White flurries created blue worries for brick-and-mortar retailers this past weekend. You can't blame them for fretting. Last year's critical holiday shopping season also started strong before December's unkind weather played a part in freezing the buying spirit.

Bad timing for traditional chains can only mean good tidings for the online retailers. The Northeast's first major snowstorm of the season kept shoppers indoors -- in some cases, wired and buying.

We're not just talking about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), even though it also powers the online storefronts of giants like Toys "R" Us (NYSE:TOY) and Target (NYSE:TGT). Last year, deep discounter Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) nearly tripled its sales over the holiday quarter, while eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) clocked in with a 68% spike in gross merchandise sales.

If it's any comfort to the offline retailers, holiday sales won't peak until the Saturday before Christmas. Yet, that's not the case for online retailers that have to make their moves now given the iffy nature of delivery lead times. As the holiday grows closer and free shipping turns to discount promotions on express shipping, the local mall starts to win the pricing advantage over its dot-competition.

Also consider that offline giants like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) may have been late to the game, but they, too, are now forces to reckon with on the Internet.

So, if you hear cheery holiday voices singing "the weather outside is frightful" with refrains of "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," don't look outside for carolers. It may be coming from inside -- your home computer.

Think online retailers have finally found a way to win over shoppers, profitably? You're not alone. Amazon has been singled out in Motley Fool Stock Advisor while Overstock has been written up in Motley Fool Hidden Gems .

So you think Amazon will have another strong holiday showing -- that CEO Jeff Bezos finally worked off the jinx of being Time's Man of the Year a couple of years ago? All this and more -- in theAmazondiscussion board. Only on Fool.com.