Vt. retailer sees Cyber Monday spike

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November 26, 2012, 5:57 pm
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(NECN: Jack Thurston - Burlington, Vt.) - Rich Norford's tape dispenser was working overtime Monday.

"This is kind of what we train for," he chuckled, as he assembled a large shipping box and placed a sled inside.

Norford is the head of shipping for GearX.com, an online outdoor sporting goods retailer based in Burlington, Vt. Norford told NECN  before he even showed up to work on Cyber Monday that 140 orders were waiting for him. He said that's the number he'd get all day on a typical Monday. "We have pretty much been looking forward to this since the end of the holidays last year," Norford said.

GearX.com had extra personnel on hand to handle the increase in orders.

"It gives a kickoff to the holiday shopping season," explained company owner Marc Sherman.

Sherman launched GearX.com in 1997 as an expansion to the Outdoor Gear Exchange, his downtown Burlington brick-and-mortar store. "The Internet gives us access to the entire country," Sherman said.

The business owner told NECN Cyber Monday sales have been steadily growing for years, along with overall web sales. "Typically, internet business leads the brick-and-mortar business by a week and a half to two weeks because people obviously need to account for shipping times," Sherman said. "They want to make sure their stuff is there on time; you can't just walk in and grab it."

Holiday shopping is expected to get even more high-tech this season. Retail groups are predicting more and more Americans will shop using their smart phones. "It's really changed the game," said Tasha Wallis of the Vermont Retail Association. "Online shopping really changed the game when that came available, but now people can shop online and walk around doing it -- or be anywhere doing it."

A National Retail Federation survey showed more than 1/6 of Cyber Monday shoppers, 20.4 million, planned to hunt for bargains on their mobile devices. That's up from 3.6 million in 2009.

Cell phone, laptop, desktop, tablet -- no matter how the orders come to Rich Norford, he promised he's ready. "I'm into it," he beamed. "Let's do this, you know?”

Based on what they saw on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Norford and Sherman both predicted a very strong holiday season for the Outdoor Gear Exchange and other retailers along Burlington’s pedestrian mall, the Church Street Marketplace.

“It’s looking good,” Sherman said.

Tags: vermont, NECN, cyber monday, Jack Thurston
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