eCommerce (Page 4)

Does Flash Sale make sense for eCommerce today?

Does a flash sale make sense for you?

Wikipedia defines flash sales as “Deal-of-the-day (also called flash sales or one deal a day) is an ecommerce business model in which a website offers a single product for sale for a period of 24 to 36 hours. Potential customers register as members of the deal-a-day websites and receive online offers and invitations by email or social networks.”

But, Xiaomi ( redefined the idea of flash sales. They are mobile phone manufacturers who introduce a cell phone to the market and open the sale for a limited time for pre registered users only. For them, this cuts out middlemen as they go directly to customers. Their phones are only sold on the internet, typically on their or a partners’ site. This has worked so well that they have become one of the biggest smart phone companies in the world.

As a eCommerce site owner, the big question is “Is a flash sale on my site good for me”? (We are not talking about becoming a flash sale site, but conducting flash sale on your site).

Here are some factors

  1. Flash sales have one thing in common – lower price. So #1 criteria is you need to be able to sell one or more products at a price that is difficult to match!
  2. Be prepared with a hosting service that can scale up and down easily. Moreover, you need to be architected to do so. Hits on the site during a flash sale can bring down the site. There are many examples of this including the biggest names in the business.

Why flash sale?

  1. Helps in inventory management – you do not need to hold inventory.
  2. A good customer acquisition strategy.
    With increasing costs of PPC, you may be looking for alternative ways of acquiring customers. If you are running a flash sale for a brand, a joint advertisement budget can help you reduce the cost of your customer acquisition.
  3. Hype value – A flash sale generates hype on social channels and some of the customers who visit may come back again
  4. Piggy back on a brand – if you do not own a brand, you can host the flash sale on your site. The advertisement budget of the brand will drive sales to your site. This will increase your site’s popularity and help improve your customer acquisition.

Some popular examples

  1., is a billion $ a year flash sale site for women and kids. They use super personalization and most of their customers check their site once a day to see if there is a new deal for them. They also keep brands “fresh” – not repeating brands and products too often. They rely on smaller brands.
  2. Xiaomi ( – the flash sale cell phone manufacturer. Visitors generally pre-register for getting low prices and appear at the click this instant sale. Out of stock messages come up in seconds from the start of the sale.
  3. GOSF – a once in a year, India only sale from Google, brings multiple online stores to offer discounts simultaneously and as advertised on the GOSF.IN site. Participants report 2-3x increase in volumes during the 3 days it is run, typically in December.

Considering Pay with Amazon for your eCommerce site


Amazon recently introduced “Pay with Amazon” in the Indian market. Earlier this was available in US, UK and Germany. Amazon also introduced a Magento plugin that gives your shoppers an easy option to pay using the info in their Amazon account.

Many of our Magento site owner customers have asked us to install the plugin. What they see is increased conversions – the theory being we see a lot of drop in our checkout page, so giving one more option to our customers can only help. Infact, the home page of Pay with Amazon says “Make Amazon’s customers your customers – Pay with Amazon helps you increase conversion, reduce fraud, acquire new customers and build loyalty.”

Under the covers

  • Customers registered to your store cannot use pay with amazon.

Pay with Amazon appears in the checkout method of the checkout flow. This section is not available to registered users so by default the button will only appear for users who have not registered.


  • The checkout flow for pay with amazon is completely on amazon, not on your site.
  • See your orders page – your Magento admin does not know who made the order.pay_with_amazon_order_address

An analysis

Your customer does pay and you get an order, but think what you gained and lost!

  • Did you get Amazon’s customers to your site or did you send your customer to Amazon?
    Now that Amazon has information about this customer including the products they purchased, amazon can now target them with products that are better priced at your competitor store or suggest alternatives that you do not have.
  • Cost of your customer acquisition just went up – you do not have on your site the purchasers email address, so you cannot send them a newsletter campaign. Instead you have to hope that they use the retargeting ads to get them back again.
  • You now have to look at 2 admin panels to see your orders – sure you may be already selling on amazon but this order now appears as a amazon order, though the user shopped at your main site. So, your main site orders are now to be located from 2 places!
  • eCommerce stores are moving towards personalization – this is a step back for your store. Tools such as Rrap Multi Tribe are helping customers go towards personlization experience for the shopper, but they all depend on knowledge of customer behaviour. You just lost that for the shoppers who selected pay with amazon.

What can you do?

  • Survey your pay with amazon customers on your site after checkout and on the success page. Ask them if pay with amazon was an important factor in their decision to buy. Take their email address so you know who they are.
  • Work with your developers to make “pay with amazon” as a real payment option. The customer MAY have to give their billing / shipping address at your site and Amazons.
  • Let Amazon know it is not ok – in the US market, pay with amazon DOES NOT take the entire shopping cart – just the cart totals.


Amazon introduced “Pay with Amazon” in the Indian market recently. This article helps you understand the new payment option.