Smaller businesses hope to benefit from Cyber Monday shopping frenzy

 A worker fills orders at the Amazon fulfillment center on Cyber Monday last year in Lebanon, Tennessee. Cyber Monday is traditionally the busiest online shopping day of the year. (AP file photo)

A worker fills orders at the Amazon fulfillment center on Cyber Monday last year in Lebanon, Tennessee. Cyber Monday is traditionally the busiest online shopping day of the year. (AP file photo)

Many people will buy some of their holiday gifts from large online retail sites on Cyber Monday. Smaller neighborhood stores are also hoping it will boost their Internet sales.

Laurie Ehlbeck, the New Jersey director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said many different kinds of small businesses are using Cyber Monday to attract customers.

“They often offer unique, one-of-a-kind items that you can’t find at a bigger store,” she said. “And instead of dealing with temporary salespeople, you’re often dealing with the actual owner of that business — and that business cares very much about making you happy.”

While online shopping is increasing, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub said most gift buying for the holiday still takes place in stores.

“Analysts are predicting online sales this holiday season to increase about 6 to 8 percent, whereas total sales are only going to increase a little under 4 percent,” Holub said. “So the best growth we’re going to see is online shopping, but it’s still only a fraction of overall sales. A little over 10 percent of all holiday sales will actually be online purchases.”

Holub said Cyber Monday became a big deal about a decade ago when many people shopped while at work because that’s the only place they could get high speed Internet access. Now, he said, they use their smartphone to make those purchases that can’t be tracked by an employer on workers’ computers.

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