flash sales

StartupNation Growth Hacks #8: Create Flash Sales to Generate Revenue Now

The eighth in a series.

Flash sales are a great way to generate quick revenue while engaging and delighting your customers. Effective flash sales offer something highly desirable to your customers for a limited period of time and/or in limited quantity at an attractive discount. The fear of missing out combined with attractive pricing is a proven way to generate quick revenue for your business. Beyond a one-off flash sale to drive revenue, consider creating a regular flash sale cadence in which, for example, each day you encourage customers to check your store or website for the daily special offering. Flash sales are also an effective way to move clearance inventory.

Let’s get to work!


Growth Hacks: Read the Complete Series!

How to execute a successful flash sale

  1. Make sure you have a clear goal. Whether it’s to move inventory, raise cash through sales, attract new customers, or simply to delight your current customers with a fun and rewarding opportunity to purchase from you, having a clear goal allows you to optimize your ROI with respect to your sale offering and ultimately to measure success.
  2. Establish key elements of your flash sale as follows:
  • Establish the quantity of item or items that will be offered and sold with a “Limited Quantities” notice.
  • Establish a compelling discount to be offered.
  • Establish the duration of the flash sale. Remember, it’s a limited time offer.
  • Establish a clear return and refund policy. Many flash sales are “Final Sale Only – No Returns, Exchanges or Refunds.” If you’re looking to offload some inventory, this might be the way to go.
  • Create fun and compelling ads and/or messaging for social media advertising and related marketing.

Here are some examples of flash sale advertising:

flash sales

flash sales

3. Promote your flash sale. Flash sales are sometimes promoted ahead of time, but they are most impactful when executed and promoted in real time. The best ways to market your sale include posting and/or advertising on social media platforms, email, text messages and even push notifications. These are effective ways to get the word out in real time to create awareness tied to the real-time nature of a flash sale. Make sure your messaging indicates the limited time and/or quantity associated with the flash sale and highlight the item and the rare nature of the discounted offering. Phrases like “one-time only” and “limited quantity available” are examples of effective phrasing. Flash sales work well because they create urgency. They spur impulse purchases. Three-hour time frames are ideal for flash sales. According to a study from Experian, three-hour flash sales result in email open rates 59% higher than average. The key is to drive home the real-time nature and to take advantage of the fear of missing out generated by these sales.

4. Establish secondary ROI objectives, such as driving sign-ups to your newsletter thereby positioning you to capture valuable data and contact information you can use for future marketing campaigns. By doing this, you  benefit even in the absence of sales by those who respond to the call to action.

5. Be sure you are prepared in regard to your inventory, customer service and shipping plans. Ensure a smooth shopping experience for your customers. Your ideal customer is a longtime customer.

6. Sync your online and brick-and-mortar sales. If it’s on sale in your Main Street shop, make sure your website information matches. If you’re only discounting an item online, make sure it’s clear it’s only online and not in stores, and vice versa. Omnichannel marketing eliminates frustration and confusion and builds brand awareness.

Put this hack to work for you now!


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