Flash sales are not a new idea, but they have certainly been revitalized in the age of eCommerce. Though these sales no longer involve early-bird shoppers stampeding through the doors of an electronics store before dawn, they do still create that same sense of urgency and excitement for digital consumers and that boosts brand loyalty. Flash sales have the power to deliver impactful customer experiences online.
“The beauty of a flash sale is that it is an inherently ‘surprise and delight’ experience. It is unexpected and rewarding, two features that make for memorable customer experiences. Customers feel like they’re getting a special opportunity just for being loyal to the brand, and the brand is demonstrating loyalty right back,” says author and customer experience leader Dan Gingiss. “As one of my former bosses liked to say, ‘loyalty goes both ways.’ Flash sales are a great way for retailers to show loyalty to their customers and in turn receive loyalty back.”
Benefits of Flash Sales
Online flash sales have the potential to increase monthly gross merchandise value. They can even generate a 35% lift in transaction rates.
In addition to being a great way to liquidate inventory and generate additional revenue, flash sales are also an incredible opportunity to build brand loyalty — if executed properly.
A successful flash sale requires careful planning. Haphazard or poorly executed flash sales could actually erode profits, disengage customers and hurt a brand’s reputation.
How can brands ensure their flash sale ends with a desirable outcome? Check out our tips to learn more about how to use flash sales to foster stronger relationships with customers and boost brand loyalty.
1. Personalize the Target Audience
Personalization is a highly effective tool used across all types of eCommerce marketing. It is touted as the top tactic used by email marketers looking to boost engagement — and these principles can be applied to flash sales, too.
Generic, impersonal flash sales may come off as aggressive and desperate, while a flash sale tailored to a specific audience will accomplish just the opposite. A personalized flash sale might include customized recommendations based on purchase history. It might be an exclusive sale for long-term customers, or a flash sale on an item that might compliment a recent purchase.
There are many ways for marketers to run flash sales customized to a specific audience, rather than running frequent and general flash sales without a unique customer profile in mind. J. Crew even employed this strategy by creating a flash sale targeted toward customers looking for nautical-inspired clothing.
2. Customize Product Offerings
About 53% of online shoppers believe that retailers who offer a personalized shopping experience deliver a more valuable service to their customers. So, while many eCommerce brands may be tempted to offer a discount on all merchandise at once, that strategy would be a mistake. Instead, successful flash sales involve customized product offerings that are well-suited to a target audience. Customized offerings will also ensure customers are actually purchasing items they want and need, which will accomplish the goal of boosting brand loyalty.
Products included in the sale may be based on high-traffic or low-purchase volumes. They may be items that customers have previously expressed an interest in, either by visiting a product page or clicking an ad. They could even be a product completely customized by the customer themselves (e.g. customized skincare routines, engraved products, etc.)
3. Be Transparent in Messaging
Transparent messaging is one of the most crucial elements of running a flash sale that builds brand loyalty. eCommerce brands that hide details about the duration or nature of the sale may suffer the consequences of losing customer trust, while brands that clearly define the flash sale will reap the benefits of happy, satisfied customers.
About 85% of consumers say they are more likely to stand by a brand in crisis if the brand has a history of being transparent. And, almost 90% of people say a business could regain their trust by admitting fault and resolving an issue.
Today’s customers highly value honesty and clear communication. eCommerce brands can show their commitment to transparency and gain loyal customers by creating clear, consistent marketing messages around their flash sales.
4. Use Payment Protection and Anti-Fraud Safeguards
As eCommerce grows, fraudulent activity is increasing right along with it. eCommerce fraud is predicted to surpass $20 billion in 2021 — an 18% increase over last year.
Naturally, then, 92% of online shoppers in the U.S. said security is important to them when they shop online. The vast majority of those shoppers said they would also be more likely to shop on sites that are transparent about their fraud-prevention tactics.
eCommerce brands should heed customer sentiment statistics and employ robust,payment protection and anti-fraud safeguards. Not only will these tools boost brand loyalty — they will also ensure that the sale runs smoothly and brings in as much revenue as possible.
5. Provide Reliable Shipping and Delivery
A successful flash sale does not end when a customer completes the checkout process. Reliable shipping and delivery is another key aspect of running a flash sale that results in customers that come back for more.
More than ever before, consumers expect fast and affordable (if not free) shipping and delivery services from eCommerce brands. 63% of online shoppers say they would not complete a purchase if the brand did not offer free shipping, and 96% of consumers expect any shipping obstacles to be resolved during transit.
Though delivery and fulfillment logistics pose a challenge for many eCommerce brands, a seamless process is essential to building brand loyalty — and flash sales are no different.
Boost Brand Loyalty with Flash Sales and Scalefast
eCommerce brands looking to liquidate inventory, increase revenue and boost brand loyalty can create a carefully crafted flash sale to accomplish their goals. Scalefast is one of the best ways to ensure the success of any flash sale, helping to create a more secure, streamlined and stable eCommerce platform. Our specialized eCommerce web stores offer DTC retailers a simple solution for running flash sales, whether selling domestically or abroad.
The Scalefast Enterprise Commerce Cloud is designed for the high-volume brands can expect with a well-executed flash sale. We offer solutions for site hosting, maintenance, payment processing, fraud protection and more. Schedule a demo today to learn how to launch an eCommerce flash sale event with an enterprise-grade commerce cloud.