In her “The Point of Purchase” column in Forbes last Wednesday, Laura Heller offered a fresh take on online sales tax. Rather than focusing on whether or not online retailers should collect sales tax, Heller decided to look at future online shopping trends that may be indirectly shaped by online sales tax:
Much of the activity and expansion [around online shopping] is the indirect result of new legislation requiring Internet retailers to collect sales tax. There already are 12 states with laws either enacted or awaiting approval, and now Senator Dick Durbinof Illinois is hoping to pass such a law at the national level.
There’s no telling when, or even if the legislation will pass, but there’s also no turning back the tide. It will happen and online shoppers will be required to pay sales tax, sooner or later.
And what will that mean for shoppers? According to Heller, traditional retailers “are becoming more aggressive in capturing online sales”—witness L.L. Bean’s recent decision to provide free shipping on all items—because:
If traditional retailers are to compete with sites like Amazon–which flourished in the absence of regulation—they must implement some of the same benefits like free shipping, liberal return policies, varied product selection and customer reviews.
Heller then examines ten trends to watch for in online shopping. It’s an interesting article and a take on online sales tax that we haven’t seen before—definitely worth a read.
It is also worth remarking that this column, in combination with the Janet Novak article about Connecticut adopting affiliate nexus legislation and the FUD-itorial yesterday, is the third article in less than a week from Forbes on the internet sales tax topic. I guess this issue finally has their attention.