Flash Sales: E-Commerce Best Practices
Flash sales present e-commerce sites with opportunities to boost sales while highlighting varying types of inventory. Below are considerations from Rise’s SEO experts about generating organic traffic for your flash sales.
Keyword Research & Metadata
Relevant keywords will vary depending on the nature of each unique flash sale. Due to the long-term nature of SEO improvements (as many as 2-3 months to see an impact), making day-of changes to the flash sale landing page may not be indexed in time for it to be re-ranked by Google. However, updating metadata components that are visible in search results (title tag and meta description) could potentially improve organic click-through rates.
Note that search results for broader terms, such as “flash sale” and “one-day sale” have a tendency to vary by user, based on the sites they frequently visit or the types of terms they frequently search. Optimizing your flash sale page could still help target returning customers shopping online for sales.
E-Commerce SEO Best Practices
There are several SEO factors that come into play when planning for a successful strategy. In order for you to maximize your benefit from flash sales, we have outlined some e-commerce best practices that you can apply to your strategy:
Include in main navigation: a link to the flash sale landing page should be featured in the main navigation when a sale is live; consider using a different color text to emphasize the time-sensitivity of the sale.
Include in the XML sitemap: if you are using a constant URL for a recurring flash sale, that URL should be included in an XML sitemap. “Robots.txt” files should not block the page; it should be indexable and followable.
Feature throughout the site: the home page should feature flash sales prominently; permanent banners can also be used below the main navigation to allow users to navigate to the flash sale from any other page on the site.
Keep the landing page live: the flash sale landing page ideally should be a single, static URL that is live on the site throughout the week, even when sales aren’t occurring. An “away message” should be developed to live on this page when sales are not being promoted, in case users still land on it, which could potentially preview the next sale or provide users with a general idea of when to check back for the next flash sale. Additionally, links to other sale sections of the site, such as Hot Deals or Clearance, should also be included on this landing page when a sale is not live.
For subcategory flash sale pages: if a sale features several landing pages for various aspects of the flash sale, they should all be linked to from the main flash sale landing page.
Keep the time frame short: a flash sale should urge customers to make impulse buys; the sale generally should not exceed 24 hours.
Name your sales strategically: research suggests that verbiage emphasizing avoiding a loss (e.g., “save $5”) is generally more effective than verbiage emphasizing achieving a gain (e.g., “get $5 off”); however, testing (with a PPC Ad Copy test, for example) should be performed to determine how different copy performs with your customer base.
Bring attention to priority site sections or features: flash sales can be used to draw attention to new product availability or customer experience options, such as Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS). For example, a flash sale could include additional savings when customers select the BOPIS option when checking out.
Change it up: various strategies and tactics can be used to keep new and returning customers engaged, such as:
A “mystery” component: customers have to click a call-to-action button to see what type of deal they are getting
Discount “tiers”: greater discounts can be offered for those shopping earlier on in the flash sale vs. later, or by being one of the first X number of customers to check out using the discount code
Hone in on niches: flash sales that target more specific audiences can be hyper-tailored to elements that could be more likely to entice them
Use “starting at” language: highlight the best sale on the site to lure users into viewing all sale items (e.g., “running shoes starting at $30”)
Use “up to” language: highlight the best sale on the site to lure users into viewing all sale items (e.g. “up to 50% off”)
Incorporate countdown timers to increase the sense of urgency for customers to shop and checkout