E-commerce Update: IndieCommerce & Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

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Black Friday through Cyber Monday are historically the busiest online shopping days of the year. The current average daily sales volume we’ve been seeing over the past few weeks is projected to more than double this coming Cyber Monday. During this period, and most likely beyond, the number of users and transactions on the IndieCommerce system may far exceed the online traffic we all experienced on June 2 following an anti-racism protest — the highest volume in IndieCommerce history.

To keep up with the coming surge in online traffic and sales through the end of this year, we brought three additional servers online over the past week. These are in addition to the servers that we brought online at the start of the pandemic. This brings our total up to 20 servers. We’ve also made a huge number of software upgrades to help stores accommodate the 904 percent increase in sales revenue and the 105 percent increase in customers since the start of the pandemic in the U.S.

What does a 904 percent increase in online sales look like? Below is a visual representation of the sales revenue pattern we’ve seen this year during the pandemic (blue line) vs last year’s online sales for the same period (orange line).

Year over year online sales revenue graph comparison for IndieCommerce and IndieLite sites, showing major growth in online sales between 2019 and 2020

We’re monitoring everything 24/7 and our team is working overtime to support the stores. We have experienced two network outages in the last week: one on Wednesday, November 18, due to an upgrade by our service provider that temporarily disabled the system for 35 minutes, and one around noon on Tuesday, November 24. The IndieCommerce team had started to address that issue before most stores realized they were offline. The outage lasted 40 minutes. Unfortunately, it was not a problem on our end and our service provider is still investigating the cause.

Thank you to stores who checked the IndieCommerce status page during the outage rather than contacting IndieCommerce directly. This allowed our team to focus on the problem. Thanks also to stores, like The Ivy Bookshop, who responded quickly by posting a note on their social media letting customers know their site was down, then posting shortly thereafter to let them know it was back up. (Thanks also to Ivy for acknowledging our team’s efforts to get things back up as quickly as possible.)

Our projection for sales and traffic over the coming weeks places us in completely uncharted waters. We’ve made considerable hardware and software improvements to our platform over the past nine months to weather what can only be described as an unprecedented, seismic shift in consumer shopping behavior.

As we’ve been doing throughout the pandemic, the IndieCommerce team is here for you and we’re going to do everything we can to keep your website up and running through this holiday shopping season.