While in-person shopping has increased following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, store owners are still reacting to the increased dependence on online shopping.
PORTLAND, Ore. — With customers looking for holiday gifts, nothing reminds people of shopping more than the branded post-Thanksgiving gauntlet of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
“We just are in full holiday shopping mode now,” said Ariel Kusby, bookseller at Broadway Books in Northeast Portland.
Kusby said the Broadway Books bookstore is welcoming more customers recently, but the shift to online shopping is ever evident.
“We’re definitely starting to get more in-person shopping again,” she said. “We still have a significant amount of online orders — that’s increased significantly since before the pandemic.”
The pandemic’s effects on shopping habits cannot be overstated, to hear local businesses tell it.
Stores adjusted over the last two years, and Kusby, who started working here this year, says new customer preferences are clear — Cyber Monday or not.
“I will say I’m just now processing the most online orders I’ve seen since I’ve worked here, so right now it feels like a 50/50 split between a lot of online and a lot of in-person,” she said.
However, she prefers giving book recommendations face to face.
“That personal connection, that’s what you get here and not somewhere like Amazon,” Kubsy said.
Nationally, online sales from Black Friday are expected to set record numbers, once they’re fully calculated. Estimates topped $9 billion, up 2% from 2021.
At Little Rituals on SE Division Street in Portland, a woman-owned shop that focuses on selling all sorts of things from BIPOC and LGBTQ businesses, employee Ann Todd said it’s been busy.
“Online orders have been somewhat of a newer thing (for us), but people are stoked about that and even people who live in Portland have been using the online shop a lot as well,” Todd said.
So, she’s hoping local businesses will keep carving out their slice of the Cyber Monday pie, even if she thinks in-store connection is something special.
“Everyone who comes in is very positive and they seem to enjoy being here and it’s just nice to be able to talk to people,” Todd said.