How To Run a Successful Flash Sale on Shopify Plus

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by: Holly Kuldell05/06/2021

Quick Summary If you want to boost customer loyalty, increase profits, sell extra inventory, and/or attract new customers, running this type of sale is a good idea.


A flash sale is exactly what it sounds like: a super short sale, usually lasting just a few hours during which shoppers can snag some amazing deals. In other words, it comes and goes in a flash, so if buyers don’t take advantage of it in time, they miss out. Familiar examples of this type of sale include Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) deals in which businesses sell loads of inventory at discounted rates to eager shoppers.

Although flash sales might seem somewhat stressful because of their ultra-short duration, they are popular with shoppers who enjoy big discounts and ideal for sellers looking to sell a lot of inventory in a short span of time.

Before you get set up, consider flash sale pros and account for flash sale cons to make sure you do it right. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a step-by-step flash sale guide. 

Flash Sale How To

When you’re ready to set up and run a successful flash sale on Shopify Plus, use this basic guide so you won’t miss any important steps. 

How to prepare for a flash sale‌

  1. Consider how long your flash sale will be. The majority of studies have found that anywhere from two to three hours works best. 

  2. Analyze your customers’ email open rate times and purchase times. This can help you determine the best day and time to run your flash sale so you get the most engagement. 

  3. Determine the goal of your flash sale and the customer segment you want to target. For instance, if you want to grab the attention of customers who seem to be drifting away from your brand, you can run this type of sale as part of a win-back email campaign.  

  4. Figure out how you’ll handle shipping as flash sale best practices include offering it for free. 

  5. Check that you have enough inventory available. If it's limited, be sure to let customers know. 

  6. To prevent your website from crashing during a flash sale, load test it in advance. 

  7. Prevent bots from buying and reselling your products by using Shopify’s bot protection.

  8. Use the Shopify Plus app Launchpad to automate and schedule parts of your flash sale in advance so you can save valuable time. 

Launchpad App Screen Shot

screenshot of shopify app store page for app Launchpad

What might happen if you don’t properly prepare?

Flash sale fails do happen. Here are some examples of issues that could arise:

  • Attracting customers who aren’t in your target demographic or who have no intention of coming back.

  • Failing to strategically advertise your flash sale to let people know it’s coming. 

  • Losing money because your profit margins aren’t large enough from selling items at a discount. 

  • Having trouble shipping all of the items in a timely fashion, which can cause customers to feel frustrated. 

  • Disappointing customers to the point in which it creates bad press for your brand on social media. 

Thankfully, by expertly planning and preparing for your sale, you can reduce the odds of costly mistakes!

A Few Final Tips

Overall, flash sales can produce stellar results when they’re executed successfully. 

Remember to be creative when marketing your sale. Use clever copy and eye-catching designs. Also, focus on carefully timing your ads to generate excitement about an upcoming sale. 

Consider launching a “secret” flash sale for a specific segment of customers to get them interested in what you have to offer. Plus, it'll make them feel appreciated. 

Don’t forget about performing SEO research to discover which products are in demand, as putting popular items on sale is a smart way to attract buyers. 

Finally, avoid overdoing it when it comes to the frequency of these sales, as this could lead to customers no longer viewing them as something special. 

Once you get the hang of things, running a flash sale on Shopify Plus can be surprisingly easy. It might be just what you need to reignite interest in your brand, unload some excess inventory to make room for new products, and give your business a nice boost in profits.