Retailers participate in Cyber Monday
Retailers offer special deals online instead of in stores
For those who have been waiting for those holiday deals but haven't wanted to fight the crowds to get them, Monday is their day -- Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday, and retailers will be offering special deals online instead of in their stores.
Retailers said they're feeling pretty optimistic about Cyber Monday this year, and they have every reason to be optimistic. Black Thursday sales were strong and reveal consumers are searching for the best deal.
Instead of waiting in those lines in the cold, folks can now shop for the deals from the comfort of their own home.
About $1.25 billion -- that's about how much consumers spent on Cyber Monday last year, making it the biggest day for online shopping in history.
Some estimates put this year's sales over $2 billion. Channel 4 talked to shoppers who said waiting to shop on Cyber Monday is all about efficiency.
When shopper Anneesah Napier was asked why she likes shopping for deals online, she responded, "I guess because I can see it all in one place instead of getting to the store and having to visit so many different stores. So it just makes it more convenient."
Retailers are listening to customers. At Sears in Regency Square Mall, the store manager said it's making it easier to find many of the same deals online as shoppers find in stores. It's also offering extra incentives, like free shipping.
"It means a lot to us. We've been working with our customers all year with our rewards program," Sears Regency Square store owner Gary Griffin said. "Getting them online to shop. And we started early because they were able to buy our door-busters early this year by shopping online."
Sears is also offering a five-minute guarantee. If a shopper orders online, he or she can go pick up their item in the store and have it within five minutes.
Despite the perceived perks, some shoppers still prefer the brick and mortar stores.
"Online, sometimes you just don't know what you're getting," shopper Jessica Winebarger said. "You get it to the house and you're like, 'Oh, it doesn't have the same effect.'"
The hot items for Cyber Monday are electronics, jewelry, clothing, bedding and furniture.
While there are many winners on Cyber Monday, there are also losers. Many local shops and the state budget are just a few of the casualties of the busiest online shopping day of the year.
It's estimated that the state will miss out on more than $10 million sales tax by the end of the day. That figure will more than double by the end of the holiday shopping season.
The state budget relies on sales tax to pay for everything from schools to prisons.
Online stores with locations in Florida collect the 6-cent tax, but retailers outside the state normally don't. When the tax isn't collected, the onus falls on the shopper to download a form from the Florida Department of Revenue and mail it in with the taxes they owe.
"Last year about 7,000 people downloaded the form, filled it out and sent a check," said Rick McAllister, of the Florida Retail Federation. "That's miniscule compared to the number of people who bought things where taxes were not collected."
The Florida Retail Federation says stores that don't collect the tax have an unfair advantage over those that do. They're asking lawmakers to streamline the state tax code to make it easier for online shops to know what to charge.
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