This blog post is part of Forrester’s Holiday 2018 retail series.

Black Friday holiday sales events are a fixture of the European holiday shopping season (even without a European equivalent of the Thanksgiving holiday!). Initially finding its way to the UK, the sales day has extended across Europe to become a significant sales event from France and Germany to Italy and Turkey. And even among the retail holdouts, many will ultimately feel they need to at the very least broadcast their commitment to a “season of deals and value.”

How is Black Friday impacting retail in Europe? We’ve seen that Black Friday sales events have extended the length — and changed the pattern — of the retail holiday sales season in Europe. The combination of these sales events and ever-growing mobile shopping are key reasons that Forrester this year forecasts 12.1% growth for Western European retail sales in November and December. But this new holiday sales season cadence also is forcing retailers to update their approach to proactively manage, plan, and prepare for an early surge in volume. Beyond stress testing their systems, some tactics that retailers have adopted over the past few years include:

  • Adjusting the cadence of special sales to manage sales traffic. To maintain profitability, enhance the customer experience, and manage the characteristic surge of online sales, retailers must micromanage special holiday sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. By creating a series of time-limited offers, retailers can spread out sales volumes, taking pressure off systems and logistics.
  • Paying close attention to the sale product mix. European retailers have struggled to maintain profitability from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events over the past few years. Retailers must closely manage the product lines and categories they’ve placed on promotion to minimize the risk of on-the-day stock outages and margin erosion and to protect their bestsellers.

Find out more about Forrester’s forecast for the European holiday season here.