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    Gone in a Flash: The fastest consumption booster for e-tailers

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    Online fashion lifestyle brand Fashionara.com has announced the launch of its Android app for ‘flash sales’ of the brands listed on its platform. The company plans to launch an iOS version in coming weeks. Online fashion retailer Fashionara too shifted to a flash sales model recently, with a view to differentiate from bigger rivals. The company had experimented with this model late last year and now has completely moved to the flash model offering daily sales at a discount of 40 per cent and 70 per cent.

    So what is a Flash Sale?

    Flash Sales begin with an offer, followed by finding consumers on email, online ads, Facebook, etc with exciting invitations from pure-play online retailers. Tempting buyers with too-good-to-be-true prices on exclusive products from some of the best brands. The model provides rich data so offers can be personalized, appealing to consumers likes, preferences and behavior, significantly increasing the likelihood of them clicking and buying the products. The only difference with a normal sale is that in order to get their hands on that generously discounted product, consumers need to click and buy in real time.

    The concept of flash sale originated in Europe in 2003 to much success; the phenomenon made its way to North America in 2007, a questionable time as the Great Recession was looming. Despite investors’ doubts of long-term success, this innovative e-commerce business model continues to claim a significant stake in the international retail landscape. Some US based flash sales sites like Gilt, Fab and Rue La La have reported turnovers between $100 million and $1.69 billion.

    Gone in a flash

    The model is relatively new in India. However, since last year, it has started gaining significant momentum, thanks to smartphone makers Xiaomi and Hugo Barra, who introduced the term ‘Smartphone Flash Sales’ in India.

    Since inception, smartphone flash sales have become the hottest sales strategy for many CDIT brands in India, including Xiaomi, Micromax, OnePlus, Lenovo, Huawei and more. Early this month, Lenovo made headlines with its first flash sale for the K3 Note phablet on Flipkart. In just over five seconds, Lenovo K3 Note went out of stock on the site, having sold a total of 47,440 units of the product.

    With the announcement of Fashionara’s flash sales app, the company claims that this is the first Indian fashion app that has been designed specifically keeping the flash sale model in mind. Through this model, the consumers will be able to shop from various brands, including Red Tape, Von Dutch, Biba, Clarks, W, Puma, Levi’s, etc for specific durations.

    “We have witnessed a swift rise — from 20 to 40 per cent — in the number of people shopping from our mobile website. This is what made us decide to come up with a mobile app. Unlike any other fashion app in the country, we wanted ours to be based on the ‘flash sales’ concept, a model that has worked extremely well for us in the past few months. A Fashionara app is made extremely intuitive and easy to navigate. We are already receiving 45% of transaction through the app and expect it to reach 60% of our sales in the next three to six months,” Arun Sirdeshmukh, co-founder and CEO, Fashionara, said in a release.

    Fashionara aims to launch around 100 sale events every week and personalizing the shopping experience of users based on their activity in the app. The e-tailer also recently introduced Flea Bazaar, which is an online marketplace that brings together a curated collection of the best off-beat, eclectic products from select sellers and boutiques across the country.

    Where the boom of e-commerce in India is largely credited to convenience and ‘discounting’, can Flash Sales be the next big consumption creator in e-commerce landscape?