We asked a cross-section of our readers what they’re predicting for Spring 2009 and how they’ve reacted to the current economic climate. The answers are from the beginning of February, and we had exactly 100 people respond at the time we compiled the data. Here’s what retailers are looking at when it comes to buying, hiring and their approach to spring this year.
Which of the following best describes your business?
Independent garden center 82.8%
Mass merchandiser 0%
Where are you located?
Northeastern U.S. 31.3%
Midwestern U.S. 37.4%
Southeastern U.S. 16.2%
Southwestern U.S. 1%
Western U.S. 11. 1%
Are you having more difficulty securing or continuing lines of credit so far in 2009?
I don’t use lines of credit 12.8%
Has it been more difficult than last year finding the live material you want for spring?
If yes, in which categories are you having trouble finding product? (check all that apply)
Veggies & Herbs 0%
Are you changing the way you hire this spring?
Yes–I’m hiring fewer people 53.2%
Yes–I’m hiring more people 2.1%
Have you changed the amount of events you have attended or will be attending this year?
Yes–We will be attending more events 3.2%
Yes–We will be attending fewer events 45.7%
What do you anticipate being your biggest challenge in 2009? (check all that apply)
Competition from other independent garden centers 0%
Competition from big box retailers 7.5%
The economy’s impact on customers 77.4%
The weather 32.3%
Access to credit 3.2%
What’s the single most important factor to your success this spring?
A change in the economic climate 21.6%
A more positive outlook from the media 15.9%
Good weather 51.1%
Customers embracing ‘staycations’ 9.1%
Are you changing the amount of SKUs you order for spring?
If yes, how are you changing the amount you order?
Ordering a similar number of SKUs, just less of each product 37.1%
Ordering less SKUs overall 56.5%
Ordering more SKUs 6.5%
Ordering more of each product 0%
Are you changing the way you buy?
If yes, how are you changing the way you buy? (check all that apply)
Buying more just-in-time, hoping to
turn smaller amounts quickly and reorder 69.1%
Buying more early with longer terms 19.8%
Buying more locally 33.3%
Buying smaller shipments 48.1%
Buying larger shipments less frequently 6.2%
What is your advertising mix this spring? (check all that apply)
Television ads 23.1%
Radio ads 36.3%
Print newspaper and magazine ads 76.9%
Online newspaper and magazine ads 28.6%
Direct mail 54.9%
No advertising at all 2.2%
What is your main focus this spring?
Bringing in new customers 24.2%
Catering heavily to existing customers 50.5%
Selling to whoever walks in the door 25.3%
Are you using any of the following technology to build relationships with existing customers? (check all that apply)
Updated website 87.2%
A consistent eNewsletter send 61.5%
A blog 10.3%
A forum 3.8%
A social media page (ex. Facebook, MySpace) 11.5%
A Twitter account 3.8%
How are you projecting 2009 sales to be compared to 2008?
Increase of less than 5 percent 29%
Increase of 6 to 10 percent 17.2%
Increase of more than 10 percent 5.4%
Decrease of less than 5 percent 10.8%
Decrease of 6 to 10 percent 14%
Decrease of more than 10 percent 6.5%
Stay the same 17.2%
Have your sales expectations for 2009 changed in the last three months?
Yes-they are lower than previously thought 51.6%
Yes–they are higher than previously thought 9.7%
Are you doing anything differently this year (i.e. new events, advertising or marketing) to attract and inspire customers?