How to Plan a Flash Sale

Blenders Flash Sale

[Image via Blenders Eyewear]

Flash sales are short, limited time sales that usually only last a few hours. Many ecommerce marketers use flash sales to drive excitement and interest among existing customers, as well as attract new customers with steep discounts and increase traffic to their websites. However, before you decide to run a flash sale, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

Is a Flash Sale Right for Your Business

Flash sales aren’t for everyone. Make sure that a flash sale is on-brand for your business — if you never run sales or promotions, a flash sale isn’t a good idea. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you typically run sales or offer discounts to your customers?
  • Do you sell a wide range of products?
  • Do you have an excess inventory of products?
  • Do you have the bandwidth to handle a huge spike in orders?

If you answered yes to the above questions, a flash sale could be a great tool to expand and draw attention to your business.

When planning a flash sale, it’s important to bear in mind the logistics of how you will handle a sharp increase in traffic to your website and an influx of new orders. A site crash could be catastrophic, so make sure you plan accordingly. You want to create a sense of scarcity and urgency, but you don’t want your products to sell out immediately, since you may end up with many disappointed customers.

Timing

Unless you’re a daily deals site, you don’t want to run a constant series of flash sales. Plan your flash sales around holidays (like Black Friday and Cyber Monday) or changes in season.

Furthermore, if you run frequent flash sales, your customers can become indifferent to your promotions. A flash sale isn’t special if it’s something that happens all the time, and customers can develop a condition similar to banner blindness, where they’re no longer interested in your sales because they are so frequent.

Establish the Goal of Your Flash Sale

What is the goal of your flash sale? Your first instinct may be to answer this question with “to make money.” However, your goals might actually be a bit more nuanced than just that. Flash sales are a great way to attract new customers and move excess inventory, but they can be costly, too.

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If your goal is to attract new customers, create a segment of people who are subscribed to your mailing list but have never made a purchase. Advertise your flash sale more heavily to this group. You should also invest in social media ads to target these subscribers, and non-subscribers who are similar. Klaviyo’s integration with Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences will help you reach these people.

If your goal is to market to your existing customers, create segments based on purchase data and tailor your flash sale emails to each segment. If you are including several product categories in your flash sale, for instance, target customers who have purchased from each of these categories with sale items from these categories. This way, you can ensure that your customers are getting the most relevant emails possible.

Conclusion

In a coming post, I will outline what you should do day of a flash sale. However, before you start, make sure a flash sale is right for your business and define what you’re hoping to accomplish. Then, you can plan the timing of your flash sale and hone your audience.

Does your ecommerce store run flash sales? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

Marissa Petteruti
Marissa started at Klaviyo on the Marketing team, and is now a technical writer on the Product Education team. She enjoys writing helpful content for our customers and training them on how to use the product.
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