Online flash sales are a popular strategy to drive revenue. Successful sales can increase a merchant’s sales from 50/day to over 10,000 in a single 24-hour period. This is great for your revenue, but can undoubtedly put major stress on your operations during and after the sale.
When not handled properly, flash sales can quickly turn into disasters for merchants. Your website can crash or stall. Orders can take forever to process. Inventory can oversell. Once disaster hits, it’s hard to see why you wanted to run a flash sale in the first place. When poorly executed, sales can lead to upset customers, lost sales, and erode your brand image.
While the risks of failed online flash sales are real, they can be avoided!
See how theBalm Cosmetics upgraded their technology stack and worked out important backend processes so they can run smooth flash sales multiple times a year.
Founded in 2004, theBalm Cosmetics is a San Francisco based cosmetics company that offers high-quality beauty products that make it easy for women on-the-go to look and feel their best. In 2016, they decided to revamp their website and simultaneously took a fresh look at their operations.
One of their main operational challenges was inventory management. Orders weren’t making it through the process, causing order delays and backlogs. Their small team spent too much time locating products, processing orders, and printing labels. They have over 80 SKUs and needed a better way to achieve productivity, especially if they wanted to undertake online flash sales successfully.
Online Flash Sales Case Study: theBalm Cosmetics
Read the full case study of how theBalm worked with nChannel and Shopify Plus to run smooth online flash sales.
theBalm sought a way to gain real-time visibility into their order processing and inventory to help accelerate their order fulfillment. To achieve this, theBalm first upgraded their eCommerce platform from Magento to Shopify Plus. They also sought integration from nChannel to connect their new Shopify Plus store with their backend NetSuite ERP. nChannel was able to eliminate manual data entry between the two systems and automate the following processes:
- Sync online orders from Shopify Plus to NetSuite as orders are placed.
- Sync shipping information from NetSuite to Shopify Plus after order processing.
- Sync inventory counts from NetSuite to Shopify Plus to ensure accurate inventory levels.
With their new technology stack in place, theBalm was able to undertake flash sales, a now fan favorite and key revenue driver for the cosmetics company. A flash sale for them can last anywhere from one to four days with daily order volumes increasing from 50 to 10,000 or more.
Flash sales presented a new challenge on theBalm’s backend operations. How could they ensure that NetSuite could handle the order influx without causing major delays in order processing or lost orders?
To avoid these issues, theBalm took the following actions with nChannel:
- Upgrade NetSuite: NetSuite can slow down or lock up if it is flooded with too many requests. Therefore, theBalm upgraded to a plan that increased their bandwidth.
- Upgrade to a dedicated cloud processor: nChannel processes theBalm’s order data on their own unique workflow queue. A dedicated cloud processor gives them confidence that there’s no disruption or lag when they’re syncing orders from Shopify Plus to NetSuite during a flash sale.
- Rely on the nChannel system: nChannel manages and maintains the flow of orders to NetSuite from Shopify Plus to prevent NetSuite from becoming overloaded. nChannel ensures that orders are not lost and workflows can continue uninterrupted.
With this plan in place, theBalm was able to confidently initiate a flash sale that generated more than 12,000 orders in one day. Orders were processed within two hours of the sale. Order confirmations and shipping notifications were sent to customers delighted to know they would receive their products right away.
“I think a lot of what I attribute to the nChannel relationship is a better handle on seeing what inventory we have. Before we didn’t have our online orders in our inventory software for a week or more. We were unable to use the workflow we had in the warehouse for every order. Now we have a real-time view of our complete inventory that has gone out to our online and B2B customers. That is big for us because we can see what we can allocate to our other customers.”
Mayra Aguilera, Operations Manager at theBalm
Check out more of resources about running flash sales or upgrading your eCommerce platform.
- Ultimate Guide to Running Flash Sales and Overcoming Common Failures
- Magento vs Shopify Plus: How to Choose for Your Business
- Everything You Need to Know about eCommerce Replatforming
- Overcoming the Fears of eCommerce Migration
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