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E-commerce events in Europe: How international retailers benefit

by Editorial Office

Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Singles Day: perfectly staged shopping events are expected to set new sales records in European e-commerce in November and December. International companies that enthuse local consumers with attractive offers are also expecting high sales.

In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, online retail in Europe has gained further momentum: Consumers are increasingly purchasing via shopping apps, web stores, marketplaces and social networks. It is likely that this trend will continue to have an extremely positive impact on the overall sales of the major discount days in the second Corona year. But which events should foreign retailers keep in mind for their cross-border business and how can they prepare for related requirements?

Firmly established: Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Europe

As a US import, Black Friday traditionally takes place one day after Thanksgiving in Europe.  This year, the shopping event starts on November 26 – closely followed by Cyber Monday on November 29, which many local consumers are familiar with thanks to the online marketplace Amazon. Retailers use the long shopping weekend to boost spendings in the run-up to Christmas: in 2020, German consumers spent a record-breaking 3.7 billion euros on the extended shopping weekend.

In other major e-commerce markets such as France and the UK, Cyber Weekend has become an equally important occasion for online shopping. Reason enough for many providers to extend the promotional period and win over consumers with special offers on the days before and after.

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Singles Day in Europe: Promoting awareness in a targeted manner

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, another foreign shopping format has arrived in Europe: China’s Singles Day – which had once been initiated as a counterpart to Valentine’s Day for singles to present each other with gifts – takes place every year on November 11 and is now considered the world’s top-selling promotion day. According to the e-commerce giant Alibaba, in 2020 a peak of 583,000 orders per minute were recorded and a total turnover of the equivalent of 56 billion US dollars was generated.

In view of these record figures, brands and companies in Europe have long since joined in the spectacle: according to online marketing provider Criteo, sales peaks in France (111 percent), Norway (89 percent), Italy (68 percent) and Germany (43 percent) emerged on November 11, 2020.

At 21.3 percent, German online shoppers seem to be the most aware of Singles Day, according to a Statista survey. They are followed by the Netherlands (20.5 percent), the UK (19.7 percent) and France (16.7 percent).

Alas, there is still room for improvement, and retailers can promote the popularity of the shopping event in a targeted manner by drawing the attention of local consumers to special offers.

After the Christmas shopping season: Boxing Day in the UK

Having mainly bought gifts for others in the run-up to Christmas, British consumers like to fulfill their own wishes after the festive season. On Boxing Day, which falls on December 26, it was a pre-pandemic tradition to shop in bricks-and-mortar retail stores, redeem vouchers and return unsuitable gifts. In times of the pandemic, the event is increasingly taking place digitally: E-commerce vendors are inviting shoppers with special post-Christmas offers – for many, the occasion is an opportunity to clear inventory. However, according to media reports, online business on British Boxing Day cannot (yet) keep up with the sales on Black Friday.

E-commerce events in Europe: Considering alternative local shopping formats

In addition to the above-mentioned shopping events, e-commerce providers should note other events in their annual calendars that are met with lively interest among European online shoppers. For example, it is not only the initiator Amazon that records a strong increase in sales on Prime Day in July. Other providers also benefit from it. For online retailers with business in France, the French answer to Black Friday – French Days in May and June – is quite interesting The multi-day event fuels the local e-commerce market every year and is the initiative of six major online retailers, including Cdiscount, La Redoute and Rue du Commerce. Affiliated retailers also record sales via in-app sales at the German Glamour Shopping Week, a seven-day e-commerce event organized by Condé Nast publisher in October.

Cross-Border Logistics: Strategic preparations for a smooth handling

Event shopping in Europe is a booming trend that international retailers should not ignore. Formats such as Cyber Monday, French Days, or Boxing Day offer the opportunity for a particularly high reach. Strategic peak management and efficient cross-border logistics are key factors for successfully managing peak demand and winning over new customers. Retailers can thus ensure that all supply chain processes run smoothly and can meet the high demands in terms of fast delivery of goods.

In view of the extreme discounts, suppliers are not always able to secure large margins despite the high turnover. However, shopping events are a welcome opportunity to stand out from the competition, gain a large number of new customers particularly quickly, and clear excess inventory. Last but not least, if consumers are convinced by the products and service, they will return to the online stores in question even after the promotion ends.

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