Cyber Monday Proves Profitable for Local Businesses

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Merchants hope to cash in on Cyber Monday specials after a weekend of strong retail sales. IBM says online sales were up 15 percent from 2010.

In 2010, Cyber Monday was the top day for online spending nation wide. A market research firm estimates online sales could reach a record $1.2 billion in 2011.

Original Juan is a small business from Kansas City that does a lot of online sales. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend generated the largest sales ever for the specialty food producer. Sales skyrocketed more than 40 percent from the same time last year for the company which is based in KCK.

About 20 percent of Original Juan's orders come from individual orders online. The company says internet specials through Facebook and Dealsaver are keeping customers interested in their products.

"As a small business, Facebook has been a critical way for us to talk to our customers," said Lindsay Howerton with Original Juan. "We were able to build momentum about this Black Friday sale. We actually let our Facebook customers pick products that they would like to put on sale. They were part of this process and I think as a result we saw higher sales."

It's much the same story at Indigo Wild, a Kansas City based business that specializes in herbal soaps and fragrant cleaners. More than three out of four sales come from individual customers ordering online. Workers have been stocking up on soap in preparation for Cyber Monday sales.

"Sales on Black Friday were up," said Leslie Franklin with Indigo Wild. "It doesn't compare to Cyber Monday for us. It's one of our biggest days of the year. We look forward to it. We prepare for weeks for it."

Both Indigo Wild and Original Juan say Small Business Saturday also helped boost sales. Franklin says don't expect deals to stop on Cyber Monday. Email specials and holiday incentives may be even better than Cyber Monday specials and will continue for the rest of the season.

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