In case you haven’t noticed, the holiday shopping season is here (a week before Black Friday, no less). In fact, some say it’s been since September. That’s when countless retailers started stocking the candy canes, Santa-saturated wrapping paper, and display shelves of fleece slippers, leather gloves, and sweaters.

A full 42 percent of retailers ramped up holiday advertising in early fall, long before the pumpkin-shaped Halloween peanut butter cups were sold out.

So what can we expect for the holidays this year?

For starters, optimism. Fully 86 percent of retailers are anticipating a better ROI for the holidays in 2014 than they enjoyed last year.

As the infographic from iMediaConnection shared below illustrates, mobile shopping will continue to blossom. That means brands need to focus on mobile targeting and effective campaigns. Because so many consumers will be using their smartphones to research products — an estimated 70 percent! — any retailer not mining that space will lose out. And 29 percent of shoppers will make their purchases via a mobile device.

Social media platforms will again be big as gift suggestions and link shares on Pinterest, Facebook, and other channels become more prevalent. “Getting pinned” has taken on new meaning — and every retailer should hope for lots of that action.

Our advice to retailers? Dump the shipping charges. It’s the leading reason potential buyers ditch their online shopping carts. Of course, we know that shipping costs need to be covered (which retailers fold into product price — after all, Santa doesn’t really deliver those gifts, retailers do), but consumers have an aversion to add-on costs. That’s why 40 percent of retailers are offering free shipping this holiday season.