Flash sales are great for driving purchases in specific product categories, unloading excess inventory, or introducing new merchandise, regardless of your business model – and not just on Black Friday. But because most successful flash sales are active only for a short period (see: daily deal flash sale sites), and often over within just a few hours timeframe (or “in a flash!”), marketers need to make sure that they’re promoting the sale in a way that not only creates urgency and excitement, but that’s timely and relevant. Unfortunately, the vast majority of marketers still revert back to their email list to promote flash sales, even when they only last an hour or so.

There are two big problems with this approach:

1. Even the most well-timed flash sale email marketing message is still at the mercy of the customer. If your customer doesn’t check their inbox immediately, your message will be irrelevant by the time they open it.

2. Email doesn’t create the same sense of urgency as other more real-time channels do – it’s very easy for a shopper to read an email, even one about something time-sensitive like a flash sale, and decide to come back to it later.

Because marketers are still leaning on email – a decidedly non-urgent channel – to promote flash sales, they’re not able to maximize the impact of the campaign. Social media can be a great part of an omnichannel strategy to build excitement about your flash sale (eg. countdown promotions on your Facebook page, ads featuring flash sale items that target lookalike audiences on social media), but it suffers from the same challenges as email. So what’s a marketer to do?

The answer – push messaging. Web and mobile push notifications provide marketers with one of the best ways to communicate with shoppers in “real real-time” – and without an email address – to deliver announcements with maximum relevance and increase the window of opportunity that shoppers have of actually participating in your flash sale. Consider the following:

Push ensures your messages are as timely as possible

By using a more immediate channel to deliver notifications about upcoming flash sales, marketers will avoid being late to the game with a shopper who delays opening an email. Even the most infrequent email-checkers will be able to see and react to a push notification about a flash sale, letting you reach more shoppers with increased visibility into upcoming shopping opportunities.

Push’s urgency lets you create brand excitement

Once a push notification is gone, it’s gone – customers can’t decide to “go back to it later” the way they can with email. This creates a huge incentive for shoppers to click the message and engage with your limited-time sale – even if only for a little bit. And when you let push’s natural urgency speak for itself, that same energy can encourage new customers to explore more of your brand’s offerings, and could potentially turn existing customers who have made one purchase into second- or third-time buyers.

Marketers can kill two birds with one stone

When you remind shoppers that clicking on a push notification might be their only chance to participate in a flash sale, you not only create exclusivity around your sale, but you can use your flash sale as an opportunity to encourage other shoppers to opt-in to push if they haven’t already. The key is to promote the channel’s value, in terms of customers’ access to exclusive flash sales like this one – rather than asking shoppers if they want to opt-in to push, you can ask if they want to be notified of upcoming flash sales and special offers.

Especially considering the fact that most successful flash sales have a tight time limit, marketers can’t risk relying on email marketing to promote their sales. If a customer sees your flash sale announcement after the sale has ended, the consequences are bigger than merely losing an opportunity to sell merchandise – one irrelevant or untimely message could be enough to lose that customer entirely. Push messaging solves this problem by offering a way to make sure that customers don’t miss a chance to participate in your flash sales, or miss any other time-sensitive announcements with short shelf-lives that will be irrelevant within a few hours. It’s key to reaching your customers effectively and sending the right messages at the right time.

To learn more about how you can start leveraging push notifications to running flash sales to drive purchases of sale items, visit zaius.com – or reach out to us directly at insights@zaius.com or at 877-658-2570. Get ready for flash sale success.

Sruthi Narayanan

When Sruthi's not writing and editing marketing content, Sruthi spends her time volunteering for a Cambridge-based arts organization, singing in a post-collegiate a cappella group, and reading novels to her cat, Monty.