Welcome back everybody and Happy New year! This Holiday season was great, by most measures, which has prompted me to write about it.

While the news for brick-and-mortar stores was good overall, it’s the online retailers who saw some of the biggest gifts from Santa this season.  Physical stores on average grew same stores sales of 3.4 percent year-over-year and some such as Macy’s did much better with a growth of 6.6 percent.  But for Macy’s the real excitement was at their online stores with both macys.com  and Bloomingdales.com producing gains of 36 percent in December.  The story was similar with other online retailers, which according to comScore, Inc. grew sales by 15 percent year-over-year to rake in a record $37.2 billion this holiday season.

Some online retailers such as eBags announced gains of 32 percent over last year along with even stronger numbers on Cyber Monday, which broke their largest single day record by 46%.  So what drove this incredible growth?  eBags gave the credit in part to their optimization efforts which focused on site speed, site search, and their product pages.  Another bright spot for eBags was with sales from mobile devices, which grew 187 percent and accounted for 9 percent of eBags.com total sales.

In the coming days I will be diving deeper into these metrics to uncover what moved the needle for online retailers this holiday. I’ll explore which stores saw the greatest growth and reveal clues we found that could be what made the difference.  We’ll also take a closer look at the impact mobile devices and social media had for retailers this year and tell you which retailers are in the lead with these initiatives.

If you have a comment or burning question on your mind about what worked well for you this Holiday season, or how to improve your customer experience this year, leave a comment below.