Monday, June 24, 2013

Flash sales proving successful for Amazon, why not us?

SIPAlert newsletter

Monday, June 24, 2013; Vol. 4, Issue 96
Wind in Sales

an article of ideas to help boost your selling…

New sales could be yours in a ‘flash’
By Ronn Levine

In a recent New York Times article, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president for Kindle content, said that consumers have responded well to flash sales—one-day sales (or another short timespan) on books and e-books—“because the deals whittle down the vast number of choices for reading and other forms of entertainment...In a world of abundance and lots of choice, how do we help people cut through?” Grandinetti asked. “People are looking for ways to offer their authors a megaphone, and we’re looking to build more megaphones.”

The idea of whittling down choices for consumers—instead of giving them endless options—can be a good one. Sometimes, too many choices can just create headaches. The article, written by Julie Bosman, also caught my attention because it begins by talking about the novel, “Gone, Baby Gone.” That book was made by Ben Affleck into one of my favorite films of the last few years. “Gone, Baby, Gone” the book wasn’t selling much until a Kindle Daily Deal shout-out on Amazon cut that day’s price to $1.99 and it sold 13,071 copies.

There doesn’t seem much to lose in offering these flash deals. You take an old book in stock or an e-book, mark it down for a day or two and get the word out. (Suppress anyone who previously bought it.) Granted, not many of us have mailing lists like Amazon, but your lists should be sufficient. A site called BookBub aggregates discounted e-books and sends its million-plus subscribers a daily email letting them know about the best deals. It’s worth checking out how they make their selections. And I’m sure there are others, and will be more if this trend continues. Or maybe someone in SIPA starts one for this industry.

“It makes it almost irresistible. We’re lowering the bar for you to sample somebody new,” said a senior VP for marketing. This paragraph is interesting: “E-books are especially ripe for price experimentation. Without the list price stamped on the flap like their print counterparts, e-books have freed publishers to mix up prices and change them frequently. Some newly released e-books cost $14.99, others $9.99 and still others $1.99.”

Here are tips earlier this year from SCORE CEO Kenneth R. Yancey for starting flash sales:

• Consider sending a daily email highlighting one product that’s on sale for a limited time only.
• Make sure your website has the bandwidth to support the surge of visitors you may get at one time.
• Clearly explain the concept in your emails and on your site so you don’t have upset customers when products sell out quickly. (editor’s note: not really apropos to e-books)
• Use flash sales to encourage customers to sign up for your emails or follow you on social media. They will have to follow you or share their information in order to get notice of the flash sales.
• Encourage your flash sales followers to share the news about your flash sales on social media, and to forward your flash sales emails.

Both SCORE and the NYT offer the site Gilt as a fine example of a website that conducts flash sales. Another positive is that it can be marketed as a member-oriented benefit. And many SIPA members are going to more member-based or license-based setups. So it could be another benefit that is “just for members” or “only for our premium-level subscribers.”

The Times recommends Wednesday and Thursdays for flash emails. Has anyone tried these?



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