Christian Retailing

Vital Signs: Economic realities Print Email
Written by Felicia Abraham   
Monday, 23 March 2009 04:11 PM America/New_York

Individual comments from retailers responding to our survey on business and the downturn in the economy:


QUESTION: What have you done to increase revenues?

“Added a department for the 19-30 (age group) called Youth Apparel and Accessories. This has been positive.”

“Changed and increased our advertising program to more targeted customer base.”

“Keyed into ongoing programs of the church more.”


“Try to take checks and cash instead of credit card, discount more to move inventory and try to sell more to each customer.”

“Trying some extra advertising, but it does not seem to be working as of February.”

“Put more items on sale.”

“Scheduling more off-site events to get out to the (local) parishes and conferences.”

“Added frequent buyer program, marketing through new distributed magazine, increased Facebook and Internet presence, and have scheduled more events.”

“Appointed someone full time to focus on developing church and school relationships.”

“Basically quit ordering extras.”

“Spotlight projects that are high-quality content and appealing price points.”

“Expanding marketing with Web site, local newspaper, constant focus on customer service.”

“Aggressive pricing and selling books in bulk to (local) Christian schools. There's not much profit but it is not a lot of work either.”

“Increased hours. Promotion. Better product mix.”

“Put old inventory, non-moving items on sale.”

“We keep talking about Jesus.”

“Purchasing more materials at greater discount prices.”

“We have a huge display of books, etc., that are on sale for $5, $7 & $10 … can't keep them in stock.”

“I offer a discount to churches who have purchased curriculum elsewhere to become a standing partner with my store—10% off their first quarter, then I automatically order for them each quarter after.”

“Have participated in some of Nelson's $5 book-of-the-month specials, which seem to sell well.”

“Continuing to get to know my customers and providing what they want ... buying wiser.”

“Reach out to new authors who live locally.”

“Try to hold on by direct mail.”

“Bought from clearance vendors, so I can offer really good deals in my store.”

“Advertise in different venues, increase store hours."

“Added different product lines.”

“Advertise, 25 %-off coupons on Bibles, devotional and inspirational books.”

“Re-organize, bring in new lines, in-store events, increase inventory.”

“Marketing Sunday school, VBS and robes more aggressively.”

“Open six days instead of five.”

“Selling online. Opening used book department.”

“Decreased frequency of sales, so that customers will have ‘urgency’ to purchase.”

“Planning in-store events geared to children as well as events to increase adult traffic into the store.”

“Exploring fundraisers with area churches and ministries.”

“Begun radio advertising again, that we had stopped.”

“Dealing with my suppliers to reduce my freight expenses.”

“Rearranged displays … gave the store a new look with the same items."

“We are working on giving better customer service and hope that draws in more sales.”

“More store events.”

“Being very price-sensitive.”

“Increase those things that speak to the times we live in now.”

“Try to engage customers more when they come into the store, and find something for them.”

“Direct mail, purchase mailing lists, offer sales.”

“Added musical instruments.”

“Tighter inventory control, monitor utilities.”

“Sidewalk sales.”

“Offer special in-house sales of new releases and pre-order sales of product to be released.”


QUESTION: What have you done to reduce expenses?

“Moved to volunteer instead of paid staff.”

“We have stopped ordering stockroom inventory.”

“Lower inventory levels.”

“Watch shipping, look for higher discounts, and don't order more than I need immediately.”

“Cut some hours for staff.”

“Cutting back on book stock and more selective merchandise ordering.”

“We have reduced our inventory by about 20%.”

“Cut back on lighting. Cut back on staff. Cut back on equipment upgrades.”


“Staff downsizing.”

“Cut postage meter, installed electronic thermostats, reduced hourly labor, cut out printed yellow page ads, requested reduction in lease rate.”

“Cut some advertising and slightly cut some part-time hours.”

“Move to more cost-effective suppliers, reducing shipping costs.”

“Purchasing many items on request, rather than having in inventory.”

“We wash our own windows, re-use paper, fix broken items and sell at a discount rather than write them off.”

“Not replaced two staff members.”

“Lower temperature, watch stock more closely.”

“Negotiated reduction in rent, reduction in interest payments, reduction in labor.”

“We are getting rid of a storage unit.”

“Tighten inventory, control payroll.”

“More aggressive in returning unsold product, more conservative on utilities and extra spending.”

“New location, new rent structure, less utilities, due to downsizing.”

“Salary/wage freeze.”

“Turned the thermostat down, reduced orders of re-stock products. Only getting what is absolutely necessary.”