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Online Shopping Popular, But Not Always Easy

Posted November 25, 2006

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— More and more people are opting to give up the crowds, ditch the trip to the store, and do their holiday shopping in cyberspace.

"It's just easier," said online shopper Amos Slaymaker. "I can do it from my desk either at work or at home and it saves me from having to go out in a mall."

Economists predict 40 percent of all shoppers will do their holiday gift buying online this year. But buyer beware – there can be snags in the online shopping rush. Amazon.com and Walmart.com had so many people rush their sites Friday morning, the sites shut down temporarily.

That doesn't happen often, and most retailers are now marketing heavily toward the online shopper. Some retailers even have computer terminals inside their brick-and-mortar stores.

"What we find is a lot of people use both the store and online together to make their purchases," said REI store manager Tiffiny Consoli. "They'll research online, then maybe come into the store to make their final decision."

Sometimes go online, pick a gift, and get it wrapped even shipped to its recipient, skipping the post office all together. It all comes down to convenience. Still, there are those who aren't quite sold on online, and can't give up the traditional holiday shopping experience.

"I'd really rather see it and hold it and examine it," said shopper Olivia Williams. "I love (holiday shopping.) It's crazy and I love it. I would not trade this for anything.

One of the biggest shopping days for online retailers is on Cyber Monday, when heavy discounts and promotions are offered. It's a day when many people get back in the office after the long weekend and shop on the Web at work.

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