Christmas is just around the corner and e-commerce sales are expected to hit the highest milestone ever. As market researcher eMarketer predicts  , online revenues in the US will reach more than $94.71 billion over the Christmas holiday.
During the core holiday shopping period of November and December 2016, UK retail e-commerce sales will reach an estimated £16.90 billion ($28.83 billion) and 20.3% of all holiday season retail sales . The report predicts that smartphones will account for 36.4% of total retail mCommerce sales in the UK in 2016, which is still behind mobile tablet usage. However, by 2020 the balance is expected to have shifted, at which point smartphones will account for 52% of the mCommerce total.
The upcoming season represents a huge business potential not only for physical shops but also ecommerce players as the shift from traditional in-store shopping to shopping with multiple channels continues. 17% of consumers plan to shop less in store, shifting time to their electronic devices. 
These figures are important for online retailers who are in a constant battle for consumers’ interest, as traditional in-store shopping trends towards online purchases. RTB House – a global retargeting technology provider – analyzed hundreds of campaigns in more than 40 markets to determine the best ways that online retailers are preparing to dominate the holiday season.
TIP #1 The Sooner You Start, The Better
Planning leads to better results. During Black Friday 2016, e-commerce sales rocketed through previous benchmarks. According to RTB House analysis, clients campaigns served by the company in November 2016 during Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, performed in average over 180% better, and the total website traffic grew more than 60% over the average results in November 2016. Compared with 2015, growth was significant. Conversion rates in the previous year of Black Friday 2015 were only 70% better and traffic 30% higher than average for November.
This growing trend is a good sign that advertisers are planning much earlier than Christmas time to launch holiday e-commerce campaigns. When preparing for the holiday season sale, remember that creatives with related products should be ready to roll out long before the shopping fever begins.
Most importantly, advertisers should be prepared to help customers in the chaos that comes with the holiday season by delivering messages that make their life easier. For example, “in-stock” labels on creatives or tips like “good for gifts” or “bestsellers” help customers quickly understand the offer.
When it comes to retargeting, personalized product feeds are a good standard, but remember that it’s also a great time to display your best-selling products (i.e. most popular items or highest margins) from last Christmas.
TIP #2 Focus On Non-Active Buyers
One of the fundamental truths every marketer knows is that reaching a new buyer can cost several times more than keeping an existing one. Almost 50% of clicks on ads are generated by e-shop’s visitors within the same day, and most retargeting services put a lower and lower emphasis on reaching those non-active users as times goes on. The holiday season, however, is one of the best times to reconnect with those buyers.
Think about preparing a personalized message to non-active visitors – those who came to your site days, weeks or even months ago. Activating consumers who checked the website but have never come back, or rebuilding brand awareness and loyalty among those who haven’t visited the site recently is a strong tactic during the holidays. It serves to not only generate holiday revenues, but it’s a great alternative towards budget spent on new traffic.
TIP #3 Use A Recommendation Mechanism
Retargeting campaigns allow you to design not just one purchase, but an entire string of customer engagement events. An intelligent ad and retargeting tool powered by deep learning algorithms (currently the most promising subfield of Artificial Intelligence-oriented research) can provide a way to deliver what’s available in your catalogue, and then rapidly adapt creatives to shoppers’ preferences.
When planning an advertising campaign, chose a provider which offers innovative, instant recommendations that can be related to what consumers want – but not directly what they were shopping for. Recommendations act like a personal shopper in a traditional store, helping customers find things they like, while keeping your campaigns as efficient as possible.
Remember – when used accurately, retargeting is incredibly efficient, so the better you are prepared for the upcoming shopping events, the higher return on investment you can expect.
If you don’t have a strategy yet, it’s not too late to have one. Here are some research-backed tips to help you boost ecommerce sales during this holiday season
This year, 154 million consumers shopped over the long holiday weekend, an increase of 3 million from last year