Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020 Round-Up

2020 has been a complicated year. BFCM has undisputedly been different this year with many retailers and etailers still working with challenging pandemic restrictions. This year, the holidays are coming at a very strange time. Much of retail has been heavily disrupted and is relying on online sales channels more than ever before, but brands still reliant on the big spike of holiday sales – perhaps more now than ever before.

We at VL OMNI understood this year would be different. Let’s take a look at what happened this year industry-wide and how VL OMNI’s customers managed BFCM, and break down some trends and shifts in ecommerce that might be causing changes and stick with us for the long term.

Let’s dive in!

The State of Commerce Across The Industry In 2020 – A Shift to Online

Across the industry in North America, a clear change was the overall traffic in physical stores. Malls across the continent are closed or at limited capacities due to the COVID-19 pandemic health restrictions. According to Sensormaric Solutions, U.S. in-store shopping dropped 52%.

With that shift in shopping patterns, we must look online to see the greatest impact of BFCM 2020 on ecommerce. In the U.S. shoppers did not stop purchasing but increased their purchases by 22% online over last year, culminating in a collective spend of $10.8 billion on eCommerce shopping.

Amazon, no stranger to recording-breaking spending on the platform, made another record worldwide by surpassing last year’s numbers of business by 60% for independent retailers on Amazon Marketplace.

Shopify – Closing The Gap in 2020

Every year Shopify, which supports independent Merchants on their ecommerce platform, competes with giants on BFCM… and comes pretty close. This year, it is settled that Shopify and the “ecommerce rebels” continue to hold their own in ecommerce sales.

Shopify’s independent Merchants managed to sell 5.1 billion worldwide during BFCM week in 2020, a 76% increase in sales in 2019. The past few months have seen customers understand the need to support small and local businesses as a priority through the economic hardship of the pandemic. Customers have seen the need to shop small and support individuals rather than big-box retailers.

“With the centre of gravity in commerce shifting from in-store to online, the pandemic has accelerated a change we have long anticipated,” 

 – Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s president

 

Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020? Nah, It’s Holiday Selling Season

We’ve also seen a change in timing around BFCM, as we predicted in our last blog, BFCM is no longer just a day or weekend shopping event. It has morphed into a holiday selling season. According to Shopify Merchants began their BFCM sales as early as November 12th, 2020, and will continue well into the middle of December 2020. This is a strategic decision to relieve the pressure on supply chains and shipping outlets.

VL OMNI – BFCM 2020 By The (Integration) Numbers:

VL OMNI’s customers with agile and scalable integrations knew that during their peak selling seasons they would need to plan out strategies and understand their data processes ahead of time. This allowed them to integrate at scale and have excellent customer experiences across their store, applications to their end customers. This year, VL OMNI Merchants across our platform saw the following:

VL OMNI Dashboard BFCM Year over Year (Nov 29-Dec 2, 2019 vs. Nov 27-Nov 30, 2020)

  • Orders processed increased by 121%
  • Fulfillments processed decreased by 25% *
  • Total data movements processed by the VL OMNI Dashboard increased by 101%

What we can deduce from these numbers is that orders and total movements have increased significantly year over year but also fulfillments decreased – a pattern that extended over the month of November in total, in fact. The ability to fulfill fulfillments has been a challenge of 2020 where the supply chain has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Merchants knew this coming into the season and reacted by extending their traditionally short BFCM sales periods over longer periods to try to compensate. But the low fulfillments processed this year over 2019 definitely show that the supply chain is still a major bottleneck for merchants to consider going into 2021.

The numbers this year also reflect a change in consumer habits: shoppers are buying less fashion (fast and otherwise), and are generally more conscious of their purchasing decisions overall. 2020, instead, saw a redirection of shopping habits towards more artisanal production values. 

Popular Trends This 2020 Shopping Season

  • Contact-free curbside pickup and local delivery:

This BFCM with various in-store restrictions across jurisdictions – the ability for Merchants to offer contactless delivery and curbside pickup allowed customers to shop in whatever safe, convenient way they wished to. We believe this trend will continue post-Covid.

  • The season to support small businesses more than ever:

The push to support small businesses now more than ever has been huge, it is obvious independent businesses have struggled enormously in 2020 and the public has supported by buying small and local from their friends and family creating excellent products.

  • Cross-border selling:

It wasn’t all local shopping. In a global economy and fast shipping, 14% of all orders purchased from Shopify stores were from another country.

  • The Conscious Consumer: Commerce & Sustainability Go Hand and Hand:

Consumers care about sustainability and ethical consumption probably this year more than any other. This fits our summary of VL OMNI Dashboard statistics. We feel the days of mass consumption of fast fashion or cheaply made products are becoming less. The future is for sustainability and conscious purchases. 

For instance, Shopify was committed to offsetting all carbon emissions from the delivery of every order placed on their platform during the 2020 BFCM weekend. For every order placed through Shop Pay, Shopify offset all delivery emissions.

What’s Next? – Ecommerce in 2021 and Beyond

It has been a different kind of year for all of us in the eCommerce space. From the global pandemic to the rapid growth of online shopping, to the many shifts in commerce, it has been a year full of surprises.

Now that we have reported the full story of Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020 from our end, it is still uncertain what the rest of the year will unfold. Who knows what comes after but Merchant: prepare with agility for the rest of this holiday season and beyond. Think about every single important factor within your business, from front-end to back-end. Is your business well prepared for what’s next?

Get your business ready for peak selling seasons and beyond.

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