Soon the back-to-school season will fade into the rearview mirror, Halloween will come and go, and we’ll find ourselves bombarded with holiday promotions, which seem to start earlier every year. And, if last year is any indication, those messages will pay off for many retailers.

A number of online retailers are throwing out the traditional holiday season playbook in which merchants focus on the basics such as mapping out enticing promotions, ensuring their sites are up and delivering orders on time. Some innovative retailers are in the midst of major projects to change…

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