Black Friday Takeover: How To Successfully Run A Flash Sale

Stephen McCance November 2, 2018

It’s a tradition that UK retailers have only started adopting over the past few years, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday have already changed the flash sale game.

“Of the $107.4 billion projected in holiday online shopping for 2017, $57 billion will take place afterBlack Friday, Cyber Monday .”

So, with every other retailer looking to get a slice of the action, here’s a look into the benefits of a flash sale and how you can stay competitive among the many participants.

What Are The Benefits of a Flash Sale?

A flash sale is an ideal way to move the last of your stock, build on your reputation and reach a host of new customers. But never before have brands been held in direct competition with rivals in such a global event. In fact, many retailers choose to participate in Black Friday week or weekend to elongate the sale period.

Companies have reported an impressive:

51% increase in traffic
50% increase in conversion rate
236% increase in revenue

The Potential Pitfalls

Though the numbers sound good, it means nothing if you aren’t making a profit. The slash in prices means you are also squeezing your profit margins. You should track your flash sale customers to see if you’re able to upsell on some items, and if they convert into loyal customers once the sale is over. You can do this by looking into the CLV ( customer lifetime value );

Single Sale Average x Repeat Transactions Average x Retention Period = CLV

That way you have a better understanding of how well running a flash sale works for your brand. If the calculations show that over time the CLV isn’t beneficial to your brand, reconsider holding flash sales in the future.

The 5 Step Process

Here are 5 important steps you should consider when running a flash sale:

1.What’s the end goal?

You should begin with defining what it is that you’re hoping to accomplish by running your flash sale.

  • Have you just launched a new product that you want to show the world?
  • Do you want to target new customers?
  • Are you looking to move last season’s stock?

2.Build the anticipation

It’s natural for consumers to assume most retailers will be participating in the Black Friday sale. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect promoting your special offers in the run up to the event. Why should customers come to your store instead of your competitors? What deals are you offering that are better than theirs? Broadcast this across your social media channels and in stores to spread the word.

3.Know your worth

Keeping prices competitive during Black Friday is crucial. Do some research into the last few years to see how much of a discount your competitors have been offering. You should be providing significant savings, while at the same time maintaining your integrity and knowing your worth. Some retailers are able to provide a discount of up to 80%, but don’t feel obliged to follow suit if this isn’t tangible.

4.When and where will the products be sold?

Will your sale be solely online or in store too? Consider the option of having separate exclusive online deals to entice customers who may not make their way to the store. Research shows that most shoppers prefer to shop for black friday discounts online.

5.Monitor sales and engage with the target audience

Ensure that you’re using social media to engage with customers throughout the sale period. You can update them on what’s selling fast and the best deals of the day. This will also mean you’re on hand to answer any questions and problems that users may be encountering.

Top Tip: Have a technical team on standby
It’s often the case that such an influx in traffic to your site brings the risk of it crashing completely. Make sure you have a technical team on hand to resolve any problems. A site crashing can cause frustration for customers and may encourage them to look elsewhere to make their purchase.

In Conclusion

Running a flash sale can be a great way for your company to gain exposure and reel in potential new repeat custom. Don’t be too disheartened if your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales didn’t create the frenzy you were hoping for, developing a reputation for having great deals is something that can only happen over time. For example, take Debenhams and their famous ‘Blue Cross’ sale. It’s now a recognised event held every year, with customers holding back on any purchases until the sale is announced. This was only transformed into an established event after years of commitment.

After the Black Friday online event, evaluate your results and see what you could improve upon for next year. Could you be more active on social media? Perhaps your IT team weren’t quick enough to sort out website glitches, or maybe something you thought would fly off the shelves didn’t sell as well as you’d hoped. These are all issues that you can learn from. Finally, this means when you do get it right – participating in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be extremely lucrative.

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