Simpler Smarter Savings

Flash sales, sometimes called deals of the day, are short-term sales that companies offer to customers who have opted in to receive periodic e-mail alerts. Often the deals are presented through sites such as Groupon and showcase one specific product or service at a deep discount. Some small businesses rely on the unique marketing opportunities and potential benefits of such deals to improve sales and visibility.

Benefits of Flash Sales

One of the biggest benefits of flash sales, especially for small businesses, is the boost they bring in visitors to both websites and stores. For a short period of time, the business is highly visible to a large number of people who might not otherwise have considered buying their products. This increased exposure enhances brand awareness and plants the seeds for future purchases handled either in-store or through online payment processing. Companies looking to expand their reach may rely on flash deals to increase revenue in slow times and as a quick way to reach targeted groups of potential customers.

Potential Drawbacks

Some businesses have found that flash deals have more drawbacks than benefits. The sudden onslaught of online visits may put a strain on servers that handle websites, payment processing and merchant accounts. Many of these customers are “deal seekers;” that is, they buy once when the price is good and never return to the business again. This may lead to an overall loss for the business running the deal. Businesses that rely on the income that flash sales can offer need to learn to balance the pitfalls in order to make a profit and retain customers over time.

Marketing Techniques

In order to benefit from flash sales, businesses have to take advantage of the unique marketing potential. Running short-term, targeted sales allows companies to:

• Pitch products and services to a specific subset of interested consumers
• Target deals to geographical locations, seasonal buying patterns and more
• Use a sense of urgency to entice customers to make purchases
• Track how the sale benefited the company and use that data to improve future offers

Small businesses looking to get a little more money in their merchant accounts may wish to incorporate flash sales into their marketing strategies. However, since these short-term deals may lead to losses rather than profits, they should be considered as part of a larger campaign to turn first-time customers into repeat customers and bring in consistent revenue.