Local businesses benefit from Cyber Monday
CAPITAL REGION A wall of brown cardboard boxes grew steadily Monday in the back room of the Saratoga Olive Oil Company.
“It looks like a kid’s fort back there,” said store manager Kirby Ives. “It’s been wild.”
That wildness was the result of Cyber Monday. Though Saratoga Olive Oil is a typical brick-and-mortar business, Ives said it has a solid online presence. On Monday, a day of online deal hunting across the nation, they offered free shipping on orders of all sizes.
“We got over 100 orders in the last 12 hours,” he said Monday afternoon. “I’ve lost count. I’m just keeping my head down and moving forward.”
The stacked shipping boxes of olive oil, vinegar and sea salt, he said, should be an example to other small businesses.
“Online sales are nothing to be feared,” he said. “If anything, selling online should help a small business get going.”
Other local businesses also tossed their hats in the Cyber Monday ring with web giants like Amazon.com. Among others shops, Impressions of Saratoga offered complimentary track pins and free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
Store associate Jennifer Frame said the offer led to about half dozen orders worth a few hundred dollars.
“They’re mostly local people who really just didn’t want to come downtown,” she said, “though we did send some stuff to Canada.”
A half dozen orders isn’t a major rush, but it is several times the store’s Monday average. Increased Web traffic does present some issues. Frame said the store moved more product Monday, but made less profit. Sending a few printed mugs across town on a UPS truck costs roughly $10. That sort of money eats up profits.
Even the Saratoga Olive Oil Company was taking a slight loss on the day, according to Ives. But he said gaining return business is worth the expense.
Father south, the day was going well for another online retailer.
“It’s the end of a lull for us,” said Shawn Natole, of Bike World USA.
Bike World sells sporting goods online and in person from a store in Glenville. Natole said the company offered a special deal on gift certificates for Cyber Monday, but didn’t change the usual business model. Even so, the Web holiday marks the beginning of their Christmas gift rush.
“People shop online for one of two reasons,” he said. “They want to get a good deal, or they want to avoid Black Friday craziness.”
He said the online business is ever growing, and Cyber Monday along with it.
One big section of the area population didn’t take advantage of Monday’s deals, at least from 9 to 5 — government employees.
“We log all our employees’ Web history,” said Montgomery County Data Processing Director Daniel Colon. “We can just pull it up a week or a month at a time.”
Colon runs the computer system for a few hundred Montgomery County employees. He’s in charge of keeping the system running along with maintaining browser records.
“Employees are never allowed to shop during work hours,” he said, “but Cyber Monday is a big event. Most department heads probably reminded their people.”
Several years ago he was asked to get Cyber Monday browser records on a few employees. Monday afternoon he said everyone was in line.
Montgomery County’s shopping policy, he said, actually isn’t as strict as the Internet code of conduct state employees must follow. All told, he said, thousands of government workers across the region had to wait until the evening hours to fire up their home computers.