Flash Sales Meaning Complete Guide For Sales Success

Flash Sales Meaning: Complete Guide For Sales Success


Does sales offers & discount makes you delighted and happy ?

Hence, companies are using social media, email automation, outdoor, video’s, tv & newspaper advertisement to send you to flash sales offer like ” Flash Sales $1 or Flash Sales Rs 1 for LATEST iPhone & smartphone available for sell today between 8 pm to 8:15 pm only”, this is a sure shot flash sales example where you will be excited for purchase immediately.

We all love discounts and offers & companies understand it very well, therefore they love to play with human psychology using flash sales as a strategy, and you intend to purchase the products or service within a time period, this is the flash sales magic.

What Is Flash Sales?

Flash sales are defined as a sales strategy used by brands to increase their sales with eye-catching discounts, offers for a very short time, often showing limited stock availability with terms & conditions. The purpose of flash sales is to maximize sales or increase the demand for unsold or surplus products or services in a very short time span.

Flash sales strategy is in every business category but especially in Ecommerce, Airlines, Vacations, Movies, Hotels, Automotive & FMCG.

4 Best Ways To Make Flash Sales Successful?

A successful flash sales can never be successful without HLLT :

High Discounts

Limited Time Durations

Limited Products or Service Availability

Terms & Conditions ( *T&C Apply )

Example of flash sales: High Discounts | Limited-Time Duration | Limited Stock Availability | Terms & Conditions ( *T&C Apply )

Perfect Example Of Flash Sales
Perfect Example Of Flash Sales

Flash Sales Most Popular Worldwide

By Region

Let’s look at the most popular flash sales region worldwide in last 5 years.

flash sales region wise worldwide
Data Source : Google Trends

By Cities

Let’s look at the most popular flash sales city worldwide in last 5 years.

flash sales city wise worldwide
Data Source : Google Trends

Benefits of Flash Sales

A successful flash sales can give you :

1. Gain New Customers

Gain New Customers flash sales

Any business wants new customers & hence flash sales has a major benefit here to attract new customer & retain the new customer. Within a very short time, period flash sales can gain customers at a very large scale to make purchases through urgency & excitement created by flash sales tricks, and hence flash sales can help you grow your business.

2. Create Purchasing Excitement

If you are able to create or make customers excited about your product & service through flash sales tricks then sales are yours. The customer mind is very difficult to study, hence we need to trigger the human mind through attractive flash sales discounts so as the customer feels the need to purchase as if he/she won’t get the flash offer next time therefore excitement for purchasing is very important.

3. Push Up Inventory

push inventory flash sales

Flash sales help brands to push sales so as inventory gains rotations. Companies have two types of inventory surplus & unsold inventory and both pushback the sales revenue and hence companies use flash sales tricks and strategy to rotate their inventory fast because every inventory occupies space and come with an expiry date, therefore, flash sales are a very popular way to maximize sales revenue within a short span of time.

4. Save Customer Money

save customer money flash sales

One of the major benefits of flash sales to the customer is saving money due to very high discounts & offers customer has a very high advantage to save money by purchasing products & services in flash sales deals. Customer loves brands which help them make or save money & this leads to customer loyalty plus word of mouth promotions. Customer loves to purchase from brands which can offer great sales deals.

5. Create Engagement

Flash sales offer is a superb way to create customer engagement for their brands. Customer engagement means customer loves your brand and they can provide you with valuable reviews and feedback which can scale your business. Companies use various customer engagement software which can bring new customer engagement experience to convert into sales. Flash sales offers are a popular strategy to create customer engagement.

6. Increase Sales Revenue

increase sales revenue flash sales

Flash sales are a great strategy to increase sales revenue in a very short span of time and achieve your sales goal quickly. Brand run flash sales to meet up their monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annual sales quota and improve their inventory statement. Not every products or service are successful in flash sales but most of them do very well to accelerate sales revenue to a certain point easily.

Disadvantages of Flash Sales

1. Cut profit margin

Every brand use discount to sell more products & services but if your need to provide a huge discount of 30%, 50% & 70% then your sales profit margin reduce and this is a major drawback in flash sales. If you don’t want to be unsuccessful in flash sales then you must be ready for compromising with your profit on sales because flash sales tricks and strategy is going to eat your profit because the customer looks for discounts due to high competition.

2. Violate country regulation

Violate country regulation flash sales

Flash sales strategy can violate given country rules and regulations or government of any country can come up with flash sales policy like in India ” where the new rule has been incorporated in the proposed draft rule to prevent people from falling for the fraudulent sales and companies in the name of FLASH sale under Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 – India Government.

In many countries flash sales are banned due to unfair trade practices.

3. Gain short-term customers

A flash sale can attract one-time or short-term buyers. Once they made a deal, they vanish to never be seen again. Flash sales have a major disadvantage here because the customer will only see the discount, match with the competitor & found low they will purchase and never be seen in normal sales, hence such customer is very opportunist and flash sales attract them but if something goes unplanned then such customer is very ready to discourage your brand image immediately.

4. Discourage brand value

discourage brand value flash sales

A flash sale can hurt your reputation if you aren’t clear in how your sales event will be conducted or you fail to deliver great customer service afterward. For an example : Indian Ecommerce brand Flipkart server crashed on “BigBillionDay2014” when a large number of customer hits the server to gain the advantage of hugely discounted flash sales offers.

5. Raise Question

Flash sales come with huge discounts to sell product & service, hence it raises a question in the mind of the customer that what’s wrong that brand is giving so huge discount, is the product or service not selling, any quality issue and so on and so forth because the customer is now very smart, they are researching from at least from 3-5 competitor and then make a buying decision.

How to create a successful flash sales business model?

1. Know your audience

know customer flash sales

Flash sales are a very sensitive selling strategy, therefore every step has to be very correct. When flash sales are in the picture we need to focus on gaining new customers, retaining new customers, and activating old customers. Considering all three types of customers in flash sales we can create a successful flash sales business model.

3 Tricks To Gain Key Insights About Your Customers

1. Tap your active customer base

Make a list of your best customers, your most profitable customers, your oldest customers, and your newest customers. Now connect them through bulk SMS, email marketing, notification, social media, calls so on and so forth.

Make them know pre-hand about flash sales so as they are ready and excited and your also get word of words promotions before flash sales begins.

2. Mine the data already available

Use an analytics tool, you can learn what age groups are coming to your website most often, as well as whether they are mostly men or women. You can find out whether they are mostly in the USA, UK, India, or some other country, and which region they are based off. What operating system are they using? Are they desktop or mobile? How is the traffic coming to your website getting there? From organic search or paid ads? What social platform is sending you the most traffic? What social platform is sending you the best converting traffic? and nourish this invaluable data to create the right flash sales, business model.

3. Use Surveys & Polls

To gain or know your potential customers before flash sales it is advisable to conduct surveys & polls using various platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other online website to gain feedback from your potential customers.

2. Time flash sales duration

Time is a very important factor that should not be ignored while creating flash sales. The time length determines the success of flash sales. The shorter the time the better is the sales; it creates a sense of urgency and excitement so as customers to act quickly. Studies show that 85% of flash sale orders occur within the first few hours. Most flash sales last anywhere between 15 minutes to 36 hours. 

3. Create an amazing promotional campaign

Creating an amazing promotional campaign is the winning strategy. Let me show you with examples of successful flash sales promotional campaign :

ClothingWeekend offer (7th -9th February ) | offer end evening 7:30 pm | 60% flat off *t&c apply
EcommerceSmall business days ( 2nd- 4th June Every Month ) Discount up to 70% off *t&c apply
Restaurants Happy hours! 8 pm to 12 pm sales + min 30% off with 5% cash back instant! start 31st December | credit cards accepted | *t&c apply
Movies9 star | Free download movie between 5 am to 5:45 am and referral earn 5% discount on a yearly subscription.
TravelBook Domestic Flights Starting @ JUST Rs. 999*.
Valid on IndiGo, SpiceJet & Vistara flight bookings.| Bookings are open till 25th June ’21.
Offer is applicable on travel dates between 1st August 2021 and 12th October 2021.
Examples flash sales promotional campaign

4. Prepare delivery strategy

free shipping flash sales

To keep your customers’ delivery expectations real, make sure you:

  • Make it clear up-front in advance what shipping delivery turn-around time will be
  • Have extra support help to get customer orders out fast
  • Pre-pack products to make for quick order fulfillment

Free shipping is a great sales strategy tricks for a flash sale because:

  1. Email campaign offering free shipping delivery gain 75% more attraction & engagement
  2. 55% of customer add more products to sales cart just to benefit from free shipping offers
  3. Free shipping flash sales tricks can increase sales growth by 5X

5. Acknowledge flash sales fundamentals

Acknowledge flash sales fundamentals

When information is transparent then you gain customer trust and loyalty and win a long term customer by building brand value.

4 things customers should know in advance about your flash sale are:

Products or services on sale

Time duration

Stock Availability

Term & Conditions (* t&c apply ) [especially return & payment]

6. Ensure stock availability

According to an ecommerce industry report, 45% of products or services sell out faster than expected. Never use scarcity to drive them onsite, and then tell them the item they want is out of stock. Consumers who get disappointed often vomit on social media which, in turn, harms your brand. To quantify that, 44% of the more than 2,700 comments studied in a content analysis of social media pages run by flash sellers were negative.

Necessary communication mandatory in stock availability during flash sales

  1. Be transparent about your inventory availability
  2. Measure demand and supply of stock in flash sales
  3. Accept mistake or failure by maintaining robust communication ( We are sorry due to “Out of Stock” )
  4. Communicate with customers if scarcity or shortage of products or services within flash sales time duration through email or SMS.

7. Automate backend process

automate backend process

Flash sales take more than just careful planning of your audience and products. Sellers must have the right backend processes to execute the sale with inventory, sales automation, and CRM management software or tools. Even those with the best intentions and thoughtful frontend preparation end up ruining their brand with flash sales.

8. Don’t oversell

Customer will lose interest or wait for short term buying when your oversell flash sales. 3 times a year is a good strategy for flash sales so that flash sale does not lose its importance. Overselling flash sales to increase sales revenue will discourage brand value and doubt the quality of products & services.

Excess of anything is harmful for business and health.

Examples of Flash Sales In USA, UK & INDIA


Limited offer ecommerce flash sales
Limited offer ecommerce flash sales


Time duration flash sales airlines
Time duration flash sales airlines


Time duration flash sales travel tourism
Time duration UK flash sales travel tourism


Limited date & time flash sales movie
Limited date & time flash sales movie


Happy hour flash sales hotel & restaurants
Happy hour flash UK sales hotel & restaurants


Fashion flash sales
Fashion flash sales


Automotive flash sales
Automotive flash sales


Tools and Gardens USA Flash Sales
Tools and Gardens USA Flash Sales


Home & kitchen USA flash sales
Home & kitchen USA flash sales

7 ways to create urgency & excitement for your flash sales

The first step of creating successful flash sales is urgency and excitement in customer behavior. Hence let’s understand how to create urgency & excitement for flash sales in customer minds :

1. Highlight discounts, date & time

Highlight discounts, date & time flash sales

Visibility of flash sales discounts, date & time can increase your sales traffic by 5X and conversion rate by 75% . Therefore mention discounts, date & time on top or middle of any flash sales banner .

2. Set a reminder

When your flash sales date is near or your flash sales are going to end then remind the customer about it through email marketing, bulk SMS service, social media & outdoor advertisement.

3. Countdown

countdown flash sales

Use count down as pressure builder against time. Add count down timers in all flash sales banners ,landing page, emails and videos .

4. Social Support

Use Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels to actively engage with your customers throughout the flash sale. Create an environment of excitement & urgency.

5. Ebooks Supports

ebooks flash sales

Use ebooks where customers can acknowledge complete information of flash sales running currently or about next flash sales, this trick will keep customers engage for your flash sales offers.

6. Celebrities Supports

Film stars and celebrities are great advertisers who can create easy excitement and urgency for your flash sales events because people trust them, follow them which will be a great source of flash sales success.

7. Strategic Partnership

partnership flash sales

To make flash sales success you must have a wider approach, you can have strategic partnerships with other brands like banks, logistic companies, coupon companies, the entertainment industry, and NGOs to make flash sales a great success.

The reason why flash sales banned?

flash sales banned

8 reasons why flash sales should be banned are as follows:

Flash sales are essentially instant, heavily discounted, time-bound sale offers hence no level-playing field.

Flash sales are misleading users by manipulating search results.

Several representations from aggrieved consumers, traders, and associations “complaining against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices being observed in the e-commerce ecosystem.”

Mis-selling of goods and services.

Certain e-commerce entities are engaging in limiting consumer choice by indulging in ‘back to back’ or ‘flash’ sales wherein one seller selling on the platform does not carry any inventory or order fulfillment capability but merely places a ‘flash or back to backorder.

Increases customer confusion on price.

Misleading advertisements.

Many flash sales return policy against consumer protection.

Reasons why flash sales fail ?

Flash sales fails because :

1. Flash Sale Failure: Website Crash

website crash flash sales failure

Flipkart (India) flash sales failed due website crash in 2014 with million user usage within a short duration ,hence website crash is a common flash sales failure reason around the world.

The solution to website crash flash sales is to predetermine the potential engagement and pre-testing of sever bandwidth.

2. Flash Sale Failure:  Shipping Delays

Flash Sale Failure: Shipping Delays

Nearly 2-3rd of consumers expect their orders to arrive in 1-3 days and more than half want you to offer overnight shipping but it’s common that customer has to wait for several weeks to receive the products or service ordered.

The solution to shipping delays is the efficiency of logistics services, stock availability, and efficient backend technology for delivery schedule and tracking. Or you can move products closer to the warehouse packing point before the sale date to increase efficiency in pick, pack, and ship.

3. Flash Sale Failure:  Inventory Availability

Flash Sale Failure:  Inventory Availability

Use scarcity to drive them onsite, and then tell them the item they want is out of stock will lead to flash sales failure.

The solution to inventory flash sales failure is to ensure we have plenty of stock before running flash sales plus plan them a month before.

4. Flash Sale Failure:  Back to back sales

Flash Sale Failure:  Back to back sales

Frequently running flash sales back to back looses interest of the customers and lead to flash sales failure.

Solution to back to back sales failure is run flash sales only 3-5 times in a year to drive customer enthusiasm.

5. Flash Sale Failure:  Lost sales order & delay order processing

Flash Sale Failure:  Lost sales order & delay order processing

ERP & CRM is most sellers and merchant are not capable of handling huge sales order and subsequently processing them for packing and delivery or due to software failure many sales order goes missing after the customer has made purchasing request or customer has placed an order for A products and software by default captured AA+ product which leads to flash sales failure.

The solution is to have a seamless integration of multiple software & department for a smooth process and second, a very robust software, AI, and analytics.

The future of flash sales

The future of flash sales
The future of flash sales

After listening to flash sales banned or flash sales failure, it obvious that we would like to know the future of flash sales and hence I would say ” Flash Sales has a growing future” or ” Flash sales is the future”.

Flash sale will empowered brands to better predict which customer behavior, taste & preference by using AI (artificial intelligence) to better personalize the flash sale experience.

The future of flash sales will have more strict rules for consumer protection in different countries. Also, going forward each country will formulate flash sales rule policies for ecommerce companies domestic and internationally based.

Going forward time & price will play a very vital role in flash sales success.


Flash sales is a great sales and marketing strategy which executed well will give outstanding sales results.

Hence, while running flash sales keep in find products or services, time duration, discounts, and terms & conditions in mind to make flash sales successful. Never oversell flash sales to make money quickly and last but not least, before running flash sales validate all your strength & weakness very well to avoid any error or problem during flash sales events.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Flash sales are defined as a sales strategy used by brands to increase their sales with eye-catching discounts, offers for a very short time, often showing limited stock availability with terms & conditions. The purpose of flash sales is to maximize sales or increase the demand for unsold or surplus products or services in a very short time span.
Flash sales are defined as a sales strategy used by brands to increase their sales with eye-catching discounts, offers for a very short time, often showing limited stock availability with terms & conditions. The purpose of flash sales is to maximize sales or increase the demand for unsold or surplus products or services in a very short time span.
According to experts, the ideal time duration of flash sales can go between 15mins to 36 hours.
Flash sales are used by business category like : 1) Ecommerce 2) Airlines 3) Tourism 4) Hotels & Restaurants 5) Jems & Jewellery 6) Furniture 7) Automotives
Companies use flash sales because: 1. Gain New Customers 2. Create Purchasing Excitement 3. Push Up Inventory 4. Save Customer Money 5. Create Engagement 6. Increase Sales Revenue
Flash sales is a sales strategy, hence strategy can be right or wrong but if flash sales used in the right way it's ethical, and the wrong way it's unethical. Therefore, the country's consumer protection laws should determine it.
Getting your products or services sold fast within a very short span of time with huge discounts is a flash sales strategy.
Yes, you can do flash sales with great planning and execution. One piece of advice, before executing flash sales make all your weaknesses a strength because flash sales are very sensitive from a brand value perspective.

Neeraj Upadhyay

With rich experience in sales & marketing, Neeraj Upadhyay specializes in sales, business development, service, revenue achievements, training, team building, price, strategy business expansion, new product, and many more. He is an expert sales and marketing professional and hence his written article are most among our reader's favorite.


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