How to Prepare Your Site for a Flash Sale
With the biggest shopping season past us, this is a great time to start thinking about, and preparing for, a flash sale. Flash sales are a great way to boost your business’ sales by offering a short but sweet window of opportunity for customers to enjoy heavy discounts.
The timeframe of a flash sale is usually much shorter than a regular sale and the discounts and promotions are more tempting. Flash sales encourage impulse buying, help ecommerce stores clear out stock, and increase short term sales. Flash sales can gain you a 35% increase in transaction rates.
While there are plenty of benefits to be had when it comes to a flash sale, as an ecommerce brand, you want to make sure that your site is fully prepped for the big event. When done properly, a flash sale can generate high traffic to your website, so putting a few key measures in place can help the event to run like clockwork.
Here’s how to prepare for a flash sale…
Launch a test flash sale
Before the big event, you may want to run a small test flash sale to see if it works for your current business. Flash sales can be great – they can boost transaction sales, excite customers, bring in new customers, and pack quite a punch. But throwing everything into a big flash sale and seeing a poor return can be bad for business morale.
By running a small scale micro version of your flash sale, you can get a glimpse as to what to expect. You may want to take note of email clicks and open rates, site visits and conversions, new vs existing customer interest, and positive ROI.
Check voucher codes
How are you running the sale? Whether your discounts rely on vouchers and codes or are applied manually at check out, you will want to do a test run.
Knowing that your discounts are ready to roll and the payment system is functioning is one of the most important steps. Customers will be incredibly frustrated to get to the final step of their purchase and not have the discount applied and this could cost you your reputation and repeat custom.
Load test everything
Making sure your site can handle a surge means load testing everything. The last thing you want is high traffic crashing your site.
Make sure every step of the process is working by doing a test run that covers the whole customer journey, from clicking on the homepage, to exploring different products, and going all the way through to the purchase page.
You may also want to play around with shopping cart action too – can the cart handle large spikes in traffic? When a customer moves away from the site – does the stock go back into the inventory and become available for others or does it stay stashed in the cart? Knowing this is important when ironing out the kinks that can occur in your flash sale.
Build a landing page
You should build a landing page for your flash sale and have visual links to it on your main site and social sites. The landing page should be on brand with the rest of your ecommerce site but have a sense of urgency tied to it. It should be clear, concise, and offer a strong call to action, such as an email sign up to receive a voucher code.
Look at other pages
You may want to tweak your homepage by adding banners and visual reminders to showcase your upcoming flash sale. Drumming up knowledge and excitement is an essential ingredient for making the sale work.
If you are updating or building new landing pages, make sure that you visually verify them before the launch. By checking your website pages, layouts, videos, and social posts, you can streamline your ecommerce brand and check that the user experience is free of bugs or red flags, or anything that could hinder a purchase.
Design the emails
Part of drumming up excitement for the impending flash sale means spreading the word and letting suspension build. While social posts, ads, and banners should be part of the plan – you will also want to design a series of email marketing campaigns to engage your customers.
Your email sequence should include:
- A pre-launch announcement
- The launch
- Last call
- Final call
- A post-sale thank you or further invite
To make the most of your email marketing campaign and encourage open rates, you may want to use a strong lifestyle product image, an attention grabbing (yet non-spammy) email heading, and encourage a scarcity act-now mindset in the text you choose. Phrases like “act now” and “only xxx time left” can increase the pace of your customers.
Set up stock alerts
Keeping your inventory up to date is important during a flash sale as you don’t want to be caught off guard or risk disappointing customers. You can also make clever use of stock alerts. Setting up low stock alerts for your customers can help encourage them to make that purchase and keeps you from losing sales because you aren’t up to date with your inventory. Businesses can lose a staggering $1.75 trillion per year due to poor stock inventory.
There are many great reasons to say yes to flash sales. By keeping them short, drumming up interest five to seven days in advance, and properly preparing and testing your site, you can turnover surplus stock, reward and excite your customers, and drive up your sales.
Remember, great preparation is the key to a successful flash sale, and a few steps before the big launch will ensure that everything runs like clockwork.