Just coming off the holiday season, I bet you either bought a gift from Amazon.com or received a gift bought off Amazon.com. The online retail giant has continued to expand the list of states charged a sales tax when making a purchase on Amazon.com. Effective New Year’s Day, Indiana, Nevada and Tennessee have been added to the list of states now totaling 19. South Carolina will be added to the list in 2016 (these are states where Amazon.com has or will have a physical presence in the form of distribution centers and offices).
What it means
This move could increase revenues in the states where taxes are charged, and help level the playing field for independent equipment dealers and other retailers who don’t have an online presence.
Outdoor power equipment parts have become a big online seller. Tax-free purchases have been a big draw for online shoppers. What remains now, is the added convenience of straight-to-your-door delivery.
For buyers with advanced (at least 24-hour) notice of their purchasing needs, these online-only retailers are still a likely option. For contractors who may need parts on-the-fly due to an unexpected equipment issue, a brick-and-mortar equipment dealer with a large parts inventory will help reduce downtime.
What to consider
Dealers are encouraged to grow their online presence to remain competitive in the marketplace. If a dealership is not ready to move into online retail, a professional website listing available inventory with the option of in-store pick up should be considered.
Contractors are encouraged to partner with their local independent dealer on their parts needs. Choosing the internet-only retailer could risk the likelihood of local dealers competing successfully in the marketplace and having the ability to maintain a flush inventory for those emergency situation needs.
In a series of Internet Retail articles published in Green Industry Pros and online at greenindustrypros.com, we explored the trend toward online shopping and the Marketplace Fairness Act (a bill aiming to force online sellers to charge customers outside the state(s) they have a physical presence in a sales-and-use tax at the time of purchase) and the effects on small businesses. Read the five articles in the series by clicking on the links below: