Everyone loves a good deal. But what makes a good deal even better, at least psychologically, is snagging it during a short window of time. Shoppers want to avoid loss aversion or missing out on something because they hesitated. While many DTC brands might initially think to run a sale on their website, successful flash sales increase anticipation, drive up purchasing rates and total cart amount, and build awareness for your brand.
As opposed to seasonal sales like a Black Friday offer, flash sales can happen any time of the year. Online sale events are not just attractive to customers. They are also a boon for retailers that want to drive traffic, move inventory or offer loyal customers an exclusive experience.
A successful flash sale does not happen by accident. So, here is what you need to know about promoting and launching a successful flash sale — whether it is a product drop, liquidation sale or a seasonal event.
Focus on the Customer
While liquidating excess inventory or launching a new product is your key goal, the trick is to match your offer to the audience.
For instance, a flash sale is a good choice for a friends and family sale. These sales event focus on rewarding your loyal customers with the best deals. But, these customers would appreciate products either at a discount or exclusive items they could not get elsewhere. However, new product drops or discounts to liquidate inventory are an excellent opportunity to bring in new customers and drive awareness.
Build Urgency and Scarcity
A key draw for online sales events is scarcity. Creating a short window for customers to cash in on a deal or get a limited-release item drives urgency. On the other hand, too much of a good thing, even a discount, can make your flash sales less potent. Limited-time offers that happen frequently are not much of a novelty, and engagement rates will drop accordingly.
Similarly, the length of your flash sale matters. Whether a few hours or a few days, ensure that there is a set time for it to expire. Shoppers will know when a timer is rigged, or a sale seems to never end.
One strategy to ensure customers not only visit your online sales event but also get excited about purchasing is to open the site ahead of time. This also allows customers to view what is available and add their coveted items to a wish list. That also makes it even easier for them to add to their cart when the sale launches. Some more tips for creating urgency include:
- Give your email list a heads up on the upcoming sale and send a reminder when the sale launches. For flash sales that last longer than 24 hours, a “last call” reminder can push customers to finalize their purchases.
- Push the sale on social media channels. Be sure to respond quickly to messages and comments to answer questions or continue to build engagement and hype.
- Focus your marketing copy on the limited-time offer and keep it short and to the point.
Prepare for a Sellout
Selling out of product during an online sales event is not necessarily a bad thing. But a crashed flash sale due to high traffic volume is disastrous. Generating excitement and selling out quickly tells customers that next time they will need to act fast to get the products or discount.
However, sites that do not load properly or checkout processes that break due to high traffic cause frustration, not hype. For instance, last spring, excited shoppers crashed the Jeni’s ice cream website during a sale on limited-run pints of ice cream created in a collaboration with Dolly Parton. Mishaps like these tell customers that your systems were not prepared. They also leave your internal web team scrambling to fix problems.
Avoid the headaches and pitfalls of a crashed site by planning ahead to have capacity to accommodate more web traffic. Many retailers use a different platform for their online sales events. Separating storefronts allows them to quickly build, market and launch an online store without worrying that it will collapse under the weight of thousands of shoppers.
Learn more about how Scalefast can assist with your eCommerce specialty store so you can focus on driving an event worth remembering.