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Leading up to the 2020 holiday season, the Pivotree team helped clients get ready for what we termed “the most digital Black Friday ever.” As the dust settles on Cyber 5 – the period of Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday – we’re excited to report that our clients, including leaders across several retail categories, experienced record-breaking 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

As stories of success pour in, we want to share a few initial results and what we learned that might help guide your digital strategies for 2021.


Online orders push record-breaking sales.

While overall industry results show moderate gains – a 22% increase in Black Friday sales and a 15% increase in Cyber Monday sales, according to Adobe Analytics – some Pivotree clients saw significant numbers. Many of our clients have strategically invested in their digital infrastructure and blew through their Black Friday and Cyber Monday records.

Examples include:

  • One retail client saw 215% more orders in November (YoY) and 271% more orders in 2020 YTD.
  • A leading sports apparel retailer recorded Black Friday 2020 as the best day ever in the company’s history. They also experienced a record Cyber Monday, with a 27% increase YoY.
  • A leading apparel company noted the “Cyber 5” in 2020 contained the three top-grossing days ever for their site and mobile app.
  • The same retailer saw Thanksgiving sales up 84% and Black Friday sales up 92% compared to 2019!


Preparation is key.

Site speed, stability, and availability were critical factors during Cyber 5 – particularly in light of extreme peaks. For example, Adobe reports that on Cyber Monday, time-sensitive deals drove big traffic spikes between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. PST, when rushed consumers spent $2.7 billion online. Digital Commerce 360 reports, “shoppers spent a massive $12 million during the peak hour of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time.”

The takeaway from our clients? Be prepared for peaks. Pivotree clients leverage Holiday Readiness Services, such as Tuning, Load Testing, and Scaling, to ensure sites run smoothly, remain optimized for the ebb and flow of traffic, and have the infrastructure in place to address any potential issues rapidly.

One client described their experience with holiday peaks and Scaling:

“COVID has changed shopping patterns compared to last year in non-US countries. In countries like Canada, South Africa, the UK, etc., shopping behavior centered around periods of work downtime (before work, lunchtime, after dinner, etc.). These countries observed wave-like traffic throughout the day. We leveraged Pivotree’s Rapid Scaling Solution to gain stability, speed, and availability. The Pivotree team responded quickly to any issues raised and was proactively involved. We could not have done this without their efforts and appreciate the focus and dedication shown by all over the last few weeks.”

Another client added their experience:

“Our eCommerce site performed consistently and reliably, with no downtime and no slow performance. From a systems perspective, we coped with the load with no issues encountered – our performance testing and mitigating actions definitely paid off.”


Curbside gets a big boost.

Experts from Pivotree and across the retail industry predicted Curbside – an extension of Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) – would likely play a huge role in holiday shopping. The predictions proved true.

Digital Commerce 360 explained, “With shoppers increasingly turning to omnichannel services to avoid crowds and shipping delays, curbside pickup continues to flourish amid the pandemic. On Cyber Monday, curbside pickup sales grew 30% year over year.”

As shoppers become more comfortable with – and reliant upon – safe and easy pickup options, BOPIS and Curbside grow in importance. That’s why it’s crucial to implement a BOPIS solution quickly, for the short term, with a partner who can offer long-term support.

To learn more, watch our BOPIS Video here.


A longer season blends into the New Year.

Holiday shopping is far from over. Consumers want continued deals, driving a longer retail holiday season. The days after Christmas are often filled with even larger sales, as retailers clear out inventory and target consumers armed with gift cards and returns.

Taylor Schreiner, director at Adobe Digital Insights, noted, “we’re seeing strong online sales momentum across not only the major shopping days like Thanksgiving weekend but throughout the holiday season as consumers spread out their shopping across several weeks in reaction to continued, heavy discounting from retailers.”

What does that mean? Additional – and at times unpredictable – holiday spikes and increased pressure on eCommerce in 2021.

To help companies prepare, we partnered with Riversand in creating “The 2021 Guide to Ecommerce.”

This new eBook provides expert insights on:

  • Preparing your data for the future of eCommerce.
  • Eight key observations to help drive your 2021 plans.
  • How to apply the five critical components to gain a competitive advantage.
  • What to do if a big eCommerce initiative feels overwhelming.

Download The 2021 Guide to Ecommerce now!