Fanatics, Lulus, GlassesUSA.com and more share their online sales results and what went right (and wrong) for them over the Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

The Cyber 5 period—Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday—brings in a record number of shoppers and sales for many retailers.

For the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, online sales hit $28.49 billion, up 17.7% from $24.21 billion from the same holiday weekend last year, Adobe Analytics  says. The firm’s numbers are based on data from more than 1 trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites including transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers ranked in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 .

Several retailers shared with Digital Commerce 360 how their Cyber 5 weekend went. Here are some highlights:

Fanatics

The sports apparel retailer (owned by Kynetic LLC, No. 14 in the Top 1000) says it set a record for the best sales day ever on Black Friday—a record that has never been set on Black Friday before for the brand. Its online sales were up more than 25% for Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined, compared with those same two days last year. Overall, its online sales were up more than 20% year over year from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, Fanatics says.

Mobile was also a boon for Fanatics—70% of its online sales during Cyber 5 came via mobile devices, up from 63% for the same time period last year.

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Exclusive products—including items the company manufactures and distributes through its vertical model—across the Fanatics network continue to drive sales, says a Fanatics spokesman. Plus, sales of NFL and NCAA products were up 40% year over year this past weekend, he says.

Additionally, Better Brands, its initiative to bring new, fashion-forward brands into the licensed sports merchandise space, and women’s merchandise outpaced overall company growth rate, a spokesman says.

Lulus

Women’s apparel retailer Lulus, No. 130, had an “incredibly busy” start to the Cyber 5 period, says CEO Colleen Winter. It kicked off a 25% off sitewide sale on the Monday before Thanksgiving at 12:30 a.m. PST, which was roughly 24 hours earlier than last year. It let its VIP members know as soon as the sale was available, while the rest of its 3 million email subscribers found out at 7 a.m. PST, according to Noelle Sadler, vice president of marketing for Lulus.

“We started off really strong, and [the Monday before Thanksgiving] eclipsed our sales from last Cyber Monday,” Winter says.

Altogether, its sales grew more than 30% during its 10-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales period, compared with the same period last year, Winter says.

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Lulus also had a 33% increase in email sessions during the 10-day promotional period, even while sending more emails during the period than it ever has before, Winter says. The women’s apparel retailer also sold 50% more items during the sales period compared with last year.

This longer stretch of sales days “gives our customers a longer period to shop, and it helps our fulfillment centers keep up,” Winter notes. “We’ve kept up much better than last year, and our shoppers can’t believe orders are shipping already.”

The retailer opened a second fulfillment center this year compared with only one center last year. Now it has an East Coast and a West Coast facility, allowing Lulus to identify where orders are coming from, fulfill them from the closest distribution center location and shrink shipping times.

Plus, giving a longer period of time for shoppers to capitalize on sales “prevents that big traffic hit that brings retailers’ sales period down if their site comes down,” Winter says. But Lulus still prepared for the influx of traffic. It bolstered its back-end servers so it can easily scale them up and down based on web traffic, Sadler says. The retailer is also directing traffic to a mobile app that it launched this year, although it did not disclose the share of sales coming from the new app versus the web.

GlassesUSA.com

GlassesUSA.com’s (No. 145) Cyber 5 period exceeded expectations for sales and orders, the glasses retailer says. Revenue increased 45% year over year and orders increased 30%. Additionally, mobile was a big factor for GlassesUSA.com: 60% of its year-over-year revenue growth came from orders via mobile devices.

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“Overall compared to last year we saw a larger diversity in the orders in terms of product variety, more items per order and a higher average order value,” GlassesUSA.com tells Digital Commerce 360.

GlassesUSA.com’s conversion rate increased 40% compared with the same period last year.

Wine.com Inc.

With six fewer days to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wine.com (No. 358 in the Top 1000) was nervous at the start of the holiday shopping season, but it was “pleasantly surprised to see volumes begin to meaningfully pick up mid-November as they always have,” Wine.com tells Digital Commerce 360.

Online sales for the Cyber 5 period were up 70% over last year. Plus, conversion rate was up more than 100% during the Cyber 5 weekend compared with the rest of the holiday season and up more than 25% year over year.

The wine retailer credits this hike in sales and conversion rate to its large selection online versus in store, its 14,000 local pickup options and that it “seems to benefit from other retailers barraging customers with early Black Friday messaging all month long,” Wine.com says.

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It did, however, experience a momentary traffic overload on its app on Black Friday following a push notification. But Wine.com says it did not affect many consumers and was quickly resolved.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service

ShopMyExchange.com’s online sales were up 14.8% for the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday stretch compared with last year. Plus, it says its sales have been strong since Nov. 1, especially during Veterans Day weekend Nov. 9-11. Thus far, its sales are up more than 7%.

The Exchange (No. 145), which caters to military personnel and their families, also says its conversion rate remained steady, without revealing more. The Exchange credits its sales to an increase in targeted marketing. It experienced a brief website outage on Friday morning, but it did not encounter any other technical issues during Cyber 5.

Bob’s Watches

“Unlike most retailers, and lucky for us, the holiday season doesn’t represent a sizable portion of our annual numbers,” says Bob’s Watches CEO and founder Paul Altieri. Its sales are pretty consistent throughout the year, he says.

However, sales of Rolex watches, in particular, have been “strong and steady” for the watch retailer (No. 796) with revenue increasing 30% for those products compared with last year.

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The Cyber 5 period is the only time when Bob’s Watches has a sale all year, so all metrics including conversion rates spike, Altieri says without revealing more.

U.S. Polo Assn.

The apparel retailer, No. 983, says it had double-digit growth during Cyber 5 on USPoloAssn.com and double-digit growth on marketplaces as well, especially in China, India and Turkey. Plus, its conversion rate doubled its average.

Although it has not encountered any delivery or shipping issues, it is aware of the ever-increasing consumer demand for fast shipping. “Consumers expect express delivery by default, and this is impacting margins,” says Jose Nino, vice president of global digital strategy and ecommerce. “The opportunity cost makes it worthwhile, but in general it is a challenge facing the industry.”

Abt Electronics Inc.

Abt, No. 683, had a 15% overall increase in online sales for the Cyber 5 period. On Cyber Monday, Abt says online sales jumped 30%. Plus, the electronics retailer’s in-store sales were up 17% during the holiday sales period.

“We made sure to have enough staff in the store and online,” says co-president Jon Abt. “But our biggest win was implementing local same-day delivery in the Chicagoland market where many customers took advantage of the service and didn’t have to brave the crowds or the cold.”

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Renegade Furniture Group

For the Cyber 5 period, year-over-year revenue for Renegade Furniture (No. 580) was down slightly, less than 10%. But its revenue was up in the days leading to Black Friday, the furniture retailer tells Digital Commerce 360. Even though sales were down, its conversion rate was up about 40-50% compared with its yearly average, Renegade Furniture says.

Digital Commerce 360 staff contributed to this article.

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