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What is Flash Sale? The New Business Mantra

Updated on April 5, 2011

What is Flash Sale? The New Business Mantra

Flash sale is the latest business byword in the American e-retail sector. In fact Flash Sales is touted by both buyers and sellers as the easiest method to off-source stocks. So what are flash sales? Simply put, flash sales are a time-limited offer of high discounts. The system is a win-win for both retailers and consumers: retailers can build brand loyalty and at the same time, well, sell surplus stock within a short span of time.

How the Flash-selling system works

The latest buzz about the system is a new report by Ypartnership on ‘flash-businesses.’ The retail-offload system has emerged as one of the most economical yet profitable transaction systems for retailers – and for consumers, the system is an economic, discount-ridden and out-of-season 'profits' or "great bargain" (that explains the high-discounts) and asset-building (in lay terms, assets-building simply means ‘buying and owning from a super great bargain’). Flash selling is a proven and successful method of selling for suppliers seeking to liquidate unsold capacity or off-season stocks.

One of the most crucial features of flash selling is, well, as the name abundantly suggests, abrupt offers for service at subsidized prices. The offers are ‘abrupt’ and lasts for a tiny window period – a brief time. It is also one of the safest deal takings. In other words you have to avail the opportunity as soon as you are offered the services. Consumers normally receive online offers including even invitations in the mail/emails.

So when you leap at the opportunity to avail services at that short span and at a very high discount (attribute this blessings to off-season reasons), you have more than just great summer discounts that were offered to you. These limited-time deals offer attractive discounts averaging 50% off retail prices.

An example of flash selling

There is also an account that the 2010 Portrait of American Travelers came up with. They found that 1 out of 7 active travelers purchased a last minute leisure travel service as a result of receiving an unexpected e-mail from suppliers. Obviously the supplier (or service-provider) offered immediate booking to avail of the subsidized prices. Of the number who responded, 47% booked an airfare and/or lodging; 38% purchased a complete vacation package! One out of five booked either a cruise or a car rental. This is flash selling at its best definition.

I also came across accounts that 3 in every 7 Americans opt to spend only on discounted items online than in retail stores their-selves. This interesting finding is attributed to Kelton Research. Consumers saved a combined total of around $500 million by shopping via online sales in 2009. You can imagine what increase that number will experience this year itself! In other words, the expected number is a double for 2010!

Example 2: the US iPad sales

Online sample sale site Gilt Groupe is making a début with its free iPad application Saturday April 10. Users and buyers can access the iPads through flash sales apparatuses directly from the device. Gilt Groupe’s sales on luxury goods of its properties, including Gilt, Gilt Fuse, and Gilt Man, can all be accessed directly from the flash sale application.

The application allows a buyer to receive real-time sale alerts, check upcoming sales and receive an instant Gilt membership when the application is downloaded. The application’s shopping cart is always visible and allows members to quickly touch and drag desired items into their shopping carts. Now how convenient is that!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My spouse and i employed to receive high on life yet lately We have established a resistance.

    • Nordy profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Very interesting - do you think there is a relieable scope for `flash selling of services, not just product - as a way to build clientele? I'm thinking Groupon and similar...

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 

      8 years ago from New Jersey

      I am writing an article about the upcoming Gilt IPO (sometime in 2013), and I needed a definition regarding what "flash" sales are. Luckily, I came across your article. Nicely written!


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