flash sales

Flash Sales: What’s the Deal?

Looking to boost sales, move some inventory and attract new customers? You may want to consider running a flash sale.

Flash sales are discounted sales promotions that run for a short, defined period of time. You’ve seen them around – emails announcing “ONE DAY ONLY!” or even entire websites devoted to flash sales such as Gilt, Ideel, HauteLook and even Groupon. With careful planning, flash sales have the potential to drive sales, attract and convert new customers and create brand awareness.

First, ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish with a flash sale, what is your goal?

  • Move surplus inventory
  • Boost sales
  • Offer exclusives to current customers as a “thank you,” strengthening brand loyalty
  • Find new customers and create brand awareness

Your desired goal will help determine what to sell, to who and when. Your first instinct may be to offer your higher-margin products, but consider your audience and what you’re trying to accomplish. For instance, are you trying to bring attention and new customers in? Statistics show that over 50% of those responding to flash sales are women, something you may want to keep in mind when choosing a product. Or are you looking to offer a customer exclusive? In that case, perhaps a deep discount on popular favorites may be the thing.


You can research and plan your goals and product offerings all you want, but if you can’t deliver, it could bomb. Do you have enough inventory? Are you ready to ship?

Stocking up your fulfillment house and giving them plenty of advance notice is a must. Customers are excited, many are new, and the last thing you want is to disappoint them with out-of-stocks and late shipping. Today’s customers expect the total brand experience and a big part of that experience is the gratification of getting the limited-time order in and receiving it right away.


While weekends may be ideal for brick ‘n’ mortar, weekdays are where online flash sales are at. Weekdays, especially evenings, are statistically when more shoppers are online and likely to buy. Also pay attention to seasonal trends and events, such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday and holidays.


What’s the appeal of a flash sale? At its heart, it’s the sense of urgency. Flash sales convey to customers that they have X-amount of time or they miss the opportunity; if they don’t act now, the deal will be gone and they’ll have missed out. Shopping decisions are largely driven by emotional response, creating the sense of urgency and missing something is a powerful way to get attention.

So how do you create this sense of urgency and market your flash sale? Build the buzz through all available channels – email list, social media and on-site. Use strong persuasive keywords such as “One Day Only,” “Don’t Miss Out,” “Hurry!” “Offer Expires” and related terms.

Start your promotional push ahead of time, but not too far ahead as to discourage regular sales. A teaser email and mentions on social media, “Something’s coming!” a week or two ahead hinting at the sales event to create curiosity and anticipation. Make a few mentions across social media, perhaps including a product preview or graphic. Once you choose your launch date to let the details out, it’s go time.

Once you enter into heavy promotion for your flash sale, push hard across all channels available. Take care to produce highly shareable content – posts which your followers will share, making use of visually impactful images, interesting videos or gifs, anything that will make your post stand out in a crowded newsfeed. As you will be reaching new customers, remember to keep your posts on-brand and in line with your company image.

Your post should include your call to action and should always send them to a custom landing page announcing the details of your flash sale. You may want to consider some paid promotion as well, targeting the demographics that will resonate with the sale most, targeting your competition’s audience as well as making sure your own audience sees the announcements.

Are you ready to go? Make sure to let us know – we have the capability and experience to warehouse, fulfill and ship your high-volume flash sales with speedy turnaround to keep your customers completely satisfied and coming back for more.

You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.

You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.

But how do you ship it?

We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.