Thursday, February 12, 2009

How are Retailers are Coping with the Recession?

These days, commercial district managers are struggling to figure out how to help local businesses survive during these difficult economic times. If you are one of those, a good New York Magazine article worth the read is What will it Take for Small Businesses, Shops and Restaurants to Survive? It discusses what many of you are wondering - how are small businesses coping as people cut back on their discretionary spending? New York magazine surveyed 100 businesses of all kinds throughout the five boroughs to find out. Reduced pricing, cheaper cuts of meat, adding lower cost items (like burgers) to the menu, more careful selection of merchandise that leaves out less popular items...all are strategies that businesses are employing to keep customers coming back to their stores. There also seems to be a return to old fashion customer service - taking extra care of the customer, greeting the customer at the door, taking the time to find out customer needs and wants...these are the tactics that will distinguish retailers that survive from those that don't.

Interestingly enough, there is a silver lining for some businesses. I can personally attest that IKEA is doing extremelly well - these days I'm there almost every other day picking up items for a minor renovations in my apartment! Other retailers are also showing gains, Walmart, Forever 21 and 99 Cent stores among them. Stores are also considering lower cost ways to reach their customers - see my post on Pop-Up stores for more on that...

If you are a commercial district manager struggling to find ways to help your local retailers - consider compiling a list of 'recessionary tactics' and including it in your next electronic newsletter and/or sponsoring a panel or seminar of merchants that are finding successful ways to cut costs.

Image: A restaurant in Astoria, NY - a great commercial district in Queens, NY

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