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We're prepping for one of the biggest seasons in retail, and a few new data points might be dropping an unpleasant piece of coal in retailers' stockings for the 2017 holiday shopping season.

Here are a few points that jumped out at me. NetElixer predicts a 10% increase in e-commerce sales this season, but that's down compared with the 11% increase in 2016. The biggest reason: an increase in spending with Amazon, which is expected to jump from 30% in 2016 to 34% in 2017. And 55% of shoppers are already in research mode before October (meaning, they're buying as you read), according to NRF's 2017 Retail Playbook.

So, how can your business react to consumer behaviors—and try to beat the retail giant that is Amazon?

Here are five innovative ways to keep driving revenue this holiday retail season through next-generation remarketing.

1. Uncover surprising trends via on-site data

We're so frequently focused on data points like add-to-cart and time-on-site. But the challenge around data is that it's only as smart as the questions you ask of it. If you have the right technology in place, you'll be able to ask bigger questions about the entire prospect and customer journey.

Answering those questions now—instead of in the midst of the holiday season—will help you determine your best prospects to home in on so you can drive more conversions.

2. Don't wait to start using holiday-focused messaging

One of my favorite insights from NRF: While many retailers use words like "Holiday" in their email campaigns during November and December, few test that language during prime research and shopping months of September and October. If you aren't already, start now!

For marketers fast enough to pivot, that offers a ripe chance to respond ahead of the competition—and a chance to snag the sale before Amazon does.

3. Drive ROI by responding to your best new prospects

Your website traffic is probably soaring during the holidays, thanks to your paid search efforts. But the big question: Are you making the most of it?

New technologies can help your company turn anonymous website visitors into prospects through identity-resolution—allowing you to reach out with personalized marketing that responds to the specific product and category those visitors were interested in.

With targeted information about your prospects, you can deliver personalized communications that reflect the product category that the prospect was perusing. The result: those prospects are more likely to convert.

This is a prime season to test technology at scale—and see what types of new revenue you can drive.

4. Focus on loyalty, now

This year, one way to maximize performance is to target your existing customers with personalized messaging and offers that encourage them to act now. After all, they've already expressed interest in your products and brand by making a purchase.

Hold a Loyal Customers Only holiday flash sale via direct mail or email now to get ahead of the holiday rush, with a personalized code that makes those customers feel like insiders. A one-day-only pre-holiday sale for your most loyal customers can keep your brand top of mind—and give you an early boost on holiday sales.

Amazon might be able to deliver faster, but you have the ability to personalize and time your messages in a way that gets the sale first.

5. Send your direct mail now—and make sure it's driving to the right place

Direct mail requires smart online data—and the ability to reach out to your best prospects and customers quickly and easily with personalized messaging. During the holidays, that's no different, but there's an opportunity here to test where you send your prospects through your direct mail efforts.

Rather than landing them on the homepage, why not send a piece of direct mail that responds to the category they've already been browsing on your website? Thanks to advances in data and identity resolution, that intelligence is at your fingertips. This way, your customers and prospects won't feel like they're being sent just another piece of marketing collateral—but rather a personal offer from your organization.

* * *

Every holiday season comes with its own challenges and opportunities—and 2017 is no different. As a marketer, your job is to work ahead of your competitors, especially Amazon, and establish a relationship with prospects to drive them to buy. With advanced remarketing strategies and the right technology vendor, you can set your organization up for your best holiday season yet.

These five keys are opportunities to stand out from the crowd—and make sure Amazon isn't eating too much of your holiday lunch.

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Five Ways to Beat Amazon This Holiday Season (Think Remarketing)

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image of Andrew Fegley

Andrew Fegley is president of Remarketable, an ALC Smart Data Solutions Company, and a proprietary, privacy-compliant, multichannel retargeting platform dedicated to driving transactions.

LinkedIn: Andrew Fegley

Twitter: @Andrew__Fegley