Local stores keep things physical on Cyber Monday

By Gus Bode

Cyber Monday may be a major day for businesses such as Amazon and Ebay, but for local shops, it’s still all about the brick and mortar.

“We would never be a solely online store,” said Samuel Cox, co-owner of My Favorite Toys in the University Mall.

It has been seven years since the Monday after Thanksgiving was first referred to as Cyber Monday by Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation for online sellers. The day was deemed such because many online retailers were reporting increased sales, according to a Shop.org press release. Since then, retailers have begun to offer promotions and deals, making it an online counterpart to Black Friday.


Since 2005, holiday online retail sales have increased every year. In 2010, Cyber Monday was the heaviest online-spending day for the first time, according to a press release from comScore, a firm that measures online activity.

Cox said Cyber Monday is the busiest day for online sales for My Favorite Toys, which receives about 10 percent of its business through its website.

He said they’ve been doing Internet sales for four years, and the decision to go online was based on Internet shopping’s rising popularity.

“It’s obviously where many of the consumers are going,” Cox said. “The bottom line is you can’t ignore the fact more and more people are shopping online.”

He said he now sees customers come into the store with handheld devices, checking prices against others online.

Despite its advantages, online shopping lacks the personal touch for many stores, where there is the opportunity to meet and know the customers and offer recommendations, he said.

David Brown, who works at Plaza-Wuxtry Records, said he also prefers the in-store experience.


“I’d much rather hand the record to somebody and they can walk out happy,” he said.

Plaza-Wuxtry does some online business through Amazon and Ebay, but it’s not a major part of their sales, Brown said.

“We don’t really have time to focus on that kind of thing,” he said.

Brown said he’s noticed an increase in the store’s online sales over the last week, which he said he thinks has more to do with the overall holiday shopping season than any particular promotion such as Cyber Monday.

He said while he would prefer to stick to in-store sales, online selling simply provides another income source.

Kelly Rexroad, co-owner of Bookworm, said they have done online sales through Amazon and AbeBooks.com since opening, but they’re more concerned with the store itself.

“The main focus is the store and local customers,” she said.

Bookworm did particularly well during the weekend and participated in the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday promotions, Rexroad said.

However, she said they didn’t have anything planned for Cyber Monday.

Rexroad said people lose the opportunity to be part of their community by shopping online, and, local shops will eventually disappear.

Rick Reeve, owner of Shawnee Trails, said another disadvantage of Internet shopping is the revenue loss from sales tax, which could hurt funding of government services if online sales continue to rise.

He said people may not realize the effects of doing more of their shopping online.

“It’s a slow lesson to learn for a lot of people,” he said.