The 3 Essential Flash Sale Emails for Ecommerce Stores

Flash sales require careful planning to be run successfully, and once you’ve completed this step you’re going to have to execute your plan. They usually only last a day, but can sometimes last several. If you are extending your flash sale across multiple days, send two emails a day for each day of your flash sale. Many ecommerce stores send an email one day before the flash sale actually starts to alert their subscribers to what’s coming. Below, I will outline what you should include in your flash sale emails.

Preview Email

flash sale emails

[Image via MRKT]

This initial email should notify your target audience that you’re having a flash sale. Specifically, you should inform them:

  • When you’re having your flash sale
  • How long the sale will last
  • What products will be on sale
  • What discount you’re offering

MRKT’s flash sale email does a great job of concisely outlining these key points at the very top of the email. You may choose to simply stop here and leave your subscribers wondering and wanting more, or you could do what MRKT did and spark their interest by giving them a glimpse of what will be on sale. MRKT also created a Twitter hashtag for the event, which helps spread the word about the sale via social media.

If you wish to target a specific subset of your audience, you may choose to only send this preview email to some subscribers. For example, if you’re looking to attract new customers, you can send this email to a segment of contacts that have never made a purchase.

If you’d prefer to market to existing customers, on the other hand, you can create segments based on prior purchases in order to further hone your message. If your sale extends across multiple product categories, for instance, you can feature products from categories customers have already purchased from in your emails.

Email 1 (Morning)

flash sale emails

[Image via Thin Tea]

Send your first email as soon as your flash sale begins. It’s important to foster a sense of urgency and scarcity, so make sure you note that the sale is for a limited time only, while supplies last.

If you’re only opening the flash sale to a certain subset of your audience, include a discount code in the email. This will limit the span of your marketing, but running exclusive flash sales for subscribers is a great way to incentivize people to join your email list.

Again, make sure to include the promotion you are offering. Most often, this is a percent discount on certain items. Ecommerce stores sometimes choose to run sitewide sales instead, depending on their product catalog and inventory.

Email 2 (Evening)

Image via Baby Be Hip

[Image via Baby Be Hip]

Send a reminder email around six hours before your flash sale ends. This should be a “last chance” email and reiterate the content of the first, with a strong focus on the sense of urgency. Include the amount of time left in the flash sale in the subject line and header of the email.


Flash sales are a great way to drive a spike in customer engagement and increase traffic to your site. Just remember to plan ahead and schedule your emails in advance. Create a sense of urgency with an initial preview email, and build on this with your day of emails. The primary things to include are how long the sale is going to last, the products that are included in the sale, and the discount you’re offering.

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