MADISON (WKOW)-- Right now many large retailers are discounting their
products in an attempt to make up for slow sales this holiday season. Many experienced a relatively disappointing December.
Business analysts believe they were greatly affected by a shorter shopping season with Thanksgiving coming a
week later than usual and an increase in online
Local business owners in the Madison area endured the same two hardships, but many still had a successful season.
"I've heard a lot of folks talking
about how they're intentionally shopping locally and wanting to put that money into their local economy," Absolutely Art employee Jennie Nuese says.
Absolutely Art employees say they're
nearly three times busier during the holidays and this year they saw
improvements over the last holiday shopping season.
"You know, we've
got local beers, we've got locally owned restaurants. It's just the whole ball
of wax is just headed in that direction. People are buying more local," Nuese says.
Many of the small business owners say the reason they're seeing so much success as of late
is because people's shopping patterns are starting to diversify. While some like
the speed and convenience you can get online and with large retailers, others
want that expert advice you can get from an independently owned
business. Their needs are becoming more specialized and owners are prepared to meet those demands.
"We get to know our customers, therefore we can help them when they have problems. We can advise them on resources that can assist them in the community," Bad Dog Frida pet supply owner Sue Hunter says.
Many owners say the biggest advantage local businesses have when competing against national retailers is the knowledge and expertise they can provide. While they might have trouble competing with price and convenience, they say a personalized experience is what keeps customers coming back for more.
"Just really good quality customer service I think is the main thing we can offer," Hunter says.
Not every local business owner had a successful holiday season this year. Some say they suffered from decreased foot traffic and weak sales.
Business analysts say the foot traffic in stores nationwide decreased
as much as 21% this season. They attribute that to the growing number of online sales during the holidays as companies like Ebay and Amazon marketed faster and more efficient shipping methods for their products.
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