There are two ways to convince your customer to buy from you.
First, you can convince them that buying your product is beneficial for them. You can show them all the ways that your product and may even list all of its features. You can counter intellectual arguments by showing social proof and eventually get them to buy.
Second, you can tap the fear of missing out. You can do this in two ways. You can sell a limited amount of your products. Or you can implement a limited time discount. This is where flash sales come in.
What’s a Flash Sale?
True to its name, a flash sale happens fast. Right, it happens in a flash for it is a short term discount for products in services. Short term is an understatement for it doesn’t even last for days. In fact, it often lasts for only 24 hours.
Why You Should Have a Flash Sale
A flash sale has many benefits for your website. Here are some of them.
It Creates a Sudden Influx of Sales
One of the most noticeable benefits is the sudden increase in sales. This is because a flash sale is only implemented in a short period of time. Once it is gone, it is gone. And since people don’t want to miss out, they will probably buy within the allotted time.
It Taps the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
As mentioned above, a flash sale is powerful because it taps the fear of missing out. It may seem simple. It is the psychological need of humans to get something that might be gone after. But it is crazy powerful.
This is evident in flash sales. Since these are limited-time discounts for certain products that is implemented in a 24-hour time frame, a lot of people would usually jump in because of the fear of missing out.
It Gives Customers Another Reason to Buy From You
If a certain customer is on the edge of buying from you but is having some second thoughts, then a flash sale may be the final push that they needed to proceed with the purchase. These may be customers that may have added a product to their cart and abandoned it for some reason. Or it may be a customer that have explored your site but have not fully decided to buy. Once they see the item that they liked having a flash sale, they’ll be sure to take the plunge and buy.
It Can Encourage Customers to Buy Certain Products
Let’s face it. Every ecommerce website have their share of products that hardly sell. And it is not that the product is not good. It is just not getting enough attention.
Flash sales is an amazing strategy to get more people to buy a certain product. By offering it an an incredibly low price, your customers will have a better reason to buy it. With this, they get to try the product. And if they like it, they will most likely buy it again.
It Encourages Investors to Put Money Into Your Business
And if you are a public company or just convincing some investors to put money into your business, flash sales can also help you. You see, flash sales are an amazing way of increasing your inventory turnover. If you have been tracking your accounting, having a low inventory turnover means that your business is hardly selling. This is not good in the investor’s eyes.
If you want to improve this, you can implement a flash sale. This way, you get to sell more of your inventory. Even if you get to sell it at a lower price, it would still be a ‘win’ for you if it can get more investors to your side.
It is Proven to Work
Many ecommerce sellers implement flash sales. Why? It just works. But I am not saying this out of whim. It has been proven to work by real ecommerce sellers just like you.
This is what happened in J.C. Penny in 2012. They set everyday deals. This means that they have a page that listed all the items that they have on sale daily. The problem with this approach is that it did not work. In fact, it hurt their business lowering their sales by as much as 25%.
Then, the company had another idea. Instead of everyday deals, they raised their prices and then lowered some of them for a very limited time. In fact, it is so time constricted that they call it ‘last-minute deals’. The result? They had more people wanting the buy.
Looking at it from an analysis perspective, it may seem quite weird that people are willing to buy the same discount in a flash sale more than the everyday deal. When really, the price is just the same. But it is the fear of missing out that is at play here. If you insert a time element in a deal, it suddenly becomes more attractive. That’s just how it is.
In fact, an interview with a customer confirms this. It seems that customers get a rush out of buying a deal that is time-bound. There is the thrill that it will eventually run out and you are one of the ‘special ones’ who managed to get in.
With this, it is obvious that flash sales are really effective. In the next section, you’ll learn how to set one up for your ecommerce website.
How to Create a Flash Sale in Your Ecommerce Website
STEP 1: Determine the Goal of Your Flash Sale
Flash sales are created for different reasons. As mentioned above, it can be done for more than generating traffic and sales to your site. It can also be used to encourage customers to try certain products or to convince investors to invest in your business. It is very important to determine your goal right from the start. This way, you’ll know the products that you’ll choose for your target market.
STEP 2: Analyze Your Target Market
Now that you have your goal, it is time to go back to your market to see which products are selling. This will clue you in on their needs and will give you an idea on whether or not certain products will be appealing to them. While you can analyze existing sale data to see the top selling products, you can also go out of your way and send out a survey. Throw in a freebie or a lottery ticket in the survey and you’ll probably get a ton of replies. This will again help you in choosing your products.
STEP 3: Choose the Products
You cannot have a flash sale without a product. So choose your products wisely. In this step, you should consider your goal and your target market. You have to make sure that the product is aligned with your goals but it should also be appealing to your target market. ‘Forcing’ your market to buy a product that they are not even interested to buy is useless. You will not even get enough attention to your flash sale if you do that. So choose a product that resonates with both.
STEP 4: Promote Your Sale Through Pre-launch Content Marketing
You’ll want to increase the interest in your flash sale products prior to the launch of your promo. To do that, you can do a content marketing campaign. This can be done by placing multiple reviews in different sites. You can do this in different ways. You can offer a free sample to influencers so that they can review the product for you. You can also give some freebies and ask your customers for a review. You can even do this in real time. You can go to the streets. Give a sample of the product, and shoot a review right there. Just be creative.
Why do you need to have a content marketing campaign prior to your flash sale? Well, you’ll want to increase the interest in the product to begin with. If the product that you have included in the flash sale is not as popular, you’ll want to have some reviews. And mind you, people really read reviews. They often search for them on the Internet. So if you have done your content marketing right and have some reviews before your flash sale, then it has a better chance of becoming successful.
STEP 5: Choose a Discount
Now that you have your product and you have launched your content marketing campaign, it is time to implement a discount. Now, there are multiple ways that you can go about this. You can implement a percentage discount (ex. 10% off) or a cash discount ($10 off). What’s effective will depend on your product and target market. Ideally, products that costs $100 or more is better with a percentage discount while those that costs less than $100 is better with a cash discount.
Also, phrasing is everything. There are two ways to do this. You can say “Get 10% off” or “Save 10%”. These phrases operate in different ways. “Get 10% off” emphasizes what the customer can get while “Save 10%” emphasizes what the customer can lose. You can split test this to see which one works better with your target market.
STEP 6: Choose Time Frame
Flash sales are called as such because it is done quickly - in a flash, so to speak. In choosing a time frame, make sure it’s short. Don’t exceed 24 hours. In fact, some ecommerce sellers even go to the extremes of implementing a flash sale for just 3 hours. This way, it will encourage impulse purchases and cause a thrill to the customer.
STEP 7: Prepare for the Influx of Sales
Now, I can't state enough how effective flash sales are. So be sure that you’re ready when the influx of sales comes in. This means that you should have enough manpower to deal with the orders and customer service inquiries. You should also have enough stocks of the products that you have put up on sale.
STEP 8: Deliver the Products on Time
A flash sale doesn’t end with the launching of the promo. It ends when you have successfully delivered the products to the customer. This means shipping items on time and updating your customer with their tracking number. Also, customers have the expectation that they’ll get the item in a day or two. Customers are no longer as patient when it comes to waiting for their packages so be sure to keep these in mind.
Examples of Flash Sales
Flash sales can be understood better once you see one. Here are three flash sales that worked for other ecommerce websites.
Can’t decide on a product for your flash sale? No problem! If you have a solid brand, you don’t even have to worry about that. You can launch a mystery flash sale like what ShoeBuy.com did. However, this will only be effective if you already have enough followers and customers.
What I love about buildasign.com is their ad. Just look at it. It’s perfect. First, you can see the percentage off in big letters. Plus, it has free shipping. They have implemented it for 48 hours and then have ‘Save Now’ in the button. The image is catchy and should be a good inspiration for your flash sale.
Here is another good example. This has a whopping 40% off. It is basically a ‘buy one, get one’ deal for workwear. The end of the offer is clearly stated and there’s a catcher at the top stating ‘Hurry, last days’. This is really interesting.
So there you have it. That’s how you create a flash sale for your ecommerce site. Implementing flash sales from time to time is a nice ecommerce marketing strategy that you can have in your arsenal. You are free to implement it each time you need a sudden influx of sales or you just need to sell some products that are sitting in your inventory for way too long.