Ecommerce marketing offers a highly effective way to drive more revenue, attract more customers and build more loyalty. While there is no doubt that it is essential for year-round growth, it can also be highly useful for once-off promotions such as flash sales.
Unlike your usual scheduled sales that run for a week or longer, usually alongside holidays or special events, flash sales are designed to run for a very short time. The goal with this type of promotion will ultimately depend on a few different factors. Some stores use flash sales to clear old stock in time for the new season. Others run them to attract new customers. They can also be a good way to increase brand awareness.
Whatever your reasons for planning a flash sale might be, one thing is for sure… you need a well-planned, comprehensive ecommerce marketing strategy in place to be sure that you get the full benefit of this type of promotion. In this guide, we will share some tips on how you can get the most from your flash sales.
Ecommerce Marketing Tips for Flash Sales
Before we get started, it is useful to know a few things about flash sales. This sale is not about giving discounts regularly. As the name implies, it is a ‘flash’ – a short sale with a big impact. Although it seems counterproductive, flash sales can help to increase profits, even though you are selling items at a much lower price. With that in mind, flash sales also need to provide a significant discount that provides obvious savings. When you have frequent discounts within the same price range as once-off random sales, you will not have the same impact.
How do you go about driving maximum conversion from your flash sales? For starters, here are a few ecommerce marketing tips to keep in mind.
1. Set clear goals
As we briefly mentioned above, there are a few reasons that you may consider running a once-off sale. It is highly important to know why you are aiming to run a sale. Without having a clear motive in mind, it will be much harder to set realistic goals. Think carefully about your objectives. Are you aiming to build awareness for your store? Are you aiming to promote specific products or new ranges? Are you aiming to clear old stock? Are you aiming to reach untapped audiences? Are you aiming to build hype?
Once you have a better understanding of WHY you are running the sale, you will be able to think about specific goals and targets you hope to achieve throughout the sales and use those to start planning your ecommerce marketing strategy.
2. Know your audience
Along with clear goals, a solid understanding of your audience is needed before you get started. Which segment are you specifically aiming to reach with this sale? If you are targeting new customers, you will need to develop buyer personas so that you can create targeted campaigns designed to reach your audience across multiple channels.
If you are targeting existing customers, you will need all the information on them you can get to be sure that you reach them on the relevant channels. You can then put more focus on your specific group so that you get the right people to your sale.
3. Create urgency
Then, we have timing. You will need to get the right people to your sale at the right time. Flash sales are all about urgency. Without that sense of urgency, you may not get the high traffic you want to drive sales. Most flash sales will run for a very short time of no more than a day – two at the absolute most. You want customers to know that they only have 24 hours (or 12 hours) to get in on the savings before it’s too late. To create hype, you need to start by building momentum. Customers will only be able to get in on the sale if they know it is coming, long before the sale starts. This means beginning your various campaigns ahead of time. You could run social media campaigns with countdowns. You could send out email campaigns highlighting products on sale to give sneak peeks of what customers can expect. You can use mobile campaigns for countdowns and other messaging that builds a sense of urgency.
Use fun hashtags and get your audience involved by asking them which products they want the most. Do whatever you can to make customers look forward to the sale and get excited.
4. Promote value
One major aspect of flash sales is the scarcity aspect. People love limited time offers in general because these sales are not something that happens often. One day only sales make people want to act quickly and get in on the action before it’s too late. That’s where creating urgency comes in to drive more hype. But, over and beyond scarcity, people also like to know that they are getting value.
Running sales that do not offer much savings or running once-off sales that are not much different from other sales (at your store or competitor stores) will not add value. Likewise, offering sales only on certain products that are not popular simply to try and clear old stock will not offer much value, either. Offering best-sellers at a once-off, never to be seen again price, on the other hand, will be far more attractive. You can show value through campaigns designed to showcase your limited-time deals in a way that shows direct benefit to the customer, focusing on products they love.
5. Be prepared
You should be prepared for any type of promotion and flash sales are no exception. Ecommerce marketing offers the opportunity to reach customers across multiple channels, using highly targeted campaigns that drive more traffic and sales. The goal with flash sale campaigns is to bring as many people to your store as possible. When that happens, you will need to be prepared. Brand fails happen when sites are not prepared. Sadly, online flash sales are not without risk of failure. The biggest risks include on-site issues caused by a sudden rise in traffic, stock problems caused by a failure to do inventory ahead of time, delays caused by complicated navigation or payment gateways, poor customer service, product pages that are not updated or well-written, and poor communication on sale time frames, time zones and other details.
You want lots of happy customers, sharing their deals and positive reviews on social media with your dedicated sale hashtags. You do not want angry customers sharing their negative experiences across every platform, with hashtags that make you go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Ecommerce Marketing for One-Time Sales
Done properly, flash sales can be incredibly effective to increase conversion. Instead of running them purely for the sake of running them or because you assume that customers expect to have one-time sales, make sure that you take the time and effort to think about what you aim to achieve. While there are many benefits to be offered by this type of promotion, there are many other types of promotions that can also be effective.
Put some thought into your flash sale ecommerce marketing strategy and do the groundwork ahead of time, and you will be able to plan flash sales that deliver results.