Some local businesses seek an online edge on Cyber Monday

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 12:01 AM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- When Cyber Monday dawned at Massey's Sporting Goods, Matt Occhipinti found his computer bristling with Internet merchandise orders.

"We had about 120, so that's right about double," said Occhipinti.

Mike Massey says Internet business boomed in recent years to 50 percent of the total revenue for his business.

But he is now concentrating on in-store sales because he can't compete with the prices and shipping offers made by major Internet outlets.

"We've seen the discounting just go crazy," Massey said, "and we've seen the cost to do business on the Internet has skyrocketed."

The owner of the Dirty Coast t-shirt shop in New Orleans is designing a website he says will give local businesses an edge in online sales.

He is sending news releases to business across the country about the site he calls Local Gear.

"Its ultimate goal is to be able to give stores their own channel in space to show off what they have in inventory," said Dirty Coast and Local Gear Creative Director Blake Haney.

Local Gear lets customers start shopping on the Internet, and then get instant gratification by visiting a local store.

"You can use Local Gear to find the products and the brands that you like, read reviews, and then see it's actually in stock at that store, and then walk in and get a chance to buy it," Haney said.

"For us, we're going to get a lot more repeat customers if somebody can use that shopping mall online experience to come into our store," Massey said.

Haney hopes Local Gear will feature 200 stores in 40 to 50 cities when it starts operating in March, with a cell phone app eventually.

"If you're in a restaurant, and you're having a certain bottle of wine, and you want to see if it's carried at Martin's," Haney said.

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