In a recent article, we discussed how to sell your goods on flash sale sites. With today’s e-commerce platforms, you can have a similar effect right on your own website.
How can you run a successful flash sale on your website to boost the bottom line and increase conversions?
What is a flash sale?
Flash sales are made up of three key features:
- Deep discounts and promotions
- Limited product quantities
- Short, definitive time span
You’re offering a specific discount on a limited number of goods for a short period of time. This works together to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity that pushes customers towards impulsive purchases in key micro-moments.
This encourages customers to purchase your goods right now because they’re concerned the sale will end soon.
Flash sales are a combination of limited time, limited stock, and great value.
What are the benefits of a flash sale?
Flash sales create a sense of immediacy. This boosts the customer’s motivation to purchase right now, leading to a higher conversion rate.
Flash sales are a great way to move stale inventory. This minimizes warehousing costs and improves your inventory management. Flash sales offer excess inventory at a deep discount, so users are more likely to purchase this “older” inventory. This is a great way to encourage sell-through of units to make room for new, fresh units.
Selling on a flash sale site can help boost your visibility. However, running a flash sale on your own site won’t necessarily increase brand awareness. You’ll need to host a marketing campaign alongside your site’s flash sale so you can get the word out to potential leads.
However, a flash sale can encourage new customers to convert at a higher rate thanks to the urgency and immediacy. This means that if you market the sale well, you’ll likely see a higher percentage of sales.
Flash sales on your own site also boost customer loyalty and satisfaction. You can frame the discount so it’s a “thank you” to customers who are loyal to your brand. Hefty promotions, like a flash sale, show your consumers you care about them—and they’ll respond with loyalty and repeat purchases.
Running a flash sale on Amazon, like a lightning deal, can help boost visibility and sales simultaneously. Learn more about today's deals here.
What are the concerns of a flash sale?
Flash sales can cause low margins because you’re offering deep discounts. Most flash sales offer 40-70% off the original price, which can damage your bottom line in some cases.
Unlike a flash sale site, though, you have control over your discount pricing on your own website. If possible, choose a discount that will still offer you some sort of profit.
If not, you may need to use a flash sale site to minimize loss as opposed to making a profit.
You’ll also want to be wary of the “discount shopper.” You want to promote the flash sale to your dedicated, loyal customers as a special event. You don’t want to attract and introduce a new target audience who only purchases in times of discount.
You’ll see a much better long-term gain if your flash sale is able to target repeat customers or serious brand shoppers.
How do you make a flash sale successful?
If you don’t organize your flash sale, it could damage your profit margins. Below are our top five tips for ensuring a successful flash sale on discount sites or Amazon lightning deals.
1. Have a goal.
Create a specific objective for your flash sale. Are you looking to clear out excess inventory? Do you want to raise brand awareness? Do you want extra profits to buy your next product line? Do you want to increase your bottom line this quarter?
The more specific you are about your metrics, the better you can plan what you want your flash sale to look like.
2. Choose your target group.
You want to ensure that your flash sale is targeting the right audience. You’ll want to choose the discount and marketing materials in accordance with the sort of audience you want to attract.
We usually recommend that you dedicate your flash sale to an audience of your most loyal customers. This works as an “appreciation sale” to deepen loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.
Choosing a target audience also helps you know when and how to run your flash sale. Be aware of the general purchasing patterns of your target group.
You want to run your flash sale when you know your customers will be online and searching. If you run a flash sale when you’re target group is at work, for example, you won’t get any sales.
3. Make your discount stand out.
You want the flash sale to be one of the best discounts your customers have ever seen on this product. This boosts impulse buying to improve conversion rate.
Keep in mind that flash sales are a great way to reduce price without influencing your optimization. If you lower your price on Amazon, for example, the Amazon algorithm will remember this lower price. When you raise pricing in the future, Amazon thinks you aren’t offering the best possible deal, so this can hurt your optimization.
Flash deals, like lightning deals, are a great way to offer a discount without impacting your search engine optimization.
So how do you choose the discount?
Consider what will be worthwhile for the customer in tandem with the profit margins that your business needs in order to survive the sale.
Keep in mind that you want most flash sales to be slightly higher than the lowest possible price, so you can offer the best flash sale discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You don’t want to undersell your future business.
4. Promote the flash sale.
Even though flash sales are a good marketing tactic, don’t assume that the discount will market itself. Flash sales can help boost brand awareness, but only if you first make people aware that the sale is occurring. You need visibility to gain visibility.
Thus, you need to use additional marketing to promote the deal. Social media is a great way to tell your customers—and their friends— that you’ll be having a flash sale.
5. Keep the time frame short.
Flash sales should be fast and furious. The shorter the time frame, the greater the sense of urgency and immediacy. The greater the urgency, the more likely you’ll gain sales.
Remember that flash sales are, in essence, a mixture of limited time, limited quantity, and great value.
6. Serve the customer.
Great value doesn’t just mean a steep discount. It also means exceptional service.
Don’t just list your products as “on sale” and walk away. Flash sales are a great opportunity to provide top-notch customer service that will surprise and delight customers.
If your flash sale is targeting current customers, this is an opportunity for increased engagement. If the sale is targeting new customers, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of your brand.
In the same way that flash sales create impulse buys, they also generate impulse impressions. You want to use this opportunity to create a positive perception of your brand in a short time period.
7. Don’t use flash sales too frequently.
Don’t let your customers get sales fatigue or discount mentality. If you constantly host flash sales, your customer will begin to expect sales. In many cases, they won’t purchase your items at full price because they know that you’ll run a flash sale soon. They’ll wait until the discount comes.
Other customers simply get frustrated by all of the emails and sales they’re being bombarded with every time you have another sale. Customers start to block messages and tune out, so you lose the visibility aspect that comes with hosting a promotion.
If your flash sales are infrequent, your customers will be more excited, surprised, and willing to buy.
8. Use a marketing partner.
Most e-commerce websites will offer software that allows you to run short-term sales. You want to be able to track and analyze the success of your sales through this software as well.
You’ll also want a marketing partner. Outsourcing your marketing allows you to improve visibility quickly, freeing up your time to focus on running a successful flash sale.