B/S/T Part 3: Flash Sales
Flash sales (often called "purges") are when a seller wants to sell a large amount of items at once. You'll want to check the rules in your Facebook group regarding flash sales, but generally, items are numbered and sold in the comments of a main post. Buyers purchase by listing the number of the item they want along with their email address in the main thread of the post.
If you want to get brave and post a flash sale, you need to be very organized. Everyone has her own method, but here’s how I tackle it:
1. I take pictures of my items in advance, making sure I’ve got good lighting. I look over each item carefully, and note whether there are any stains that need to be disclosed. Oftentimes I try treating stains before I sell.
2. I organize the clothes by size. It is not usually required that you sell in size order, but it makes it easier for your buyers.
3. I go through each item one by one and create a description in the “notes” on my iphone. For example:
It’s a lot of work now, but you’ll see why this method comes in handy later.
4. Optimize your posting time. Some groups allow you to announce your flash sale and schedule it in advance, which helps you to gather followers over the course of a day or two. Most groups require that you begin to sell immediately after announcing your sale. Either way, think about when the greatest amount of buyers will see your post. I usually begin my flash sales in the evening, after I put my daughter to bed. I imagine there are many other moms like me who put the kids to bed and then like to zone out on Facebook for a while.
5. Now comes the moment of truth. The flash sale itself. You’ll post a main picture, often a “stash shot” of everything you’ll be selling. Be sure to put your best stuff front and center! Let your buyers know genders, sizes, and brands. Let them know about shipping, and disclose smoking and pets. Here’s an example of a main post:
Be sure to read your group’s rules very carefully. I am in one group that has over 25,000 members, so they have very strict rules in order to keep things more organized. If you don’t use their flash sale template, the admins will delete your sale without warning, which you definitely want to avoid!
6. Once you’re ready to begin, you will post a picture of each individual item, and its description in the comments. This is where all that note-taking from earlier pays off. You should just be able to copy and paste! I will usually post my sale from my phone (so I can copy/paste my notes and photos) but have my laptop open to keep track of buyers if it is a fast-moving sale.
7. As people begin buying and commenting on your post, you’ll want to stop every so often and update the items that have been claimed. Depending on how quickly my sale is going, I typically stop after every 10 items and make updates. Obviously I won’t have sent an invoice yet, so I would edit my sale post to say “pending to ______”. That way buyers can keep track of the items they’ve “won” and other buyers are aware of what’s already been claimed.
8. Another thing you definitely want to do is take a screen shot when a buyer claims an item. In most groups, deleting your comments is not allowed, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. You don’t want to deal with buyers backing out of the sale, especially after you’ve invoiced. A screen shot is a little bit of insurance.
9. If you have a really large and fast-paced flash sale you may want to grab an old fashioned notebook and pen and start keeping track of who is buying what. That will make it easier for you when you go to invoice.
10. Once your sale is over, you’ll want to begin invoicing immediately. Most groups have a rule that buyers have 24 hours to pay. If a buyer doesn’t pay their invoice, you have the choice to remind them, or if an item was in high demand and you have backup buyers, you can move to the next one.
Having a flash sale is a lot of work, but there's something about it that creates a frenzy with your buyers. They get anxious to claim an item before someone else does, so you end up making a lot of money in a short time period. After your initial flash sale or purge you can comment on your thread once a day to "bump" it back to the top of the group, allowing people who may not have seen it the first time around to check out what's left. After a few days you might want to lower prices to sell your remaining items. After a week or two, I will usually list the remaining items on another Facebook page or on a whole other website, which we'll discuss in Part 4!
If you have any questions please post in the comments! Flash sales can get crazy, so no question is "dumb!"