Flash Sales on mobile commerce platforms in China

In China, brands are often making headlines thanks to a particular model of selling. Flash Sales allow manufacturers and retailers to generate excitement and drive impulse purchasing on a limited stock of goods. From smart phones to cosmetics, the Chinese consumer has shown that they are willing to buy all kinds of products through mobile commerce platforms such as WeChat.
Flash Sales are incredibly popular in China, with entire sites using the concept as a sales model. So what are the advantages to consumers and businesses?

Supplying China’s young, brand-conscious consumers

In our previous post on consumer buying behaviours in China, we noted a difference in spending habits between older and younger consumers. Younger consumers, who have more disposable income, are less frugal with their spending, and look towards brands as a sign of status, rather than buying cheaper goods in order to make a saving. These branded goods may not always be within their income range, however, which is why Flash Sales sites such as Vipshop are proving so successful. They give their customers access to mid-range brands such as Nike and Adidas that they may otherwise be unable to afford (source: Investors).

Businesses can control demand and limit excess stock

Flash Sales have been used to sell brand-new products and out of season goods. The latter gives businesses the chance to get rid of any excess stock that may be taking up space or costing them money. But other businesses are using the sales as a chance to sell new products. By only offering a limited number of units for sale companies can anticipate and drive demand and drastically reduce the risk of having leftover stock.

Global instant messaging apps like WeChat help to promote Flash sales

The instantaneous nature of mobile messaging apps makes them the perfect platform from promoting and operating Flash Sales. Apps like WeChat which have incredibly large user bases are giving manufacturers and brands access to a large audience for their offers. With the introduction of an e-commerce model into the WeChat app, it is now possible for users to partake in these Flash Sales without having to leave the app. Flash Sales run on mobile messaging apps have proved incredibly successful, with perhaps the most talked about being last year when a smart phone manufacturer Xiaomi sold 150,000 units in under 10 minutes (source: Tech in Asia).

If brands can sell it, consumers will buy it

Once you have earned their trust Chinese consumers are comfortable buying all kinds of big-ticket items online and in Flash Sales. Thibault Villet, CEO of luxury sales app, Glamour Sales, says that consumers often start by buying a cheaper discount item in their Flash Sales, such as cosmetics, as they are low risk. Once they have seen that the company operates with integrity and that the products are indeed high-quality, consumers are happy to buy larger and more expensive goods (source: Tech Node).

(Image source: ‘Sale Screen Shows Retail Marketing And Promotion’ | www.freedigitalphotos.net)