Cyber Monday: Shipping, Handling, Sales Taxes

Nov 27, 2017

We’ve made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and now it's Cyber Monday. But is that really a thing here in Louisiana?

"People are getting more and more used to seeing it as either a complement to, or in some cases an alternative to the traditional sales that start the holiday season," says LSU Professor of Marketing, Dan Rice.

People formerly shopped online to avoid paying sales tax, but now that the largest online retailer (Amazon) is collecting Louisiana sales tax — which has gone up — is that going to affect Cyber Monday purchasing here in our state?

"I don't think it's going to have a huge impact for a lot of people," Dr. Rice says. "You have to consider the way people process the price. And what you see in a lot of Cyber Monday sales is that it’s a huge price discount, and that's where most people are focused.

“This other part of the price — which in academic lingo is called the 'partitioned price' — is the tax or the shipping that comes after. And people put a lot less emphasis in paying attention to that, so that it's going to be a fairly small component of what most people decide."

He pauses for a moment, considering.

"Now you could see a summary after the fact and say, 'Wow — that was a lot more tax than I expected,' but it's still a relatively small proportion of what you’re paying."

Rice says shipping and handling charges are more likely than taxes to affect your ultimate decision to click the "buy it now" button, but the real bottom line is caveat emptor — buyer beware.

"The key to any deal on Cyber Monday: Make sure you've done your homework, and you're aware what normal prices are, so you can gauge whether this is really a great deal or whether it's kind of a run-of-the-mill that you don't have to jump at right now."