top of page

Automating Flash Sales and Markdown Events

Written By: Gargi Sarma 

In the dynamic world of retail, staying competitive requires flexibility, data-driven decision-making and efficient operations. Flash sales and discounts play a crucial role in increasing sales, managing inventory and attracting customers. However, the traditional manual approach to pricing can be time-consuming, error-prone and expensive. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of flash sales and discount automation, explore the amazing impact of unsold products, and highlight how retailers can use automation to optimize their processes.

Figure 1: Problems in Retail Sector

The Price of Unsold Goods

Food Waste in Retail

Let's begin with an unexpected analogy: food waste. Fashion and retail establishments struggle with enormous amounts of unsold stuff, much as perishable food items might go unsold and end up wasted. These are a few startling statistics:

Food Waste

  • Every year, between 30% and 40% of the food supply in the US is wasted.

  • Over 3 million tons of discarded clothing are in landfills, while over 700,000 tons are shipped abroad.

  • Almost 6 million tons of unsold food, comprising both edible goods and inedible waste, are produced by the grocery retail industry.

Fashion Industry

  • Approximately 21 million clothing items (6.5% of Dutch retail stocks) are never sold, and only 33% are subsequently sold following markdowns or reductions.

  • The garment industry's excess of returned and unsold inventory is estimated to be worth about 700 billion euros.

The Label Changes and Labor Costs

When it comes to labor-intensive manual activities like label change for markdowns and promotions, retailers must bear heavy labor expenditures. Let's dissect it:

Label Changes: 

  • When there are sales and markdowns, retail staff members manually alter price labels for hours on end.

  • These labor-intensive chores take up resources that may be used for more strategic endeavors.

Cost Implications: 

  • Profitability is directly impacted by the cost of store labor for label updates.

  • Labor costs mount up, particularly when multiplied by a number of locations and frequent price changes.

These demonstrate how desperately retail operations need to become more efficient. One innovative way to tackle these issues head-on is to automate markdown and flash sale events.

Market Insights:

The retail sector is embracing automation, and flash sales and markdown events are prime targets for this innovation. Let's dive into some statistics that highlight the potential:

  • Flash Sale Growth: A study by WP Pluginsify found a 35% surge in transaction rates during flash sales [Source: WP Pluginsify]. This signifies the power of these events to drive immediate purchases.

  • Time-Sensitive Appeal: According to Lark Suite, 50% of all purchases within a flash sale occur in the first hour [Source: Lark Suite]. Automation ensures you capitalize on this critical window by triggering sales at the optimal time.

  • Inventory Clearance: Flash sales are a powerful tool for inventory management. A study by Shopify found that companies that leverage flash sales experience a 63% reduction in excess inventory [Source: Shopify blog post (title: How Flash Sales Can Boost Your Inventory Management Strategy)].

  • Automation Efficiency: Marketing automation can generate a 451% increase in qualified leads [Source: Marketo]. Applying this to flash sales translates to more targeted promotions reaching the right customers, maximizing the impact.

  • Dynamic Pricing Impact: A study by McKinsey revealed that companies that adopted dynamic pricing strategies saw an average revenue uplift of 1.1% to 4.2% [Source: McKinsey & Company report (title: Price elasticity and the future of pricing)]. Automation allows retailers to adjust prices for flash sales based on real-time market data, maximizing profit margins.

Figure 2: Impact of Automation on Key Retail Metrics

How Automation Addresses These Issues

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Automated systems use real-time data and sophisticated algorithms to decide when and how much to markdown. This strategy increases profitability while reducing uncertainty.

  • Dynamic Pricing Models: Automation makes it possible for dynamic pricing models, which modify prices in response to variables such as rival pricing, demand trends, and inventory levels. This adaptability guarantees that costs stay reasonable and appealing to consumers.

  • Streamlined Operations: A smooth process for handling markdowns and promotions can be achieved by integrating automation solutions with current retail management systems. This integration improves operating efficiency and lowers the possibility of human error.

  • Real-Time Monitoring and Adjustments: Retailers have the ability to track sales success in real-time and quickly alter their pricing strategy in response to changing circumstances. This kind of dexterity is essential in high-stakes situations like flash sales.

Retailers Leading the Way

A number of retailers have effectively instituted automated systems to oversee their markdown and flash sales events.

Walmart: Walmart optimizes its pricing methods, cutting down on food waste and raising overall profitability with the use of cutting-edge AI and machine learning algorithms.

Zara: The fast-fashion behemoth uses technology to oversee sales and markdowns, guaranteeing quick inventory turnover and less excess.

Tesco: Tesco's automated technologies improve stock management and drastically reduce food waste by dynamically adjusting prices based on expiration dates.

Amazon: The massive online retailer has expanded its global merchant base by thousands while utilizing technology to control inventory and expedite sales.

Benefits of Automating Markdown and Flash Sales:

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Planning and carrying out sales events takes less time and effort when automation is used.

  • Increased Accuracy: Data-driven judgments made by automated systems lower the possibility of human error.

  • Increased Profit Margins: Pricing tactics that are optimized maximize sales while reducing markdown losses.

  • Improved Customer Insights: More sophisticated analytics offer more in-depth understanding of consumer behavior, paving the way for more successful sales tactics.

Future of Retail:

Automation is about establishing a competitive edge, not just about efficiency. Retailers can develop dynamic pricing strategies that maximize revenues, clear inventory, and create engaging customer experiences by utilizing automation and market data. Flash discounts and markdowns turn from being reactive to strategic strategies that propel success and growth in the dynamic retail environment.


The retail price optimization industry is being revolutionized by automating markdowns and flash sales. Retailers may carry out these events more profitably, precisely, and efficiently by utilizing AI, predictive analytics, and dynamic pricing engines. The implementation of automation technology not only increases operational efficiency but also boosts customer happiness and sales, as demonstrated by companies such as Amazon and Zara.

Retailers should think about implementing automated solutions for their markdown and flash sales events if they want to remain competitive in the fast-paced market. RapidPricer offers a comprehensive solution for automating these critical sales strategies. With its powerful analytics and AI-driven capabilities, RapidPricer empowers retailers to execute flawless flash sales and markdown events, ensuring optimal pricing and inventory management. Embrace the future of retail with RapidPricer and transform your sales events into powerful revenue drivers.

About RapidPricer

RapidPricer helps automate pricing and promotions for retailers. The company has capabilities in retail pricing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning to compute merchandising actions for real-time execution in a retail environment.

Contact info:

8 views0 comments


bottom of page