LAUREN FORSTER 

Merchandising Strategy EMEA
London, UK
Joined: 2017

Lauren is big on taking risks. Whether it’s jumping from a 12-person company to Groupon or jumping out of planes in New Zealand, she’s always ready to hit the ground running.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

I’m responsible for creating the Goods quarterly merchandising campaign strategy for EMEA. My main role is to analyse internal customer trends, external market data, and financial forecasts to establish which and when supply needs to be pushed to the customer, as well as identifying new opportunities in the market. I work in close contact with the Dublin-based Marketing team to ensure their promotional plans are aligned and drive traffic to our newly-sourced deals. Once the campaign calendar is established, I create weekly deadlines and targets for each country in EMEA to ensure strong supply will be delivered. I also work closely with the in-country merchandising managers to make sure the correct deals are sourced to drive the campaign performance.

I love working across multiple countries; my wider team is spread across 8 different countries and this means that no day is the same! The people at Groupon also make this role exciting. I work with colleagues in Merchandising, Marketing, Buying and with directors who have a wealth of experience and are great to learn from.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Q4 planning (October-December) is the best but most challenging part of the role. This is the busiest time of the year for retail and if you execute the right strategy it can be a real game changer. As Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas fall into this period it means forward planning and regular stakeholder communication is critical. This year I’ll be travelling across EMEA to present the plan to every office!

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

Young and evolving. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in new projects and identify areas you want to work. There are also a lot of chances to get involved outside of work too: netball teams, running clubs, and volunteering, to name a few.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

All of our projects focus on making the website, emails, and marketing most relevant and effective for the customer, with the goal of increased engagement. After every campaign, we deep dive into performance by country and identify ways we can improve or decide what we need to take a different angle that will better suit the customer trends. We are also improving our retargeting through marketing channels and improving our understanding of the customer to make sure we show users the best content available.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

Being nominated for the People Blog!

Work with me!

What do your parents think you do?

I messaged my parents about this, their response: “I’ve no idea what you do!”  I think I’ve got my work cut out here.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

After university, I joined the Graduate Scheme at Ocado where I undertook placements in buying, supply chain, trading analytics and merchandising. This was a great experience, providing me with a breadth of knowledge across core retail departments, which I use regularly in my current role. After the scheme, I moved permanently into merchandising to launch a premium online beauty store, a joint collaboration by Marie Claire magazine and Ocado. The company had 12 people in total…a very different size than Groupon! After that, I decided I wanted to work on a larger scale and across international markets, which is when I identified Groupon as a great opportunity to further develop my career!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Every last Friday of the month we have International drinks where we ‘travel across’ the different nationalities at Groupon and sample the best food and drink from the nominated country. What better way to bring in the weekend!

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? 

I’m definitely one to fill the evening out with friends for dinner and drinks. I like to try new places and cuisines around London, which are not hard to find! When the office is so conveniently located in ‘the city’ it’s hard not to enjoy a drink or two on the riverbank after work. I also like to exercise; I play netball and tennis and enjoy running regularly (although I’ve yet to join the Groupon running club!)

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be a pilot (I’m a sucker for a good view) or a property developer. I like having a project, working out how I can improve it and making the most out of what you have available.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I’ve jumped out of a plane from 15,000 feet in New Zealand!

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