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Running a Flash Sale: How to Generate Excitement Among Online Shoppers
Anna Dawal
Anna Dawal
December 5, 2022
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Running a Flash Sale: How to Generate Excitement Among Online Shoppers

Currently, it is more and more difficult for retailers and ecommerce stores to engage customers with their sales promotions. Frankly, regular sales do not really impress modern shoppers anymore. But! There is a solution for any troubled business wanting to boost their revenue, bring in new customers, and reward customer loyalty as well, namely – a flash sale!

This post will explore the topic of flash sales – provide a definition of a flash sale, explain how it benefits businesses, and justify why humans are so susceptible to flash-type deals. Some examples of flash sales will be presented too, as well as tips on how to run a flash sale.

What is a flash sale?

A flash sale is an effective marketing tool. It is a short term promotion carried out by an ecommerce store within a strictly limited period of time, which creates great incentives for online shoppers to become interested in their brands and finally make a purchase.

You can run a flash sale on all your products or choose a set of, for example, two or three of those and offer it at extremely low prices at a particular day of the week. 

Moreover, with proper technology and marketing tools, you can target a particular customer base with your flash sales – the promotion can only concern students, members of your loyalty program, or order placed only within your business' mobile app.

How does a flash sale benefit your business? 

Flash sales generate excitement and a sense of urgency among your potential customers. Why should they buy your products on a flash sale? Well, because you certainly offer a good discount and time is ticking so… A decision needs to be made quickly in order to claim the benefits! 

Flash sales also increase social engagement through the promotion of the sale itself, which brings people’s attention to your business and causes them to interact with your brand while sharing the news of the promotion on social media.

Consequently, flash sales can serve as means to attract new customers but also to simply reward loyal customers with some extra benefits. Besides, such sales promotions might also be used as an effective marketing tool for cleaning out excess inventory to make room for new products.

According to Social Marketing Fella, flash sales e-mails cause a 35% increase in daily transaction rates among businesses, compared to an only 16% increase which is generated by regular promotion offer memos sent via email. What is more, as reported by Active Campaign, thanks to flash sales emails as much as 74% of businesses had their click-to-open rates increased.

In the end, flash sales make both businesses and customers happy and the latter, when satisfied, are likely to return and buy more – 385% more on average.

Why do flash sales work?

Yes, flash sales are effective – they boost the revenue of an ecommerce store as flash-deals awaken a feeling of urgency among customers and make them buy products sooner than later.

Impulse-buying is certainly something online shoppers have fallen victims of at least once. Potential consumers visit retailers' websites 'just to browse,' but then end up buying something they were definitely not planning to. Flash sales only enhance this mechanism, as the limited time imposed on the promotion combined with what seems to be a once-in-a-lifetime deal really steals any time for the human brain to ponder upon the purchase.



However, flash sales also work, because they simply make customers feel good and accomplished.

According to the research carried out by an associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan – Scott Rick – when making a purchase of a highly-desired item, the part of the brain responsible for pleasure releases the neurotransmitter dopamine and makes clients feel joyous. That effect is only intensified when that particular item is bought on sale!

What is more, humans simply love games, and attempting to make a desirable purchase within a limited time window becomes a certain competition, which is yet another factor contributing to the popularity of flash sales – humans love winning and being rewarded. Especially if they strike a deal before the time runs out! This is why introducing promotion gamification into your marketing strategy is a must.

Examples of flash sales

1. Amazon-style flash sale

Amazon, one of the world's largest online retailers, has succeeded at running a flash sale every single year since 2015 when the first Prime Day took place as a way of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the company. According to Digital Ecommerce 360, only in 2022, their sales topped $12 billion for a 48-hour flash sales bonanza.

Amazon Flash Sale Banner

2. Best Buy Deal of the Day

During a particular period of time, for instance 20 days as of December 2022 – 20 Days of Deals – Best Buy offers a discount on a particular item throughout a 24 hour period or until it is not in stock anymore. The promotion is valid for a different item every day and the special deal is announced right after midnight.

Best Buy flash sales examples

3. Early Holiday Flash Sale

For eager Christmas shoppers, Apexfoot offered a quick, two-day sale offering 20% off of all the products available on their website. Need a bigger discount? There is a pop-up window offering an additional 10% on your order during the sale!

Holiday flash sale from Apexfoot
Apexfoot promotion email

4. Bean Box Coffee flash-deal

Bean Box prepared a flash sale lasting only for a day during which customers were offered 15% off the company's newest 6 Merry Mornings™ Holiday Coffee Collection. Buyers were informed about the flash promotion via email.

Beanbox flash deal email message

5. Moo extended Cyber Monday

Extending their Cyber Monday deal, Moo offered their shoppers 25% off online orders with the promo code CYBER22 throughout an additional week only.

Moo BF extended sale

How to run a successful flash sale?

  1. Plan your strategy ahead – You want your discounts to appear at a time when consumers are interested and ready to spend money – maybe Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the holiday season. But! You can also use a flash sale as a way to boost your sales and run the promotion on a weekday when sales typically fall short. 
  2. Research your customer base and the market – Are all online shoppers going to benefit or only some customers are going to be targeted with the flash sale? Are you going to reward customer loyalty or focus on generating new customers for your brands?
  3. Set time limits – a few hours to maximum a day. Yes, it is a nice promotion, but people need to feel the urgency. FOMO is key!  
  4. Make sure your flash sale deal is better than your regular promotions – In the end, you can offer free delivery too!
  5. Choose products you want to sell – Are you going to clear out the excess inventory or listen to the popular demand and give away your hottest products?
  6. Ensure good CX – Make sure to have your promotion visible on your home page and other popular pages of your domain. Take advantage of your brand's social media to let everyone know your deals are the best. Promote your flash sale before it happens, so the excitement arises and everyone is ready to shop! Enhance the user experience by properly presenting your deal. Ideally, position the sales countdown timer on banners. In the end, if the client cannot easily find the memo about how long the promotion lasts, it results in rather poor customer experience. 
  7. Get ready for traffic – you don’t want your website to crush when people are waiting with their carts full. The goal of a flash sale is to leave your new customers happy and wanting to come back for more.

Learn more: Discover the best practices of Promotions UX

Create your flash sale with Voucherify

Voucherify offers you the possibility to create your own time-related promo campaigns such as flash sales, where you can easily control the time limit you want to impose on your campaign.

1. Start your campaign

You can decide on a start date of your sale and simply choose a specific date or make the promotion run as soon as the campaign is saved.

2. End your campaign

There is a possibility to put a time limit on your campaign by choosing a specific end date or it can run indefinitely until ceased manually.

Examples of time limits in Voucherify

3. Add validity time frame

There is also an option of adding a validity time frame to your deals which will allow for them to be active only for a particular time, for instance – they will be valid only for two hours each day of the duration of the campaign.

Validity timeframe in Voucherify

4. Valid on specific days of the week

Additionally, vouchers can not only have a time limit but can also be set to work only on specific days of the week. Combining the two options, you can have a coupon which is valid only on Fridays between 3 and 5 pm.

Specific days validity

5. Valid for certain time after the publication

Through Voucherify, you can also enable your coupons to be active only for a specific time after their release. For instance, while sending an email about a flash sale to your customers, you can mark the promo code within the message valid for 24 hours only.

Publication validity in Voucherify

If executed carefully, a well-managed flash sale increases your consumer base and elevates your bottom line. A flash sale is attractive if done right; it makes your business stand out and gain new clients while earning consumer trust.


Create your next flash sale with Voucherify

Try for free


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