Around 40% of, UK department store, John Lewis’ annual profits are earned in the six-week run up to December 25. But they are certainly not the only retailer to depend a great deal on holiday spending. For European retailers to take full advantage of the holiday sales surge they must prepare their systems, processes and personnel for a highly digital shopping season. The 2016 holiday season was dominated by digital traffic and sales – according to Adobe £4.10 out of every £10 spent online was transacted on a mobile device – and we expend this trend to continue with gusto this year.  

Forrester’s new report looks at why holiday sales are shifting online and outlines steps that retailers should take in these final preparation weeks before the holiday period 2017 kicks off. Highlights from the report “Prepare For A Digital 2017 Holiday Season” include:

Holiday sales increasingly rely on digital touchpoints. Double-digit online holiday sales growth will outpace in-store growth during the 2017 holiday season. As European consumers become more digitally fluent and willing to experiment with technology – especially with their mobile devices – they expect retailers to offer digital touchpoints that complement the in-store experience and improve hectic holiday shopping.

Physical stores are essential to fulfillment. Online consumers increasingly use to click-and-collect to save time and money. In preparation for the last-minute holiday rush, retailers must review their processes, employee training, and seasonal incentives to ensure the click-and-collect experience in-store runs smoothly. To prepare for extreme peak pressure, retailers that have existing technology in-store to support click-and-collect must check these systems and make sure the associated devices are fully charged and operating properly. Savvy digital business professionals will capitalize on this trend by offering incentives to drive click-and-collect purchases, where consumers may buy additional items.

European consumer confidence recently reached a 16-year high Stronger economic growth, falling unemployment rate, and increased consumer spend all contribute to the highest European consumer confidence level since 2001. This sentiment bodes well for retailers during this critical holiday period.

For those interested in the forecast for the US holiday season see “US Holiday 2017 Outlook: Digital Sales Grow, Boosting Total Retail