There never seems to be a moment when there isn’t a sale on somewhere. Retailers have become ever more inventive with their reasons for going into sale mode. I think we're all up for grabbing a bargain but there comes a point when you stop believing. This isn’t good for customer relations especially those businesses where sale mode has become their default position.
It hasn’t been that long ago when a sale meant a sale and would create genuine frenzy on the high street. People would queue hours in advance, sometimes days so they could be first to grab the bargains. It seems Black Friday is now the modern alternative to the sales of yesteryear.
For smaller retailers it’s much harder to compete with the big guys when it comes to sales. In the first place they don’t have the buying power so discounting becomes harder if they want to achieve a profit.
However, independents and smaller retailers can still put on a good sale and one that will have the desired effect; they just need a slightly different approach. One such alternative is a flash sale – always a good option if cash flow is a bit tight!
Here’s a few top tips for a creating a flash sale
- Choose the right stock – yes you want to get rid of old stuff but you need to include some good products in the mix if you want to create a bit of ‘sale frenzy’.
- Time – you can do a flash sale at almost any point of the year and you don’t have to follow everyone else. Do your own thing.
- A flash sale needs to do what it says – its short and its quick.
- Length - maximum seven days, optimum length four days, minimum length two days.
- Plan to reorganise your shop to accommodate the sale – it needs to look visually different.
- Make it worthwhile – if you can, discount up to half price. Percentages off are not always the best way to go, not everyone can do the maths.
- Promote it well via all your normal marketing channels - in advance, one to two weeks before and step this up even more during the sale period counting down to the last hour of the last day. Create some urgency for your customer.
- Keep it looking fresh by re-merchandising during the sale period - that's every day.
- What isn’t sold at the end of the sale get rid of it. Don’t pack it away to be brought out for the next sale, it will disengage your regular customers and they are the most important to your business. Try and sell your surplus stock on Ebay or similar channel or if you’re feeling generous donate it to a charity. The most experienced retailer will at times make bad buying decisions; get over it its part of the game.
- Consider extending opening hours during the sale period, open earlier, close later – it will be worth it!
- Use this period to sign up more customers to your mailing list. Give them the opportunity to be the first in the know for when you have your next flash sale.
- The day and time it finishes is the day and time it finishes – that’s it, no extensions. If you’re customers missed it, too late – don’t make any exceptions.
- During the sale period tease your customers with new products coming in or maybe your next retail campaign.
- The morning after - your shop is looking fresh and new with not a signal piece of evidence of the previous days sale. Do this and you’re sales for the next week or so will be better too.
All the best
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