How to Run a WooCommerce Flash Sale (In 5 Steps)

How to Run a WooCommerce Flash Sale (In 5 Steps)

Running an e-commerce business can be profitable, but there are some ongoing challenges you’ll need to deal with. That can include attracting new leads, getting repeat buys from existing customers, or simply reducing overstocked products. A flash sale can help with all of these things, if you know how to set one up and run it.

There are a few steps involved in running a successful flash sale, but it isn’t hard. If you’re a WooCommerce user, you can set up an effective promotion quickly. This can bring you some fast cash, as well as attract new customers to your store.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a WooCommerce flash sale is, why you should run one, and how to do so. Let’s get started!

Understanding What a WooCommerce Flash Sale Is (And Why You Should Run One)

Customers love sales, because it means reduced prices for the same products. While it can be a great idea to run deals during festive periods, you can also surprise your customers with them at other times of the year.

A flash sale can help you increase sales and clear out excess stock. This kind of promotion will usually have the following qualities:

  • Spans a short time frame
  • Offers a big discount
  • Might not be announced in advance
  • May be limited to certain products

A flash sale could last for a few hours, or a day or two at most. In essence, it is a promotion or discount offered for a very short amount of time. This offers you a way to tap into your customers’ Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and encourage impulse buying.

If you use WooCommerce, then half the work is already done. The plugin enables you to create different types of sales easily. We’ll show you how to do that shortly, but first you’ll need to know how to set up an effective event.

Tips for Creating a Successful Flash Sale

A successful sale doesn’t happen by chance. It takes some careful planning to execute one well. By following a few best practices, you can start your flash sale off on the right foot:

  • Analyze buying habits. You’ll want to consider when your store has the most traffic, when your email open rates are highest, and so on. This will help you determine the right time for a flash sale, which can depend greatly on your products and target customers.
  • Streamline your target market. Your target audience for the sale will depend on your goals. For example, if you want to acquire new customers, you shouldn’t focus on promoting to your existing customers. In other words, you’ll want to make sure that your flash sale is a meaningful part of your overall marketing strategy.
  • Choose the right products. If you have a lot of products, you’ll need to carefully identify which ones are most appropriate for your flash sale. This could be items you need to clear out of your inventory, products that haven’t been selling well, or seasonal offerings.

You can find plenty of other strategies to help you make a success of your flash sale, but these tips should be enough to get you started.

How to Run a WooCommerce Flash Sale (In 5 Steps)

Now that you know how a flash sale might come in handy, as well as some tips for making it successful, let’s move on to the steps involved in creating one.

To follow along, you’ll need to have both the WooCommerce and Advanced Coupons plugins installed and activated. Let’s get to work!

Step 1: Add a sales badge to selected products

The first thing you want to do is ensure that the products going on sale will be visible and easily accessible to customers. You don’t want them to be confused about which products are discounted.

To do this, you can use WooCommerce’s default functionality to set up a sales badge. All you need to do is set a sales price and schedule the deal.

First, open a product to edit it, and locate the Product data meta box. Then enter a discounted price in the Sale price input field under the General tab:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

Next, click on Schedule right beside the Sales price input box. There, you can set the start and end dates for your sale:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

Once you’ve saved your changes, you can view the product. You’ll notice that it now has a sales badge:

A screenshot of a WordPress e-commerce store showing a product with a sales badge
(click to zoom)

Of course, you can always customize the look of your sales badge if you’re not satisfied with the default style.

Step 2: Create a new coupon and set your discount type

Next, you’ll want to create a coupon using the Advanced Coupons plugin. To do this, navigate to WooCommerce > Coupons and click on the Add Coupon button:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

On the next screen, enter a name and description for your coupon:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

Under Coupon data > General, you can enter an amount and select a discount type from three available options – Percentage, Fixed cart, and Fixed product:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

Fixed products discounts are appropriate for customers who will buy just one item, while percentage discounts work best when you’re giving quantity-based discounts (e.g., buy four get 15 percent off).

Let’s see what this might look like in practice:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

You can tweak these discount settings however you like.

Also, depending on the type of discount you’re offering, you may need to set some cart conditions for your coupon. However, fixed product discounts applying to one-off purchases will not require any additional cart conditions.

Step 3: Set usage limits for your deal

Next, you might want to consider setting usage limits for your coupon. This can create a sense of exclusivity and urgency for your deal. For example, you might set the coupon to only be available to the first ten people who visit your store in a day.

To do this, you can navigate to Coupon data > Usage limits:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

Our example above sets our coupon to be usable by only the first ten people each day. Additionally, it can only be used once by each individual customer. The Reset usage count every input field enables you to further customize how often your coupon can be used.

Step 4: Enable auto-apply for your coupon

The next important step to take is to automatically apply your coupon. This is especially appropriate if your discount is fixed and based on one-off product purchases. It will enable your customers to simply complete the checkout process, without needing to hunt down coupon codes.

Additionally, new visitors to your site can benefit from the deal immediately, which can help to encourage repeat purchases. To enable auto-apply, select the checkbox for “Enable auto apply for this coupon” in the right-hand sidebar:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

It’s important to note that this won’t work with usage limits in place. An alternative if you want to set usage limits for your deal is the ‘one-click apply’ functionality. Enabling this option displays a notification to qualified customers, who can then apply your coupon by clicking on the message.

This also means that unlike with the auto-apply feature, your buyers can choose whether or not to apply your coupon. To activate this option, simply navigate to the One Click Apply Notification tab and select the checkbox for “Enable one click apply”.

You’ll then want to enter a custom notification message, as well as button text:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

This does take some more effort on your end than auto-applying the coupon. However, it’s important to make the checkout process as hassle-free as possible for your customers.

Step 5: Schedule your deal

The final step is to schedule the time period when your deal will happen. This is a way to limit the amount of time in which your flash sale is active. You’ll need to set start and end dates, and ensure that your deal is automatically disabled once the latter is reached.

Go ahead and navigate to Coupon data > Scheduler to configure the relevant details. You can choose start and end dates here, and customize error messages:

A screenshot of the WordPress backend
(click to zoom)

At this point, you’re ready to run your deal. All that’s left is to hit that Publish button, and let customers know when the promotion will take effect.


Running a flash sale for your e-commerce business can be a smart way to decrease overstocked products, increase your profits, and attract new customers. However, it can take some effort to plan and carry out a successful sale. 

In this article, we’ve discussed the key steps to take when running a flash sale. They involve using WooCommerce and the Advanced Coupons plugin to:

  1. Add a sales badge to selected products.
  2. Create a new coupon and set your discount type.
  3. Set usage limits for your deal.
  4. Enable auto-apply for your coupon.
  5. Schedule your deal.

Do you have any questions about how to run a WooCommerce flash sale? Ask away in the comments section below!


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