As a retail marketer, you probably relate to feeling like the winter holidays are equally exciting, chaotic, draining, and fantastic for conversions. In 2017, we have reason for optimism for the holiday season. Holiday retail sales during November and December 2016 increased 4% from 2015, according to  NRF, while non-store sales were up 12.6% from the year before.

The 2017 holiday season promises more mobile shopping, smarter shopping through predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), and enhanced in-store experiences.

Consumers have ads and messages coming at them from a million different directions during the holidays, and no matter how far ahead of Black Friday you plan, success can feel like a moving target.

That’s why we created this guide. Get all the planning tips you need in our new Marketing Holiday Calendar, updated for the 2017 holidays.

This free guide has everything you need to scale your marketing campaigns for every channel in the 2017 holiday season. The calendar includes trends, data, and  monthly to-do lists — from September through January — that will be especially important this year.

Here’s a sneak peek at the calendar for September. Download the full calendar for best practices to guide the rest of your marketing this year.

Stats to know for holiday marketing in September 

  • According to the Commerce Cloud Year in Review, September 2016 marked the peak in mobile shopping traffic to retailers’ websites, with 53% of traffic coming from mobile devices.
  • Online and other non-store sales increased 12.6%, unadjusted from 2015 to 2016, according to NRF.
  • Compared to other social channels, Facebook is retailers’ number one driver of traffic, baskets, and orders, carrying over 80% of each, according to Commerce Cloud’s All Wrapped Up holiday report.

September imperatives: start a smarter journey and acquire new customers 

Email: Email is a critical 1-to-1 marketing channel. In 2017, the mobile stakes are higher than ever. Consumers will quickly delete or unsubscribe if your communications don’t render well on their mobile devices. So this month, finalize plans to ensure every email is responsive and mobile-optimized, so that the journey continues long after the first email is sent. And don’t forget plain-text versions of emails that can be opened on wearables.

Mobile: It’s hard to overstate the impact of mobile on modern shopping habits. In fact, 82% of smartphone users now turn to their devices while in stores to help them make a product decision (Google). You can use SMS and push notifications to leverage order history, geofencing data, product preferences, and other data when messaging customers. Early in the season, gather data that will shape hyper-relevant messages in the November and December journey.

Social: Don’t discount social media’s impact on shoppers’ buying decisions, especially among Generation X and Millennials: 30% of Gen X and 48% of Millennial consumers report using social channels to discover products to purchase (Salesforce). Social media is increasingly video- and visual-centric, with Instagram Stories and Snapchat making a huge impact recently. Finalize your strategies to use these visual-meets-social tactics to send more social connections to your website during the holidays; learn more in the calendar.

Advertising: Highly targeted ads bring more of the right customers to your product pages. While it’s still early in the season, run campaigns that bring the perfect audiences into your email or app program — or anywhere else that your best customers engage with you. Also consider how intelligent ads can boost email by targeting email subscribers on Facebook with the same themes you promote via email, and by using ads to drive customers to email subscription.

Web: Show customers you know them well by using web data in 1-to-1 emails, ads, and mobile messages. As you acquire new customers throughout the season, keep them engaged by reminding them of abandoned browsing sessions, shopping carts, or when items are back in stock.

Store: Your stores will be a flurry of virtual and physical activity this year, with more informed consumers than ever before: 32% of consumers believe that they know more about a store than a store associate (Salesforce). With the vast majority of your in-store customers seeking information about your products online, ramp up training so that employees are ready to relate to highly knowledgeable consumers during the holiday season.

For a comprehensive guide to 2017 Holiday Readiness, download the guide below.

This post first appeared on the Salesforce blog