Online reviews have become one of the most important components in purchasing decisions by consumers in North America. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research which included over 1000 participants, 90% of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions and 94% will use a business with at least four stars. Interestingly, negative reviews typically came from online review sites whereas Facebook was the main source of positive reviews. Forrester Research predicts that by 2020, 42% of in-store sales will be from customers who are influenced by web product research.
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The Wayfair ruling could also have wide-ranging consequences for marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy, where the companies already collect sales tax on their own products, but not on behalf of third-party sellers. This brings up the question of whether marketplaces will now step in to absorb the cost of collecting sales tax on behalf of partner retailers. In some states, notes Barrett, "marketplace facilitator legislation would require the Amazons and the Etsys to collect sales tax on their behalf. In some respects, that would be easier for the smaller sellers," she adds. Still, it's conceivable that marketplaces could refuse to do so in other states--or sell hefty compliance assistance packages that would hurt their sellers, she suggests.
E-commerce allows customers to overcome geographical barriers and allows them to purchase products anytime and from anywhere. Online and traditional markets have different strategies for conducting business. Traditional retailers offer fewer assortment of products because of shelf space where, online retailers often hold no inventory but send customer orders directly to the manufacture. The pricing strategies are also different for traditional and online retailers. Traditional retailers base their prices on store traffic and the cost to keep inventory. Online retailers base prices on the speed of delivery.
For further details regarding these examples and California’s use tax registration and collection requirements generally, please see Regulation 1684, Collection of Use Tax by Retailers, publication 77, Out-of-State Sellers: Do You Need to Register in California?, or our frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Use Tax Collection Requirements for Out-of-State Retailers.
The history of sales taxes in the U.S. isn't that old. Sales taxes in the U.S. have traditionally been the right of the individual states, who started requiring merchants to charge tax on items for sale in the late 1920s and into the Great Depression. Sales taxes were seen as a way to help fund state activities in an era of low income. Today, all states except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon charge sales tax.
(a) Statement of Purpose. The purpose of 830 CMR 64H.1.7 is to explain how the general sales and use tax jurisdictional standard set forth in M.G.L. chs. 64H and 64I applies to vendors making Internet sales, taking into consideration the relevant provisions of the U.S. constitution and federal law. 830 CMR 64H.1.7 includes an explanation of the circumstances under which certain Internet vendors with a principal place of business located outside the state are required to register, collect and remit Massachusetts sales or use tax as set forth in M.G.L. chs. 64H and 64I.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.