Cyber Christmas

11-29-05 - As Christmas grows closer, so do the lines at department stores, and many feel the internet can be their one stop shopping spot this holiday season.

This year more than ever, holiday shoppers are trading the long lines for on-line using the web instead of hitting the mall for cyber Christmas.

"We live in a global world that has actually become localized because of the internet," web developer Kevin Roark said. "It offers the little guy to compete with the big guys."

More and more shoppers are turning to the net, so much that online holiday sales in the US could hit nearly $20 Billion this year.

The good news for online shoppers is that you can now expect to see the same great deals on any URL that you would find on the shelves. It's because of price. When you're on the web, it's not the service you are looking for.

"Price is what the key is to being successful," Roark said. "So to compete over the internet you have to compete in the price arena."

But as major retailers launch sales and discounts to drive up web traffic, it's making the little guys go global too. More clientele are cashing in online instead of in the store and that's why Sherman's Ventura's Gifts created a website.

"It has developed into quite a bit more than that," owner Janet Ventura said. "Now we find we have a lot of people shopping online for all, all gift items year round, and Christmas is a very big time of year for us to buy gifts online."

But just how safe is online shopping? Experts say it's better than ever, but they warn that you need to make sure the site you're buying from has a lock box in the bottom right corner of the purchase page. That tells you that it is a secure site.

The Oklahoma Attorney General advises that you use the same credit card for all your online purchases so that you can track discrepancies easier.