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Retailers want online Memorial Day shoppers

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Tess Vigeland: Banks are closed today as are stock markets. We won’t see the full impact from what Amy reported until tomorrow. So enjoy your Memorial Day barbeques and parades. If you feel like taking a break from all those outdoor activities, just log onto your computer. It’s a big shopping weekend and stores are pushing for a little cyber retail therapy.

Gigi Douban reports from Birmingham, Ala., on the newest online deal spectacular.

Gigi Douban: It wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without a couple bags of sand and a big bottle of weed killer. That’s what one customer ordered here at this Lowe’s in Birmingham. Thing about this is that the customer ordered all of it online to pick up in the store.

Shane Ratley: I’ll get that if you’ll get the play sand. All right.

Manager Shane Ratley is pulling the items off the shelves for the customer to pick up. Retailers like Lowe’s hope online discounts will beef up in-store sales this holiday weekend. So they’re offering promotions like the 20 minute guarantee.

Ratley: You buy it online, it’ll be ready for you to pick up within 20 minutes, so that just speeds up their process.

And he says Lowe’s will price-match its own online prices, which tend to be lower. Other stores this weekend are offering free shipping and deals on patio furniture and bikinis.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says so what if you’re shopping online when the weather’s nice. If it means a better deal, people don’t care about an extra hour in front of a screen.

Howard Davidowitz: This is where it’s happening so people are sitting by their computers, they like the ability to compare prices to make sure they have the best deal, and they’re more confident of delivery.

Feeling guilty about not spending time outside? Wal-Mart’s website has a “take a break from the backyard” section. Among the items featured there? Things to help you buy more stuff online: laptops and tablets.

In Birmingham, I’m Gigi Douban for Marketplace.

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