An arrow facing updwards.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Run Successful Flash Sales for your Shopify Store

A guide on running successful flash sales campaign on Shopify stores. We cover basics of flash sales, who is it meant for, some tips on running successful campaign and apps that can add value to your campaign.

Let's run some number games.  

Do you know what is common in these numbers? You guessed it right. All these are record-breaking sales numbers generated by online flash sale events by top retailers.

Insane right? But it works. Customers look forward to those days where their fav product prices will drop by a steep 20-50%.       

Do you know there is a science behind these strategies? And you can leverage that too for your online store. If you're a Shopify store owner and looking for ways to grow your store, these strategies can come in handy.

In this article, we will cover following key concepts that will help you understand everything about Flash Sales and how to run a successful campaign.

  1. What is a Flash Sale?
  2. Who should do a Flash Sale?
  3. Benefits of a Flash Sale
  4. How to run a successful Flash Sale?
  5. Recommended Shopify apps to run Flash Sale
  6. Successful Flash Sales case study references

What is a Flash Sale?

We all have participated in flash sales of one or the other kind. As a consumer we all know what flash sales are. But let's see this from store owner's perspective.

A flash sale is a discount or promotion offered for a limited period of time. In simple terms, any sale which lasts for a short duration ranging from few minutes to few hours.  

Another way these sales are unique is that the discount offered is steep.  The offers generally are irresistible enough to stir the emotions of your shoppers.

The key psychological tactic here is of scarcity. Scarcity or shortage of time or goods create more buying behavior from consumers. Psychologists' states that when an offering is perceived to be scarce, people want it more.

Who should run a Flash Sale?

Before you decide on a flash sale campaign for your Shopify store, you should know how it will benefit you.

Flash sales act as a spotlight and bring attention to your store. Almost like a wildcard for store owners. These work throughout the year. You can use them to help you meet your projections and optimize your profits.    

You’ll likely witness the most traffic and your best sales numbers during these promotions.

Benefits of a Flash Sale

  • Boost sales in a small amount of time and increase revenue.  
  • Increase customer loyalty or attract new customers. It gives curious visitors a reason to try your store. They show existing customers you care about them.  
  • Clear excess stock or make room for new inventory.  
  • Quick promotions and ensured lead conversion. The buzz surrounding your brand will keep bringing in new prospects if done right.  

So, if you desire any of these benefits, you should go for a flash sale.  

However, there can be a flip side to flash sales too. You should carefully evaluate those before you fully decide on this move.  

  • Profits: Since flash sales are all about steep discounts, does this strategy fit in with your short-term and long-term business goals?  
  • Recurring customers: While flash sales are generally great for quick promotions and increasing sales, if not done right, you’d fail to gain recurring customers. It may become one time hit.  
  • Positioning: Your flash sale should be positioned well. If you’re a shopify business that runs deep discounts all the time, it may not make an impact. It would make no difference to your end customers. Or if you’re a store that would run it too frequently, you’ll have to ensure the positioning and value proposition is maintained. Otherwise, your end customers will go unaffected by your efforts.  

Again, with the right strategy and long-term thinking in place, this all can be balanced out well. You can take a step back and evaluate what works out best for you.  

Once you’ve worked that out, you must plan out your flash sale well. We’ve covered some key action items that will help you make it successful.

How to run a successful Flash Sale?  

Now let’s get to work! Flash sales might not be as simple as they sound. So, good planning is a must-to-do.

So, how do you successfully plan and execute a flash sale encountering no misfortune?

  1. Make it live for a short duration. There’s a reason they are called flash sales. The reason is it works only if it lasts for a limited time. The shorter the sale duration, the more emotional your buyers will be. Stick to a duration between 3 hours to 24 hours. 3-hour flash sales are most effective, having 59% higher email open rates.  
  1. Pick the right flash sale inventory. Flash sales are carried out to sell products with low conversions. So put those products up, which makes way to the checkout page but never after that. Recapture the attention of customers that never made it past the cart. You can also put up your excess inventory. Or if you aim to attract new customers, let the best sellers go upstage.  
  1. Choose the right discount. While your prices should drop jaws, you still need to make a profit. So, choose that sweet spot just below your usual sale discounts and still profitable to you.
  1. Get your marketing right, and sales will follow. People like to do research and read reviews on products ahead of time. So, it’s wise to give your shoppers a heads up before your flash sale is live. This is also a chance to broaden your reach on social media and through email by creating fun countdown emails and social media posts.

Send emails to promote your sale. Specially to let past customers know about your flash sale and nudge them to head to your Shopify store. According to a study, it was found that flash sale emails increase click-to-open rates by 74%.

  • If you want to send more short and crisp messages, you can also send SMS campaigns about your flash sales. With your SMS campaign, we would suggest keeping the message as short as possible.
  • When running flash sales, ensure that even shoppers who have abandoned their carts know about the offer. Update your abandoned cart messages across marketing channels to include the discount that you are running.
  • Once your sale is live, it’s crucial to spread the word. Set up a short social media campaign, letting your followers know about the flash sale.  Since social media is filled with promotions, it’s important to get creative with your campaigns.
  1. Stick to simple terms of purchase. If your terms and process are too complex, the sale will fail to yield good results. So, try keeping your terms and offers simple to make the buying process free of hiccups at any stage. Flat discounts or easy buy-one-get-one offers are some good ways to go.
  1. Remind visitors of the limited period. Adding a simple timer on your site and emails will keep your shoppers under pressure. This will give you record-breaking results.
  1. Set up the delivery and logistical chain. It would be difficult to keep the new customers' loyalty if it takes too long for them to get the items they ordered today, where next-day deliveries are anticipated. You'll want to plan ahead of time for mass shipping and distribution. So, you can give shoppers a seamless experience from start to finish.
  1. Steer clear of flash sale fatigue. Last but not least, if the flash sale is a hit, don’t keep repeating them very often. Else your customers will only wait for discounts to buy from you. Also, adequately spaced flash sales keep the excitement alive among customers.

These sale tips are enough to make sure you get the most out of the flash sale.

Shopify app store ecosystem is powerful and helps store owners to do many things. For flash sales, we’ve prepared list of recommended apps that can help you take it to next level.

Read More: Checklist for Flash Sales Campaign

Recommended Shopify Apps for Flash Sales

1. Happy Hours - The Sale app

Happy Hours is the fastest way to create custom sale campaigns that attract and convert customers. Schedule storewide sales, flash sales & product discounts in an instant. Automate price discounts and let the app do all the heavy lifting.  

Highlight features

  • Set discounts just by a click
  • Unlimited parallel sales campaigns
  • Unlimited products
  • Recurring flash sales campaigns or store wide sales in a click

Price: $9.99/month. Forever Free Plan available.

2. Bold Discounts ‑ The Sale App by Bold

Bold Discounts is a sale app created by Bold to help store owners standardize deals on special days. The price of the entire store will be automatically adjusted, with appropriate discounts for each type of item. It also adds a countdown timer to help attract and inspire consumers to buy these products.

Highlight features

  • Set discounts just by a click
  • Install a countdown timer to urge sales speed
  • Sale off on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Create a sale collection
  • Schedule timer for discount days

Price: $19.99/month. 14-day free trial.

Rating: 4.1 / 5

3. Bulk Discount Manager by SpurIT

Bulk Discount Manager is a Shopify app created by the SpurIT group. It aids Shopify store owners in influencing their sales by allowing them to add more discount codes to their stores. When visitors click on any of your items, the discount details will appear on your website.

Highlight features

  • Provide more discounts for a bulk discount
  • Create sales by collection
  • Support the live chat
  • Manually customize theme
  • Display the special sale badge

Price: $18.95/month. 14-day free trial.

Rating: 4.6 / 5

4. Simple Sale by Coolence

Simple Sale is an effective tool for all Shopify e-commerce store owners who want to extend sales without using coupons. Simple Sale allows you to set the sale price next to the RRP (recommended retail price).

Highlight features

  • Display the current sale price next to the normal retail price
  • Sale percentage can be customized easily
  • Calculate all the prices automatically
  • Start your sales with one click
  • Allow up to 250 products per sale

Price: $10/month. 7-day free trial.

Rating: 3.1 / 5

5.Disco: Black Friday Sales App

Do not risk customers leaving because they did not see a coupon code or automatic discount. Use this discount app to apply A discount to each product at a specific time you choose and announce it with a countdown timer bar!

Highlight features

  • Boost sales via urgency
  • Announce sale in the timer bar
  • Schedule sales to save time and relieve stress
  • Apply discounts to 1000 products in under 5 minutes

Price: Free.

Rating: 3.9 / 5

Read More: Best Flash Sale Apps for Shopify Store

Case Study reference of some successful Flash Sale

  • Gymshark is one of the world's most successful fitness activewear brands. It runs two flash sales annually-a summer sale and the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 'Blackout' event. During Blackout, the company's vibrant social media appearance turns dark and black. Last year, Gymshark promised up to 70% off their goods during its black Friday sale. Along with free delivery and returns to all customers. One of their Blackout campaigns broke a lot of previous records. It had 650,000 orders in the first 5 hours only and $400,000 of sales only in the first hour. It gained 1M unique customers at that particular event and 1.1M total orders during the sales campaign.  

     To know more about Gymshark’s sales campaign, click here.  

Loft Outlet
  • LOFT OUTLET's flash sale campaign transports you back to your childhood with the spinning machine game. In which players are unsure which of the three prizes they will get. The "mystery" component of LOFT's offer works in the same way as the traditional game. Clients will figure out what discount they will get from the three discount offers by pressing the appealing “Reveal Your Deal” icon.

      This unique approach has proven to be effective, and when consumers receive their prize, they will most likely return       to the website to take advantage of the provided discount. To know more about the store, click here.  

  • Pottery Barn Kids reaches to the heart with an adorable child in a well-designed setting. You might feel your child can be this kid. This may be his bedroom. For a costly product, 40% off is huge savings, and the phrase "select dressers" adds a suspense element. This flash sale makes you want to find out the dressers Pottery Barn is discounting (what if you happen to want one of the discounted dressers?)

      Pottery Barn Kids shows us how simple things like the right words and pictures can be the reason behind the       success of your flash sale. So, make sure you don’t leave any stones unturned to make your sales campaign a       success. To know more about Pottery Barn Kids, click here.

Conclusion

We hope these flash sale tricks and guides will help you set up successful flash sales.  

Flash sales can quickly generate decent sales for your Shopify store. They offer not only short-term benefits like getting rid of excess inventory, meeting sales projections, and increasing revenue, but also long-term advantages like building brand awareness, gaining customer loyalty, and fueling business growth.  

We suggest that you spend considerable time and effort marketing your flash sales to make the most out of them.

We have also handpicked hundreds of eCommerce resources that can help you grow your eCommerce store.

Check here: Best eCommerce Resources of 2021

Curious on how these services can help your business?
Reach out to us for absolutely free technical consultation.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Curious about DevOps?
Reach out to us and we'll take care of rest.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.