‘Tis the busiest season for retailers — at least for those that weathered the storm of 2017.

News of retail failures dominated the headlines this year as brick-and-mortar behemoths like Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy, and scores of traditional retailers closed multiple locations. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to ring the death knell for retail — far from it.

Bringing a bit of cheer to retailers, the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday spending will rise between 3.6 and 4 percent this year. E-commerce continues to dominate, with online Black Friday sales hitting a robust $5.03 billion this year, but plenty of shoppers also flocked to stores to get a hands-on, in-person experience.

Our top retail column of 2017 from Allan Haims noted that trend, pointing out that brick-and-mortar retailers can get a step ahead of the competition by learning from their online brethren and using analytics and technology to provide a better shopping experience.

Of course, you can’t talk about e-commerce without mentioning Amazon in the same breath. From its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods to its Prime Day and its sales bonanza on Cyber Monday, Amazon loomed large as an unstoppable force.

Our columnists took a look at how brands can thrive, or even just survive against, the online juggernaut. What’s the answer? “Customer experience” was a common refrain we heard among our columnists. Some of our most popular columns of the year focused on why brands should be putting the customer first and how to provide an experience that will get consumers to return.

For these insights and more, check out our top 10 retail columns of 2017:

  1. Why brick-and-mortar retailers need to go digital with analytics by Allan Haims, published on 3/10/2017.
  2. No longer brick-and-mortar vs. online retail: Customers view a ‘single lens’ by Allan Haims, published on 6/30/2017.
  3. 4 deceptive Google Analytics metrics that fool retail marketers by Stephen Murphy, published on 8/2/2017.
  4. Influencers, in-store shopping and more: 5 affiliate marketing trends for 2017 by Adam Weiss, published on 1/20/2017.
  5. Why your brand should obsess over its customers, not its competitors by Mike Sands, published on 8/22/2017.
  6. Retail game-changers: Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are brick-and-mortar’s essential future by Davor Sutija, published on 10/25/2017.
  7. 5 ways to write better email subject lines this holiday season by Kyle Henderick, published on 9/22/2017.
  8. A smarter approach to ‘back to school’ marketing by James Green, published on 5/15/2017.
  9. Shopping centers reinvented: 2017 and beyond by Allan Haims, published on 1/24/2017.
  10. Affiliate marketing strategies for success during the holidays by Adam Weiss, published on 9/29/2017.

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