Did you know?🤔

Online sales over the last BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) period had reached $6.3 billion in 2021, 23% more than 2020!

This is a classic example of a flash sale or the “golden hour of retail.” Consumers take advantage of flash sales because of FOMO or the fear of missing out on last-minute deals.

What is a Flash Sale?

A flash sale is a promotion, or discount offered for a limited period. It’s BOOM or BUST, which means one moment the sale is there and the next moment it’s gone. These short-term sales are great opportunities to sell many products in a few hours. It’s the exclusivity and urgency that tap into the shopper’s FOMO and encourages impulse buying.

On robust platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud, it is convenient to have a seamless eCommerce business, but if you are looking at generating quick revenue for your business, then launching a successful flash sale is a must. In this post, we shall talk about the tried and tested ten ways to successfully launch a flash sale.

10 Steps to Launch a Flash Sale

Here goes the list of ten steps that you need to follow to have a successful flash sale.

1. Have Proper Goals for your Flash Sale:

The first step is to decide the goal that you would like to achieve through your flash sale. For example, some of you would like to move your inventory, while others would like to maximize your sales during BFCM or launch a new product. Depending on your goal, decide what products you will market and how.

The goals could be:

  • Encouraging customers to try new products
  • Creating “brand buzz” to get more eyes on your store
  • Clearing out excess or outdated inventory
  • Boosting website traffic and revenue
  • Taking advantage of the holidays or a trend
  • Raising brand awareness online

Once you know the goals, you shall have clarity about your target audience and the way you want to market them.

2. Keep your Operations Team Well-Prepared:

Before the flash sale goes live, you ensure your operations team is ready with the influx of traffic. The aim is to avoid any kind of downtime, even when there is a spike in traffic. With Salesforce, the process is easy. You just need to notify them in advance by submitting the date and time of the sales. The result is when there is an influx of traffic; it isn’t deemed suspicious and customers have a seamless shopping experience. With SFCC, it’s possible to create a virtual waiting room to control site traffic. In virtual waiting rooms, the number of shoppers buying a single product at a time is controlled.

3. Identify your Target Audience:

It is critical to understand your target audience so that you can launch a successful flash sale. First, specify whether you want to target your existing customers or the new ones, or particular demographics.

There are some brands that create a flash sale so that they can establish their brand identity and target their loyal customers. While there are others who want to sell out their products soon. Initially, you can launch a mini flash sale before you run the full-scale sale.

To Note: When you are targeting existing customers, try to avoid customers who bought sale products at regular prices; they might feel offended. This is possible with SFCC’s out-of-the-box feature like Einstein Recommendation.

Identifying your target audience means understanding buying behavior and your shopper’s interest. Using Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud Einstein Predictive Sort, you can make AI-powered predictions about the items they want and what they would like to buy. When you have data about past buyer behavior, it’s easier to personalize the shopping experience.

Quick Note: Past buyer behavior data creates an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell.

4. Track Trends:

To remain relevant with trends is important. When you have a thorough knowledge of the current trends, you can easily craft your flash sale as per the shopper’s interest.

With trends, the key to success is to anticipate them ahead of your competition and act on them as quickly as possible. Always keep in mind, the shorter the time frame, the higher is the excitement for impulse buying.

5. Set up the Promotion on your Site:

If you plan to set up the promotion on your site, you must focus on the way you present the information. Short and simple messages can quickly catch the attention of the buyers.

Shoppers are quick to react when it comes to short-term, or percentage offs due to a phenomenon known as loss of aversion. Another important criterion to set up promotions on your site is to mention all the details so that buyers aren’t confused.

You can choose to add pop-ups or interrupters whenever your buyers enter your site.

6. Choose your Marketing Platform:

Not just launching a flash sale is important, you need to market it well before it begins. The best way to build anticipation among buyers on platforms through which you can not only connect with the new audience but also reestablish contact with the existing ones. You must choose a platform that makes the most sense to your audience and then decide whether you will opt for organic traffic or paid ads.

You must answer the following questions before you choose a platform for the highest ROI:

  • Which platforms produce the highest engagement?
  • Which platform yields the lowest customer acquisition cost and the highest return on ad spend?
  • What percentage of your marketing budget goes to those channels?
  • Where do your target audiences and existing shoppers spend most of their time?

Pro Tip: If you are already on Salesforce Marketplace, creating a flash sale is even easier.

7. Promote your Sale:

The show must go on. To keep the momentum uninterrupted, you should relentlessly promote your sale across your chosen platforms.

Ways to promote your flash sale:

  • Running an email campaign to your existing lists
  • Launching a pay-per-click ad campaign
  • Posting about your sale on social media
  • Reaching out to influencers or third-party publishers

The objective is to build the momentum of your flash sale and boost engagement through clicks, likes, retweets, comments, and shares. It’s prudent to build excitement four to six days before the event because more eyes mean higher conversions.

Quick Note: Using messenger bots has become a popular way to promote flash sales. When shoppers visit your site or subscribe to your email, you can follow up with bots. The method is quick and an easy way to promote your latest offers to a shopper.

8. Track the ROI on your Sale:

Monitoring the progress and measuring the ROI of your flash sale helps you understand if your flash sale was a success. If it wasn’t a success, you can fill the gaps in your next sale and if it was a hit, you can easily forecast your future sales.

Tracking the traffic and measuring the revenue helps you find out what worked for you and what didn’t. When you track the traffic, you get critical insights such as how many shoppers visited the site and completed a desired action like adding items to the cart.

You should identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) before launching the sale. When you know about your completed goals and your conversion rates, you can easily find out your bottlenecks in your campaign and fix them in your next flash sale activity.

9. Have Robust Customer Support:

Digital customer service is more in vogue. It means your customer support team gets plenty of inquiries during the flash sale period. Hence, they must be equipped to offer a consistent customer experience even when there are too many queries.

It is important to have a scalable solution like Salesforce Service Cloud so that you can help a greater number of customers during a flash sale. Customer service agents should have tools that give them a single view of customers across multiple touch-points. Such mobile-ready tools can help your support team resolve inquiries from any device during flash sales, resolve issues faster, and prevent cart abandonment during the sale.

10. Follow Up with Shoppers:

What should you do next, once new shoppers participate in your flash sale? The answer is simple: retention. If you want to maximize repeat sales you should offer customers lucrative deals in their next purchase. You can also consider arranging re-targeting campaigns via paid ads so that shoppers are encouraged to buy new products or engage with new deals.

Post-purchase, you can request your shoppers to write a review or post their experiences on social media. However, be careful not to bombard your customers with too many emails. Instead, the campaigns should be tailor-made to suit their interests. It will help to build brand trust and convert new buyers into lifetime shoppers.

Closing Thoughts

Flash sales are like rewards for your biggest fans and closest followers, since they are your evangelists and their word of mouth will do a lot to promote future sales. However, at the same time they are also a great opportunity to offload your inventory.

With flash sales, brands can forge a unique bond with customers since the notification and execution happen in real time. Therefore, if used rightly with flash sales, brands can stimulate imagination and deliver a visceral customer experience, which will help them stay ahead of the curve.

The next-gen flash sales will be built on the foundation of exclusivity. Brands will be better positioned to predict which customer segments are most likely to participate in flash sales and personalize them accordingly with the right platform and toolset.


Recommended Reading:

Updates from SFCC: Version 22.1 Released with Bold and Beautiful Features