash sale. Get started today and see the endless possibilities of social marketing with Igniterfy.

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