LeftLane Sports’ holiday season was especially merry in 2018: online sales were up 23% year over year in the final two months of the year. The largest sales day in its history occurred in that time span, and its conversion rate increased 35%, says Erik Fialho, the athletic apparel retailer’s chief operating officer.

Those gains stemmed in part from improvements the retailer made throughout the year in preparation for the peak season. For example, LeftLane Sports improved its site speed and tweaked its user experience based on user studies. “We attribute a lot of this success to our constant innovation throughout 2018,” Fialho says. “Several of our major projects were completed right in time for the holiday selling period.”

The retailer has the results to prove it as sales for the holiday season began pouring in on Oct. 31 and remained strong throughout the season. They peaked during the Cyber 5 period (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) when sales were up 10% compared with 2017, Fialho says. Plus, smartphones represented 54% of its holiday orders, up from 48% in 2017, and 36% in 2016, he says.

LeftLane Sports was hardly alone in generating strong holiday sales numbers online; U.S. e-commerce sales rose somewhere between 16.5% (Adobe Inc.’s estimate) and 17.4% (Internet Retailer’s estimate).

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