Why Your Store Should Have a Flash Sale (Often)

Every online store should have a flash sale to boost revenue and reap the long-term rewards of its impact.

Without any major holidays on the horizon, spring is oftentimes a slower season for online retailers. The rush between October and January is long past, and consumers are gearing up for summer vacations and slower pace of life. This means less business for ecommerce stores, unless they leverage a traffic-driving event that can provide myriad benefits.

The flash sale is one such event that e-tailers can use to give their revenue a quick boost, and it can be done any time of year. It’s a large-scale version of the discounts and promo codes that, as we explained in our guide, generate brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Offering your products at a lower price, even for a limited time, seems counterintuitive but is ultimately rewarding. Specifically, Reuters reported during the 2012 holiday shopping season that online retailers that utilized flash sales grew twice as fast as those who that did not use this tactic.

In case you’re not yet convinced, read on to learn why your online store should have a flash sale.

Flash Sales Explained

For the uninitiated, flash sales are short windows of time where some or all of your products are offered at a discount. Whether you have a one-hour sale or have a week-long bash, the key is the limited amount of time and the value proposition. The best flash sales boast deep discounts because they’re the most attractive to consumers and will earn you the most traffic and orders.

There is also immense promotional value in these eye-catching offers—if you’re shopping online, wouldn’t you be more likely to click on a link advertising 75% off everything than to be interested in 20% off? This translates well to social and SEO, which you can also uplift with a flash sale.

The most well-known flash sales in the ecommerce space are Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day, both massive phenomenon that entice online shoppers to take advantage of lower prices and make impulse buys. On the flip side, e-tailers take advantage of consumer FOMO, or fear of missing out. The smash success of Prime Day has inspired other ecommerce businesses to hold their own specific flash sale days. Home brand Wayfair just hosted their second Way Day last week and boosted orders over 300%.

Of course, the immediate results are the most striking, but there are other underrated benefits of holding a flash sale that will have great impact on e-tailers down the line.

See Your Data

Data is a powerful tool for anyone running an online store. When you can see the performance of your various channels and the trends affecting them, you can make smarter moves that will keep your business growing for years to come.

From a new geo location of your customer base to unexpected bestsellers during your allocated time frame, there is so much to learn about your online store during and after a flash sale. Think of it like watching your business as it moves at high speed—you’ll see more data in less time. It’s the best way to get a snapshot that you can use as a reference point going forward.

Clear Out Excess Inventory

Flash sales are perfect for any e-tailer who has excess inventory and wants to move it fast. By offering the biggest discounts on products you want to move, you’ll ensure they sell out quickly so you can make room for new items.

Bonus: Once your warehouse is clear of old inventory, you have a legitimate reason to alert your new customers because your store will be full of new, exciting products.

Build Brand Awareness

Did you know that 68% of customers say digital coupons build brand awareness? Furthermore, the same portion say coupons generate customer loyalty. Clearly there is value in offering lower prices at your online store, and a flash sale is no different.

Your marketing efforts during your flash sale will also get your brand name in front of a lot more people than normal. This way, you’ll stay front-of-mind with consumers who will hopefully return to your store when they are in need of products you sell.

Generate Leads

Some flash sale shoppers are only in it for the stellar deals and then disappear once prices jump back to normal, but the end of a flash sale presents opportunity for online retailers. All the new customers who flocked to your store for the event are now in your address book so you can use the powerful channel of email marketing to reach them. It’s their preferred method of contact, and it has more than double the ROI of social media ads.

If you continue to provide unique value in your emails and use the high-impact tactic of personalization, you’ll hold your subscribers’ attention and inspire them to purchase again and again.

Don’t Forget Retargeting

Even if they don’t make a purchase, the online shoppers who visit your site during your flash sale can be turned into leads for retargeting. Retargeting is the umbrella term for the marketing practice where ads are shown to consumers after they’ve left a site, which re-triggers interest and encourages them to buy.

The statistics prove that retargeting works:

  • Customers who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.
  • While 72% of customers abandon carts, only 8% of customers who are not retargeted come back to convert.
  • 46% of marketing professionals believe retargeting is one of the most overlooked online marketing methods.
  • Online consumers are open to behaviorally retargeted ads. What’s more, 25% of consumers enjoy them because they remind them of products they’ve viewed previously.

Once your flash sale has concluded, you’ll be left with a plethora of interested consumers who just need that extra little push before they become customers.

Flash sales, at their worst, are full of one-and-done shoppers who don’t convert into longtime customers. However, a well done flash sale presents major opportunity for e-tailers looking to unload inventory, acquire new customers and generate leads and data.

To see a massive flash sale in action, take a look at these statistics from last year’s Prime Day.

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