Local business trying to keep up with online shopping this holiday season

Local business trying to keep up with online shopping this holiday season

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - According to the Alabama Retail Association, shoppers in Alabama will spend more than $11.5 billion, both in stores and online, during November and December alone.

Last year, it was reported that Alabamians spent $11.43 billion during the holiday season. Ten percent of all sales in Alabama are from online shopping, officials say.

"There's always going to be an ease of shopping online but there's something you get in a store that you don't get online," said Melissa Warnke with the Alabama Retail Association.

One local business said it's hard to compete with online sales.

"It's almost impossible. So we do what we can. We have our advertising department and they stay on top of things, and really, it's the only way to compete," said Jerry Thrash, manager at Rosemont Gardens.

Local businesses do have one advantage. They the upper hand when it comes to customer service.

"We have to compete in the service area," said Thrash. "You know, we are face to face. You can call us on the phone, you can come in, but we consider customer service is the way for us to compete with the online shopping."

The Alabama Retail Association urges shoppers to spend their money in Alabama during the holiday season.

"When you spend money with an Alabama retailer or a retailer in your own town, you are supporting your friends and neighbors, you're investing in your own city, and it strengthens your own economy and so we want to keep those holiday shopping dollars locally. Support the people that support our own community," said Warnke.

Despite popular belief, Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year. The Alabama Retail Association said it's actually the second busiest shopping day, falling behind the Friday before Christmas. Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, is the third busiest shopping day of the year.

"Black Friday is still a huge shopping day in Alabama, it always will be, but the actual busiest day is probably going to be the Friday and Saturday before Christmas, and that's just because everyone kind of gets in a panic mode and thinks, 'I still have a lot of people on my list I have to go out and get some shopping done,'" said Warnke.

Warnke said if you don't want to fight the crowds, but still want to shop in stores, go shopping when there's a big event going on, like the Iron Bowl.

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