A flash sale is a promotional tactic used by eCommerce platforms to increase sales. It is only available for a short period of time. The quantity of products is also small which leads to FOMO (fear of missing out) that ultimately increases impulse buying.
Flash sales are actually the digitalization of an old tactic used by brick and mortar stores: limited-time or sample sales.
The most important thing to remember when creating a flash sale is that the discounts have to be really big. We are talking over 70% off. If the discounts are only 20-30%, then it is a regular discount period or promotion to get rid of old merchandise and leave space for newcomers.
Are flash sales effective?
The answer to this question is: It depends. Some eCommerce stores that have regular flash sales over the year have seen great ROIs. However, if the flash sale is not implemented and promoted right, then it is just a waste of time and it can actually hurt the image of the brand.
Some of the most common problems when it comes to flash sales are:
- Discounts do not appear after products are added to the virtual cart
- The discounts are not real (seller increases prices right before the flash sale and then lower them)
- Technical problems with the platform (website crashes, errors, and even data breaches)
- Not enough traffic to make up for the large discounts. If the flash sale is not promoted enough, there will be less traffic than expected and in this case, stores will end up losing money.
How to run a successful flash sale
The most important thing you need to take into consideration before implementing a flash sale is your inventory. You would want to sell the products that have been in storage for a while, not the most recent products added on the website.
Another key factor in a successful flash sale is the price (or discount). Look at your competition, check out their prices, and try to lower your prices even more without taking money out of your pocket, of course.
Promotion is essential for flash sales. eCommerce platforms make money from the fact that they sell a lot more products during flash sales. However, if you don’t see any traffic spike on the day of the flash sale, then you did something wrong during the promotion. Promote on social media, on the website, add a countdown to increase FOMO, send newsletters. This is a great time to be a bit pushy.