SCORE Tip of the Week: Are Flash Sales a Flash in the Pan—or Worth Your While?

SCORE's CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey, discusses how the "flash sale" concept might benefit your business.

Although the economy is improving, consumers are still watching their wallets. While daily deal sites are firmly established as consumer favorites, and you may even have tried them as a marketing tool for your business, there’s another option you may not have considered: flash sales.

A flash sale website is a members-only site where customers sign up to get regular emails alerting them to each day’s promotional special offers. And these are truly special offers—flash sales sites typically sell high-end products like designer fashions, exotic travel or expensive jewelry at rock-bottom prices. The extreme nature of the discounts gets customers “hooked” on visiting the flash sales site again and again to see what’s on sale.

In addition to the low prices, the other aspect customers can’t resist is that these sales are over in a “flash”—hence the name flash sales. Products go on sale at a set time (like 12 noon) and usually only last for a day or two; sometimes, when the product is particularly popular, the sale is over in hours. Talk about a limited-time offer!

I’m not suggesting you start a flash sales site, but implementing the flash sales concept into an existing website could be a tactic worth trying.

  • Consider sending a daily email highlighting one product that’s on sale for a limited time only.
  • Make sure your website has the bandwidth to support the surge of visitors you may get at one time.
  • Clearly explain the concept in your emails and on your site so you don’t have upset customers when products sell out quickly.
  • Use flash sales to encourage customers to sign up for your emails or follow you on social media. They will have to follow you or share their information in order to get notice of the flash sales.
  • Encourage your flash sales followers to share the news about your flash sales on social media, and to forward your flash sales emails.

Gilt.com is probably the best known flash sales site. Visit this luxury retailer for ideas and to see how it’s done, but keep in mind that flash sales aren’t just for luxury goods anymore—they could be for your business, too.